Thursday, June 27, 2013


When you start planning a wedding, you'll quickly learn that everyone around you is a wedding expert: Your mother, your best friend, your neighbor who watched The Wedding Planner and now swears by J. Lo's advice that you can mitigate a self disaster with a "quarter cup of lemon juice, half cup of salt and a loofah. Couples are flooded with unsolicited tips about wedding planning, but what they really need is guidance from a professional.  Wedding Planner Subrina Westberry knows a thing or two about saying "I Do" and can offer a few practical suggestions for couples planning for that big day.

First:  Set a budget before you start planning.
The number one way to spend out of control, is to not start with a number. It's okay to make adjustments, but you should begin with a dollar amount, and then estimate what you will spend in each category (e.g., flowers, catering, attire, etc.).

2. Be honest with vendors…and yourself.
When interviewing vendors, be up front about how much you plan to spend with them. If you don't, you might receive quotes that are significantly higher than your budget permits, which wastes everyone's time. In your initial call to a vendor, ask, "Do you have a minimum price for events?" If a florist's minimum is $6,000, and you only have $3,000 to spend on flowers, it's time to move on.

3. Delegate the small stuff.
If friends and family offer to help, let them. Bridesmaids will be happy to move your overnight bag to the bridal suite. Groomsmen can be tasked with ushering in the guests before the wedding.  There's no need to do everything yourself.

4. Create a backup plan for bad weather.
If you don't like the idea of having your wedding moved at the last minute, then you shouldn't get married outside. But if your heart is set on vows by sunset, consider a venue that has both indoor and outdoor options.

5. Make sure your wedding reflects you.
Traditions have changed. If you don't want a wedding cake, consider cookies, ice cream, or pie. If you don't want to get married in a church, think about a museum or local landmark.  Be sure to add personal touches that represent you, whether it's a puppy ring bearer or a family-filled flash mob.  Your wedding should be celebratory, not stressful.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Worst Things You Can Say To a Bride and Groom on Their Wedding Day

"Can you help me with...?"

When you're at a wedding, it's pretty easy to look to the bride and groom as the ones who are in charge and running the show -- after all, it's their big day. For the same reason though, they're going to be pretty busy (and by "pretty busy," we mean "really busy"). If you've got some minor issue -- the caterers brought you the wrong entree, or you think some of the seating should be switched -- don't take it to the bride and groom. Instead, talk to the wedding planner or coordinator, one of the caterers, or, if you really feel it's something the bride or groom needs to deal with personally, one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen who can pass along the message. The bride and groom already have a lot on their plates, so it's important to respect the difference between an actual emergency and what just seems like one at the time.

"Why wasn't so-and-so invited?"
Word to the wise: If you notice that someone you thought would be at the wedding isn't there, there's usually a reason. Option A is that their RSVP said they couldn't make it, but Option B is that there's a distinct reason they were left off the guest list. Either way, the most tactful approach is to keep mum about it. If the bride and groom have chosen not to include a family member or friend, chances are there was at least one long conversation that went into making that decision -- and the wedding day is definitely not the time to bring it up.

"So baby comes next, right?"

We know, we know -- first comes love, then comes marriage. But you know what? Next comes whatever the bride and groom want, which may be buying a home, working toward a big promotion, or something else entirely. Everyone's got their own schedule and life goals, which may or may not include the pitter-patter of little feet. Most brides and grooms are already pretty overwhelmed by the wedding planning, so the last thing they want to talk about is making another big life change.

"I can't believe you're settling down! I remember when..."

Just because you remember the bride when she was a total wild child or can provide the story behind the groom's fraternity nickname doesn't mean you should. This goes double for any conversation you have with other wedding guests who know the bride or groom from a different time in their lives (for example, a coworker or an older relative). Yes, they might still be the crazy kids you remember -- but given the formality of the day (not to mention the many relatives likely on the guest list), it's not the best time to air out their dirty laundry.

Happy Wedding Planning!