16 Insider Tips You'll Want to Know on Your Big Day!
Last year I wrote about what vendors don't want you to know on your big day, and boy, did that spark a lot of controversy! Some people in the industry weren't super happy about it, but that was far and few between. The truth is, most vendors are really honest and wonderful, as we rely on word-of-mouth and reputation. So this year I wanted to find out what vendors across the board, from make-up to venues to planners, would tell you if they could give you one tip or piece of advice. I asked and the answers came flooding in! I scoured through tons and tons of insider tips to find some pointers that you may not have heard of or thought of before. Whether you're planning your own wedding, helping plan someone else's, or are just plain interested in the field, these tips will be sure to help you for years to come! Here's what the experts had to say about each of their fields:
Instead of instinctually deciding flowers and decor based on color or style, Ginny Boland of the La Jolla florist Adelaide's says to think of a wedding as the story of your relationship that you are telling to your family and friends. Personalize your wedding with emotional aspects that reflect your relationship. What are the special interests you share? What are you passionate about? Fill these chapters with ideas that are meaningful to you both as a couple.
Save on the Bling
I read this tip multiple times from jewelers and hadn't thought of it before. Firenze Jewels says the best way to save money on an engagement ring would be to purchase the diamond separately from the ring setting. For an honest third party diamond appraisal, be sure to find a truly independent appraiser who is not connected with any diamond sellers and does not sell diamond or jewelry.
Prepare to Tailor
I'm one of those people who likes no fuss style and wants to buy something as-is for convenience. The stylists at BHLDN says that's a big no-no. They told me, "Be prepared to tailor your wedding dress. It's very tricky to have a gown fit perfectly 'off the rack' (the same is true even if it's custom made), so enlist a trusted tailor for a custom fit. You'd be surprised how taking in a gown just a touch can make a big difference in accentuating your figure and enhancing your best assets. And don't forget to bring your wedding shoes for the perfect hemline!"
We've heard about reusing items during the wedding time and time again, but it is a good reminder on saving money and not being wasteful. Candace Jean of Chalkboard China reiterates, "From ceremony to reception, try to make as many things as you can serve
multiple functions. How about a place card that serves as a favor to the guest, a bridesmaid bouquet as a centerpiece, and even a groomsman as a chauffeur, perhaps, ha!"
Seize the Day
I loved this visual from photographer G.E. Masana: "I photographed a wedding once where the bride seemed like she was floating on a cloud all day long. She really was! She had the most content look on her face I'd ever seen and exuded sheer happiness. I asked her about it and she told me she was taking in every second -- and loving every moment."
Many weddings now, even if they aren't destination, can encompass a whole weekend. So what to do with your guests? Nashette Wouters, wedding coordinator at Bucuti & Tara in Aruba, says to book a private group tour, either on a bus or adventurous jeep, so that you can all have a memorable experience together.
Research Now to Relax Later
While it is fun to be spontaneous, it can also be stressful! While your on your honeymoon, you want to really be able to relax. Judy Dlugacz of Olivia Travel, the world's largest travel company catering to the lesbian community, notes that there are plenty of travel forums where you can have a dialog and view feedback from people that have visited your destination of interest. "Do your homework and you'll find that you have a lot more comfort and fun!"
Get Creative with Cuisine
Weddings generally feature sit-down dinners or buffets, so I loved this top from Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, CA: Create tapas stations and unique canapés, which may be cost conscious and fulfilling and memorable! Plus, it is so much fun to sample various foods, especially when it's international cuisines.
When I read this tip, I thought to myself, this is such a good point! During the royal wedding it was often mentioned that the couple received handsome pieces of China for their collection, and you should be no exception! Fine metalware retailer Beatriz Ball recommends that for their wedding registries and gifts, although it is a very understandable temptation, young couples resist getting everyday things they will probably eventually will have to buy anyway. She says, "Bridal registries should be mostly for things that are forever, and that one would never buy under normal circumstances. Most couples would never buy nice china, crystal, flatware or serving pieces ever again, and I do not know of a bride that, although she may not use her fine things very often, is not happy she acquired them for her wedding and always enjoys using them for those special occasions and for family tradition."
As you know, I'm a huge Fair Trade fan and advocate. It's so simple -- spend your dollar wisely and you can make a difference. You're already buying something, so why not make it eco and fair? Michele Loeper of Ten Thousand Villages suggests, "We recommend that couples choose decorative pieces that remind them of their wonderful time together, whether it's a handcrafted piece from a country they have visited together in the past or aspire to one day travel there. Giving your guests the opportunity to purchase fair trade also makes a world of a difference with a 'pay-it-forward' mentality, providing you with a lovely and unique present, while supporting a great cause."
Make Your Day a Holiday
This is a good tip for those on a strict budget! Tammy James of Bethel Inn Resort in Maine says to plan your wedding around the holidays from Thanksgiving to the New Year's Day. Most reception venues, especially resorts and even churches, are already decorated for the holidays so you can save on floral costs."
Get a Sugar High
This is probably my favorite tip, as I would have had no idea how much candy to buy for a trendy candy bar. Lauren Bialek-Sachs of Sweet City Candy says, "As a general rule, we recommend purchasing approximately 8 ounces of candy per guest. This means if you have 100 guests at your wedding, you will need 800 ounces -- or 50 pounds -- of candy to really fill out a stunning candy buffet table and have enough for everyone to take a sizable amount home."
The older I get, the more I realize how valuable it is to tackle those sometimes uncomfortable topics we'd rather avoid, like money or raising kids. Tabitha Johnson, Ph.D., LMFT, states that premarital counseling is a MUST. Keep in mind that the wedding is a day, but your marriage is a lifetime (or at least, most hope it will be). Make sure you put some resources towards getting ready for the marriage itself, not just on making sure your wedding day is picture perfect. There are several research-based programs that have demonstrated significant results for couples who complete a premarital program (compared to couples who don't), including improved communication, improved conflict resolution, and greater marital satisfaction.
You know I always talk about being nice to your vendors to get more, and wedding photographer Nadia D puts this spin on it. "If you make your interaction with them all about the numbers, you will become just a number to them, instead of making them feel personally invested in using their creativity to give you the best treatment.
Brides pay big bucks to look gorgeous on their big day, and rightfully so! So what do make-up artists use that we wouldn't think to put on? Celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Amanda Shackleton says the secret is to always use a silicone-based foundation and buff it on with a round brush starting on the center of the face, then blend outwards. Silicone is naturally waterproof, so the bride can cry and get as can get as emotional as she wants! Buffing in circular motions blends out the foundation to an undetectable finish and it is super light reflective so your skin glows! "I add a dab of Make Up Forevers Aqua seal to my shadow before applying on my brides. It intensifies the pigment of the eyeshadow and converts it into a completely water resistant shadow. I always seal eyeliner on both top and bottom with a finish of Aqua seal and a tiny brush. Lips as well!
It's always a good idea to have a planner or coordinator on-hand for the day-of, that's a given. Jaclyn of Two Little Birds Planning says to be proactive and talk through the details with their family ahead of time. "Things to discuss include important family traditions, the reserved seating at the ceremony, the receiving line after the ceremony, the seating chart at the reception, and family photos. This way there are no surprises or hurt feelings right after saying I do."