Plan Like a Pro: Event Designer Kristin Newman Shares Her Top Wedding Tips

Planning Tips

Kristin Newman, a top party planner in Charleston, South Carolina, tells brides to get grooms involved early — and keep the wine flowing late. Here, more of her expert tips.

If you're good at making decisions, a short engagement is fabulous.
A long one can be agonizing; it lets you rethink everything. Ten months is perfect, but planning can be done well in four.

Before you book anything, do this with your groom first.
Write down five adjectives that describe your dream wedding, and determine your top five priorities — the things you feel are most important for you and your guests to experience.

Build your reception style around what you love most.
For many couples, weddings are about an amazing Motown band and a packed dance floor. But not for everyone! For one of my couples, it was brunch. So we threw an English-style mid-day wedding, served crab-cake Benedict, and hired an orchestra to pay jazz while everyone hung out.

See More: Whatever You Do, Do Not Follow These 10 Pieces of Wedding Advice

For the greatest impact, focus your budget on the sensory stuff — a calligraphy invite, great music, the best food.
And if you're looking for a place to save, skip the favors. Often guests don't even notice them!

Be sure you photographer gets all the details shots before the reception starts.
Also, put her on your guest list so she receives an invitation and can shoot that before the wedding too.

When in doubt, go with signature color scheme: blush, taupe, and tan.
I love a putty colored palette! Add texture with linens and crystal. All white with candlelight is beautiful too.

A rustic wedding can be really chic.
I worked on a riverside wedding with a Ralph Lauren-boho vibe: The bridesmaids wore braided updos and carries long boughs of viney blooms wrapped with suede. It was natural yet sophisticated.

Want more genius big-day design advice? Pick up the February/March 2015 issue of BRIDES, which is on newsstands now and available for download here!

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