What is Too Soon?

As a wedding and event planner, I get a lot of questions. Which I love, so keep them coming!!  But, out of all the questions I get, there is one frequent questions regarding the couple’s wedding services and how far in advance they should be booked. While there will be some unpredictable circumstances, like a certain venue is booked out very far in advance or a certain DJ,  you cannot book too early, but could be way late!

Here’s a guide that works for most weddings, traditional, and non traditional alike:

Venue: First thing is first, book the venue near the beginning of your wedding planning, at least 9-12 months before the wedding date, if not sooner! This is the easier vendor to start your planning considering it will help you know what kind of vendors you can have, the guest list, etc.

Wedding Transportation: Remember how important it will be too get from point A to point B. You will want reliable transportation on your wedding day, so book a good service about six months ahead of time.

Wedding Planner or Day Of Coordinator: If you’re working with a Full Service Wedding Planner, you’ll want to hire her near the onset of your planning to maximize the use of her expertise. For day-of coordinators Wedding Planners, you can generally wait until 6-8 months before the wedding. She won’t be working very intensely with you until about one month before the wedding, but she should still be available to answer questions leading up to that time.

Officiant: If you’re not getting married in your place of worship, you’ll want to hire an independent officiant or if you have a choice at your place of worship like I did, some may be busier than other.  Begin screening candidates about 9-12 months before the wedding and try to work out an in-person meeting if possible to discuss the ceremony style and vow options as well as if there are insured via venue contracts.

Photography/Videography: This will depend a bit on the popularity of your wedding date, but most photographers and videographers recommend hiring them at least 12 months before the wedding…18 months if you can manage it because they will most likely be able to help with engagement shoots as well as alter to your likely and figure out the best places to shoot for you big day
Wedding Stationery: Save the Dates can be ordered shortly after you book the venue and secure the time and date and have the photo you’d like to use (if you choose to use a photo; I know I didnt for my save the dates)! You’ll want to order your wedding invitations about six months before the wedding to give people time to re plan because well, save the dates can get misplaced!

Florist: You should brainstorm what kind of décor you’ll need, however its never too early to start thinking about the types of flowers you want for budget reasons as well as look!  It’s also helpful to know the number of wedding attendants and approximate number of guests who will be attending so you have an idea of personal floral and centerpiece numbers. With this in mind, hire your florist about 7 months before the big day.

Musician(s) or DJ: If there’s a particular musician, DJ, or band that you want to hire, you should try to book them 9-12 months before the wedding. If you are like me and use a DJ or DJ company, you can usually wait to about 6-9 months ahead of time, but make sure the DJ is the type of DJ you’re interested in having so my personally opinion is meet them first!

Cake Maker: Some venues will have your wedding cake built into your catering package that comes with the venue or might have preferred vendors. If not, I suggest you schedule some tastings and grab your baker about 8 months before your big day.

Stylist: I recommend booking your hair and makeup stylist 9-8 months before the wedding. It’s a good idea to book a trial run of your hair and makeup beforehand to ensure you and the stylist are on the same page. Speak up if you do not like something!!

If you have a question about a service, please let me know!!

xo, Dayna J

Did Someone Say Gifts?

It’s hard to go wrong with a party full of desserts, cocktails, your favorite people gifts on gifts on gifts, so it makes perfect sense that pre-wedding showers are as popular and BIG! However it costs more than you think to be a bridesmaid, so if you’re planning a friend’s shower, do yourself a favor and keep the budget small

Here are some of my best tips for a great shower~

Throw a shower for the couple!

They already are in it to win it together, right? My husband and I are only children so we LOVE doing things together and it’s basically like an extended engagement party with gifts (did i mention brides love the gifts). You will have your bachelorette/ bachelor parties for the separate vibe!

Interactive Showers!

Some showers have turned more hands on, and Im not just talking about engagement ring cookie decorating either. 2019 is about thinking outside the box: virtual wine tasting, cocktail mixing, and more. Think about hosting a crafting shower and teach a flower-arranging lesson; guests can take their bouquets home as favors. No one really needs the little soaps or shoe-shaped paper weights often given out as prizes at bridal showers.

Save on Stationary!

A bridal shower is not a formal event, so it is more than acceptable to send an email invitation ! Choose a stylish option from a source such as Paperless Post to give the feel of a chic party without the cost of real stationery and postage (because stamps are inanely expensive during the wedding planning process)

Make It Yourself

Half the fun of showering the bride and groom-to-be is eating! Everyone feels loved with food, so make your favorite dishes, have your aunt decorate the cake, tell the guests you’re making it a potluck style shower- whatever you choose, you’ll save a ton on service and catering fees!

Classical or Predictable?

Symmetrical bridal parties? Garter tossing? Creamy letterpress invitations and programs? Cake to the face? Standard wedding traditions aren’t for everyone, myself included.  For example, a toast can be given on any type of alcohol, so skip the extra glassware on your table for champagne and let people lift up their beverage of choosing. You’ll save on both cost and space. Stand out with these fun wedding tweaks.


Let’s be honest, most recaps are different now,  for example,  digital photo albums for instant sharing because not everyone wants to open and flip through a huge book. Try a different idea for you guest book as well! My husband and I decided to go with a globe because our family and friends make our love and world go ’round–cute right!?


Surely you’ve seen four-legged ring bearers or flower pups by now—but have you seen doggie-biscuit open bars? Bring your pup along (it’s basically your child after all) and encourage others to do the same. The more puppy guests, the merrier.


Some  cities have other sweet alternatives, but for the most part traditional wedding cakes have become rather dated and stale. Did someone say say doughnut wall?


Families and BFFs know no gender—whoever is most important in your life should be up there to share in the moment, so embrace a mixed squad of groomswomen and bridesmen on both sides of the aisle.


There’s no need insanely expensive and fancy floral centerpieces. Runners, altars and boutonnieres comprised of minimalist greens are economical, on-trend and totally stunning in their simplicity. This was my favorite thing about our tables for the reception! Plus minimal cleanup.


if the Myspace Top 8 thing still haunts you, have no fear, just stand solo!  Maybe you’d rather your bridal party members contribute to the ceremony in other sweet ways; you can always acknowledge special people by seating them in the front row or giving them a shout-out in the program.


I heard you went to a wedding with a fancy Harley to ride the bride and groom into the night, so what are you going to do for the send-off? Sparklers are a staple, and fireworks can cost an actual gazillion dollars (plus be a nightmare for the venue…and those puppies we mentioned before). Instead, perhaps have guests light up the sky with paper lanterns! Guest can even write wishes inside for the happy couple.

Just a few ideas to set you apart and to have your night be one for the books…or globe.

Social Paparazzi: Let’s Talk Unplugged Weddings

Does anyone remember the episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody when the famous star his having a wedding at the Tipton and Cody spends the entire episode trying to get the perfect shot of the first kiss? Trespassing, causing commotion, and granted, that is children’s TV, but its not that far off from now; people LOVE getting the perfect shot of YOUR big day for THEIR social media.

The quality of built-in cameras in cell/mobile phones and the immediacy and capacity to share photos on social media have changed everything. These changes have meant that most people now have the ability to take photos or video and share them for the world to see in a matter of seconds. Think about it brides and grooms, you spend usually around a year planning for the perfect day and paying a photographer to capture all your moments; do you want your guests fiddling on their phones and cameras while you and your new spouse say your vows? No. absolutely not.

MY top three benefits to having an unplugged wedding are:
1. Your guests will pay attention and be present
2. Your professional photos won’t be compromised (nothing worse than trying to get a photo of the bride coming down the aisle with uncle John standing in the frame trying to get a nice snapshot)
3. Every guests’ privacy, including yours, is respected. Some people love posting everything that happens in their lives online and others avoid it at all costs.( If you want to get practical, when a guest takes a group photo at a private wedding they are assuming that everyone in the shot is okay with it being publicized, which may not always be the case…stay alert and warn your guests)
Now, you see why I love the idea of an unplugged wedding, so how to we warn our guests of our big plans??
1. Let your guests know ahead of time via your invitations (but never ON the invitation. You can use an insert in the envelope or alternatively, add the notification to your wedding website).
2. Have a cute sign made! My husband and I did this and it was such a highlight but also showed that we mean business.
3. Hire a day of coordinator (or nominate a diplomatic friend or two) to help encourage other guests to put their phone/camera away! As a DOC, I feel like it is so important to remind people that this is a once and a lifetime event- let’s pay attention!

For more tips on how to have the best unplugged wedding, visit or visit our Facebook page!

Registry Wish

Can we just admit that traditional wedding registries can be repetitive and boring? Majority of young people move out on their own before they tie the knot or even think about moving in with a partner, concluding most already have plates, furniture and blenders. I had most of my wedding dreamed up by the age of thirteen  and I didn’t think about fancy lunch to go containers, a ninja bullet and monogrammed hand towels. What I love about weddings nowadays is there are so many practical options available. Instead of registering for nicer versions of items you already own, why not get creative and register for what you and your significant other actually want? Honeymoon funds, cash gifts, and charitable donations are becoming more and more popular each year, and it’s important that the wedding registry gurus keep up. Try an idea like:

Your Adult Dreamhouse!
People, weddings and homes are expensive and most couples try to bundle these two chapters into one big celebration in life! Perhaps you’re using your savings on the wedding instead of a house, or couldn’t even have your dream wedding because you just bought a house.  In either event, setting up a house registry fund is a great, practical option where if you set up the registry correctly, guests can see what exactly they’re paying for!!

Your Honeymoon! 
My husband and I joke that 75% of our relationship is spent in the car because we are always traveling (and who doesn’t love to travel). Online registries like Honeyfund make it easy for guests to contribute. If the whole “asking-for-money” thing makes you uncomfortable, set up the registry so that guests can pay for experiences and excursions or any extra service they’d like.

Your Choice Charity!
What better way to celebrate values such as selflessness, kindness and love than to participate in a charity registry for your big day? It’s a great way to add a individual touch to your wedding day by asking guests to donate to a good charity or cause. For more established couples, the charity registry might be the perfect option. Maybe you aren’t as established, but still feel this is a better alternative, check out  The Knot which will donate to the charity of your choice every time a guest purchases an item through your The Knot website!

When you realize the importance of wedding websites and wedding apps for staying organized and connected through the wedding planning process, it’s even more important than ever that registries are easy to use and intuitively designed — for couples and guests, so here is a list of my favorites:

1. Zola

2. Target

3. Tendr

3. Amazon

4. Blueprint Registry

5. Macy’s

6. Bed, Bath & Beyond

with love and passion,

xo- Dayna J