A Wedding Planner on Cookie-Cutter Weddings (Rather, How to Avoid One)

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bride groom wedding confetti frans hulet 423717 unsplash
Photo: Courtesy of Frans Hulet

“I may have planned lots of weddings before… but I’ve never planned yours,” are the words that greet brides-to-be when they first meet with Tania Kreindler, founder of My Dubai Wedding.

The wedding planner walked away from a 17-year career in travel publishing to pursue her dream job – making wedding dreams a reality – and is now the definitive choice if a fresh and original approach to wedding planning is priority number one. Feeling jaded by rustic weddings rife with burlap napkins and string lights, so over seeing cake toppers of a bride dragging her groom, and tired of posing with props like mustaches and top hats in photo booths, we turned to Kreindler to talk cookie-cutter weddings – rather, how not to host one. Here’s what she had to say.

Theme

“The theme is a reflection of the bride and groom’s characters and their journey to getting married, with a light drizzle of Pinterest inspiration. We’ve seen a lot of interest in unusual themes this year, like concrete with oversized concrete-poured table numbers or intergalactic themes with the rise of Ultra Violet [Pantone’s Color of the Year 2018]. To avoid a cookie-cutter wedding, allow your planner to get inspired by all your Pinterest pins but take that vision to a place you haven’t considered.”

purple wedding musiccitytents
Photo: Courtesy of @MusicCityTents

Invitations

“Wedding invitations aren’t merely informative; they’re a glimpse into what to expect at the wedding. The invitations should be created once the theme of the wedding has been determined so that guests are invited on a journey. Every stationery and decorative element should be discussed within the different design houses – from the invitations to the table numbers, drinks and food menus to any other signage throughout the day.

Creating a logo for the bride and groom adds an element that communicates across the entire wedding. Whether the logo is an ornate crest or a simple monogram, it’s guaranteed to have guests talking when they spot it engraved on the base of a table number, placed as a wax seal on the invitation envelope, or made into the cake topper.”

wedding logo stamp stationery
Photo: Courtesy of @PaperKnots

Venue

“Dubai has an abundance of hotels with beautiful grounds and spectacular views. For something different, we love to take weddings into the desert, with a sunset across imposing sand dunes. Saying your vows under a star-lit sky away from the city will always be the epitome of romance.”

setup of desert wedding bespokenforweddings
Photo: Courtesy of @BespokenForWeddings

Flowers

“Elevated floral arrangements are trending in 2018. The beauty of using a hollow structure is that guests can converse across the table without having a huge obstruction in between them. This is also a great way to utilize hanging space for flowers and a table number. It’s a feast for the eyes and looks elegant and grand.”

Flower Canopy wedding reception area close up
Photo: Courtesy of Bridal Musings

Food

“Creating a memorable menu is no small feat! It should be unique, impressive, meaningful, and still collectively appealing. It should also be a narrative of the couple, their personalities, what they love, or even how they met. One of our couples met in Morocco, so they wanted the main dish at their wedding to be one they’ve never seen in a restaurant outside of the remote city where they met, but elicits wonderful memories for them both. It was the perfect celebration of their journey. Avoiding the ubiquitous braised beef or mushroom risotto is imperative, because guests love to be able to choose what they eat.”

Photo: Courtesy of @WeddingHelperUK

Wedding Cake

“Naked drip cakes are very popular right now, as are marble cakes with delicate additions of edible gold leaf. We’ve also had several brides enquire about black wedding cakes, which we are excited to include in weddings later this year. For fondant-iced cakes, a calligrapher can scribe a beautiful quote on the cake itself, which is a great way to personalize one of the tiers.”

black wedding cake with gold leaf nouba_blog
Photo: Courtesy of @Nouba_Blog

Décor

“In the spirit of interactivity, a confetti bar is a wonderful addition to the early part of a wedding. Direct guests to it when they arrive, so they can mix their own combinations. We add a special touch to our clients’ confetti with heart-shaped die cuts of the bride and groom’s favorite book. Thankfully, we are yet to be told their favorites are War and Peace or Shantaram!

Be adventurous with the seating plan; if you’re going with a travel-related theme, use luggage tags to tell your guests where they’re sitting or work with a calligrapher on an oversized mirror. The backdrop for the photo booth doesn’t have to be a flower wall – think huge foliage with angel wings or a neon sign. A personalized table runner made with love letters to and from the couple can be a tremendous addition to the table setting. Customization is key.”

Confetti Bar love our wedding
Photo: Courtesy of Love Our Wedding

Photography

“Documentary-style photography remains the most popular because the best moments are often the ones that no one is posing for, like the bride winking or the groom adjusting his collar. Ask your photographer to capture the unexpected. Unplanned moments, like the little flower girl sitting down halfway through the aisle, make for the best memories.”

groom tie candid wedding photography morgan mcdonald unsplash
Photo: Courtesy of Morgan McDonald

Entertainment

“One of the most popular entertainment factors we arrange are magicians, who entertain guests from every generation during the wedding breakfast or cocktail reception. A favorite trick is when the magician joins the bride and groom’s rings – a feast for the eyes! A saxophonist, whether performing during the first dance or when the DJ lets loose, adds a whole new dimension to the music. Both belly and ballet dancers are also all-time favorites.

If you’re willing to splurge and permits are not an issue, then fireworks are the way to go – they will always wow your guests. To tone that idea down just a little, a sparkler arch can be created for the bride and groom to walk through to signify the beginning of dinner or the cutting of the cake.”

wedding sparklers andreas ronningen 29698 unsplash
Photo: Courtesy of Andreas Ronningen

Wedding Favors

“Gone are the days when sugared almonds in an organza bag were considered acceptable! Depending on the wedding, we match the favors to its theme. For a succulent-inspired wedding, we pot a cactus and include a personalized planter with the name of the guest, so that it doubles as a place card. If you want to end the wedding on a sweet note, opt for a miniature version of the wedding cake or a box of macarons that match the wedding color palette.”

succulent wedding favor pinefloraco
Photo: Courtesy of @PineFloraCo
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