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Photography:
Laura Hunt


Lisa's 10 Best Wedding Secrets


  1. Establish a Budget
    This is the crucial first step in planning your wedding-you've got to have a sense of what your rough budget will look like. Do it as soon as possible, even if it's just the two of you scribbling some notes on a cocktail napkin. And it almost goes without saying: make sure you know how much family members are going to contribute. In other words, assume nothing.

Photo Joshua Ets-Hokin

  1. Prioritize
    List your vendors in order of their respective importance to you. In more ways than I now want to admit, this exercise was a real eye-opening experience for my husband and me. I put 'photographs' and 'wedding invitations' at the top of my priority list - he put 'venue' and 'band'! So believe me, doing this early will not only get the two of you on the same page fast, it also will show you exactly where to spend and where not to spend.
  2. By Recommendation Only - The Only Resource for a Successful Wedding
    Referrals are crucial in this business. One person's experience and recommendation goes a very long way. We found the most amazing people through BRO and have since recommended them to many satisfied brides and grooms. (Recently, I became a new BRO vendor myself with my stationery and invitations business, Lisa Hu Design. I know firsthand the careful review to which each vendor is subjected.)
  3. Communicate
    And I'm not just talking between the bride and groom. What about your mother and/or future mother-in-law who have their own expectations? We were lucky in that both our parents gave us free rein to do what we wanted. But I also know that there are a lot of you out there with opinionated-albeit well-intentioned-family members. Talk early and often. You don't need a Hollywood movie to show you how a wedding can very easily turn into a source of ill-will and hurt feelings.
  4. Draw the Line
    Everyone has an opinion on how a wedding should be run. For every bride that believes her wedding is "the day she's been dreaming of all her life" there's a parent who's paying for a hefty portion of the wedding and who views it as a reflection on him/her above all else. You have to be firm in letting your friends and relatives know that while you respect their advice and feedback, they need to respect your right to have the wedding you want. Set the tone early so it doesn't build up into something much more unpleasant later on down the line.
  5. Don't Be a Slave to "Obligation"
    Just because someone is helping to pay for part of the wedding doesn't mean it becomes his or her wedding. It's one thing to be considerate of family and guests; it's another to be stressing out about accommodating their every whim. Keep a good balance and you will keep your sanity.
  6. Enlist Help
    You don't have to do it all yourself, especially on the day of the wedding. If you don't have a wedding coordinator, it is okay to "recruit" your family and friends, especially if they've offered their help. However, make sure you reward them, even if it's with a heartfelt hug, thank you note, or post-wedding day gift. If Jane stayed up all night stuffing envelopes with you, make sure to call or mail out a card the next day thanking her for her time and efforts. It'll be remembered. Just be mindful that asking for help doesn't mean you can take advantage of your friends or take their help for granted.
  7. Be Organized
    Putting things off because you have "plenty of time" is fine sometimes, but not when you're throwing the biggest party of your life. Good organization and early planning are key-it will be obvious the day of your wedding. People tend to remember bad weddings more than they remember the good ones.
  8. Create a Schedule
    A schedule is not only helpful to you, but also to the wedding party, family members, vendors, and anyone else with an important role in the wedding. Break the schedule into increments of at least 15 minutes: from the moment you wake up to the end of the reception. On the day of the wedding, your wedding coordinator will be your "timekeeper" of your schedule. If you don't have a coordinator, find a close, responsible friend or member of the wedding party to do that job. The timekeeper will make sure everything and every person is in place at the appointed time. S/he will fend off all the people pestering you about the little details-something you don't want to worry about on that day.
  9. Breathe and Take a Moment to Soak in the Day
    Everyone has at least one nightmarish wedding story to tell, and it usually involves a bride who sounds as if she'd forgotten simply to breathe! Remember what your wedding day is about and who is important to you. Whenever you find yourself lost, stressed, or ready to scream, take a step outside and just breathe. It'll clear your mind and clear your soul-just in time for you to regain perspective. Most importantly, take a few moments throughout the day just to soak it all in. The day will fly by so fast, and you don't want to miss a single thing from your wedding day.





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