For some brides-to-be, wedding planning begins as soon as he pops the question. But too often rushing in head first and trying to do it all alone can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uneasy about the planning process of your wedding. Which is why David Tutera, celeb wedding planner extraordinaire and host of ‘My Fair Wedding’ encourages all brides to think of wedding planning like a puzzle.
“There are so many areas that you need to concentrate on equally,” he says. “You don’t want to work on everything at the same time. You want to dissect the wedding puzzle, pull the pieces apart from one another, work on each one of them individually with enough time and attention so that when you’re ready to put it together you’ll have a beautiful wedding.”
David is a pro at coaching brides with planning their weddings. Here he shares his do’s and dont’s for wedding planning.
DO: Think of your wedding as a business transaction. “Look at it as if you have to develop a business plan, add a 10% cushion and make sure there’s no emotion involved,” says David. “And then once you know whether you’re dealing with $10,000 or $30,000 you then have to figure out, based on that budget, how the money gets distributed.”
DO: Look first, sign later. “You don’t have to enter into any agreements or contracts with any vendors until you know the prices of what all these areas will run you. If you go into a deal with a florist that’s costing you $10,000 and you only have $15,000, now you have $5000 to distribute to the other pieces of the puzzle.”
DO: Get to know your Officiant “The officiant is the voice to your ceremony,” says David. “Think about this, you spend so much time with your bandleader to pick the perfect music for your wedding you should spend just as much time with the officiant so they understand who you are as individuals as well as couple.”
DON’T: Choose an Officiant you’ve never met or because they are passed on to you by relatives.
DO: Ask to read the wedding sermon they’ve written for you. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the words that they’ll be sharing. Really make sure they know who you are. If you’re not comfortable with them or don’t like who they are, you have the right and the decision to make that they are not to be the officiant of your ceremony.
DO: Take your time in finding a venue “You need not rush the process and you should educate yourself with as much information as possible to make sure you’re in the right venue because if you’re uncomfortable your guests will be uncomfortable.”
DON’T: Make a decision only based on your budget. Don’t choose a venue only because it’s cheap or close to the house, says David. “Do the homework and find a venue you feel best represents who you are and can fit the amount of people you want.” You’d be amazed at the types of venues you can afford if you just do the research, he adds.
DO: Showcase your personality, always. “This is a great time to showcase your personality. Most importantly focus on the tables and then you build from there. If you have money to do something more than centerpieces and you want to focus on the perimeters of the room, fantastic. Think about getting lighting—it literally lights up the environment and adds more energy to the space.”
DO: Serve food that tells your story. “Maybe you’ve got two different cultures between the bride and the groom. Maybe the first course represents the culture of the bride and the second course, the groom. It’s a great way to add your story in there.”
DON’T: Serve any more than four courses. “Your food is really there to make people feel comfortable. It’s not a restaurant. It’s not about sitting and dining for too long a period of time. You want people up and having fun.”
DON’T: Serve food that’s too high-end. “Don’t serve food that is too superior to your guests because if they feel uncomfortable about something that’s being brought to the table, you’re putting them in a position where they’re not sure they’re going to enjoy the rest of the evening.”
DO: Reserve the speechmaking to the special people in your life. Anyone special (other than your immediate family) that you want to say something should do it at a rehearsal dinner or some other type of celebration, says David. “The night of your ceremony get the people that are most important to speak. That means, typically, the mother and father, then you oblige by asking the other parents (of the bride or groom) to also make a welcome speech. And then you really want the best man and the maid of honor to say something.” DON’T: Let everyone speak at the reception. The celebration after your wedding is not the night to ask all your family and friends to make speeches. “Those speeches are meant to be short and you don’t want them to take away from the time frame of your wedding celebration, which is meant for dancing and enjoying the party.” DO: Make a speech as bride and groom. “I think this personalizes the wedding,” says David.
DO: Give your DJ or bandleader a list of “Dont’s” “The most important list you can give your DJ or bandleader is the “Do not play this song ever’ list,” says David.
DO: Spend time with your DJ or bandleader. "This is to give them a better idea of the energy and style of your wedding “because the music is the heartbeat to your wedding.” says David. “It really escalates the energy of your wedding. Whether your party begins to dip down or crescendos up only happens through the energy of how the music is being played.”
DO: Make sure your DJ is not a hype man “You don’t want the type of DJ who’ll always be on the microphone, talking over music the whole time, introducing people on the dance floor, trying to get grandma from table number seven onto the floor. The DJ is the catalyst for spinning great music and they’re not there to perform for your guests.”
Celeb wedding planner David Tutera’s latest book “The Big White Book of Weddings: A How-to Guide for the Savvy, Stylish Bride” is the ultimate guide for stylish brides looking to get expert tips on everything from setting up a budget to gift registries and decor and floral tips.
Catch him on My Fair Wedding on WE tv.