The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

The Wedding Planner, Mimi van Wyck

SS: When planning a wedding, what's the #1 piece of advice you tell your clients?

MvW: Tackle the guest list first –the head count will drive so many decisions, especially the destination, the venue, and the budget.  Be thoughtful with your list and compile a roster of friends and family who not only mean something to you but also will enjoy the company of one another. 

SS: Many people say the venue dictates the decor and art direction of an event — do you agree with this?  

MvW: It certainly can, if you pick a fantastic venue that has beautiful existing décor or views, you are starting from 3rd base.  You get to come in and put the icing on the cake. But sometimes you can’t always find that or it is not available for your date so you can also pick a raw space and take a vision and build it from the ground up.  Then you can completely make it your own and that can be such a fun process. At the end of the day the budget dictates all decisions.

SS: In terms of prioritizing a budget, what are the three most important things you should consider investing in?

MvW: Take care of your guests basic needs – the more functional items – food, drink, a place to sit, a roof etc. Then see what you have remaining to spend on the fun things – great lighting, fantastic entertainment, cozy lounge vignettes, or model bartenders – the list is endless.

“Life is too short – it’s important to keep some humor in the process and at your celebration. If you can give your guests the opportunity to smile and laugh you’d succeeded.”


The Stylist, Lucinda de Mauley

SS: With the changing dress codes of wedding appropriate attire, what is the #1 thing you should keep in mind when attending a wedding? More and more weddings have now become a destination, with wedding activities all weekend or as long as a week. Do these rules apply to the entire wedding experience?  (I have to imagine many SS readers are dying to know your advice on this one! Packing for a destination wedding is always tricky).

LM: Receiving a wedding invitation should be viewed with happiness and excitement – not fear - with ‘what AM I going to wear?’ ringing in your ears! To make sure you get it right first ascertain what sort of wedding it will be :

Beach/hot/sunshine/relaxed – go for a colourful and cool dress to the knee not too fitted or else it will crease in the heat – with strappy high sandals, sunglasses and a large hat and a clutch bag that works with your shoes but doesn’t match. (NB. if it is in a church your shoulders should be covered.)

City/smart/elegant/chic – Go for it - a super chic tailored dress can be printed/geometric or plain, an optional coat and high elegant pointed toe court shoes. A small sassy hat works well – if you have long hair, put it up.

SS: As a wedding party member (especially as a bridesmaid or maid of honor) what are the tried and true sartorial guidelines you suggest sticking to no matter what?

LM: Don’t wear cream or white – that is for the bride only. If you are a bridesmaid or maid of honour – hopefully the bride will have chosen something gorgeous for you to wear which will enhance rather than compete with her. ALWAYS remember that it is HER big day.


The Designer, Sam Walls Beasley

SS: How did you get your start in the bridal industry?

SWB: I began when friends asked me to design their wedding dresses. A number of them were artists, people who were looking for something other than the traditional wedding dress. They were also people with a creative eye and openness to collaboration.

SS: First article of clothing you designed?

SWB: As a younger person, the people, the looks and the sounds of London town inspired me. I came of age with Post-Punk – a very creative time in the UK for both music and fashion – and my earliest clothing designs would have been for me and my friends when we travelled into the city to see bands. It all seems a long, long time ago!

SS: Do you have any predictions for upcoming bridal trends?

SWB: I’m not much of a trend follower. I would say that some of each new collection has been inspired by conversations I’ve had with past brides, as well as watching the beautiful fabrics and detailing in the couture collections. For me, the perfect wedding dress combines the mood of the moment as well as classic couture. It should captivate and inspire the bride and the audience!

SS: Your advice for selecting that perfect gown?

SWB: Don’t rush the decision, take your time and allow time.


The Invitation Expert, Rebecca Schmidt Ruebensaal

SS: What are the most important things to keep in mind when creating invites for your wedding? There are so many places to start — do you recommend incorporating designs that are personal to the couple or reflect the venue? 

RSR: The most important bits to remember while creating your wedding invitations are to think of them as archival pieces… your grandchildren will be looking at them so maybe reconsider the pink neon. The second suggestion is to enjoy the process. We see so many stressed out brides and it is sad because the tears should be saved for other moments.

SS: What trends are you seeing these days with wedding stationery? 

RSR: We are seeing a slight return to engraving and classic vignettes as little icons. The studio is working on a seaside drawing with sailboats to be used as an icon throughout the bride’s correspondence wardrobe. Many couples are doing such things that may be used beyond the invite… all the way through to their personal stationery. 


The Patissier, Natasja Sadi

SS: Where to begin?

NS: Designing a wedding cake for me is a very natural process. It starts by listening to what the bride and groom like and love. Sometimes couples have children already and they even have something to say in what they love!

If the bride brings inspiration with her during our first meeting: a moodboard or Pinterest page or even one specific photo, it can be of tremendous help in the design of their cake!

SS: How do I know if a design is right for me?

NS: Try and find something that catches your eye, but stick to what YOU love. Don’t look to what others have done, and don’t feel obliged to have a specific cake because it is a family tradition. This is YOUR day. I can not emphasize that enough.

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