Expert Advice: The Knot NJ Spring/Summer Issue

Engagement season is upon us. You are not seeing things. You will probably be setting an uptick of friends and family (and maybe you) with a newly minted ring on their finger. We mark engagement season from late November to February. In my opinion, the coziest and most romantic time of the year.  The Knot Magazine recently interviewed me for their Spring/Summer NJ edition Expert Advice which will be the time when most of these newly engagement couples will be saying “I do”. A few of my answers are in the magazine, but I thought many of the answers might be helpful to you, the newly engaged, so here you go! Pull up a chair.

How many months in advance should a couple book a wedding planner to ensure they get the one they want?

I think they should book a wedding planner as soon as they book their date and venue so the planning starts off on the right foot. This may be a year to a year and a half in advance. If you are interested in full planning, then start to contact wedding planners after you have enjoyed the glow of your engagement so they can help you set a date and book your venue.

Most couples have likely never planned a wedding before. What are the common mistakes or myths about the process?

Let’s set the record straight.
I think one of the common myths is that wedding planning is supposed to be overwhelming and stressful. If it is stressing you out, then something needs to change. Delegate more, look into hiring a planner or prioritize what is most important. I also think that many couples think that a wedding planner is not for them or it will be out of their budget. Yet what what you might spend monetarily, you will gain in time and sanity.

What are the first three things couples should do immediately after getting engaged?

• Celebrate! This is a very exciting time in your life so take some time to enjoy it. The wedding planning will still be there in a few weeks.
• Sit down and have a conversation about budget and guest count. This will help you as you start to research venues and speak to prospective vendors.
• Book your key vendors that you couldn’t imagine having your wedding without and then take a little wedding planning break.

What traditions or etiquette would you to like to see retire when it comes to weddings?

I would be happy to see traditions for the sake of tradition retire. I think if it doesn’t speak to you, don’t do it! Favors are a good example of this. I always tell my couples that guests are not interested in a favor for the sake of a favor. However if there is something really special about your relationship (like a mix of your favorite songs or a cupcake that you shared on your first date) that you would like to give to your guests as a thank you, do it. If not, don’t feel the pressure.

Describe a recent example of how you’ve put an inventive twist on an old tradition.

Your guests need to get from point A to point B so why not make it fun. For one of our weddings, the bride wanted to honor her father’s love for bluegrass and her new husband’s roots in Texas so we created a moment where all the guests promenaded from the church to the venue while a bluegrass band played. It was such a great way to kick off the party!

If couples are on a budget, what vendors or add-ons do you recommend cutting?

My best advice is to prioritize your top 3 “must haves” and allocate the bulk of your budget to those areas. If you are on a budget, you might just have to cut some of the details that are not that important to you. Think about the “long lasting” effects. Guests will probably not notice (or care) if you skip favors, or ceremony programs so do not fret if every single detail doesn’t make the cut. Your guests are there to witness your love for each other and have a good time.

Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2019, what wedding design trends are you seeing?

The trend for the last few seasons has been focused on a muted romantic wedding palette, but I am seeing more and more couples adding color for their Spring and Summer weddings. I am loving it especially unexpected citrus colors.

Looking even further ahead to Fall/Winter 2019, what design trends are you predicting?

In contrast to the bright color palettes of the spring and summer, I am predicting that fall and winter 2019 will be clean and streamlined. I love the idea of a more modern approach with intentional details and bringing back silver!

What’s a detail you’ve always wanted to design/incorporate into a wedding but haven’t gotten the chance to yet?

It might sound unusual, but I have been inspired by children’s books lately. I would love to design a wedding with a nod to the whimsicality of storybook illustrations in a sophisticated way.

Share three pro tips you’d like all couples to know about wedding planning/design.

• Wedding planning shouldn’t be a full time job for a bride or groom. Make sure you enjoy this phase of your engagement.
• Put yourselves first. I know that it is hard to not listen to advice of friends and family, but do what makes you happy and reflective of your relationship.
• Do not sweat the small stuff. Just about every wedding has a small hiccup or two, but it is how you deal with it that makes the difference.

Credits: Photos Jessa Schifilliti
Florals Blue Jasmine
Video Between Sleep and Awake
Photobooth VW Booth Bus
Invitations and Calligraphy Mary Kate Moon
Rentals The Tabletop Company and Party Rental Ltd.
Cake The Vintage Cake
Paper Flowers Harley Rose Studio
Hair Boho Salon
Makeup Shimmer and Spice

How to Design a Chic Beach Inspired Wedding

Pick which “style” beach wedding most speaks to you.

You may not have even considered this before, but there are  different styles of “beach”.  It might mean something different to you depending on where you live. Living on the eastern shores of New Jersey, we have 130 miles of coastline spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May.  Each with their own unique landscapes, quaint towns and scenic views.  However for some people, your beach style may mean bright sunset colors and palm trees.  Before diving into how to design a chic beach inspired wedding, choose which style fits your vision. Stay true to the kind of elements you would find on that beach and it will come together seamlessly.

Set the tone with your invitation.

One of the best ways you can share your vision and communicate your beach wedding to your guests is through the invitation.  Whether you choose to be literal in your design by incorporating shells or landscapes or more abstract by incorporating watercolor elements of the sky and sea, your guests will be excited to see the design come together. It is also true that you invitation dictates to your guests the level of formality of the event, so keep that in mind as you incorporate your beach theme.

Be inspired by the colors of the sea and sky.

For any wedding design, it is wise to be inspired by your surroundings. Beach weddings should be inspired by the myriad of colors found in the sea, sand and sky. Shades of blue and grey read coastal weddings effortlessly and are so chic.   They can be traditional, modern, fun and classic all at the same time.

Use shells and other beach-inspired decor unexpectedly.

In order to create a chic beach wedding, try to incorporate the materials from the beach in unexpected ways. Seashells with calligraphy for table numbers, mussel shell salt cellars, oyster shell candles, and sea-glass inspired details.  Beach weddings take on a more sophisticated approach when the details are understated and unique.

Incorporate natural elements.

Mixing different natural elements will make sure your beach wedding design is grounded and feels relaxed.  Using rocks, sand, textured linens and shells details is a great way to bring a beach vibe into your wedding regardless of your surroundings.

Encourage a laid-back atmosphere. 

When you think of the beach, you immediately conjure relaxation and putting your feet up.  Within your wedding design, incorporate lounge areas that invite your guests to sit and relax awhile.  Whether they are on the water or just sea “inspired”, remember those natural elements and your color palette for a cohesive coastal look.

Serve summery treats.

Summer is full of the most delicious fruits, produce, sweet treats and of course cocktails. Serve your favorite summer treats during your wedding to remind your guests of a day at the beach.  Whether it is a signature cocktail, succulent watermelon skewers or a good old fashioned ice cream truck.  Make the food and drink part of the decor!

Keep your flowers unfussy.

Summer is all about the easy breezy lifestyle. That “just picked” or “just threw this on” way of life. Keep your flowers in the same vein.  Using just one type of flower, large bundles of fluffy hydrangea, sea grasses or a wild flower bouquet all remind us of being at the beach. Simple, classic and easy is the way to go when it comes to your seaside flowers.

Dress appropriately.

Just as the invitation and your flowers evoke the laid-back coastal vibe, remember that your attire should also be in tune with your beach atmosphere you want to create. Easy wedge shoes and lightweight dresses in the color palette work really well on the waterfront.

Soak it all in. 

After all, isn’t that what life at the beach is all about? Enjoy your wedding day and soak it all in. It goes way too fast.

Photography credit: Love & Light Photographs

Stationery & Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Flowers: Wallflowers Florist

Planning & Design: Gilded Lily Events