In the April issue of InSyle Magazine on newsstands right now, The Nouveau Romantics are featured alongside some talented creatives as part of their “Dream Team” — and we’re answering some big wedding planning questions on trends, priorities, and what we’d give as hostess gifts along the way!
It was really wonderful to work behind the scenes with the editorial team on brainstorming answers to their questions, and coming up with the imagery and ideas that are inspiring us the most right now. While the final edit is a pared down version of our responses, I figured it would be fun to post my very lengthy, slightly rambling, stream-of-consciousness unedited version ….
1. What is the most important thing to consider when planning your wedding (or a few important things)?
Trust your gut. Go with things that feel good to you — be it a vendor, location, dress, etc etc. There will always be a myriad of opinions, and they all truly mean well, but doing what feels best to you is the thing that I always emphasize to our clients. Our intuition is our best ally!
Be realistic about your budget. For those that don’t throw events on a regular basis, there is probably a bit of an education process/learning curve, and that’s definitely a part of our responsibility as a vendor to let you know what different elements cost. There are options for every budget range, and just remember — once upon a time, our grandparents got married in their local church, and ate cake and punch in the church basement! We are lucky to have so much variety and possibility at our fingertips, but keeping things real to whatever matters the most to you is, at the end of the day,
the real litmus test.
Families joining: like I’ve said before, this is about you two, your love, and your future family together. A really lovely expansion of that vision is that the wedding is also an opportunity for two families to join together into a new SUPER family! That may include shared traditions, or different interpretations. None are wrong, but I like to think of the exciting possibilities in this giant pool of stories, history, traditions, dynamics — it takes a village to raise us, and I see weddings as an opportunity (no matter how big or small) to celebrate that and to give thanks for all those that have been a part of your life.
2. Where should a couple start when they begin the planning process?
I recommend that each of you sit down and describe/write/draw/vision board (whatever works for you !) what you want your day to feel like, and then how it will look, smell, taste, touch like. Think of all the senses, and if you or your fiancé don’t have an opinion or strong inclination about certain things, that’s okay! The dream stage is a lot of fun, and is a good way to anchor the planning process.
Then, decide how you want your wedding planning process to feel like, in terms of a … project. Are you super organized? Are you good at picking things but way too busy to research things? Capitalizing on your strengths, what you want your life to look like during the planning process will help in determining what/if support in terms of a wedding planner, an all-inclusive venue, etc works best for you.
In the end – figure out your vision. Whether it’s super simple and you just want to pick between two packages, to wanting to design and hand-make each item – knowing what you want the end result to feel like is the point that you can revisit over and over and over again. Your vision will ground you.
3. What are some current wedding/design trends that you loves?
See question 4 for a fleshed out ideas, but in short: minimalism, installations ….. I’m not sure that’s particular trends, per se, but they are some things that I’m really loving. Additionally — color palettes that are having a bit more depth, saturation to them is really fun. Copper tones, or all metallics (as neutrals! Ha), the interest in fine detailing in the fashion runway these days and how folds, pleats, embroidery make their way into wedding dresses, graphic design, etc. Also –floral installations as either hanging, aisle runners, or other areas that make an impact.
4. Is there anything new you’ve noticed your wedding clients asking for that you are excited about (or anything new you’re been suggesting to your wedding clients that you’re excited about)?
Overall, there’s a swing back to a level of traditional, effortless, and sophisticated style that is a nice contrast to the rustic/eclectic style of the past years. We’re actually seeing a number of brides that are aware and intentional about throwing a loving, hospitable celebration for their family and guests, while also knowing that this isn’t the end all, be all of their lives. That being said, personally, I’m really excited to clients are looking beyond what is on pinterest, and we are looking to architecture, film/set design, interior design, fabrics, patterns, fashion details as sources of inspiration. Taking cues from things that really have no direct connection to, say, a table design, is so much fun, and there is an endless source of possibility within it. Additionally, a level of minimalism juxtaposed with lush florals, or rich graphic design is definitely showing up strongly, as well as looking for bigger installation pieces in either florals, lighting, or architectural elements.
5. Are there any trends that you’re so over? What are they?
There are, however, I’m always a little hesitant to state my own personal preferences as a bride or groom’s taste might vary from mine — and tastes are so personal, aren’t they? It’s like looking at interior design from about 5 years ago, when espresso wood, grey, yellow chevron, etc were so big. While they might not be my taste, per se (because I/we spend so much time looking at imagery) – if someone loves it, I’m a big “why not?”. That being said, I’ll say that the chevron, mason jar, rustic, mish mash style of a couple of years ago is on my “time to take a time out” list!
6. Any tips for choosing a planner and/or working well with your planner?
I’ve actually thought a lot about this, and have wanted to write a longer blog post on this – so perfect timing! In terms of choosing your planner, spend some time thinking about what kind of process would really support you. Every company and wedding planner has their own process to guide their clients through their planning, and finding someone who resonates with you and your needs is critical. This is closely related to exactly what you might need – a full wedding planner, an a la carte list for you to choose from, etc — the deliverables, so to speak. However, this is only 50% of the equation, and the other 50% (that I might argue is even more important) is the kind/type/style of relationship you want to have with your wedding planner. Every person is different, every planner has a different style. Determining if you want someone who is a wizard at lists and is super efficient might be different than someone who wants a little softer touch, a more “girlfriend” or “older sister who knows the ropes” style. I’d say that the final deliverables are (obviously) an important part, but considering that most clients spend about a year or more with us, determining the process, style and the kind of relationship you want and need from your wedding planner is almost … more important! It’s like the hard skills (deliverables) vs the soft skills (relationship, process) debate — both are important, but to ignore one part is a missed opportunity!
7. Do you have any tried and true tips for having a successful wedding? Any surefire ways for things to go wrong?
A successful wedding: plan for all scenarios including the very worst plan B, C, D – and know that nothing will go 100% perfectly. Vendors that you trust and respect will troubleshoot things in ways that you could never imagine and are worth their weight in gold!
Surefire ways to go wrong: not having a plan B! Truly, we like to design for plan B and then we almost never need to use it!
8. Can you breakdown the percentages of a wedding budget for us? How much of a couples budget should go to flowers, music, catering, photographer, etc.
There’s really no tried and true formula about what percentage goes where. Ultimately we guide our clients into deciding which top three things are the most important to invest their budget in, which often relates to food, drinks, location, with music, photography, aesthetics/experience falling into the second tier. (Because really, at the end of the day most of us want a delicious meal, something incredible to drink, and to dance ourselves silly!) There are so many factors in each wedding that a standard; across the board percentages almost never fall within a usual range. Ultimately, whether we’re creating a wedding from scratch on a piece of private property (which would require power, lighting, bathrooms, tents, etc etc) or a centrally located venue in town (which may have existing furniture as part of the venue fee, etc) affects how percentages go. My recommendation would be to use existing percentages as a very (very!) loose starting point, just to wrap your head around numbers and the different categories if that helps you, but ultimately go through the list and rank each item on importance, and prioritize the budget for the top three things for both you, your fiancé, and any family members that might have a vested interest in the final experience. As for the budget – remember delivery and late-night pick up fees, travel costs, and gratuities are always things that add on usually at the last minute.
9. What’s the most glamorous wedding you’ve done? Whose wedding was it? Can you describe it for me?
I’d say a wedding we just completed last fall, on a family’s ranch in south Texas. We designed for Plan B (hurricane, heat, etc) as our Plan A so we got to create a magical wonderland that didn’t require the usual “what if it rains/is too hot?” scenario. Why was it the most glamorous? The family trusted us to create something magical that their guests would remember, and that included a lot of installations that included buckets full of antlers from the ranch’s animals, to an epic entrance full of twinkling candles. It’s not necessarily the high-profile celebrity opportunities that make me think “most glamorous” but it comes down to the dynamic and collaborative relationship we have with the clients.
10. What are some common threads in the most successful weddings you’ve pulled off?
Trust. Hands down. It all comes down to the people – the clients, the vendors, the team, the people. When clients trust us, we reflect that back to them, amplified, which then trickles down into each and every vendor. Ultimately, we all strive to over-deliver when we feel that our clients trust us to execute things bigger and better than anything they can dream, no matter what budget! Having fun, enjoying our job, and coming together to create something special for our clients— it’s often this very intangible aspect that truly creates magic for our couples and their guests. It’s always always always about the people.
11. Anything else you can think of that brides/grooms should know about planning for their wedding?
This is an exciting time! And there is a reason that there is usually an engagement period, following by some amount of time planning the wedding. It’s a shift into a different life dynamic, with different people, and is a important step for you and your fiancé, even if it may not necessarily feel like it at the time. Honor this process, and know that it’s definitely a growing period. Let those around you to support and love on you during this, and know that at the end of the day, you two are creating some new, unique, and special, and that there are a ton of people in both of your lives that are so excited to celebrate this! The details are just framing the thing that matters the most: you two, your love yesterday, today, and the future. Have fun!!!!