For BRIDES, by Elizabeth Mitchell.
We've all been to those weddings where we wake up the next day and think, "OMG, that was freaking awesome!" But what exactly makes a big day for the books? We'll give you one hint: it's not always going by the book. Here are 9 aspects that go into creating a wedding your friends and family won't soon forget.
1. A fun bride and groom
Because yes, the best weddings start with you, the couple! No matter how many guests you have or what the size of your budget is, photographer Ann Oleinik of Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema has discovered that the attitude of the bride and groom can make or break an awesome wedding. "If you're nervous, stressed about the timeline or worried about whatever, your guests will pick it up," she warns. "Enjoy the little moments with your family, love your new spouse, laugh at the jokes and the problems and get out there on the dance floor." If you do, your guests will too!
2. Surprises, surprises
Whether it's bringing in your favorite late night snack food truck or a surprise performance from your alma mater's band, keeping your guests on their toes and delighted throughout the evening always makes for a memorable and OMG awesome event, according to planner Brooke Keegan of Brooke Keegan Special Events.
3. Interactive experiences
The more interactive you can get with the food, entertainment and sometimes even with the decor, the stronger the impression you'll leave on your guests, notes Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner. "People thrive when they're part of the experience, rather than sitting on the sidelines as spectators."
4. A wow-worthy bar
Turns out, raising the bar is one way to your guests' hearts! As wedding planner Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events, points out, when a couple forgoes the standard venue bartenders and splurges for professional mixologists and craft cocktails, the guests can't stop talking about it.
5. A good flow and guest comfort
Chancey Charm Houston wedding planner Skylar Caitlin's best advice is to think about the day from your guests' point of view. Consider the flow of your wedding and if there's anything you can do to make the guests more comfortable, she says. "For instance, is there a long walk from the parking lot to the ceremony site? Then you may want to rent golf carts as a shuttle. It's all the little details that make a big impact and will create a lasting impression."
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6. Great music
According to wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques, it doesn't matter if it's live or a DJ. Either way though, killer music is a must! She suggests making a list of your must play songs and a do not play list for the DJ in advance, and then put some trust in him. "A wedding professional will be good at judging the audience and what kind of music to play when. Don't try to tell him what to play in which order for every minute of the reception or you'll end up clearing a full dance floor with a ballad at just the wrong moment."
7. An unexpected décor moment
Want to really get your guests attention? Create a spectacular escort card display, an amazing bar for the cocktail hour or a gorgeous dance floor treatment that people can't take their eyes off of, recommends Laura Irizarry-Garcia, owner of LIG Events. "All of these unexpected décor moments can go a long way in creating a memorable environment in which to celebrate."
8. Wise investments
Similar to an unexpected décor moment, we think it's wise to go big or go home in one area. News flash: not everything has to be over the top to blow your guests away! Wedding planner Lauren Chitwood, owner and founder of Lauren Chitwood Events, agrees. Invest wisely and make sure you really splurge on one particular item, she says. "This can be food, entertainment, flowers, etc. Whatever it is, your guests should be talking about that 'one thing' the next day!
Similar to guest comfort, you want to make things as easy as possible for your friends and family, notes Rachel Jo Silver, Founder of Love Stories TV. Include instructions and directions whenever you can, provide transportation between ceremony and reception if needed, plenty of passed food and drinks at the cocktail hour so people aren't waiting in line and a fast pace so too much time doesn't pass between dinner and dancing." These little elements keep the vibe fun and moving and will ensure everyone will be in a celebratory mood!
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