Q. What do you think makes a wedding most memorable?

A. Good memorable or bad memorable?  Kidding, I generally think in terms of what is meaningful to the couple.  Do they want to highlight their family, their faith, their pets?  One time a Bride wanted to have her brother and sister walk down the aisle after her.  At first I thought it would look like they were just late to the ceremony.  Of course it was symbolic that her siblings are a great support to her…so I devised a moment where the Bride waited at the end of the aisle for them and all shared a great big hug before she went into the altar space to join her Groom.  It was a truly beautiful moment.

Q. Can a couple really expect to plan their own wedding and still enjoy themselves?

A. Of course!  The biggest challenges are usually in three areas:  budget, time and family.  Discuss these three aspects before you get seriously into the actual wedding planning to see if you are on the same page.   Don’t go into debt for your wedding.  Delay the date if you have to in order to save up.  If someone like a family member is ill and you feel a time pressure, then do something super small sooner and then throw a bigger bash later (you’ll probably be able to enjoy everything more this way). Communicating with your family ahead of time can be very helpful. Ask if they want to be involved in the wedding planning and what their calendars already have scheduled.  You will indicate that you are attempting to thoughtfully plan your day and intend to take things into careful consideration. An added note:  Generally if anyone offers to help pay for part or all of your wedding then it’s entirely appropriate to ask if they also wish to be included in the wedding planning so you can see if they have any expectations. Once you accept financial help, be prepared to accept and honor their position, i.e., opinions and requests, in regards to your final wedding plan.

Q. I said “yes!”—now what?

A. Congratulations!  Here are three steps to get you started in the right direction: (1) Get a checklist and adapt it to what you want your wedding to include (The Companion Wedding Planner includes a comprehensive one to work off.) (2)  Draft your wedding day itinerary or “schedule of events.”  My DVD and the companion piece will clearly lay out how to do this. (3) Choose the creative elements:  Go try on dresses, pick out wedding rings, flowers, a wedding cake, etc!  All the creative becomes so much more fun when you have steps 1 and 2 taken care of!  Gallery of Wedding Inspiration

Q. How can I get my fiancé more interested in our wedding planning?

A. A good place to start is to first describe what you think it’s going to take to create a wedding plan.  Next, try a few approaches: (1) Ask him how much he would like to be involved in the wedding planning and perhaps he can indicate which details he feels strongly about.  (2) Identify how much time he feels he can commit to and then map out a weekly schedule, and (3) When you’d like his opinion, try giving options instead of just a plain, “what do you think?”.  Lastly, if you feel you need more help and he is not available, then discuss how you can get more assistance.  Sometimes reaching out to enthusiastic family and friends can be more helpful and fun.

Q. We want to get married outside and although unlikely, there is a chance it could rain.  Any suggestions?

A. First of all, ask yourself if you are going to be concerned from now until your wedding day about the rain.  If you are, then you should probably opt for an indoor venue.  If you can say to yourself, (and your guests) come rain or shine, we intend to be outdoors (or have a back-up plan like rain cards and an alternate venue available) then you can relax and go for it!

Q. We’re looking for some unique wedding favor ideas.  Any suggestions?
A. I love this tradition of giving a little token of gratitude to your guests for joining you on your wedding day. Something that is both homemade and serving more than one purpose is super special and thoughtful.  For example, a personalized Christmas ornament for holiday weddings, homemade chocolate chip cookies with a donation made to a charity in (the guest’s name), custom bookmarks, bouquet garni in organza, scented votive candles with a romantic quote or blessing attached, homemade cd’s with custom homemade cover, homemade jams, sauces, recipes.  All of the heart and home.  Beautiful sentiments and delicious too!

Q. Any unusual wedding flower combinations you love?

A. I don’t know that anything is unusual any more. I generally begin with color, effect, season, price and theme. I do love certain combinations that have a particular contrast: peach roses with green orchids and red roses with blue hydrangea. One time I did multi-colored poppies set off by dark purple miniature calla lilies. It was for a very chic urban bride wearing a pale champagne slip dress – stunning. Chocolate cosmos are great with a bit of pale green hydrangea as a Groom’s boutonniere. My all time favorite for single flower bouquet is Lily-of-the Valley and single flower arrangement is Dogwood. If you are on a massive flower budget, then go for one striking piece, like a sunflower. You can go many directions with this idea: If the bridesmaid’s dresses are red or purple, you’ll have contrast. If their dresses are an off-white or baby-blue you’ll see something more delicate and country. Espresso brown dresses with a gold flower will look very retro. All interesting, all beautiful and all very different effects!

Q. We are on a budget and want to make our own wedding invitations.  Any suggestions on how to do this?

A. Honestly, it is not necessarily cheaper to make your own invites. Before you make any assumptions, browse wedding invitations online to get an idea and then make a trip to the art store.  They often charge per piece of paper, etc.  And it can add up.  Also, if you run short and they run out of the paper you’ve chosen, you’ll have to switch your design.  Doing it yourself?

Q. Can you give us some idea what to expect when picking out our wedding cake?  We are totally open and would also love some unique ideas.

A.Do you like many layers placed vertically or spaced out ‘satellite style’?  Do you like the layers stacked with no room in between each layer, or separated with risers? Cupcakes can be fun.  Doing one fancy petit cake to cut and then having a simple rectangle to serve can be a good way to save on your budget.  Also, ordering a simple white cake from the local market and then having it decorated with fresh flowers is another budget-wise option.  You may be considering accents, layer and filling flavors, as well as what style you like.

Q. We’re both pretty camera shy and yet we know we need to hire a wedding photographer.  Any suggestions?

A. Many who are camera shy tend to play down the priority of photography.  I’ve heard that they prefer to be more in the moment, and focus less on all the time and money spent on wedding photography.  And it’s true, photography can certainly be a fairly significant portion of the budget.  The one caution is that once the day is gone, it’s gone.  No going back and grabbing those shots…and once you do have the proofs, you can decide what you want printed. The photojournalistic style is very popular and may be a better option as the photographer grabs photos a little less conspicuously and can be more fun.  I personally like to recommend a combination of traditional wedding portraits and candids.