Our Editor-at-Large, Darcy Miller, shares her advice for tying the knot with personal style—and substance.

By Darcy Miller
December 13, 2019

If there's one thing we know for sure about modern-day weddings, it's that every bride and groom want their celebration to be emphatically, uniquely them. Maybe that means skipping the first dance or saying "no" to a bouquet toss, but deciding to write your own vows and serving your favorite donuts after dinner. Should you be at the beginning phases of your own wedding-planning journey, heed the below advice from Darcy Miller, our Editor-at-Large, for planning a wedding that's brimming with personal style and substance—and enjoy the process.

Enjoy Your Engagement

I always tell newly engaged couples: Take a breath and relish this moment. It's such an exciting time in your life. All the questions (when? where?) will soon roll in. But whatever you do, feel the happiness of this decision fully.

Envision Your Day

Before you bring in other opinions (and there will be many), sit down and talk about how you two really want to get married. Then add your families to the conversation.

Say Yes to a Planner

I think everyone should have one in some capacity. No matter how orga­nized you are, or how good at multi­ tasking, you're the bride (or groom), and at some point, you have to take yourself out of it. If budgets allow, hire a planner in the beginning. (If not, consider a day­-of planner, who comes in toward the end to ensure your cel­ebration runs smoothly.) To me, it's money well spent: Planners can ne­gotiate fees and prioritize where to spend. (They'll tell you, "No one will notice the chair covers.") Some act as part mediator when family friction arises, part intermediary (when a bridesmaid needs a fabric swatch and your work presentation is due), and part therapist, soothing your stress.

Personalize It

I ask couples about their lives—where they met, significant events in their romance, and their favorite places, foods, movies, books, and songs.

Keep It Cohesive

Planning can be overwhelming be­ cause of the sheer number of options. That's why picking a theme early and sticking to a color scheme is smart: Both will help guide and make all your decisions easier—from choosing invitations to décor and attire—and unify the look of your wedding. Note the colors of your venue, then think of your favorite hues. For our wed­ding, the dessert buffet was inspired by the colors of Ladurée in Paris, because Andy and I always loved going to the pâtisserie.

Hire a Videographer

"I wish I didn't have a video of my wedding," said no one ever. People often regret not having one. Your wedding is an out­-of­-body experience that goes by so fast. Everyone who is important to you is all in one place at one time; it's a rare moment. Not only will you be able to hear the toasts and watch the first dance later, but one day maybe your kids will, too.

Happy Ever After

Register! Even if you've been living together for eons and think you have everything, there's something you don't—and your loved ones want to fête you. Thanks to sites like Zola and Honeyfund, you can register for artwork, wine, charities, furniture, even a honeymoon.


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