There are a million little details that go into a wedding, and as a Master Bridal Consultant, Brigid Horne-Nestor knows how to give each one the attention it deserves. Her company, i-do Weddings & Events, helps anywhere from 28 to 35 couples a year tie the knot. Horne-Nestor and her team can handle every detail (right down to the RSVPs), step in to coordinate the big day only, or offer brides just about any service level in-between. She gave us some tips for successfully navigating the planning process.
CW: Where does a bride start?
BH-N: The biggest three things that need to happen in the beginning are setting a budget, determining a guest list, and coming up with the priorities. Have a frank discussion with your groom-to-be about, “How much do we have to spend?” Because it can quickly snowball out of control if you don’t set a limit.
CW: Why is the guest list so important?
BH-N: Sometimes it’s the guest list that determines that budget. If you have 180 people, you might have to scale back what you’re going to do in terms of venue and food and beverage. The fewer guests you have, the more you can spend per guest.
CW: How can brides keep the guest list in check?
BH-N: Concentrate on the people you would invite to your home for dinner. Who would you send a Christmas card or birthday card? The list is a lot smaller than most people would imagine. There are a lot of people who feel obligated to invite everybody at work or every person who’s ever invited them to a wedding. We really try to help people understand that there really is not that obligation. Focus on the people who matter to you now.
CW: What do you mean when you recommend that brides choose priorities?
BH-N: Pick three areas where you want to spend the budget. In a lot of cases, we hear things like live band, open bar, and my dress. If you know ahead of time where you want to spend the bulk of the money, you’re able to make better choices about, “Do I need fancy centerpieces or could I do something less elaborate? Because I’d rather have the live band or I’d rather have the full open bar.”
CW: Any advice about vendors and vendor contracts?
BH-N: I really believe that most people who do weddings are good-hearted people. They do weddings because they love it and they love working with brides. It’s just that sometimes they over promise and under deliver. And the way you keep that in check, I think, is with very specific terms of a contract.
CW: What’s the best way to make the day more special?
BH-N: If you were to ask nine out of 10 guests what they ate a week after a wedding, they might not be able to tell you, but they could certainly tell you if it was a fun party. People remember how much fun they had and how they felt being in the company of the other guests. And they notice things like, “Did the bride and groom look like they loved each other?”