As Evan and I plan our wedding, we’ve been getting advice from just about everyone, from newlywed friends to our UPS delivery guy. (Who, it turns out had some super helpful tips-thanks Raoul!) I never go into battle unarmed, so I’ve found all the advice really valuable. For anyone else who feels the same way, I’ve collected some of my own tips. I hope it helps you and your sweetie march confidently into the madness of planning a wedding, metaphorical guns blazing!
When it comes to planning a wedding, there are so many options out there it can make you dizzy! And maybe even nauseous. Here’s a non-medical cure for wedding option overload: try starting with an inspiration board. Creating a board can help whittle down the choices, focus your ideas, and communicate your vision to vendors. I like to save inspirational images from around the web on Pinterest, or you can create specialized boards on wedding sites like Lover.ly, or Style Me Pretty.
If that doesn’t cure your symptoms, call a doctor. I recommend HankMed-they have the cutest CFO.
One of the biggest decisions a couple has to make is where to have the wedding. For me and Evan, it was a no-brainer: it had to be the Hamptons. In terms of selling points, it hits the Big 3: It’s a place that means a lot to us, it’s accessible for out-of-town guests, and it offers tons of great resources in terms of planning the wedding and entertaining guests the weekend of the event.
And don’t forget to take the time of year into account: because we’re having our wedding in the winter, off-season, we were able to find a venue, hotels and vendors much more easily than we otherwise would have. And everything was a lot cheaper!
I love wedding invitations, because they tell you so much. And I’m not just talking where and when the wedding will be. Invitations are the first element most guests ever see, and they can set the tone of the event months before the big day actually arrives. So think about what your invitation says about you and your event. For example, a watercolor-decorated invitation says "we’re artistic and informal," foil-stamping hints at a glamorous event, simple typography works well for a couple having a sleek modern wedding, and classic engraving nods to tradition and timelessness. I love them all!
I love that today’s ceremonies so often integrate traditions from different cultures, and in fact Evan and I are planning to have both a minister and a rabbi officiate at ours. There are lots of other ways to customize the ceremony too. You can borrow from other cultures, or incorporate unconventional elements that are important to you. I went to a wedding once where friends of the bride and groom reenacted a scene from The Princess Bride, the couple’s favorite movie. It was heartfelt, hilarious and unforgettable!
When it comes to décor, use what you’ve got. Choose colors, flowers, and décor elements that make sense for your wedding’s season and space, and a venue with décor that works with your vision. Because trying to impose a new look on a space will be exhausting, expensive, and probably impossible. A rustic BBQ in an elegant hotel ballroom would be as jarring as a glamorous black tie event in an old barn. Embrace and enhance what you’ve got, don’t try to turn it into something it isn’t. Actually, that’s pretty good advice for dealing with the groom too!
Food isn’t just the way to a man’s heart-it’s the way to a wedding guest’s heart! I’m a fan of heavy hors d’oeuvres, people always seem hungriest during the cocktail hour (maybe the emotion of the ceremony works up an appetite?), and you can never go wrong with pigs in a blanket. Late-night snacks like mini grilled cheese sandwiches and cookies and milk are crowd-pleasers, and give partygoers the energy to keep burning up the dance floor.
It’s important to try to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions, so we’re going to have kosher, gluten-free, nut-free and kid-friendly options available. No guest will go hungry on Paige Collins’ watch!
I’m so looking forward to watching our friends let loose on the dance floor, and to make sure the floor stays packed the music has got to be great. I’m providing the band with spreadsheets for each phase of the night with Must Play, Do Not Play, and Play Only In Case of Emergency song lists.
I think Evan will probably not be asked to contribute-I love him, but his taste in music is... questionable.
Most brides seem to try to pick bridesmaids dresses they think their friends can wear again and again. That may be wishful thinking, but these days there are so many great dress options that it could actually be possible. I also think it’s totally great when bridesmaids get to choose their own dresses, either to match a certain color or theme or without any restrictions at all. My friends matching perfectly is much less important to me than my friends being happy.
Family photographs are really important to me, and this is a day I definitely want to remember forever, so I’m splurging on a great photographer. And I’m also renting a photobooth-not just so that Evan and I can relive our first kiss and his proposal, but because honestly, who doesn’t love a photobooth? It’s a fun activity and a great keepsake for guests of all ages!!
With all the stress of planning a wedding, it’s no wonder couples need to get away and unwind when it’s all over! But I also think waiting until a few months after the wedding to take your honeymoon, which is what Evan and I are planning to do, isn’t a bad idea either. As much as I love the idea of heading off on a romantic honeymoon right away, it will also be nice to have something to look forward to down the road to help avoid the dreaded post-wedding depression.