Wedding Planner Elizabeth Brandon on How to Take Your Venue from Great to “Oh WOW!”

Our “Secrets from a Wedding Planner” series reaches out to our favorite wedding planners across the country to answer your TOP questions. Whether they’re a seasoned veteran or an up-and-coming star, every wedding planner is hand-picked by us for their expertise and all-around awesomeness. Have a question you want to see added to this list? Contact us!

Name: Elizabeth Brandon

Company: WINK! Weddings

What do you think is THE most important area for a couple to allocate their budget towards and why?

This is such a tricky question, and one we hear often from couples. You only get to do this day once, so naturally you want it to look like a million bucks! But few couples care to just casually drop a Kim & Kanye size check on the party of a lifetime. Likewise, every couple’s priorities are so different. To one pair, florals might be the TOP of the list, but to another they might consider not having any flowers at all! I recommend thinking five to ten years down the road, and imagine yourself looking back at your wedding day. What do you find yourself reminiscing about? Maybe it was the amazing food or the stunning leather bound album that now sits on your coffee table. Or perhaps you watch your wedding video snuggled together on the couch all misty eyed. Whatever sticks out for you, that’s your point of pride and the thing that deserves that extra budget love.

best wedding planners

The lovely ladies of WINK! Photo by The Vondys

What do you think couples can save on?

You can save by playing to your strengths and natural talents. Are you that bride that always has the most perfect penmanship? Find a local calligrapher and take a workshop with a few of your maids! Not only is this a fun activity with your girls, but you will leave with the tools you need to address your own envelopes or escort cards! Or, maybe you learn before you try that you should definitely hire a pro, which saves you plenty of time and frustration!

What’s the easiest way for a couple to transform a plain wedding venue?

Lighting, lighting, lighting! Naturally, you will want amazing design elements for your big day. But lighting can take any design or space from great to “Oh WOW!” If you’re looking to keep it simple, stick with warm uplights and wall washes. Spice things up with a pretty pattern wash on the dance floor. If you’re feeling extra fancy and love vintage charm, Edison bulbs can bring in romantic lighting while keeping things fun, funky and approachable.

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Photo by Rob Greer

For couples unable to hire a full-service planner, what’s the one piece of wedding planning advice you would share with them if you could?

At the very least, hire a pro for the final month. You deserve to bask in the glow and excitement of your wedding month and nothing can ruin that like having to try and figure out the schedule for ten vendors all on your own while also trying to help Aunt Marion book her hotel room. Hire someone you trust to take the reigns and make sure everything is on track, on time and looking perfect!

Besides Pinterest (something we’re all obsessed with), what’s your favorite wedding resource?

Instagram has become our recent obsession. It’s a great platform to keep fresh inspiration at your fingertips on the daily. Follow your favorite planners, designers, florists and photographers. Even if you can’t use them all, they will continue to influence your style, drive your imagination and show you new things you never thought of! Likewise, keep your eyes on Periscope! This rising social media star is going to explode with visual inspiration, wedding hacks and DIYs that will have you trying your hand at almost everything!

Favorite wedding venue(s) you’ve worked at?

There are SO many amazing places and spaces all over the world. We try to keep our designs fresh, fun, and new, meaning we are always exploring, seeking new venues. We love spaces with multiple locations on site, like Rancho Dos Pueblos in Goleta, California. If you’re Ohio bound, do yourself a favor a wander over to The Rural Society in Mount Vernon. As of course, no view beats that of Malibu Rocky Oaks in sunny SoCal!

WINK! Weddings is a full service planning and design firm based in California. Founded in 2012, WINK! has planned many a smashing bash! But don’t let the state line stop you! We are travelers in our bones and will go to the ends of the earth for the right client.

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