Discover Expert Tips for Wedding Planning

From the moment you get engaged, learn what to keep in mind.

Following the congratulations and “let me see the ring!” comments, you’re bound to receive a ton of advice from friends and family alike once you become engaged.... but here's some advice from the experts.

Photo: Laurie Bailey Photography

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Photo by John Cain Photography; Planning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

Following the congratulations & “let me see the ring!” comments, you’re bound to receive a ton of advice from friends and family alike once you become engaged. It can be difficult to take in so much incoming advice on your own, which is why many couples hire professionals to help them coordinate the details of their nuptials. Whether you’re planning on hiring a wedding planner or are determined to take on the task with your family, we’ve rounded up some of the best planning tips from wedding experts around the country.

Our Editors Circle members are masters of planning and designing weddings of all shapes and sizes. Brides typically have the same fears when it comes to planning, so regardless of the scope of your celebration, these tips will help you create the wedding of your dreams with as little stress as possible. Read on to discover this smart advice from professional planners across the country!

First Things First

“Determine your priorities before meeting with vendors and venues. Whether it's booking a great band, offering guests fabulous food and beverage options, securing the perfect venue, floral and décor, or selecting a meaningful date for your wedding, create a list and decide what areas you are – or are not – willing to compromise on. Determining your priorities early in the planning process allows for easier decision-making further down the line.” - The DFW Events Team

“Know your BIG THREE list – what are the three most important things to you for the ceremony and reception (ie. food, beverage, music, family, fun, personalization)?” - Suzanne Reinhard of Suzanne Reinhard Events

“There are thousands of things to do when planning a wedding. Keep your eye focused on a few ‘to do' items at a time rather than looking at it as a whole. The engagement will go by so quickly, so remember to breath and enjoy the process!” - Merilee Hennings for EverAfter Events

Selecting a Planner

“Wedding planning should be an enjoyable and exciting process. Expect endless emails and countless decisions, so if you have a busy career or other obligations during your engagement, lean on a full-service planner to manage the day-to-day logistics of bringing your vision to life. Choose a planner with a sense of style similar to your own, and trust them to build a creative team you can count on. Then join in for all the pleasant planning festivities so you can have as much fun during your engagement as you do at the wedding.” - Callista Osborn of Callista & Company

“Wedding planners care deeply about your wedding, but we each have a singular focus that drives our work.  When hiring a wedding planner, you want to ensure that you each are driven by the same motivator. If the most important thing to you is design, then you need to know that your planner is driven by creating environments. If you are a foodie, be certain that your planner has a culinary background.” - Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Events

“Have a general idea of guest count and budget (if you don’t know the budget, then have an idea of how much is too much), and share images of designs you love. Fashion, travel, nature, or residential designs really help us get an idea of your design style. Share the type of decision maker you are with your planner. Can you handle seeing a lot of options or do you need your planner to limit the number of choices they show you?” - Suzanne Reinhard of Suzanne Reinhard Events

Budgeting Tips

“Don’t set an unrealistic budget! Hire an experienced planner who can create a realistic budget that will help guide you with your decisions.” - Merilee Hennings for EverAfter Events

Pretty wedding flower print table linen santa monica

Photo by Rebecca Yale; Planning & Design by Callista & Company

Destination Weddings

“When planning an event out of the country, consider the logistics of travel and be realistic with the budget. Instruct guests on the necessity for travel visas and arrange transportation for them from the airport to the host venue. You don’t want to keep your guests stranded in unfamiliar territory.” - Nahid Farhoud of Nahid's Global Events

Personalizing Your Special Day

“Tell your story and let your personality shine through. Your wedding day is an opportunity to share the unique aspects of your life as a couple, so the more your planner knows about the two of you, the better! A fantastic wedding celebration is marked by personalized details throughout, from the invitations to the gift bags, the overall design to the favors. For instance, one of our grooms made a tradition of sending his bride a confetti cake from Milk Bar in New York every year on her birthday, so we created a sprinkles-filled treat bar at their reception decked with metallic balloons and a mylar confetti wall.” - Emily Clarke of Emily Clarke Events

“Just because something is etiquette doesn’t mean you have to do it. Plan a wedding that reflects you and your personal style. Your guests should walk away from your wedding knowing a little more about you and your fiancé.” - Merilee Hennings for EverAfter Events

Don’t Forget! 

“When visiting venues, always ask what the contingency plan for your space is. Weather conditions force outdoor weddings inside all of the time, and changes to your guest count could mean that you need to move to another space. Be certain you love your backup just as much as you love your first choice!” - Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Events

“Don’t forget or discount the lighting! It’s one of the most important aspects in creating the atmosphere of a reception.” - Merilee Hennings for EverAfter Events

“Print is not dead; it’s reserved for luxury clients who are willing to make an investment in creating something you can feel, touch, and pass down. These are the only things you have after the wedding.  Book a photographer who understands the current print trends and can design an album and handle your print needs with you.” - Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Events

For additional tips from our experts, find out what to do once you get engaged, discover how to prepare for your floral design meeting, and gather insight on 2018 wedding trend predictions