With proposal season settling in, tons of brides-to-be will soon start planning their weddings. In an effort to provide some semblance of sanity throughout the stressful process, we surveyed New York-based celebrity wedding planner (think Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder’s ethereal outdoor nuptials in Topanga Canyon) Andrea Freeman of Andrea Freeman Events to get her tips and tricks for turning a dream ‘I do’ into reality.
“They say the average wedding takes about 400 hours to plan, which, if you’re going to do it out by the work week, that’s 10 full work weeks. Most people don’t have an extra 10 work weeks to devote, so, from the standpoint of wanting to enjoy your engagement and spend time with your fiancé, doing things other than planning your wedding, I think [hiring a wedding planner] is a no-brainer.”
“Schedule, schedule, schedule. I couldn’t do anything without my organized calendar. I think that’s my saving grace and sanity saver.”
“It starts with your invitation—setting the tone, [telling] people what to expect, and then following that through all the elements of your design.”
“When things are cohesive people don’t notice why [your wedding] was great, because it all just worked, but when you do something that’s out of step with what people were expecting based on the tone that you set, that’s where things go off. Just make sure that you’re always coming back to how things tie into your vision and the execution of your dream really has people walking away with experience of, ‘Oh my gosh, that was seamless, that was amazing.’”
A wedding by Andrea Freeman Events.
“Black is making a comeback and people are using it in these really great, excellent, and elegant ways.”
“I love that food is more of a flowing thing when it comes to events now. People are going less for the plated, seated dinners and wanting things to be more relaxed. Even at the most upscale locations that you can think of, people are creating these events and they’re entertaining like they would in their home—it’s very elegant but comfortable at the same time. We’re seeing a lot of food stations instead of plated dinners and a lot of interactive displays with food. I love to see food be at the center of an event because I think it’s one of those really memorable pieces when you’re entertaining. We’ll always talk about, ‘Oh my gosh, the food was so good.’ That’s just one of those things that sticks in people’s memories.”
“Added personal things—that’s what people really remember. Like, ‘Oh, these two really love nature and they love going hiking. They’ve been to the top of whatever mountain and wasn’t it cool how we saw all of these pictures.’ People just get to know you more personally, and that’s always really special.”
A wedding by Andrea Freeman events.
“I do a lot in advance so [my brides] know how the day is going to unfold. We also talk a lot and work in great detail to come up with a schedule of activities for the day and how the day will go.”
“I assemble a team that my couples can feel really confident in and trust that they’re going to be able to handle challenges. There’s definitely the idea of coming up with a plan, but you also have to be able to let the day unfold, and it’s a balance. If you have the right team, usually, there are fires being put out on your behalf that you don’t even know were fires. I’ve dealt with power going out or the photo booth doesn’t work. And my couples don’t even know that ever happened.”
“My biggest advice starts with the night before. It’s not the time to be up worrying about like, ‘Did I put this person next to the right person?’ or organizing seating cards or favors. Make sure you get some rest and stay hydrated. You’re going to get caught up in networking with people, catching up, and seeing everyone you haven’t seen for such a long time. I feel like going into that as healthy as you can just fuels your day. I have seen brides who haven’t taken that advice and they have to sit out a dance or you don’t want to be the bride that passes out in a corner. It’s such a silly thing and it’s basic advice, but you get so caught up that you’re just thinking about trying to get one more project done or one more detail handled, and you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. I think taking care of yourself is the most critical piece of enjoying your day.”