From hiring an "attire concierge" to properly vetting prospective photographers, Coyne offers her best insider tips for pulling off an unforgettable day
Planning a wedding can be a daunting — and often stressful — experience for many couples. There are countless decisions to be made and details to be managed in order to pull off a picture-perfect day.
For 15 years, California-based wedding planner Emily Coyne, founder of Emily Coyne Events, has helped overwhelmed brides and grooms execute their dream weddings — and she's learned a lot of savvy tips and tricks along the way. Coyne tells PEOPLE it's her job to not just say "yes" to clients' every wish but expertly guide them through the process to help them avoid common mistakes and missteps.
Here, Coyne shares her biggest wedding planning secrets — some of these might surprise you.
Don't Hire a Photographer Without Requesting Examples of Full Wedding Galleries
Naturally, photographers show off their best work on their websites and social media. To really assess their skills, Coyne suggests asking prospective photographers to see full galleries of weddings they've shot. That way, she says, "you can see how they perform throughout the entire day, across different lighting situations."
"It's not hard to showcase 20 great images from a wedding, but do you like the vast majority of the 1,000-plus images in a full gallery?" she explains.
You Can Skip Having a Wedding Party
Assembling and coordinating a wedding party comes with its own lengthy to-do list, from managing outfits to scheduling ceremony rehearsals. And sometimes, it can even spark awkward situations when a friend or loved one isn't given a role.
To avoid the added stress, Coyne says it's okay to nix the wedding party altogether — yes, really! "You certainly don't need to do it," she notes. "Your closest friends can still get ready with you, drink mimosas and participate in photos, but you're welcome to skip having a formal bridal party."
Don't Blow Your Budget by Overspending on Your Venue
Coyne says this is one of the biggest wedding mistakes she sees brides and grooms make. "Too often, couples sign a venue contract before hiring a wedding planner, and don’t realize they’ve committed themselves to allocating a higher percentage of their budget than they should have on the site fee and food and beverage."
This leads to either overspending or having to skimp on other details of the event. "No more than 25% to 35% of the total wedding budget should be spent on the venue and catering, unless your venue is a unique situation where other elements are included such as rentals, lighting and music," Coyne advises.
When it comes to the venue, she also says it's important to make sure you have booked sufficient setup time, especially as everything tends to take longer than anticipated. "Venues, particularly resorts, hotels and museums, generally allow very limited setup time. They’ll try to tell you that it’s done all the time, but the reality is that the shorter the time frame, the more your vendors — rental companies, florists and the like — will charge due to extra staffing," Coyne explains. "Additionally, your vision may simply not be possible."
Consider Hiring an Onsite 'Attire Concierge'
Though Coyne notes that the service is a somewhat new trend, she insists it's a must-have. A seamstress or tailor can attend to the bride's wedding gown and veil, prep the wedding party members' outfits, make sure everyone's attire looks perfect in photos, sew buttons, repair tears, steam out wrinkles, and handle any other fashion emergencies that crop up.
"Trust us, these happen at every wedding!" she says of wardrobe snafus.
Schedule Your First Dance for Just After Your Grand Entrance
Coyne says the first dance sets the tone for the evening ahead — and gets the party started. "It’s a perfect way to channel the crowd’s energy from your grand entrance and send it right to the dance floor. Plus, you haven’t wrinkled your dress yet!" she explains.
Another first dance tip? Take some lessons before the big day. "Your first dance is an incredible opportunity to wow your guests with a few planned moves, and the photos will be fantastic."
Forgo the Popular Tradition of a Champagne Toast
From Coyne's experience, toasting with a bit of bubbly is a big waste of money. "Dozens of bottles worth of champagne or sparkling wine will end up poured down the drain when you order a glass for all of your guests. Sure, they will have a sip, and a handful of people will drink the full glass, but by this point in the evening most guests will have moved on to other beverages," she explains.
Her advice is to let guests raise a glass with their drink of choice and put that champagne toast money to use elsewhere in the wedding budget.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.