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There are few events in life that take more time to plan than a wedding and everyone has a different vision of the perfect dream wedding. Diana Chouinard, a senior event planner and designer with Jubilee Events, has seen every facet of weddings throughout the 10 years in her career and while the details are important, she notes one of the most important things to do on your wedding day is take time to enjoy it.
"You've spent hours, months, maybe even years creating the perfect menu, selecting the best band, and just the right décor that expresses your design," says Chouinard. "It's easy to make sure everyone else is enjoying your day, but it's essential for you to bask in the final product that you worked so hard to build. Just after the ceremony, before you join guests in the merriment, take some time to revel in your ceremony and the celebration to come. You'll spend the rest of your day saying hello to loved ones, catching up in conversation, and celebrating and often times you two will be doing this in separate directions. Make sure you come together and share a moment."
Even if every detail was planned perfectly, many people still look back at their wedding and see something they would have done differently. We checked in with locals on things they would change if they ever got the chance to redo their "I do." Wedding experts also weigh in on some of the areas that seemed to draw the most attention.
I would have a bigger voice regarding the guest list (parents footed the bill so they got the say). Still annoys me when I see our wedding video and there are people I honestly don't know or have never met in attendance.
~Sloane Lynch Maymon
Due to a layoff while planning our wedding, we cut the guest list to be only inviting people with whom we had broken bread so to speak within the last year. If we had not shared at least a cuppa joe while chatting (on the phone was ok if we lived far away) for over a year we were not really that close. It got our list down to under 100 and saved thousands.
My biggest advice to newlyweds planning is to do what you want to do with your wedding and your wedding party, don't let anyone tell you you have to have so-and-so as a bridesmaid or you have to have someone as an usher or somebody should be such-and-such because no one else has that right.
Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events
Don't stress too much about the guest list. If you have a large, extended family, you may feel pressured to host a big wedding. The family doesn't just include blood relatives, but the friends and loved ones who have been by your side and supported your relationship since the beginning. Everyone will want to celebrate this next step in your story, especially if so many were part of the chapters leading up to the wedding day. Despite the size of your guest list, everyone will walk away with fond memories on a day that means so much to you and your partner.
Photography & Videography
I hate my wedding pictures! Be careful with who you choose and make sure they get the pics you want!
Do pictures before the ceremony because we missed the entire happy hour and didn't get to try any of the food we paid for.
Paier College of Art offers a photography major. Some second-year students do weddings at a fraction of the cost of higher priced photographers.
As far as the videographer and photographers go, I would definitely shop at least six different people without making a financial commitment to see what the real value is and also get references.
I wish I had a video done.
The only thing I would do differently would be to spend more time vetting the videographer. There are truly no do-overs or retakes.
[I wish I had a] video capturing people's voices as they won't be here forever!
I would have had a smaller wedding and had a video done.
~Jane Stoddard Bietz
Steve DePino of Steve DePino Photography
[I'm looking for couples to share] basic details about themselves and how they are hoping their wedding day photography will go—like "We are laid back, we want to celebrate with our family and friends. We're hoping to hire a photographer that takes amazing candid photos and blends into our wedding party." Some questions to ask [when interviewing a photographer] are: How long have you been shooting weddings? How many do you shoot a year? Is it a full time job? What would happen if they couldn't shoot the wedding? Are they insured? What's the normal turnaround for a wedding?
[By doing a first look], you don't miss your cocktail party and [it gives you] a private moment just for the two of you. Your wedding day will move very fast and chances are you will be moving even faster. You might only get a few brief moments
alone with your future partner during the day. Building a first
look into your timeline gives you a bit more time to spend with your love.
I loved my wedding but would definitely make it smaller and on an island.
I would do something much less flashy—save my money and put into my dream house—and have it a little more intimate; only close friends and family. I'd have a giant cookout at my house—pool, music, bocce, cornhole, cold beer, firepit, shots, and use our new pizza oven.
I wouldn't change mine! I decided on a destination wedding based on the fact I worked in the industry and saw all the stress (and money) a regular wedding brought!
Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events
Make a list of what is most important to you in your wedding setting. It could be the overall aesthetic that speaks to your personalities, a setting that honors part of your relationship, or appeal to your guest count or budget with on site rentals and décor. Determine what is most important to you in the grand scheme of planning and build from there. There are a variety of settings and venues so be sure to take your time and explore each one based on these factors. Remember, you can always create a feeling within a space and memories will be created from there.
I would keep it simple and small...mine was big and way more over the top than I needed.
~Judith Jean Marie
I'd definitely do it smaller, not as formal, and more laid back. Money gets dumped into unnecessary and overpriced vendors.
We ditched the limo and asked two old guys that we met at a car show to drive us in their classic cars, which they did for free! Having worked at a local wedding venue for 20 years, I've seen a lot of money wasted on unnecessary extras that will never be used again—decorative signs, place cards, special table numbers, votives, cake knives, etc. I would advise people to ask the venue if they have those types of things.
Who cares about chair covers, certain silverware, so much money on flowers for the center of the table, and pretty plates to eat off of? I stressed over this ridiculous detail and spent so much money!
Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events
One of the perks of hiring a wedding planner is unlimited access to the expertise and know-how in all elements of planning, especially a budget. It's important to know what you can expect based on your guest count, venue, and time of year so if you are unable to hire a planner, be sure to do your research. There is a great deal of information on what the average costs per line item are, but it's important to understand what contributes to the "average." Once you have a better understanding of what you can anticipate, determine what you feel comfortable with spending and develop your plans from there.
Steve DePino Photography
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