There were 2.25 million weddings in the United States in 2016, according to Statista, a rate that has remained somewhat steady since the 1990s.
In 2017 the average cost of a wedding amounted to about $33,391 and one way to get every detail right on your special day is to hire a wedding planner.
The wedding planner
Antonia Christianson has been a social event planner since 1999. She grew up attending events at her grandparents’ company and loved the process of planning that perfect event.
After getting her communications degree she settled on social events planning because those events had what she calls “heart.”
“There’s a lot of heart and love with social events,” Christianson said.
You don’t need a specific degree or training to become an event planner, it’s all about experience and networking, she said.
In addition to planning 10 weddings a year as well as at least two nonprofit events, Christianson also attends workshops to hone her skills as a planner.
There is always new software to create floor plans or more information about how to close sales and use social media tools so she tries to learn as much as she can.
“I pride myself in keeping up with the trends of what young couples are looking for,” Christianson said.
Another challenge she faces other than advancements in technology is the growing gap between what older couples want vs. younger couples.
She places a lot of importance in staying relevant and flexible for her clients.
Every company runs a little bit differently. Christianson has run her own social event company since January of 2007.
Her philosophy for working with her clients is being available for what the client needs.
She charges a flat rate and offers a list of common items that she assists couples with in order to give them an idea of what they’d like.
“Not everyone is going to need you to do the same thing,” she said, adding she wants to be there for her clients and make their day special for them.
A few other ways planners can charge their clients is by the hour or by package price.
Christianson prefers her method because it is less restrictive and gives her more freedom to really work with her clients.
“It’s hard to quantify what a wedding planner does,” she said.
Common things a planner does
While each wedding is different, there are several things that Christianson will almost always do for her clients:
- Coordination and execution of the wedding day.
- Leading a site visit to help the couple visualize the event.
- Provide a planning checklist.
- Review of all vendor contracts.
- Vendor coordination.
Christianson’s favorite part of wedding planning is seeing her hard work come to fruition at each event.
She is both a destination planner as well as a planner for coastal Virginia.
Here are a few unique places to have weddings in Hampton Roads:
- Mariner’s Museum
- Peninsula Fine Arts Center (PFAC)
- Marriott City Center
- Christopher Newport University
- The Pagoda on Fort Monroe
- Chrysler Museum
- Casemate Museum on Fort Monroe
To find out more about Christianson’s business, click here.