AKA CERA HARROLD
Hello! My name is Cera, owner of Cera Singley Events – a wedding and event planning company that serves the Bay Area and beyond.
I started my company back in 2010 after graduating with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, concentrating in special events. I realized after graduation that I really didn’t want to work for anyone else except myself. My dream as a child was to be a stay-at-home mom and what better way to do that and pull in some additional funds than running my small business from home.
Knowing it was going to take time to build up a name for myself, I took on a variety of jobs in different sectors to round out my knowledge base. I worked in the corporate world for the longest duration of time at a tradeshow event house. It was a good experience learning the ins and outs of tradeshows firsthand. They put me on the event management team and I strongly believe that this job alone helped me finesse my ability to think quick on my feet and make something happen from nothing – all with a cool and calm demeanor. There was literally no time for me to freak out or stress.
Fast forward a few years and after being forced out of a full time job, I landed on my feet running hard after my dreams of running my business full time. My first year out I got pregnant with my firstborn and ran a nutty year of 26 weddings. I double and even triple booked weddings on weekends. It was nuts, I ended up with unhappy clients because I had to split my time to run another rehearsal halfway across the bay (roughly 1-2 hours drive, one way) and missed either the ceremony or most of the reception, leaving my lead assistant in charge. I’m not as young as I was back then and today, I only book one wedding a weekend so I make sure I focus on one client at a time.
Because my two boys (2 years in March, and 3 months) thrive on structure and routine, my weeks tend to run together and look much the same! Mornings are usually my time to get the boys up, fed and down for a nap. During that time, I do a short workout routine, start a load of laundry, do the dishes, shower and do my morning devotional. Before I realize it, it’s lunchtime and I usually am able to get a few afternoon hours in answering emails, working on a wedding design, finishing up a timeline or editing a floor plan. Dinner rolls around and, lucky for me, my oldest goes down for bed around 7pm so I have a bit of time in the evenings to take phone calls or do more design work. Weekends are usually reserved for site visits, client meetings or down time with family and friends. Sounds busy, but praying and diffusing essential oils throughout the day seriously help to keep the stress and insanity at bay! That and some poppy or country tunes!
Wedding planning is certainly a fun business endeavor, but it also comes with some hurdles. Two words… tax season. Being a creative, the business side of my company is my biggest stressor. It seriously makes me so sick to my stomach to see the amount of taxes the government takes each year, especially when I view those dollars as diapers for my kids! This is my biggest struggle as a business owner. I hire a tax guy to do our taxes each year, but other than that, all accounting is run by yours truly and I loathe doing it every month.
Looking into the future, I know weddings and events will always be a part of who I am at my core. I’d love to do a wedding at Haiku Mill in Kauai. If you don’t know about the venue drop everything (after reading this) and go check it out! It’s seriously one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen!
If I could give one piece of advice to someone interested in diving into the industry – just be you. People buy from who they like, even the quirky, silly parts of you. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! I’ve learned to take my core values and pour them into my work. I’m not after the money. I’m after helping my clients create their dream wedding/event come to life in ways they never dreamed possible. I naturally have a servant heart and I view each event as an opportunity to help them have just the best day ever and we do whatever we need to to make sure that happens!
My two specific questions to answer are:
1. How do you deal with mom life and work life?
Nap time. Enough said. It’s glorious when your toddler and baby nap at the same time, but when they don’t, multitasking is clutch. There are times where the emails just have to wait because my babies are more important. Weekends and evenings are when my husband is home to take care of the kids, so that’s when I take a lot of my calls and schedule in person meetings. It’s been a fun ride and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!
2. What outfit/style do your regret the most from your teenage years?
Oh gee… this brings back some “fun” memories!
I had this pair of capri pants that with a zipper on the side. They had vertical stripes in about ten different colors and let’s just say I thought I was hot stuff when I wore them. Looking back at photos now, boy was I largely mistaken! They did nothing for any part of my bottom half. No wonder I didn’t have a high school boyfriends!