I will be launching a new business focused on destination weddings where I will specialize in Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Stephanie Webber

Lead Wedding Planner & Designer / Owner

Location: Sacramento, CA

At A Daydream Wedding, we create weddings that are totally YOU. From concept to planning to your wedding day, we bring your dreams to life– whatever that looks like!

Nothing makes us happier than guiding you every step of the way so the process is a snap. We help you stay organized, on budget, and on schedule. We’ll hook you up with the best vendors in Sacramento, and we’ll manage the details when it’s time to say ‘I do.’

Because let’s face it– planning a wedding is tough. It’s stressful, confusing, and overwhelming. There are countless moving parts and putting them together seamlessly takes knowledge and expertise, especially when you want the wedding of your dreams.

But we make it simple. At A Daydream Wedding, you’ll have an experienced wedding planner to help you transform your vision into reality. And we’ll make it a blast so you can relax, have fun, and make once-in-a-lifetime memories with family and friends.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

The COVID-19 crisis of 2019 was the biggest challenge I’ve faced in business so far, and it has affected many of my clients.

As shelter-in-place orders were mandated in California in mid-March, my brides getting married in late March, April, and May, all had to decide whether to cancel or postpone their weddings. It was a hard choice for each and every bride, as they had been planning and dreaming about their weddings for so long and this crisis occurred in the last month or two prior to the wedding.

And due to the confusion on whether wearing masks were effective, uncertainty about maintaining the act of social distancing during their wedding day, and the lack of a vaccine, several of my brides getting married in June, July, and August have also decided to postpone or cancel their weddings.

Currently, much is still unknown about Covid-19 and how long it will be affecting us. Which is why it has been such a challenge for my business. I have been handling it on a case-by-case basis driven by the wants and desires of the client. If they want to postpone the wedding, I have been helping them contact their venue and vendors to reschedule a new date and try to negotiate no additional fees for the change. And then helping them come up with ideas on how to notify their guests of the new wedding date. If they want to cancel the wedding, I’ve been helping them do so with the least amount of financial loss as possible.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

1. Personalized weddings: For the past couple of years, brides have been moving away from classic wedding colors and traditions to making each aspect of the wedding uniquely their own. I’m excited about this, as personalizing the wedding to tell the couple’s one-of-a-kind love story is part of what I do to make each wedding memorable and extraordinary. I love helping to create sentimental ceremony vows, color palettes, unique menus, signature drinks, signage, and themes that infuse the interests and personalities of each partner and make the wedding authentic and stand out from the crowd.

2. Destination Weddings: Currently about one in four weddings is a destination wedding. I am excited about this as I am getting ready to launch a Destination Wedding service. In 2019, I became a Certified Sandals Specialist. Sandals has 19 all-inclusive resorts between 8 Caribbean islands and has so many gorgeous places to have a destination wedding. For example, they have an over-the-water chapel where the floor is made of glass and you can see the ocean underneath your feet. They also have beautiful gardens with gazebos and scenic white sand beaches with turquoise water. I hope to be sending many couples to Sandals in the near future.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

It is definitely possible to create an elegant and memorable wedding on a tight budget. One of the biggest trends for 2019 that is still popular in 2020 is minimalist weddings. These are great for small budgets because it takes a “less is more” approach. Instead of over the top flower installations, you can go with greenery or single-stemmed centerpieces. Instead of getting married in an expensive ballroom, you can get married in a meadow or forest, or in an industrial space. Instead of an intricate wedding cake, you could opt for a naked cake or a marbled fondant cake. Wedding gowns also come in minimalist styles as well.

And you can make the wedding memorable at little to no additional cost as well. Doing something unexpected makes your wedding stand out. You could change the order of the events of your wedding to something less traditional to keep your guests guessing about what is coming next. A unique setup of the chairs during the ceremony is another good way. You could place the chairs in a circle around the altar so guests get a 360-degree view of your ceremony, instead of seeing it from one side. You could also select a special officiant for your ceremony. Instead of hiring a professional, you could choose the person who introduced you or a person central to your story to officiate the ceremony.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

My relationship with vendors is extremely important. The better my relationship with them is, the better I can negotiate deals for my clients and help them get the best value for their money. And there is also a bond of trust when you have a good relationship with a vendor. I trust them on the wedding day to follow the timeline and my direction. And they trust me that the timeline and direction I am giving them is what the couple actually wants.

To cultivate a relationship and ensure good rapport, I reach out to each wedding vendor well in advance to the wedding day. I let them know I am looking forward to working with them while also confirming the pertinent details and making arrangements for setup/deliveries. I also send them a copy of the timeline to review and give feedback on, so any discrepancies or disagreements are worked out prior to the wedding and everyone is on the same page going into the wedding day. And on the wedding day, I am there to greet them and make sure they have everything they need to get set up. I check in with them multiple times during the wedding, and then I am sure to compliment their work after the wedding if they did a good job.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Destination Weddings! I am all set up with Sandals to send couples on luxurious destination weddings in the Caribbean. However, I will be launching a new business focused on destination weddings where I will specialize in Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I have been working on learning all I can about these areas. I am already a Sandals Specialist. I have also recently completed a program with the Hawaiian Islands Travel Bureau and am a certified Hawaiian Islands Destination Specialist.

I also will offer romantic travel to these areas in the form of honeymoons, anniversaries, and vow renewals as well. Because I love to serve fun and adventurous couples, I will be setting them up with amazing resorts as well as activities to do like scuba diving, snorkeling, zip-lining, hiking to waterfalls, exploring volcanos, and many more fun things to do.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

I was inspired to start A Daydream Wedding because of the outcome of my own wedding day, which was in 2012. I married my sweetheart that day, so ultimately it was a success. However, there were many mistakes I made during the planning process that turned into fires I had to put out on my wedding day. And I ended up having a very stressful and difficult wedding day when I had dreamed about having an easy and fun wedding day.

After the wedding, I realized it was my calling to make sure no other brides experienced the kind of wedding day I had, and A Daydream Wedding was born shortly after in 2014. I learned from the mistakes I made with my wedding, as well as completed the Professional Development Program through the Association of Bridal Consultants in 2015 so that I could guide future brides through the wedding planning process and make sure their wedding days were set up for success.

I built A Daydream Wedding while working as a full-time Claims Investigator for an insurance company. In 2017, A Daydream Wedding got to be too big for me to be able to give 100% to both jobs. So I left my corporate job to pursue my dream job full-time, and I have not looked back since!

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

I wish I knew more about marketing and branding. I thought I knew about these topics as I had learned about them in business school. However, reading about them in a book is much different than applying the principles in real life. I made many mistakes and wasted a lot of money because I didn’t have my branding nailed down before I started trying to get clients. In the beginning, I was just trying to be everything to everyone and didn’t really have a niche. It took me a while to figure out what my business stood for, what services to offer, and who my ideal client was. And even longer to learn how to communicate that in my marketing efforts.

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

I had some clients who loved classic cars. They decided to get married in a car museum and wanted to incorporate the cars into their wedding ceremony. They wanted to have one car drive the groom up to the altar and then have another car drive the bride and her father up to the altar. In theory, that was a totally unique idea and sounded like lots of fun. But logistically it was a little bit more difficult. Luckily, the museum staff loved the idea too. They helped me brainstorm ways to stage the cars to be driven during the ceremony and offered two of their most popular classic cars to the couple to use. They also provided two drivers to drive the vehicles during the ceremony as well.

So with some extra coordination with the museum staff and practice at the rehearsal (because the cars weren’t available that day), it did work out perfectly and was one of the most memorable and unique weddings I have been a part of.

Susan Null
Author: Susan Null

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