Q. What’s the best way to incorporate children from a previous marriage into a wedding?
A. Some ideas: Have your children escort you down the aisle (as long as they’re not too little) or, of course, be your best man or maid of honor. Another great tradition that I have begun to see in my clients’ weddings is a vow exchange between husband and wife, followed by exchange of vows with the children to bring everyone together into a single family unit. Another idea is to create a family first dance: After the couple has their first dance together, the children join them, forming a circle for the next dance. Related: How to Plan a Blended Family Wedding
Photo Credit: Douglas Benedict Photography
Q. I’m planning my daughter’s wedding and want to know what you’d say are the number-one reception dos and don'ts?
A. The number one Do is making sure your guests are dancing and having fun! And the number one Don’t is making sure that no one is sitting down for too long eating, with lulls of time in between dancing and dinner — that’s very, very important. Related: David Tutera's Top Wedding Dos and Don'ts
Q. Can you really have a beautiful wedding on a small budget?
A. Absolutely! An abundance of flickering candles is an easy and inexpensive way to replace more costly flowers. And a fun, fabulous cocktail party instead of a sit-down dinner party is another great way to have a festive celebration without straining the catering budget. Finally, lowering your guest count will always help you achieve more dream wedding-like results on a limited budget. Related: 101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding
Photo Credit: Maring Visuals
Q. What are four quick ways to make your event special?
One: Tell the story of who you are as a bride and groom throughout your party — via music, cuisine, color and other details — to make your wedding more special and personalized. Two: Create an environment. You don’t have to have a theme to have a great wedding. You need a wedding style, which means color and essence. So think sense of style — Tuscan, French — rather than full-on theme. Three: Make sure something different is happening every 30 minutes. It may mean the food might change, the music might change or the entertainment might change. Which brings me to Four, making sure that people feel as if they are moving, i.e., going from ceremony to cocktails to dinner and to an after-party vs. sitting down in one location for too much time. This will help keep the energy level high and the event going strong — as well as make your wedding feel bigger and even more fun. Related: 101 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding
Photo Credit: Jessie Holloway Photography
Q. When having a wedding what are some ways to remember loved ones who are no longer with us?
A. A celebratory dance or a memorial note on your wedding program are nice ways to remember those who are no longer with us. (For example, on the program, you could say “We lovingly remember family members who are with us today in spirit.”) A few things I wouldn’t suggest are a moment of silence — and certainly not an area where there is an open seat. You want to convey positive feelings and not bring any of your guests’ (or your own) emotions or energy down. Related: 10 Powerful Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones
Photo Credit: Sara Jayne Photography
Q. Any tips for jazzing up a smaller wedding to achieve a higher-end illusion and maybe save some money?
The three key things for any successful event are first, making sure you provide comfort for your guests: that means ample food and drink. Second, making sure that you have great entertainment. This need not mean an orchestra or band. Hire a fabulous DJ or go more DIY and put together a great music playlist on your iPod for your guests to enjoy. Third is the visual aspect: This doesn’t have to be masses of pricey floral arrangements; it could be a colorful, stylish overall look to your tabletops and buffets. These simple tips are universal, whether you’re on a small, medium or large budget.