30 Expert Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

30 Expert Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks.

Want to be certain all your wedding planning bases are covered? Have a look at these wedding planning tips and tricks, no bride should be without.

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks
www.bryanfarrell.co.uk – [email protected]

When planning your wedding, there are things that are nice to know, like that mermaid silhouettes are all the rage or that purple is making a comeback. Then, there are things you need to know.

Advice so essential that any bride who’s lucky enough to hear it thinks, “I’m so glad someone told me that!” If you’re wondering whether there’s something you may have missed (or even if you’ve got everything under control).

Check out our indispensable planning secrets.

1. Guests Come First

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

Get a grip on the approximate number of guests you’ll invite before settling on a venue.

This will ensure there’s ample space for your crew. As a rule of thumb, allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s not if you count the space you’ll need for the tables, bustling waiters, the band, and the dance floor.

2. Investigate Wedding Blackout Dates

Know ahead of time if your wedding date falls on the same day as a trade conference, charity walk, or other local events that could affect traffic and hotel room availability.

3. Listen to Mother Nature

Heed the weather and other potential annoyances. Guests have been known to skip out early from hotter-than-hot summer tent weddings and improperly heated winter loft receptions.

Bugs (gnats, deerflies, and no-see-ums) also swarm in certain areas during certain seasons. Consider renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or including bug repellent in guests’ gift bags. And if you want a sunset ceremony, make sure you know when to say your vows by checking SunriseSunset.com.

4. Check Your Credit

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks - wedding rings

Take advantage of the high cost of weddings and sign up for a credit card with a rewards program.

Whether it gives you airline miles or great shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related purchases to this card will help you accumulate thousands of rewards points (which could be used for your honeymoon).

5. Pay It Forward

Let one vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photographer can tell you which florist’s blooms really pop, and your reception manager should know which band packs the dance floor.

6. 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.

7. Ask and You Might Receive

Request an extra hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line.

Most vendors would rather secure the reservation than nickel-and-dime you early on and turn you off. Later on, though, they may have less of a motive to meet you halfway.

8. Make a Meal Plan

Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew.

Before you sign the contracts, make sure you’re not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails.

Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don’t forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.

9. Get Organizationally Focused

In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see.

Set up a special email address dedicated to your wedding, and store important vendor numbers in your cell phone.

10. Tend to Your Bar

Typically, you need one bartender per 50 guests to keep the line at a minimum.

But if you’re serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made ahead of time (or in large quantities), consider adding an extra server designated to this task.

11. Leave Some Room in Your Wallet

Your wedding budget should follow this formula: 48 to 50 percent of total budget to reception; 8 to 10 percent for flowers; 8 to 10 percent for attire; 8 to 10 percent for entertainment/music; 10 to 12 percent for photo/video; 2 to 3 percent for invites;

2 to 3 percent for gifts; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding coordinator. It’s essential to allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of your money for surprise expenses like printing extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day, and ribbons for the wedding programs.

Go to TheKnot.com/budgeter for an interactive budget allows you to add your own items.

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

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Your wedding vendors should be your go-to, most-trusted experts during the planning process.

When working with them, you should feel free to really explore what it is you want, maybe it’s serving a late-night snack instead of a first course or doing a bridal portrait session rather than an engagement session.

The bottom line is that you should feel like you can have an honest conversation with them about what it is you want. Their job will be to tell you what you can and can’t make work given your wedding budget.

13. Wait for a Date

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Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favour. The closer your date, the more bargaining power you have.

Since most people book their wedding sites at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent.

And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.

14. Manage the Mail

Of course, you want the perfect stamps for your wedding invitations. But not all stamps are widely available at every post office, especially in large quantities.

Save yourself scouting time by ordering them online at USPS.com. And be sure to weigh your invitation and all the additional paper products before you send them out so you can attach the right amount of postage.

Ask your stationer about the need for additional postage for odd-shaped envelopes.

15. Prepare for Rejection

Know that as a rule, about 30 percent of the people you invite won’t attend. Naturally, this depends on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have annual holiday or summer plans).

On the other hand, everyone could accept — knowing your wedding will be the can’t-miss party of the year!

16. Make a Uniform Kids Policy

You have four choices: You can welcome children with open arms; you can decide to have an “adults only” wedding; you can include immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide daycare either at the reception space, in a hotel room, or in a family member’s home.

To prevent hurt feelings, it’s wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party).

17. Prioritise Your People

Pare down your guest list with the “tiers of priority” trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party, and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends you couldn’t imagine not being there.

Under that, list your parents’ friends, neighbours, coworkers, and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.

18. Take It One Step at a Time

Put together a wedding planning schedule and do things one by one, in a logical order, so you don’t take on too much too fast and end up with everything snowballing around you.

Don’t hire any vendors before you’ve confirmed your date; don’t design your cake before you’ve envisioned your flowers, and don’t book a band before you’ve settled on a space.

19. No Ring, No Bring

If your guest list is bursting at the seams, assess the plus-one scenario. Do a faux seating chart in your mind, and imagine whom your single pal would sit with.

If it’s a table of singles that she knows pretty well, then you’re all set. If it’s a table of couples (making her the odd one out) or if it’s a table of singles where she won’t know anyone, consider bending the rules.

If asked why you’re not allowing single friends to bring guests, size constraints or your parents’ never-ending guest list are always good fallback white lies.

20. Release Rooms

Birtsmorton court - Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks
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As soon as you have picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate.

You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no — you don’t want to be responsible for rooms you can’t fill.

21. Provide Accurate Driving Directions

Make sure guests know where they’re going. As easy as online map programs are to use, sometimes the directions are wrong — or there’s a quicker, less traffic-prone route to take.

Ask your ceremony and reception sites for printouts of recommended driving directions, which they often keep in stock for weddings and will give to you for free, and test out the routes yourself.

22. Keep a Paper Trail

Get any nonstandard changes to your agreements in writing or send the vendor a confirmation email saying, “Hello, just confirming that you’ll keep the venue open until 2 a.m. versus midnight.”

Don’t take anyone on his word — by the time the big day rolls around, your contact may no longer be working there to vouch for you.

23. Schedule the Setup

You must make sure there’s ample time for setup. If you’re renting a venue and bringing in outside help, ask, “What time can people come in to set things up?” Preston Bailey, the author of Preston Bailey’s Fantasy Weddings, recommends seeing if they can do it the day before, or at the very least the entire wedding day, before the event starts.

24. Learn About Marriage Licenses

You can check your state’s license requirements online but confirm with a call to the county clerk’s office to see when they’re open. Even if it’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they may issue marriage licenses only during slower times like, say, Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Give a copy of your marriage license to your mom or your maid of honour (just in case you lose yours during the final days before your wedding).

25. Go Over Ground Rules

Be prepared! Ask the manager of the house of worship or site where you’ll be married for the list of restrictions (if any). For instance, is flash photography or bare shoulders prohibited?

Or, if you’re exchanging vows outdoors, are you allowed to plant tent stakes in the lawn (which is often a no-no)?

26. Classify Your Cash

Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a list of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers, and the photographer, and assign a number to each one is the most important and three being the least.

Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. (But everything can’t fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements.

27. Help Guests Pay Attention

Make sure your guests can see — and hear. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and a riser.

This could range anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the equipment used. You’ll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.

28. Write Down Your Digits

Carry an emergency contact sheet on your wedding day. Keep the paper with names and phone numbers of all your vendors in your purse — it may come in handy in case your limo driver gets lost or you decide you’d like your photographer to take some behind-the-scenes shots.

29. Call the Fashion Police

Don’t go dress shopping on your own — all the gowns will start to look the same after a while and it will be harder to recall which style you really loved. But be careful about who you do bring.

If your mom or sibling can’t make the trip, ask a friend who is truly honest. This is the time when you really need to know which dress looks best.

30. Be Realistic With Your Time

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

When it comes down to the last month of your planning (and when you’re particularly harried) look at your mile-long to-do list and cut three things. Yes, cut three things.

Not crucial things that you just don’t feel like doing, such as picking a processional song or confirming final details with all of your vendors. Eliminate only the over-the-top tasks like hand-painting “Just Married” signs, or baking cookies for all of the welcome bags.

Make a pledge to not think about them ever again.

Do you have some wedding planning tips and tricks? Add them into the comments below and share.

Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks.

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3 thoughts on “30 Expert Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks”

  1. 18 Creative Ideas for Your 2020 Wedding

    Here at Brides, we’re always talking about the latest trends and brainstorming creative wedding ideas, and we especially love doing this at the beginning of each year. What’s to come in the year ahead? What will the dress trends be? Is baby’s breath still back? Is there a new food truck?

    But here’s a secret: We’re not inventing these ideas and trends from nothing. Rather, our editors look to real couples who are throwing real parties, and planners who are doing the same, for inspiration. (That is, after all, the whole point of the real weddings on our site). And while we could easily tell you to scroll through wedding pics from now until 2021 for inspiration, we thought we would do you a favour by highlighting some of our favourite ideas right here.

    Below, you’ll find 18 ideas, trends, and thoughts that our editors are excited to see more of in 2020. From décor moments we’re obsessed with to practices we can’t wait to see couples borrow, we’re revealing our best secrets. And not to brag, but we kind of know our stuff. We look at wedding pictures all…year…long, after all.

    In short: These are the ideas that could take your wedding from “cool wedding” to “wedding of the year” (or decade). We hope these ideas inspire you to create some of your own. We’ll be right here, ready to compliment your creativity once you do.

    of 18
    Let Art Inspire You
    art installation
    Art is a big theme in weddings this year. From invitations featuring one-of-a-kind logos to creative installations at ceremony and reception sites, couples are looking to the art world to present a new take on traditional wedding décor. Our editors are totally here for it, as are wedding planners, who say they love finding inspiration in art exhibitions, galleries, and fashion shows. See what other ideas they have here.

    of 18
    Prioritize the Guest Experience
    Ferris wheel
    You’ll hear us talk a lot about guest experience—and that’s because it’s so important. If you want your wedding to be a night to remember, consider surprising everyone with something really unexpected. You can accomplish this on any scale, so chat with your partner about what makes sense for you, your wedding, and your budget. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box: From renting an actual Ferris wheel (yes, really) to hiring special performers (think synchronized swimmers and a bubble-ologist), we feel confident that you can dream up something that’s perfect for you.

    of 18
    Have a Themed Pre-Party
    wedding artwork
    No matter your wedding style, consider doing something a bit more creative (and, perhaps, more casual) for your welcome party, rehearsal dinner, or wedding shower. For pre-wedding events, we’ve seen couples host pizza parties, movie nights, and events tailored to their destination, whether it’s a Wild West-themed bash in Wyoming or a barbecue dinner in Tennessee. Whatever style you choose, remember to do it up with a unique dress code, special décor, and a setup that fits the vibe (i.e. picnic tables for a barbecue). It’s an opportunity to make your guests feel comfortable and excited about the big day to come.

    of 18
    Rock a Bold Color
    yellow wedding dress
    If you’re looking to wow the crowd, consider doing so with a statement fashion choice. And what better way to do this than by bucking the most traditional bridal tradition of them all and not wearing white? Sure, this isn’t a new concept—we’ve seen coloured wedding dresses on the runways for years—but we have a new take on this trend. Gone are the days of a pretty pastel palette. Instead, go bold and rock a colour that matches your wedding theme and/or means something to you. We’re particularly partial to this golden hue… perhaps it’s the new “it” colour?

    of 18
    Sport a Photo-Lined Jacket
    Groom opening coat
    We’re also excited to see guys have fun with their looks. This year, we saw grooms rock shawl collars, green tailored suits (the new navy?), and more than one look. Beyond the outward fashion choices, guys are also personalizing their attire with hidden customizations such as monogrammed patches, embroidery, and more. We want to see more of this in 2020. Take this photo of Washington Nationals player Trea Turner, who wore a suit jacket by STITCHED featuring his engagement photos on the lining, as proof that this idea is a good one.

    of 18
    Set the Scene
    floral arch
    This year, we’re excited to see couples say “I do” under nontraditional ceremony structures. If you’re creating a unique altar or backdrop for your ceremony, make it count. We’re in favour of décor that does double duty—and the focal point of the day is no exception. Beyond repurposing florals and structures throughout the night, remember to get creative with the “extras” as well. There have never been more rental services available, and we encourage you to use them to create whatever vibe you’re going for.

    of 18
    Utilize Nontraditional Florals

    It’s time to put a new twist on the greenery and pampas grass trends of year’s past. You can accomplish this by playing with different dye colours and textures, says Felisa Funes of Of the Flowers. (You may know her from creating Mandy Moore’s romantic ceremony florals last year). A few materials she’s loving? Genestra, gypsophila, and phalaenopsis orchids. And colours: “So far, I’ve played with shades of red and pink but I also love the look of soft blue pampas grass, turmeric, or soft yellow,” she says.

    of 18
    Decorate With Wallpaper
    bride and groom kissing wedding ceremony
    It’s no secret that wallpaper can transform a space at home—and it’s the same when used at a wedding. We’re seeing planners use prints on statement walls (behind the head table, as an escort card display) and even as the ceremony altar itself, as this couple did with a de Gournay-inspired design. Feel free to get creative.

    of 18
    Involve Guests in the Ceremony
    bridesmaids passing rings
    Make your guests really feel part of the day by involving them in the ceremony. You can take many approaches to this idea and make it your own, but we have a few thoughts to get you started. First, you can make like this bride and groom, who asked guests to read their intentions or goals for the couple aloud before the vow exchange. Or, you can take after the ceremony shown here, where the couple had their wedding party pass their wedding bands in a circle before handing them over for the big exchange. Other ideas we love? A group call-and-response reading (from a favourite book, poem, or song) and a group sing-a-long of a fitting or meaningful tune. In all cases, you’d inform guests of their involvement and print any needed materials on the ceremony program.

    of 18
    Exchange Private Vows
    exchanging love letters before the ceremony
    After obsessing over the guest experience and all the ways to make them go “wow,” you can’t forget to think about yourselves. That’s why we want to highlight one of our favourite new rituals: sharing vows in private. This is an especially great solution if you’re not an A+ public speaker (because who is?) or if you want to exchange traditional vows during the ceremony. Also, exchanging vows in private gives you more time to focus on your partner and your love… and at the end of the day, what more do you want than that?

    of 18
    Take a Mid-Ceremony Shot
    pre-I-do tequila shots
    This is another way to involve your guests—and, no, we’re not talking about a squad pic. Instead, make like this couple, who actually took a shot during their ceremony. Talk about a great way to start the party—and a lifetime of adventure together.

    of 18
    Involve Loved Ones
    signature drinks
    Couples are now including their pets in every single detail, even if they’re not actually there on the big day. We love this idea and can fully endorse a custom illustration on fun day-of items like cocktail napkins, bar signs, and more. Also popular? Custom cookies and lapel pins as guest favours.

    16 Ways to Incorporate Your Pet Into Your Wedding (Even If They Won’t Actually Be There)
    of 18
    Have a “Touch-Up Bar”

    There’s always a helluva long line in the ladies’ room as girls (by nature) love to fix their hair and makeup mid-party. Thankfully, planner Tara Guérard gave us an idea for a solution: Hire some pros or set up a few touch-up stations at the ready. We’re not talking full makeovers here, but a fresh gloss or curl can go a long way—especially if there’s a photo booth nearby.

    of 18
    Reimagine the Photo Booth
    bride after party
    Forget all the props and make this more of a “moment” for guests. While we’re all about an epic backdrop such as this disco ball-enhanced creation, we’re also into the latest trend, which is a more elevated portrait-style photo booth. Done well, it gives everyone a chance to show off their big day look and pose in a way that’s more “chic” and less “cheesy.” (Thanks Hailey and Justin for this trend)

    of 18
    Do a “Last Dance”
    wedding first dance
    At the end of the night, kick all of your guests out and take one last swing, just the two of you. And don’t worry: This is not a rude move. In fact, it has an added bonus as it gives everyone time to get in place for your sure-to-be-special exit.

    of 18
    Rethink the Wedding Favor

    If you’re having a destination wedding, forget stacking your favours on a random table at the end of the night. Instead, surprise your guests by leaving a personalized treat (like these pretty chocolates) in each of their hotel rooms. We think this makes for a five-star experience, even after the party is over. Another plus? Consumable favours (like food and drink) avoid waste.

    of 18
    Play Up the After-Party
    couple dancing
    The after-party is officially part of the wedding night, so make yours count. Rather than hosting an impromptu gathering at a hotel bar, we suggest finding another space and surprising guests at the end of the night. Even better: Make it themed. We’ve seen couples find inspiration from places that are important to them—whether it’s a bar they frequent, a favourite vacation, or even where they’re honeymooning.

    of 18
    Give Back

    Flower Favors

    Chances are, this is the largest event you’ve ever produced, and there will be so many factors at play. So, as you select a menu and add on fun details, it’s important to consider the environment and be conscious of the decisions you make. Ask your florist to go foam-free. Rethink the exit by opting for biodegradable confetti or a light show in lieu of fireworks. Avoid plastics. Recycle what you can and repurpose flowers with services such as Repeat Roses and Bloomer. Donate leftovers. The list goes on, but just remember to do your part, give back what you can, and spread the love. After all, that’s what weddings are all about.

  2. Wedding Planning Secrets

    I wanted to add to this.

    24 Wedding-Planning Secrets That Only Pros Know

    This may be your first time down the aisle, but it’s not ours. We polled our editors and other top industry pros for behind-the-scenes secrets that will help you make the most of your big day.

    Stationery Cost-Cutting
    “If you’re going with an expensive printing process, use it for the invite, and have the supporting pieces flat-printed.” —Elisabeth Engelhart, associate art director

    “Flowers cost a lot, so skip them on the bar and along the aisle. Nobody will miss them.” —Brooke Porter Katz, senior editor

    “Have a logo designed (seek out affordable design websites) and a stamp made. Use it on favours, bar signs, and menus for chic branding on the cheap.” —Cara Sullivan, contributing editor, and owner of, Chicago

    “Overstaff the bar! You can’t have too many bartenders. It’s a surefire way to keep guests happy—no one wants to wait at a party.” —Kristin Newman, founder and owner, Charleston, South Carolina

    “Go for edible favours at a destination wedding, so guests don’t have to squeeze them into a suitcase.” —Calder Clark, owner and creative director of an event design firm, Charleston, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina

    “After the first cut, have your caterer slice and garnish the cake out of sight. There’s nothing worse than watching a sous chef hack away at your beautiful, towering cake.” —Calder Clark

    “Number R.S.V.P. cards before mailing (on the back, in pencil) to keep track of anyone who doesn’t respond or forgets to write his or her name.” —Jamie Moore, co-owner, Seattle

    “Write vows in pretty notebooks, or tape them into a vintage book. A folded piece of paper is not super elegant.” —Cara Sullivan

    “When in doubt, spring for the extra hour of reception time—people will always want to party more.” —Michael McCormick, design director

    “Ladies, bustles aren’t part of your everyday wardrobe. Eliminate day-of confusion by taking a how-to video during a fitting.” —Shira Savada, real weddings editor

    “Since you’re probably going to take off your heels at the reception, ask your seamstress to make two bustle lengths. When you’re barefoot (or in flats), your dress won’t be too long.” —Lauren Sozmen, owner, New York City and Paris

    “Nude lipstick will wash you out in photos. Go for a true rose—it will translate as the perfect pinky-nude shade.” —Melissa Milrad Goldstein, beauty director

    “Consider a styling service to help the bride dress, steam bridesmaids’ dresses, and manage the groom and groomsmen.” —Lyndsey Hamilton, creative director, New York City and Lenox, Massachusetts

    “Have a few bobby pins on hand, even if you don’t need them for your hair. They’ll be your secret weapon for getting out of a dress with a row of fabric-covered buttons.” —Shira Savada

    “If you’re buying a diamond eternity band, size up by a quarter—you want room for your finger to expand and the flexibility to stack rings. It’s very hard to adjust it after the fact, and a little too big is better than too tight.” —Gregory Jezarian, owner, New York City

    “If you’re getting married outdoors, have a rain plan that makes you genuinely happy. There’s no such thing as a weather magician!” —Lauren Sozmen

    “It’s worth the money. My family has film footage from my grandparents’ 1946 wedding, and I treasure it.” —Shira Savada

    “Epic floral installations are memorable but have your designer scope out the HVAC situation before you commit. A heating vent aimed at flowers could toast them.” —Sullivan Owen, owner and creative director, Philadelphia

    “Put jewellery on last. Hair spray, perfume, and makeup can dull diamonds and ruin pearls.” —Colleen Banks, associate style editor

    “Beach wedding? If you’re wearing a floaty headpiece, veil weights are a must for keeping it in place.” —Cara Sullivan

    “For great kid photos, give them a role: Maybe they lead guests in a parade to the reception, or sit on pillows at the ceremony spot.” —Corbin Gurkin, owner of the photography company, Charleston, South Carolina

    “Guys, take your phones out of your pants pocket—especially if you’re in a slim-fit suit. It’s not a good look.” —Shira Savada

    “I can’t endorse an unplugged ceremony enough. That way guests will stay actively engaged in what’s going on (and their phones will stay out of any professional shots).” —Shira Savada

    “Always, always send thank-you notes. And not just to your guests, but to your vendors, too. These people put their heart and soul into your big day, and a simple note can mean a lot.” —Shira Savada

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