As a Longtime Wedding Editor, Here’s the Advice I Gave My Bride-to-Be Sister

My sister Anna established her wedding design directive—“al fresco, Italianate garden party meets Southern flair”—early on. She didn’t need my help in that department. But given that I got married in the same locations 11 years prior and have interviewed countless couples in my roles as weddings editor and the founder of Over The Moon, I couldn’t help but provide a bit of practical guidance as Anna embarked on her wedding journey.

My first piece of sage wisdom (if I do say so myself) was around choosing the right planner. When I got married in 2010, the wedding industry hadn’t yet been so influenced by Pinterest boards and Instagram inspiration—and obviously, back then, the pandemic was not a factor. Today there are so many moving parts and COVID protocols to keep track of. With social media, it can feel like a struggle to come up with an original idea when seemingly everything under the sun has been seen and done. All of the above makes finding the right planner pivotal. You want someone who understands your references, and who you can speak with in a shorthand, I advised my sister. Luckily, she listened.

For her wedding in Charleston, I recommended Augusta Cole, a planner who works frequently in both New York and the Lowcountry. Cole and her team know that the pandemic means every event needs to have a plan B and a plan C, but she can also create a layered tablescape that really speaks to the couple getting married—and if you need her to stay within a budget, she can do it all without breaking the bank.

My second piece of advice? Hire a photographer you want to spend time with. You need someone who you feel comfortable around and can trust. (Lucy Cuneo was a shoe-in for this. With her easy sense of humor and low-key but professional demeanor, she was just right for the job. She was supported by Joseph Rogero, whose details shots are so special and hard flash photos at the end of the night are always so fun.) I also told my sister to do a shot list and plan her portraits. A beautiful bridal portrait that feels timeless and elegant is something you’ll cherish forever, so don’t leave the setup to chance. Great photos require scouting, so pick your spot, move furniture ahead of time if necessary, talk to your photographer about the lighting, and allow plenty of time ahead of the ceremony to get that shot. Unlike a birth plan, which often gets thrown out the window once you’re at the hospital, a shot list can be referenced throughout the night.

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