Wedding Planners & Professionals Share Their Secrets and Tips

From bridal fashion advice to the ultimate wedding-planning tips, discover expert wedding advice!

Gather expert wedding-planning tips, trends, and secrets to ensure your wedding is perfect! From shopping for your wedding dress to planning the ultimate celebration, read the advice from these experts in the industry.

real wedding photo at hummingbird nest ranch hovik harutyunyan events outdoor wedding reception white black gold design
Photo: KLV Photography

When it comes to shopping for a wedding dress, planning your wedding weekend events, and preparing back-up plans for the big day, you may not know where to start – especially if you haven't hired a planner. While we always recommend hiring a wedding planner to help you organize the details of your big day, we understand that many couples choose to plan their nuptials themselves. 

Whether you hired a planner or not, we consistently strive to share must-have tips from the esteemed members of our Editors Circle, who are some of the nation's top wedding professionals, on Inside Weddings' website and in the magazine. Wedding trends are constantly changing – as are expectations from your wedding guests – and etiquette advice is always necessary to handle uncomfortable situations throughout the planning process and on the day of. Look to the professionals who have been in the industry for years to know what to do and how to prepare for one of the biggest events of your lives.

As you're getting ready to say "I do," we invite you to read the latest trends, secrets, and expert tips from wedding planners, top bridal salon specialists, floral designers, and more on a range of topics to help you make informed decisions leading up to the big day. Take note of this advice featured in our 2022 issues, and make these tips your own to fit your personalities and wedding style. Happy planning!

Hire the Right Photographer

"To find your perfect photographer match, begin with an emotional connection. How do you feel when you see the images, like really, really feel? If the emotions are running and you’re imagining you and your partner in them, then that’s a great start!" - Maya Myers of Maya Myers Photography

Wow Your Guests from the Start

"To create timeless invitations, flower motifs should complement the words on the page instead of overpowering them. You can also use boldly colored florals to create fabulous envelope liners." - Alexia McWhinney of The Savvy Consultants

Wedding Invitation with Flower Print Envelope Liner

Photo by Stephania Campos; Invitation: Model Paper; Planning & Design by The Savvy Consultants

Don't Wait Too Long to Shop

"Don’t wait to purchase your dream bridal gown. Current supply chain and staffing issues can cause delays, so it’s best to start the process early on in your planning." - Andrea Holland of Bridal Reflections

"Narine" by Enzoani at Bridal Reflections

Photo courtesy of Bridal Reflections

Consider an After-Party Dress

"Having a second party dress for later in the night is one of my favorite things about a wedding – especially if you’re caught between two different looks. Your main wedding dress can be classic and elegant, and your second dress can be fun and flirty. You get the best of both worlds – and it’s much more relaxing and comfortable slipping into something that’s lighter weight!" - Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events

Loho Bride After-Party Wedding Dress

Photo by Sarah Falugo for Loho Bride

Be Open While Wedding-Dress Shopping

"Ninety percent of brides wear something completely different than what they envisioned themselves in. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your element and try on a gown that you wouldn’t normally see yourself in!" - Cristina DeMarco of Bridal Reflections

Bridal Reflections Bridal Portrait by Amy Anaiz

Photo by Amy Anaiz Photography; Bridal Salon: Bridal Reflections

Grooms: Get Groomed!

"For grooms, if you’re going to have a beard or scruff, then make sure you are professionally groomed before the wedding. Be certain to edge lines around the lips, chin, neck, and cheeks so they are precisely trimmed for a neat, clean, polished look." - Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events

Groom Getting Ready for His Wedding

Photo by John & Joseph Photography

Go All Out with Your Welcome Party

"Elaborate welcome parties are a huge trend! Couples really want to treat their guests to a memorable experience, and they are setting the tone for the wedding weekend with highly styled, themed events to welcome loved ones." - Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Events

Elaborate Desert Wedding Welcome Party

Photo by Nicole Hernandez Photography; Planning & Design by Andrea Eppolito Events

Trust Your Wedding Design Team

"Everyone you speak to will have ideas for your wedding. That can be so helpful, but also sometimes confusing. Don’t spiral down a tunnel of inspiration. Work with your design team to narrow in on what you love and want to prioritize, and trust them to help you develop it." - Alexandra Rembac of Sterling Engagements

Outdoor Wedding Reception by Sterling Engagements

Photo by Jose Villa; Planning & Design by Sterling Engagements

Consider Entertainment for the Entire Wedding Weekend

"When creating your wedding-day soundtrack, be sure to think about entertainment for the entire weekend – getting ready, welcome party, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and after-party – to ensure no special moments on your big day get forgotten about." - Ivanna Bitetti for EastCoast Entertainment

Bride & Groom Dance at Outdoor Wedding

Photo by Ashlee Huff; Entertainment by EastCoast Entertainment

Must-Haves for a Destination Wedding

"When guests are traveling for a wedding, in addition to hosting events like a welcome dinner and post-wedding brunch, make sure to schedule in some downtime for guests to explore the locale and rest up for the wedding weekend. Be sure to include a hit list of your favorite eateries and activities on your wedding website to assist in their planning." - Allyson Joseph of Bob Gail Events

Custom Wedding Map of Los Angeles, California

Design by Prim & Pixie + Bob Gail Events

Get the Family Photos You Really Want

"Not sure how to compose a portrait list of your family and friends? Instead of downloading checklists from bridal sources, think about which relationships (or groupings) you or your family may want in either a frame or an album. That’ll help you both honor your closest relationships and minimize the time spent photographing them!" - Maya Myers of Maya Myers Photography

Don't Be Afraid of Color

"Don’t be afraid of color at your wedding. Whether subtle or bold, color can give life and personality to your big day." - Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties

Colorful Wedding Centerpiece

Photo by Olivia Rae James; Planning & Design by Posh Parties

Have a Plan B for Bad Weather

"The rain plan shouldn’t wait until the week of or week before the big event. You should map out your rain plan prior to booking any type of outdoor wedding." - Jeannette Tavares of Evoke Design & Creative

Hotel Courtyard Wedding with Clear Tents

Photo by Allan Zepeda Photography; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative; From Real Wedding: A Blue, White & Grey Hotel Courtyard Wedding in Washington, DC

Have a Wow-Worthy Wedding No Matter What

"You may have missed having your dream wedding due to Covid, so pick a new date and celebrate in glamorous style! Gather your family and closest friends and opt for an experience that is truly wow-worthy and memorable." - Linda Howard of Linda Howard Events

Confetti at Sunset Wedding Ceremony

Photo by Curtis Dahl Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events

Consider Your Wedding Video During the Ceremony

"To get the most out of your video for outdoor ceremonies, you should ideally have the sun positioned behind and between the bride and the officiant. Avoid front or overhead lighting if at all possible!" - Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

Perfect Lighting for Wedding Ceremony Video by Lomax Wedding Films

Courtesy of Lomax Wedding Films

Keep Drinks in Your Guests' Hands

"One of my biggest peeves is to see wedding guests waiting in lines. Consider paying for one more bartender than required and/or butler-passing drinks to alleviate the rush to the bar during the start of the cocktail hour." - Gina Myers of La Cosa Bella Events

Consider Unique Settings & Venues

"Consider having an intimate celebration in a nontraditional setting, such as a conservatory or greenhouse. The setting, along with a mass grouping of candles, immediately sets a dreamy and romantic tone." - Heather Thomas of HeatherLily

Intimate Wedding Reception in Unique Setting

Photo by Emily Millay Photography; Floral Design by HeatherLily

Elevate Your Design Aesthetic

"If you’re going to hold your reception under a tent, don’t be afraid to go all out with décor to make a plain white tent extraordinary! Incorporate a floral installation to elevate the aesthetic, and utilize twinkling lights within the arrangement to double as a light source. This will seamlessly transform your event from day to night!" - Eddie Zaratsian of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design

"Cloud" Floral Ceiling Installation at Wedding

Photo by Kris Kan; Floral & Event Design by Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design

Add a Personal Touch

"Adding an extra touch to your tabletop, such as a monogram on hemstitch napkins, creates amore dinner-party like and personalized feel at your wedding no matter how large or small your guest list is." - Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties

Monogram Hemstitch Napkin at Posh Parties Wedding

Photo by Jacqui Cole; Planning & Design by Posh Parties

Have a Sentimental Wedding Cake Topper

"If your grandparents, parents, or a family member have saved their cake topper, ask to borrow it to use for your wedding confection. It makes a wonderful memory and unique detail." - Mindy Weiss of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

Classic Wedding Cake Topper - Mindy Weiss

Photo by John & Joseph Photography; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

Lean Into the Weather with Your Desserts

"Looking for a way to make guests smile at your warm-weathered wedding? Ice cream cones will do it every time." - David Pressman of David Pressman Events

Ice Cream Cones on Tray at Wedding

Photo by Callaway Gable; Planning & Design by David Pressman Events

Bring a Change of Clothes

"For grooms, always pack a second (or even third) dress shirt for your suit. Whether your wedding is outdoors or you spend all night on the dance floor, you’re going to want to freshen up at some point. It will keep you looking great all night." - Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events

Black & White Photo of Groom Getting Ready

Photo by Lin & Jirsa Photography

Add Seasonal Pieces to Your Wedding Registry

"Couples should add seasonal entertaining pieces to their registry. These are items that will become traditions in their home, creating memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Summer entertaining is no exception. The options are endless when dining alfresco with family and friends." - Thomas J. Blumenthal of Gearys Beverly Hills

Floral Print China from Gearys Beverly Hills

Photo courtesy of Gearys

For more wedding ideas, discover more expert tips for your wedding theme, get ideas on how to plan a wedding for your personal style, and learn how to plan like a pro with this virtual wedding-planning series from celebrity event planners! We also encourage you to follow @InsideWeddings on Instagram and Pinterest for daily wedding ideas and inspiration!

Opening photo by KLV Photography; From Real Wedding: Outdoor Wedding at a Spanish-Style Ranch in Southern California