Wedding advice

The task: Tell five of your best tips for planning a wedding. The experts: Two recent brides, Jana Hilj and Stephanie Rohr

The task: Tell five of your best tips for planning a wedding. The experts: Two recent brides, Jana Hilj and Stephanie Rohr


1. Choose a theme This advice came from my best friend. When I first started thinking about colors, favors, etc., I was going in circles. There were so many things that I liked, there was no way I could narrow it down. My friend suggested picking a theme. Marco (my fiancé/now husband) suggested a Venetian theme, since we got engaged in Venice. From there, it seemed to all fall into place.

2. Use your resources Think about your talent pool in family and friends. For example, my brother is a graphic designer, so he made our wedding invitations. My cousin is a wedding photographer in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and she was able to shoot the wedding. My mom is a natural designer by nature and has an eye for things — from dresses and colors to how to decorate the reception hall. Marco’s godfather is a florist and did the bouquets. The list goes on and on.

3. Your wedding should reflect your personalities Remember… this is your wedding. If you want to play Pearl Jam for after-dinner music, DO IT! If you have a color in mind that you really like but it is not necessarily the favorite of others… it is OK! You would be surprised how many people will tell you not to do things because they are not the norm, but once you do it, they are shocked at how good things turned out.

4. Have fun Your guests will mirror your actions. If you are a laid-back person, your guests will more than likely be laid back. If you are fun and upbeat, your guests will be. If you want to have a dance-till-you drop reception…THEN YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND NEED TO BE DANCING!!

5. Don’t let the stress get to you Trust me, at some point, you have will have stress! Just recognize it, deal with it, and move on. Don’t let it consume you and take away from your engagement. The wedding is about you and your fiancé starting your new lives together. Don’t get caught up in the wedding “drama” and let it take away from the excitement. For me, planning the wedding was for the most part stress-free because of all of the help that I had!


1. Go with the flow On the day of the wedding, don’t stress if everything is not going exactly as planned. You are the only one who knows how it should be. Your guests will not know the difference.

2. Plan extra time Send out your invitations two months in advance and put your RSVP date three weeks before the wedding. Typically your final count is due a week ahead of time, and this will allow you two weeks to make phone calls if necessary… and it usually is necessary.

3. Choose a good photographer The wedding goes by so quickly and memories fade over time. The pictures will serve as your visual memories. They also give you something to look forward to after the wedding.

4. Do something different Instead of wedding favors that may end up in someone’s junk drawer, donate the money you would spend to one of your favorite charities. Go a step further — have your DJ announce it, and donate all the money earned from your dollar dance as well! This way you can help a very good cause.

5. Have fun Don’t worry if your dress gets a little dirty during your outdoor photos. After all, are you really ever going to wear it again? Get the fun pictures. You will enjoy looking at those for years to come.