by Jolene Rae Harrington, Media & Communications Director
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview celebrity wedding planner David Tutera at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Even though he’s worked on events with such VIPs as Jennifer Lopez and Vice President Al Gore, I was impressed by his enthusiasm for helping non-famous brides have equally stellar weddings.
During our chat, David also shared some of his wedding tips for ways to get high style with lower cost.
Here are some notes on our conversation, and take aways that can help you save some serious bucks on your big day!
Your wedding stationery tells a story; it’s the first chance to get your guests to feel invested in your wedding.
- The color scheme and wording set the energy and tone of your event.
- David and Jolene agree: Don’t send your invitations via email!
- Ways to save:
- Have guests RSVP via email.
- Use a simple 1 panel card, like a postcard.
- DIY details like stick-on crystals to embellish.
The Take Away: You don’t have to spend a lot to make a strong first impression.
The Wedding Dress
Sample Sales are good ways to save money, but beware: Check the dresses for stains, damage, fit, and need for pressing. Repairs, alterations and dry cleaning cost extra!
- David says: “Do not buy gowns on the internet!...Always consult a professional.”
- Jolene says: Trunk Shows are a great way to get that designer perspective. Make sure your choice of dress matches your personal style and the style of your event.
- David and Jolene agree: Don’t bring more than 1 or 2 people with you when you go dress shopping!
The Take Away: Even if it costs less, make sure it still looks good on you!
Jolene and David love twobirds bridesmaids’ dresses. The line offers a rainbow of colors, and the versatile dresses can be worn 15 different ways.
- Bridesmaids’ dresses are an important element in setting the style of your wedding, and carrying on the color scheme.
- Biggest problem: Most ‘maids dresses don’t come in Plus Sizes, so how do you get them to fit all your gal pals?
- Solution: Open your mind to think maybe all your attendants don’t have to wear the same dress; rather keep them in the same color or even different shades of the same color.
- But your attendants have to be guided to choose their dresses; otherwise the look won’t be cohesive. “They’ll look like guests showing up at your wedding.”
The Take Away: Be flexible by letting your 'maids pick their own style of dress based on personal style and body type, but keep control of the overall cohesion.
Think Style, Not Theme
“Theme” is the wrong way to think of your wedding. Instead, think in terms of “style,” and then use it sparingly throughout your event.
- The goal is sophistication and elegance—so don’t knock your guests over the head with your idea. Doing too much will make them feel like they’re attending a kid’s party
The Take Away: Less is more.
It’s All In The Flow
All-in-one venues have certain challenges, so try shaking things up with the tips below.
- Make sure your event has “movement.” Your guests need to always feel like they have someplace to go, and not feel trapped—even if you’re in one large space.
- David says: “Something different should happen every 30 minutes.” Even if you’re in one space, you can use lights, music, etc. to help the event flow. But you can also move them around to different parts of the room.
- Jolene says: Use lighting, décor and furniture to help define separate areas of a large room or outdoor space.
The Take Away: Change it up!
David says: “Music is the heartbeat to any celebration!”
- David and Jolene agree: Nix the iPods! A wedding needs energy…and direction from a seasoned, professional DJ.
- David calls iPod weddings “a recipe for disaster.”
- If you’re on a budget, choose a couple of important areas to spend your money for maximum impact.
The Take Away: A DJ or live band with an MC is a wise investment.
How to make rustic outdoor venues sophisticated and chic? David likes contrast because it’s more exciting.
- Think about doing something less obvious with a rustic space—put china, silver and candelabras in the middle of a vineyard, for example. “A black-tie affair in the middle of a run-down barn…people walk away remembering that.”
The Take Away: Do the unexpected.
If you want to have a great wedding, throw a great cocktail party… BUT make sure your guests feel taken care of (and fed!).
- Start with passed hors d’oeuvres, and then open up to small food stations.
- Keep the food changing every hour.
- It’s like an extended cocktail hour, but you save because you don’t need a full bar—just beer, wine, champagne and perhaps one specialty drink.
The Take Away: Keep the food and drink dynamic.
Courtesy: The Golden Rule
Courtesy doesn't cost a dime, so make sure you're being a gracious host.
- Take the time to go around and greet your guests: “Remember, you’re getting married, but you're also hosting the event!”
- Your guests will remember “the little things” that you thought about for their comfort and enjoyment.
- Small, thoughtful wedding favors or elements like heating lamps show guests you are concerned about their comfort—and so appreciative that they came.
The Take Away: Make your guests feel well taken care of!
A Wedding Coordinator—Luxury or Necessity?
It is an added expense, but David believes it’s also a necessity.
- David says a wedding planner is "One of the most important wedding investments you’ll make."
- But you need to choose the right wedding planner for you.
- Find one that understands you, someone whom you like, and who matches your taste and style.
- At the end of the day, the added expense of hiring a planner will actually save you time and money! (Not to mention your sanity.)
The Take Away: The right wedding planner pays for itself!
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