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Best tips for a great wedding experience

Sponsored Content: Sage advice from WNY wedding pros

A WNY wedding venue: Knox Farm

Knox Farm photos by The Black Birds Photography


Experience is everything, and if you’ve never planned a wedding before, it’s challenging to feel confident about finalizing key elements and creating the day you and your betrothed desire. We spoke with three area wedding experts to gather their best tips for a great wedding experience.


Katie Ambrose

Co-owner of Groom Service, a downtown salon specializing in bridal services that provides professional makeup and hair styling for over one hundred brides and bridal parties every year. (groomservicebeautybar.com)


Book a trial run with your makeup artist/hairstylist, as many times as you need, until you feel comfortable with your final look, even if it costs extra.


• Start a private Pinterest board with makeup and hair looks that you love. Share it with the makeup artist/hair stylist at your trial.


 Show your stylist a photo of your wedding dress at your trial so they can create a hairstyle that complements its neckline and corresponds with the genre (e.g., bohemian, classic, etc.).


• Have your makeup artist/hairstylist take photos of your face and hair in natural light on your phone after the trial so you can view them later. Get shots both from far away and then zoom in on your eyes.


• Pay for at least fifty percent of your beauty services when you book them, preferably a year to six months before your wedding date and make final payment a few days/weeks before your wedding so that you’re not doing a stressful financial transaction in your wedding dress on your wedding day or while you’re trying to relax on your honeymoon.


Another view of Knox Farm


Larkinville is a popular wedding venue

Photo by Jen Ayres


Colin Gordon

Gifted photographer with a penchant for weddings. His recent shoot of local model Caralyn Mirand’s wedding has been tapped for publication by Martha Stewart’s blog. (colingordonphotography.com)


• You do you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. If you want a lavish extravaganza, do it! If you want to elope at City Hall, do it! Just make sure that whatever you plan, it is authentically your own.


 Schedule some downtime in your day-of timeline. You’ll love the chance to take a breather and relax!


• Find a quality photographer that you identify with and whose work you love. Their photos are the only tangible thing that you’ll take away from the day.


 Have a backup photo location in case the weather isn’t cooperating. This is WNY, after all, and it could be snowing for your May wedding!


• Remember why you are doing this in the first place. Planning a wedding can be like a full-time job and it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important.


Another popular wedding venue: Hotel Lafayette

Photo by Lindsay Dedario


Syrie Roman

Operator of Social Maven, a company that consults, plans, designs, and produces weddings and receptions for dozens of couples each season. (socialmavenbuffalo.com)


 Determine a realistic budget. It’s normal to have no idea how much a wedding costs and it can come as a surprise. That amount will be your starting point; from there, you’ll allocate smaller budgets into each category of service. Starting early will give you the best chance to pick from the best vendors for your budget.


• Hire a professional. A wedding professional can assist you with making the most of your budget as well as reducing the stress of planning and managing the wedding. Know that there is a distinct difference between a planner, coordinator, and designer. Some companies offer hybrid combinations of all three services. (We do!)


• Vet your vendors! Ask a lot of questions and require at least three recommendations from past clients. Any professional will not mind this at all and will most likely have this readily available. Do not trust online reviews. Make sure you speak with other people who have hired the vendor.


• Be practical and flexible. Sometimes your ideal photographer or florist might be outside of your budget or booked. Look for comparable vendors that have the same style and might be available.


• Remember the journey is as special as the destination. Get things done in a timely fashion and you won’t have to stress too much; involve your significant other and share the decision making responsibilities. Share details with your family and friends—or don’t if their reactions will cause you stress. Planning an important day should be full of happy memories, not stress-induced panic.


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