BRIDES Southern California: One of Laguna Beach's Top Wedding Planners Shares 8 Must-Know Tips

California, Local, Planning Tips
Wedding Planning Tips

Photo: Mike Larson

From coordinating celebrity weddings to conceiving networking fêtes for the creative set, Michelle Mercado knows how to plan a great party. Last summer, the former event planner took on a new title — creative director of Sourced Collective, a Laguna Beach-based network of like-minded individuals all working within the world of interior, fashion, and event design. We caught up with Mercado to get the scoop on what she knows now about wedding planning.

Go for a full service photographer.
"Using a weekend warrior, shoot and burn photographer is like going to a restaurant and just getting the ingredients for a dish instead of the finished product. A full service, professional photographer is able to curate the collection of your wedding photos into a true family heirloom that you will be proud to share with family, friends, and your future generations to come. How do you want to remember your wedding?"

Make sure to discuss timeline with your photographer.
"Most modern weddings flow from ceremony to cocktail hour, leaving no time to create iconic, amazing wedding photos away from the action. I always suggest a 'first look' to make for a stress-free wedding photography experience. And, also most people appreciate spending those precious moments together before exchanging vows with the person who calms them and eases nerves."

Plan for extra time.
"Whatever takes you five minutes by yourself takes 30 minutes with your wedding entourage in tow. There are so many moving parts during a wedding."

See more: Find Your Dream Dress at One of These Southern California Bridal Salons

Make an emergency "day of" kit.
"Inside, store corsage pins (either your flowers were dropped off without them or you needed more than one to make it work; double stick tape (for runs); Tide to-go stick (the tiniest wine spill from your toast will show up in those pictures later on in the night); cute, colorful straws (everyone loves a good champagne toast when you're getting dolled up, but we make sure that lipstick stays good); and command strips (damage-free handing solutions).

Look at florals the same way you view seasonal produce.
"You want a harvest that complements the time of the year you say, 'I do.' That being said — if someone has their heart on peonies or Lilly of the Valley in December, it's doable but it's going to reflect in the cost that it came from a land far, far away."

Bring a picture of your dress to your florist.
"Visuals of your specific gown are a great tool to help choose the right bouquet to complement your dress. For example, a sleek, form fitting silk dress would have a different style and size than a princess ball gown with tons of embroidery and bead work."

Keep party size in mind.
"The large wedding party can really affect your floral budget. With bridesmaid bouquets ranging from $50 to $150 a pop and bouts ranging from $10 to $25 these numbers can really add up and ending up being a good amount of your overall budget."

Be realistic about table sizes.
"When it comes to florals, long tables typically require more than round tables."

Want to find more Orange County wedding planners? Browse our Southern California Wedding Planners page to find the best in your area.

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