Wedding planning can be a lot of work, it can be stressful at times, but overall the process can be a lot of fun if you have the right tools and get the right advice.
This is why we’ve gone straight to the experts, the wedding planners, DJs, photographers, and videographers, and asked the people who live and breathe weddings for a living what their best advice is for brides and grooms.
Wedding Tips from DJs
Michael Albanese from Gemini DJ’s offers this advice when selecting vendors:
“My best advice would be to pick The Westmount in-house vendors for a seamless wedding. Also, try and book your vendors right after you book your hall.”
Michelle Esposito of Silver Pro Entertainment offers this advice:
“The entertainment gets the party going, so do whatever you can to maximize your dance time! This includes saving all speeches until the dinner break, and making sure they’re kept short and sweet. And don’t forget to enjoy the best day of your entire life! It flies by, so make the best of it!”
Gregg Hollmann of Ambient DJ Service offers this advice to couples preparing to wed:
“Streamline the formalities at the reception so that guests can enjoy an evening of mostly uninterrupted, uninhibited dance floor fun! For example, limit the number and duration of the toasts. Nobody wants to listen to a half hour of speeches, particularly when most wedding receptions are just 4 hours long.”Dave Nase of NJs Best DJs advises couples looking to hire a DJ:
“When couples start planning to look for their DJ entertainment, we encourage them to always meet with the specific DJ that will be at their wedding. This way you have a comfortable feeling and connection that goes beyond just a great DJ. Anyone can learn how to be a technical DJ but, experience and personality is a major factor in the success of your wedding.”
Advice From the Bakers Who Provide Spectacular Wedding Cakes
Alexis from Palermo Bakery provided brides this advice about selecting a wedding cake:
“You should ALWAYS make an appointment for a wedding cake tasting. Always be sure to call well in advance because time slots can book up months in advance and we want to make sure you are able to have the full experience we offer.”
Advice From Wedding Planners Who Plan Spectacular Weddings
Jen & Kelly from Shore to Please provided brides a few pieces of advice:
“Figure out your rough guest count and your overall budget/how much you are willing to spend on your wedding before looking at venues. We often see couples book their venue without taking budget into consideration, leaving them with little to spend on their vendors. Your venue is typically 50% of your budget.”
“When building your timeline for your wedding day, be sure to build in extra time. Everything usually takes a little longer than you think it will and it’s always better to allow some buffer time. Being able to relax and enjoy your day is key!”
“Consider hiring a wedding planner, even if it is just for Day of Coordination. This service usually starts about a month out and helps to make sure everything is in order for your big day. A lot of things pile up the last month, so it’s reassuring to know that you have a professional helping you. On your wedding day, they will act as your voice so that you can just enjoy the day!”
“Make a food plan! Don’t forget that you and your wedding party need to eat throughout the day on your wedding day. There is a lot going on between hair, makeup, photos and catching up with friends and family all before the ceremony even happens. Figure out a food plan in advance that includes breakfast and lunch for your wedding party as well as snacks and beverages for when you are being driven from location to location.”
Wedding Tips from the Limousine Companies
James Otun of Danaro Limousines offers this advice:
“The best piece of advice for your wedding is to go and see the vehicles that you will be actually getting and their condition. Always go with the pros so that you get experienced, properly licensed drivers/vehicles because safety and luxury should never be compromised. ‘At Danaro Limo, what you see is what you get.’”
Advice from the People Ensuring Your Groom Looks His Best
“Weddings, especially formal weddings, are usually planned months in advance, with invitations going out well before the event. If you know you’ll be needing a tuxedo, start planning your rental as soon as possible. Tuxedo rentals can take a couple of months after the fitting to have your tux ready.”
Tips From the Professionals Behind the Lens
Neal from Abbey Photographers provided the following advice:
“Hire the right photographer. Positively the most important piece. You can ignore all the other tips you will receive and still have a great experience. If you hire the right professional photographer with the right experience. (not someone who does it part-time and does not have an office that he/she works in). A true experienced professional will know how to light any situation, manage any crowd, work with any setting and keep you relaxed the whole time so you look natural in your images.”
Tricia owner of Tricia LaPonte Photography offers this advice:
“Don’t be afraid to break traditions like ditching the veil. After years of photographing brides I’ve noticed they tend to become annoying, they often don’t stay in place and tug on the brides head. While they look cool, they aren’t necessarily worth the headache. I also think brides should give themselves permission to skip having a bridal bouquet or having bouquets for their bridesmaids. After a while, they become heavy and cumbersome, and many of my brides grow tired of carrying them after a while.”
The queen of parties herself, Martha Stewart, hand-selected this great advice for brides-to-be:
Understand Your Budget Before You Do Anything Else
“Define the budget first, as that will help you narrow down what decisions are priorities and what areas you may consider eliminating,” says Edward Lopez, an event planner with Michelle Leo Events. By knowing what you can and can’t spend, it becomes much easier to consider the quotes you’re getting from vendors.”
Draft the Guest List
Once the budget is set, figure out who you’re going to invite to your wedding. If deciding who’s coming (and who isn’t) threatens to either bankrupt you or start a war with your families, scale back. If you’re on the fence about someone, consider whether or not you’d invite him or her over to your house for dinner. If you wouldn’t, don’t invite him or her.
Wedding Advice from the People Behind the Biggest Wedding Websites
Lighten Your List
The easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it’s costing you $100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000.
Set Your Budget, and Stick to It
Your budget will be the driving factor for many of your wedding-related decisions, so this should be one of the first things you tackle. If any family members will be contributing, chat with them about what they’re comfortable spending. If you’re footing the bill yourself, it’s time to take a hard look at your finances. Once you’ve got that magic number, stick to it!
Create a List of Wedding Priorities
Sit down with your fiancé and figure out the three most important aspects of your wedding. Is it the food? The booze? The DJ? Prioritize those details and be willing to compromise on the rest. This will help you stay within your budget.
Work As A Team With Your Fiancé
Don’t feel like you’re in this wedding planning process alone. Turn to your fiancé for help along the way and even make wedding planning something fun you do together.
You can use checklists, spreadsheets, Word/Google Docs—anything, really—as long as you have all your thoughts, budgets, numbers, etc. in one place. There are also some great programs and apps out there that can keep you organized.
Don’t Rush Into Decisions
It may be enticing to book the first photographer or florist you meet, but take a step back and weigh all your options before making any quick decisions.
Talk to Other Married Couples
Did you just attend a wedding you really enjoyed? Chat with that couple! They probably have some expert wedding tips and tricks for you. Sometimes friends and family are the best source.
Bonus Wedding Advice from the Internet
Focus on the things that matter.
And we don’t mean that in a condescending “It’s just really about you and your partner” way because, like, sure, but also, you’re an adult who knows that people you care about your partner and also care about finding the perfect string lights at the best price! This is more to say that there are so many little things that might be nice to have — personalized cocktail napkins, REALLY cute bridal shower bingo (vs, like, Microsoft Word bridal shower bingo), pretty balloons at your welcome bbq — and it’s easy to go down astonishingly deep rabbit holes on every single one of them. And even if you enjoy this kind of thing, it’s still very easy to burn yourself out researching the small stuff. So we strongly recommend starting with the bigger-impact things.
Number the back of your wedding reply cards in pencil before you send them out and correspond them to the guest list. This will make it easier to figure out who’s coming to the wedding if people forget to put their name on the reply card.