Lancaster Brides 10 Most Common Wedding Planning Questions

Our mission at Perfect Harmony Entertainment is to help couples and clients create amazing events. As a DJ Service that serves the Lancaster | York | Hershey area, we have a love of music. While that is our forte, our passion is for helping people. We feel that sharing our experience is how we can make a difference so we continue to blog about all aspects of event planning , money saving tips, and any topic that we can think of that might prove helpful.

If you found this blog useful I hope that you will share it with others who may find it helpful as well. If you have any suggestions or comments for future blog posts please let us know!

Q: How much does a wedding cost?

A: While it this is likely not the answer you are looking for it is the truth. No two weddings are alike, and no two couples are alike. While this is not the precise answer you were likely hoping for, I am happy that there is such variety in wedding and in the couples, we celebrate with.

We provide DJ Services to two markets. The Northern VA | Washington DC area is one market. Looking at statistical data for 2018, the average wedding cost was just under $37,000. We also provide DJ Services to the Central PA market and to the Frederick MD area as well. The average wedding cost in those areas for 2018 was just under $31,000.

Our suggestion is that the couples come up with an amount that they feel is reasonable for their market. Use that number to design the wedding that is perfect for you and includes the items that are most important to the two of you.   

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Q: Where should I focus my budget?

A: The answer to this question depends upon what is most important to you as a couple. Do you want amazing décor? If you do, then make finding the designer that can create the look that you have imagined a priority. Do you want a raging dance party your guests won’t want to see end? Put your money towards a spectacular DJ and bar list!

Before putting together your budget, sit down with your fiancé, and parents and discuss how you envision the day going and think about the elements that are most important to bringing your vision to life.

Q: Do we have to ____________?

A: The answer is usually no. You call the shots and can make the wedding exactly as you want it to be! You do not need anyone’s permission to go off-script. This is your moment. Of course, you want to create a great experience for the guests, but you need to make sure that it is meaningful and enjoyable for you.

Q: How do I sort through all the information that's out there?

A: The moment you get engaged, you may find herself surrounded by well-meaning friends and family who are suddenly experts in wedding traditions and etiquette. You may feel overwhelmed by all the (sometimes, contradictory) advice and find that some of it may conflict with their own ideas of how you have envisioned your wedding day.

Stay true to yourself. Wedding guests know you, either as individuals or as a couple, and if the wedding reflects who you are, it will brim with love and charm.

Q: How do we find the best venue?

A: Start your search online. There are plenty of websites such as “The Knot” and “Wedding Wire” that will provide much of the basic information such as maximum number of guests and often general pricing or and average cost.

In addition to these national websites, there are many venues that you will not find listed on these sites. Searching Facebook is a great way to find venues that may not have a website yet. This is particularly true for Farm | Barn Venues that have gone from being active farms to part-time or full-time wedding venues. 

There are tons of options that can reduce the venue cost and provide a beautiful photographic backdrop for your wedding. These are places that may not be top of mind. Here are just a few examples that I have personally visited: The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Shippensburg University, The Barn at Norlo Park.

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

Q: Should we have an open bar?

A: You know your crowd best, and if they are not much of a drinking group, then it is understandable that you may be hesitant to invest in an open bar. However, even people who don't drink on a normal basis are apt to want to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne at a wedding, and it's a generous gesture. If budget is an issue, consider an open bar for the cocktail reception only, or assign a dollar amount that you are comfortable with on a hosted bar. Once that number is reached, guests can start picking up their tabs.

Q: We want to stock the bar ourselves to save money. Will it?

A: By the time you buy all the mixers, liquors, beers, fruits, ice, and tools, you'll spend more money than an average per person bar cost. Not only will you typically not save money, it creates yet another item on your to do list.

I am all for saving money and we have several blog posts that offer money saving tips. In this case however not only do you not save money, you create more work for either yourself or whomever you task with doing it.

If you really want to do it yourself and save money, I have seen one way it can be done. In this case the uncle of the bride was a beer and liquor distributor. The price was wholesale saving them about 25% - 30% of the cost. If you “know a guy” you could pull this off.

Q: What elements will make the biggest impact on ambiance?

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A: Lighting is an important factor in setting the mood for your event. When in doubt, opt for 'soft amber' bulbs; they're classic and flattering. Candles are a part of the lighting design and even just a few motifs on a dining table can make all the difference.

Uplighting is an easy and inexpensive way to transform the look of the venue and create a wow factor. The versatility and the safety of this type of lighting are two more compelling reasons to consider.

For more on lighting options check out our blog post: Event Lighting Options To Wow Your Guests!

Q: How do I form a guest list?

A: We recommend reviewing your guest list several times after you think it's final. You don't need to invite everyone on your high school sports team, and the same goes for work friends: you may find yourself in a different job during the planning process. Make sure that your list is full of relationships that you value now and will value later. Those are the people you'll want to take part in your day.

Keep in mind that each guest you add will impact what you can offer to all guests. Did you know that the average per plate cost per guest is $30? Keep in mind, that is the average. The difference in adding a few additional guests can impact your ability to provide a photo booth for guests to enjoy or the accent lighting that will highlight the cake you spent so much time designing.  

Q: Is there a venue that will let us dance until 2 am?

A: Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and, understandably, you want it to last forever. But all good things, even weddings, must come to an end. Six to seven hours is plenty of time to wine and dine your guests and dance the night away (start your event by 5 pm and have it end by midnight). The affair should end with a bang (and with your guests wanting more), rather than with a fizzle. Plus, you'll spend extra money on overtime staffing fees so that your handful of raging friends can stay out late, and that's just not worth it!