Couples Who Trusted the Pros

Real-life brides share their practical tips for painlessly planning your wedding with the help of professional wedding planners and vendors.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe Couple: Ariana Daner and Jeffrey Falerni; The Location: Miami Beach, Florida

All About

Ariana's Story: "My hippie parents couldn't for the life of them understand why I wanted to hire a videographer or even why I wanted such a "traditional" wedding to begin with. Needless to say, they enjoyed themselves at my wedding more than anyone and were the first to ask when the video is coming in! Throughout the whole planning process they questioned many of my decisions; it was especially painful at first because I wanted their support. Then I decided to look at it from the perspective that getting married is a more permanent separation from the nest, even if you haven't lived in the nest for a while. It's a natural and healthy progression in life to learn to stand on your own and make the big decisions. No matter how much your parents may question some of your wedding choices, in the end they will probably have the best time of their lives!"

    

Her Tips:

Don't take on any last-minute coordinating tasks in the days leading up to your wedding: "The day of my rehearsal dinner my bridesmaids decided they wanted to get mani/pedis with me, which meant I ended up coordinating six mani/pedi appointments for which I was the main contact. The day of our salon visit, when the bridesmaids decided to cancel or were late for their appointment, I was the one to receive calls from the salon every ten minutes. It was a HUGE amount of unnecessary stress that I didn't need."

Hire a coordinator if you can possibly afford it: "This also gets filed under 'Don't believe your catering manager when they tell you that you don't need to hire a coordinator because they will handle everything.' The catering manager at the location of my reception told me that they would handle all the details — he didn't even show up the day of my wedding! Not only that, but even though our contract specified all the necessary event details, the location's staff still managed to screwed up just about every agreed upon detail. If it hadn't been for my coordinator, there would have been no one there to advocate for me and ensure that everything was set-up as the contract specified. She spent almost the whole day running around putting out fires the location staff started and I can't imagine what would have happened if she hadn't been there!"

Hire the best photographer you can afford even if it means skimping on albums or prints. "Once the ceremony and reception have ended, your photos and videos are all you will have to remember your big day. The images themselves are what are important, don't worry about a fancy album, you can always have one made later — but you can never recapture your wedding day!"

Look over your contracts very carefully: "For some reason, my contract with the florist specified only 3 boutonnieres for groomsmen — we needed 4. I totally missed it when I signed the contract, but luckily my florist was able to improvise on the spot. I got lucky — read and re-read your contracts."

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