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: Madeline Sherman and Chad Schmidt; The Location: Paradise Point Resort, San Diego, Calif.

All About

Madeline's Story: "We wanted to make our wedding day truly a reflection of us. So many of our friends had planned their wedding details around pleasing their parents, brothers, sisters — you name it. Instead, we focused our wedding planning on how we envisioned our perfect day and making sure the wedding 'felt like us.' From the ceremony to the reception, our guests commented that all the little details combined to create a day that felt really personalized, truly like it was Madeline and Chad's wedding and no one else's."


Her Tips:

Hire a "day of" wedding coordinator: "While my husband originally thought this was a frivolous idea, in the end he was grateful that we had one. Having a 'day of' wedding coordinator to handle all of the small details on my big day allowed me, my bridesmaids and family to relax and enjoy the day. Rather than assigning duties to each of the bridesmaids, we were able to just hang out in my bridal suite, getting ready together and having fun. That exciting time before the ceremony, surrounded by my friends and family, was one of the most memorable parts of the day. Everyone kept remarking that they couldn't believe how calm I was, I can truly say it's because I knew our wedding coordinator was worrying about the details at that point and I could just relax and enjoy!"

Be considerate of your guests: "While the day is ultimately 'your big day,' don't forget the reason you are throwing the reception — so your closest friends and family can celebrate with you. When planning details make sure you consider your guests' wants and needs as well. Keep them in mind when planning all the little details, from the food to the speeches (keep them short!), to the location (is there adequate parking?); you will enjoy the day more if you know that your guests are well taken care of."

Take in every moment: "Everyone says the day goes by too quickly — and it does! If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, take advantage of the days they are visiting and plan to spend time with them before the day of the wedding. The wedding day is such a whirlwind that you won't get quality time with anyone. Another good tip for capturing the mood and good times of the day is to put disposable cameras on the reception tables. Sure, the photo quality isn't that great, but your friends and family will take so many pricelessly funny photos that you may have missed otherwise."