Thu | Apr 15, 2021

Advice from the pros: Wedding planning 101

Published:Monday | December 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Stylist Natalia Oh makes sure all the final details are attended to.
Sara Standford of Bliss Bridal boutique with two of her gorgeous models.
Devon Shaw at his craft.
Rasine (left) adds the fiishing touches to our model.
Helen Hutchinson Graham at work.

For this special issue dedicated to brides and all things wedding, we turned to the pros for their tips for that special day. Here is what they had to say:

Helen Hutchinson Graham, Helen G. Events

When planning wedding décor with my brides, it's all about creating drama and that wow factor and keeping their guests entertained and interested - creating something different or something they haven't seen before.

Wedding decor tips:

1. Wow your guests as they enter your wedding venue: Capture your guests' attention from the moment they arrive. Even if other aspects of the wedding are more subtle, you should make a strong first impression (like a striking guest signing table arrangement). This will create a wow factor for your event and set the right tone and creating lasting memories for your guests.

2. Get creative with your guest tabletops: When designing an

event, it's important to have variety. Gone are the days where the centrepieces and table linens all had to be the same. I recommend alternating between levels and trying unique arrangements and containers on each table. As long as it all works together, I think it's much more exciting and adds interest.

3. Work with a theme: When you are working with a specific theme especially if you are a DIY bride, it's easier to pull decor elements together, and this also gives your guests another wow moment. For example, if you are working with a Parisian theme, it's easy to incorporate things like the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian elements on the cake and on your tablescape, the same with a beach theme, bringing in shells, beach colours, which create interest for your guests.

4. Relax and enjoy: I love my brides, but many get so caught up with the wedding decor that they forget the real reason there is a wedding, and they start to look tired and stressed because they are poring over all the magazines and on the Internet researching all night.

I always tell my couples that they need to continue dating each other. Every conversation leading up to the wedding day cannot be about the wedding or there might not be a wedding. I suggest hiring people you trust so that even if you tend to be a bit obsessive over every detail, you'll know they're taking care of everything. That way, you can actually enjoy yourself, the planning process, your groom and guests. You should be at your best on the day of your wedding, so let go, and have a great time!

Bliss Bridal Boutique Owner Sara Stanford

1. Have an open mind: Yes, it's important to know your own style and not compromise. But you might be surprised how good you look and feel in a style, cut, or length you wouldn't have expected. There's nothing to lose by trying on as many dresses as you can.

2. Don't start too early: We know that shopping for the dress is an exciting time and you can't wait to get started, but we do not want to see you disappointed and heartbroken.

Too often brides to be come to the salon, fall in love with a dress, even said yes, but left without the gown because they either weren't financially ready, or the 'right' people weren't with her. So what's the problem? When the 'right' time comes, they discover the dress is no longer available, or has been discontinued or sold. This is a recipe for heartbreak. Word to the wise: If you are renting your dress, four months before the big day is a good amount of time. If you plan to buy, then six to eight months will be just fine. Be patient. You will be grateful.

3. Skip the entourage: Many brides consider dress shopping the ultimate time to bond with their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, BFFs, college roommates, neighbours, colleagues, second cousins, and mother-in-laws. But of that comes down to too many cooks spoiling the broth. Plus, when it comes down to it, the decision is yours to make. We suggest bringing one or two persons who know you and your style, and who are calm, honest, and modern.

Photographer Devon Shaw

1. Start searching for your wedding photographer immediately after getting engaged: The best photographers are often booked months, sometimes a year in advance. Therefore, hiring your photographer is one of the first things you should do or you may have to settle for someone you don't want.

a. Decide what style of photography you want: traditional, journalistic, glamour or a combination.

b. Determine your budget: Don't go cheap! Keep in mind that your wedding photos are the only record of your special day.

c. Try and determine the photographer's experience: Find references, read reviews, and look at their portfolio.

2. Make the final selection together: The couple should spend time comparing wedding photography packages from different photographers then decide together which photographer best fits their needs.

3. Always sign a contract:While couples should book their photographer immediately after engagement, they should ensure that they have a signed contract with the photographer outlining the cost and the terms and conditions of the service.

Professional Make-up Artist Rasine Hamilton:

1. You want your pictures to look flawless, so invest in a skilled makeup artist to make you look your best.

2. Remember to be timeless: Try to do a look that is not just on trend. Go with a classic look so your photos will last and look great for a lifetime.

3. Be glamorous: It's a special day, so make it count.

4. Be adventurous: If you always do your make-up a certain way, allow your make-up artist to make suggestions and be open-minded.

5. Do a consultation: you need to have an idea of what you will look like before the actual day. These are especially helpful today with colourful dresses such as blush, ivory, etc.

Fashion Stylist Natalia Oh

1. In this ever-changing world of trends, it is ideal to hire a stylist in the early stages of your wedding planning to help you to select your colour scheme for your wedding. A stylist can help you make the right colour choices for your bridal party - bridesmaids and groomsmen, and even your gown, based on your body type and event location. A stylist can also help to source items which will complete the entire party. Often working alongside the wedding planner and decorator, the stylist ensures that everything works together.

2. Avoid too many trends when it comes to your bridal party dresses. Instead, go with a classic silhouette with a modern twist and make sure you choose shoes which are appropriate for the event location.

3. Hire a stylist if you are doing an engagement photo shoot, which is a great way to bond with your photographer before your wedding day. Little snippets of your personality can come out in photography and a stylist will ensure that your wedding day photos are styled to perfection because he or she has eyes that are trained to see minute details that can be easily overlooked.