Week of Weddings: Advice from the experts

Marielle Wolf
The Inn at Lambertville Station, Lambertville, NJ, www.lambertvillestation.com 609-397-8300, marielle@lambertvillestation.com
  •  Remember this day is all yours, this is your wedding to your spouse and no one can take that away from you. 
  • Check references for vendors (photographers, limo, videographers, caterers, coordinators)
  • Take your time and shop around for several different vendors before you pick one, you may find they are willing to bargain with you and give you the best deal for what you are looking for.  
  • Referrals from friends and family are always good.  Use your reception site / coordinator for "suggested vendors" too.  Most reception sites have deals with referrals to vendors and offering discounts to brides that use the reception site name when looking to book wedding day vendors.

Vieno Wurret
Art by Vieno, Brick, NJ, www.artbyvieno.com
Keep your sense of humor- this is a wonderful time! Create a budget and do all you can to stick to it-you'll be amazed at how creative you can be! Which leads to a third piece of advice- be flexible 

(Rev.) Carmela Vuoso-Murphy
Divine Light Center, 965 Wootton Street, Boonton, NJ 07005

The one most valuable bit of advise I can give to any couple getting married is that regardless of all the input they get from everyone aound them, they need to remember that it is their wedding and they need to remain true to themselves and what they want in a wedding.  I've seen couples anguish over making sure everything is perfect and everyone else is happy, that they lose sight of what is true and what is real - their love, their commitment, and the joy it is to share this most wonderful day with those they love!

Denise K. Smith
My Daughter's Cakes, Hackensack, NJ, info@mydaughterscakes.com, 201-927-4293

Don't settle when it comes to your wedding cake.  A wedding cake should be the ultimate reflection of a couple's lives together when they say "I do."  Be sure to take the time to interview several cake designers and taste their cake. While you may not necessarily see the cake of your dreams on the cake designer's webpage or portfolio, look for elements of the designs that are appealing and reflect your style.  A good cake designer will be able to make your dream cake happen, while working within your budget. Never skimp on taste! Taste and good design are equally important. Be sure the cake designer uses the freshest ingredients, not prepackaged or frozen products. 

Ambassador Video and Photography, 507 Van Buren Street, Ridgewood, NJ 07450, http://www.videoandphotography.com
Info@videoandphotography.com, (201) 500-8330, Toll Free (800) 652-3550

Designate someone other than the bride and groom to help gather friends and family for pictures.  It is a huge imposition for the bride and groom to have to chase after their relatives who have wandered off to the cocktail hour.  It becomes stressful for the happy couple.  So let someone else do the heavy lifting and find those missing people for their formal photographs.  That way the bride and groom can relax while others do the running
around for them.  

Rachael Citron and Heather Balczarek
Glass Slipper Weddings and Events, Matawan and Tinton Falls, NJ, www.GlassSlipperWeddings.com   

We've had many people tell us that they really could have used a Day-of Coordinator. Couples only have one chance to make sure all of the details come together, and the pressure that comes with that can really ruin their day! Trying to do everything themselves, or laying the burden on family members or bridal party members, is a risky and stressful proposition.We've heard from many brides that despite their best intentions, important details didn't get done right and they were so busy making sure the guests were happy and everything flowed that they didn't have time to enjoy their wedding (or make good use of all of the money they spent on the wedding itself!) 

Christine Gromadzyn
Zoey's Catering, 7307 Ventnor Ave, Ventnor NJ 08406, www.zoeyscatering.com 

You CAN do things cheaper.  This is a recession.  Every aspect can be rethought to make it special, yet smart.  You still can't have a "wedding on a dime"...but, you can get creative.  What we are spending on one day...well, some of your guests won't make that this year.  Remember this is about having those close to you there for your big day.  I know this is rare coming from someone in the wedding business.  I do want your business, but reminding you that you don't have to go into debt for it (or put your parents into debt). 

Kathy and Brian DeLorenzo
Le Conteur Photography (Central NJ), www.leconteur.com  

Choosing the right photographer to capture your wedding is a very important decision.  For many couples, it is the only link to this momentous occasion that lasts long after you say “I do”.  Unfortunately if you don’t make the right choice, you will have to live with it for a very long time.  Please read on to find five things to consider when choosing a wedding photographer.
  • Experience – Does your photographer do this for a living or is this a side job or (even worse) a hobby?  A true professional photographer has a lot more incentive to deliver than someone who takes pictures for fun.  Plus, you should expect better results from a trained and experienced photographer. 
  • Personality – This is way more important than you might think.  Working with photographers that you get along with can greatly affect your comfort level, resulting in better photographs.   Having chemistry with your photographer also makes it a much more enjoyable experience. 
  • Honesty – Was the work that sold you taken by the same person who will actually be photographing your wedding?  Many times larger studios will send whoever is available on your wedding day.  Make sure you meet your photographer and see their work before you sign a contract.  If the studio cannot provide this, be afraid, be very afraid. 
  • Delivery – Don’t forget to talk about delivery.  Find out when you can expect to see your proofs, receive your album or other products that you’ve been promised.  Discussing this ahead of time tells your photographer that you are not interested in waiting forever for them deliver your goods. 
  • Budget – If photography is important to you, budget accordingly.  Great photography doesn’t have to break the bank, but scrimping here can be dangerous.   This is case where, for better or for worse, you get what you pay for.
If you follow these five easy tips, you should have no problem choosing the right photographer for you. 

Kara Thorson & Laura Bianco
My Bellissima, 13  1/2 James Street, Morristown, NJ 07960, www.mybellissima.com, 973-998-5817 
As professional planners, our most valuable piece of advice to the happy couple would be to NOT underestimate the amount of time, work, and commitment that planning a wedding involves!  If your budget permits, utilize a wedding and event planning firm (like My Bellissima).  We are experts in the bridal industry, so we know how to help you stick to your budget, get all of your "To-Do's" done in a timely fashion, aid you in getting the best quality vendors for the amount of money you'd like to spend.  Though some argue that wedding planners are not necessary and are "just an additional expense," using one is an investment that can help you save on overall costs - so don't underestimate what we can do for you! 

Gerald Fierst, Civil Celebrant
259 Park Street, Upper Montclair, NJ  07043, www.geraldfierst.com 

There are no wedding police, so feel free to let your inspiration and imagination roam. Simple actions say a lot. Do a signing of your marriage vows with a second sheet at the reception for all your guests to sign as witness. More meaningful than a simple guest book,  this idea comes from the Quaker, the Jewish, and the Muslim tradition and beautifully decorated documents can be found on line.  The most memorable moment should be the words you say to each other.  Most people take the ceremony for granted, but a good officiant can write a ceremony that will be the heart of your wedding and will send your guests home thinking that the ceremony, not the party, was the highlight of the day." 

Kathi R. Evans, PBC, President
All the Best Weddings & Celebrations - a WKE, LLC, www.atbcelebrations.com

NEVER EVER book a vendor based solely on price.  There’s a reason they’re so much lower than the established vendors in the same category (Transportation, Entertainment, and Photography come to mind immediately) and it’s usually not good.  If you find a vendor you think you want to book based on price do some more research – get references, scour the message boards, see about watching them in action.  Price should be ONE factor – it should not the ONLY factor. 

Jenny Orsini, President/Creative Director
Pampered Bride Weddings, www.pamperedbrideweddings.com

I've been seeing a new trend...couples choosing more obscure/unknown songs as their wedding songs. Back in the day, you couldn't go to a wedding without seeing the newly married couple dance to "From This Moment" or "Unforgettable" or something ridculousy sappy! But lately couples are choosing songs that are special to them, but not necessarily mainstream. I love this idea and as a former wedding singer who has sung them all...i welcome the opportunity to hear fresh music! 

Cindy Jackson
The Extraordinary Moments Photography, P.O. Box 462, White Plains, NY 10602,  www.theextraordinarymoments.com

I always advise friends, family and potential clients that is important not to "skimp" on their wedding photography.  Just as you invest time and money into finding the perfect dress, venue, and food, you should expend that same time and energy into finding a great photographer.  Some key questions to consider when searching for your photographer:
  • Can your photographer provide you with samples of their work, which reflect various lighting situations?  The aptitude of a great photographer is their capability of shooting in dim light, such as a church or reception venue, using simply the lighting within the venue.
  • When you meet with your photographer, take note of their appearance and how they're  dressed/groomed.  If they don't take pride in their appearance, are they really going to take pride in your photographs?
  • Does your photographer have reliable transportation?  You have no idea how many times we've met with clients who tell us they've met with a photographer who did NOT have transportation, but rather depended on either public transportation, or a friend/relatives vehicle.  Transportation is key.  Imagine your worst nightmare if your photographer is late for your wedding day!
  • Does your photographer have liability insurance?  This is imperative.  All PROFESSIONAL photographers possess liability insurance.  Most venues require it.  This is for the both the venue's protection and the photographer's.      

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