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How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Hello my name is Bisli Vazquez and today we will be discussing how to plan a wedding. Skip to any part of the article as you need.

The Guest's List

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

When you have clarity on how many people you will be inviting, you will be able to put a tentative budget together. I said tentatively because, until you have the RSVP back, you will have a better idea of your budget. Make a guest list after the engagement celebrations.

Many brides run to try dresses on because they believe that this is the first thing on the agenda, but let me tell you that this is are wrong. Other people think it is the budget, but the first thing the engaged couples must do is concentrate on who they will invite to celebrate their special occasion.

Without the guest list, you wouldn’t be able to know how much your budget will be. Ladies, stop running to try dresses and start working on that guest’s list.

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Setting Your Budget

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

OK. Now that you have your guest list, it’s time to budget for each guest. If you do not have a wedding planner, then decide the formality of your celebrations: formal, semiformal, or informal.

Start with the service you want the most, and from there you can designate a per guest budget. You may dream of having your wedding in a mansion in Birgu or England, The Château d’Esclimont castle in France, a private island in Fiji, a high-end country club, a five-diamond hotel, or a prestigious venue.

You may aim to have the best food and beverages and have thousands of flowers. If this is your dream, you must know your budget will be the highest in the industry.

Related: Read more of my blogs to learn every minuscule intricacy of artistic nuisances there are in designing perfection.

Perhaps your vision is to have a lovely wedding in a five-star hotel, a fantastic local venue, or a tent with several flower chandeliers and white-glove service. You must know that your per head budget will be lower but still significant.

If you consider yourself a simple low-maintenance couple who loves BBQ and outdoor weddings in your backyard with no tent while enjoying beer and wine, then you must understand that your budget per guest will be the lowest of the three choices.

The number of guests will dictate the budget and how much you will be willing to pay for each guest to enjoy your celebration. Remember, the higher the attendees’ list is, the more money you will need. Be cautious if your budget is small. Don’t plan for an extravagant affair if you can not afford it because this is the beginning of a long love relationship.

Have A Vision For Your Wedding And Select A Date

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Every couple has a vision and whatever it is, you must select the wedding date to make it a reality because a dream without action is just that. To determine the day, you must make sure the ceremony and reception will occur on that same day.

Having the date set will help you plan your celebrations because now you are confident about when it will happen. When selecting the date, you must have several things in mind: holidays, large sporting events, parades, religious days, and conventions if you want to celebrate downtown.

Choosing the date is a family decision, or if the couple is not including their family, it is a decision of the engaged people. You must get together and start talking about the date and why it’s essential. Be open-minded if your date is unavailable during the busy wedding season. Sometimes it will be hard to have your wedding that day.

Purchase A Wedding Book

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Never The Mother of the Bride is my favorite book when planning a wedding, not because I am the author, but because the book has all the information needed to know what to do to plan your wedding.

I wrote from 30 years of experience planning million-dollar weddings myself. You can read part of the book HERE. It includes tips, advice and decor ideas.

I recommend you purchase it to help with clarity on what to do, how, and when. All the information I provide in my new book is written by a seasoned professional.

Click To Read Bisli's Book

A wedding book from an expert will help you because it is about real-life experiences that we have learned from each event. After all, each bride has a unique vision. For example, if the limousine is late, what do you do? If you are a newbie, you may panic.

Still, with experience you will have the limo company’s contact information and the driver’s cell phone to contact him directly and find out why they are running late.

With this information, you can update the guests waiting patiently for the bride to arrive. Having the driver’s cell and the company contact info is very important because if the driver doesn’t answer, you have the option of calling the office to make sure they talk to the driver.

Books are great because the author extracts this information from their experiences from the years they lived these moments. This book will help you know what to do, who to invite without hurting anybody’s feelings, putting your budget together, what services you will need, how to find and choose the vendors and much more information. You’ll also find great advice, tips, and decor ideas.

Find A Wedding Planner If You Need One

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Some people believe a wedding planner is a luxury, but I can tell you it’s not. It is a necessity if you don’t know what to do, or you don’t know where and when to start. Sometimes you do not have the right questions and often don’t even have the correct answers.

Let’s be clear, if you have the time and do your research, then you will be able to plan part of your wedding. With a knowledgeable wedding planner and great connections, it will be easy for you because you will have more time to take care of other essential things such as self-care.

Some brides forget about taking care of their overall health. They must know that loving themselves constructively and positively will help with being relaxed, and this will help them enjoy the planning process as well as the celebration.

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An experienced wedding planner will be able to solve any unexpected problem when it arrives. They can orchestrate the whole planning or part of it. Some brides enjoy doing some planning, and when they get stuck, they can call a wedding planner to take over.

If this happens, you will need to hire a partial service. If you need help from beginning to end, then you will need to hire a full-service wedding planner. Never hire the day of the wedding service because it will not work as you expect because a planner needs time to review all the contracts, talk to vendors, visit the venue, meet with you and more.

At this point they are not planning. They are coordinating what you already planned. A wedding planner is not your designer if they do not offer this service in-house. They are there to make sure everything goes as planned, on time, and stress-free for you.

Related: My blog how to select a bridal bouquet.

Here are five tips you need to know when looking for a wedding planner.

  1. Do your research: When you research, you gain knowledge. You will find out what planner will be ideal for your wedding.
  2. Book a consultation: Select three planners from your list and make an appointment with each one to learn more about them.
  3. Must be a listener: During the consultation, if the planner is all about her and does not listen to you, then it is time to go to the next appointment. If you could not talk, then imagine how the planning process will be.
  4. Knowledgeable: The planner should have the answers to all your questions. Therefore, listen carefully to their response. If the answer is not clear, ask them to explain it so you have clarity.
  5. Connection: An outstanding planner should have all the relationships you need, like with vendors. This is a major plus because, during the consultation, they will be able to give you the correct information on pricing and services from other vendors

Buy Wedding Bands

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Choosing the ring is one of the moments after the engagement when the couple must be clear about what ring they want and can afford. Remember that the wedding bands are part of your budget.

Therefore, you need to budget correctly. Make an appointment with a trusted jeweler. If you don’t know your size, then ask the jewelry store attendant to help you with the measurements so the rings fit right.

Make sure the price is within your budget. Don’t get too excited and choose a more expensive one because you may need to sacrifice something else to buy the rings.

When choosing the jewelry store that has outstanding customer service, make sure they listen. Make sure they are not pushing you to buy the wedding ring they want you to buy, instead of the one you dreamed of.

You must be happy with the choice of wedding bands you choose. Some couples love yellow gold, others like white gold, and others dream of having platinum rings. There are three important things to consider when selecting wedding bands.

  1. The type of metal: There are silver, gold, platinum, titanium, etc. Gold is the most popular for wedding rings.
  2. The diamond carat: Carat weight is significant because it helps determine a diamond’s price and reflects its rarity. 
  3. Clarity: The clarity of a diamond can significantly impact its price 
  4. The setting quality is paramount because it is passed down from generation to generation in many families. Therefore, This makes it extremely important for each stone to be set securely, so the rocks do not get loose and missed.

If you go for diamond wedding bands, make sure to ask for help choosing the right diamond ring. Did you know that you can buy the engagement and wedding rings together as a bridal set?

You can do this so they will match and the set will fit together seamlessly? If you still believe in etiquette, you should know that the groom or family of the groom buys the bride’s ring and the bride or family of the bride buys the groom’s wedding band.

If you are more of a modern independent couple, you can both share the expenses of the wedding bands. Some etiquette is acceptable because we live in a new era where you decide for yourself as long as you are happy. After all, that is important.

Related: My article the different types of flowers.

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Pick Wedding Ceremony Location

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

After writing your guest list, work on your budget and select the date. Now it is time to book the wedding ceremony location. It is so important because, without the ceremony venue, you won’t be able to book the reception location.

Let me explain to you why you must book the ceremony place first. If you are part of a religion and are an active member of that congregation, it may be easier for you to have a ceremony because they will do their best to accommodate you.

If you do not belong to any religious group and dream of getting married at a specific venue, you must act fast to see if you qualify to have your wedding in your dream church, temple, synagogue, or mosque.

Many wedding ceremonies are officiated at the reception, sometimes in a separate room or outdoor. It’s convenient for everybody because they do not have to drive to two different venues, but the room’s turnaround time will not be enough if the reception is in the same room.

When we, the professionals, don’t have the luxury of having time for details, many things can go wrong. Consider having your ceremony in a different location if both are in one area.

For some religions, it is acceptable to have the ceremony at home. Others allow the couple to play the officiant role in marrying each other. It makes everything more manageable because they can have a smaller guest list in their backyard.

Here are some ideas to have your ceremony in a romantic place with a limited number of guests.

  1. A Gazebo: If you decide to have a small ceremony, book a place with a gazebo. This location must include chairs to be cost-effective. 
  2. Arbor In The Wood: There is nothing more romantic than getting married surrounded by nature. Some of these places already have fairy lights hanging from trees’ branches. All you will need is flowers and chairs.
  3. A Yacht: You can rent a yacht. Buy a comfortable all-white outfit for the bride and groom; go to your favorite romantic hidden location and say “YES, I DO.”
  4. By A River: It is just romantic. Imagine being under the shadow of a large tree by a river, just the two of you and a few family members. You can have the most romantic ceremony this way. It will be even more romantic if you decide to do it during sunset.
  5. On A Rooftop: Imagine having your ceremony in such a romantic place. The view can be breathtaking. If you want to add more romance to it, wait until a constellation of stars and the moon are in their best splendor. Afterwards, seal the deal with a kiss under the stars and the moonlight. 
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Find A Venue For The Reception

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

A reception venue will not be hard to find because there are so many choices these days, but you need to act fast if there is a reception venue that you love. If you wait to book the reception closer to your wedding date, you may not have your dream location.

It would be best that you book your reception venue once you confirm the reservation of the ceremony location. The guest list determines the size of the reception space. Take into consideration an area for the food, if you have serving stations, and a dance floor space if you need one.

Consider the size and styles of the tables and chairs, the ceiling height, the existing lighting, the loading zone, and even the room decor if they have permanent or busy wall designs.

Related: My book, now on amazon, “Never The Mother Of The Bride” featuring David Tutera.

When you make appointments to visit the venues, you must be prepared with some good questions such as “how long will I have access to the venue?”. “How many hours are allowed to have the celebration?”. “Do you have a food tasting service available and how many people can have the tasting?”. “Is there a courtesy suite for the bride and groom.”

“Is there a get-ready room?”. “Is there enough parking for my guests?”. “When is the headcount deadline, and is this facility disabilities-friendly?”. These are just a few questions you should ask during your first consultation. Please do not wait until the week of the event to ask them these important questions because it may be too late.

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Visit at least three reception venues and make sure to ask any additional questions you may have. It is the right time to do it. Remember, location location location is super important to the vast majority of couples and especially your guests.

If your venue is remote, make sure there is a hotel nearby if the celebration is not in a hotel or resort. The celebration place must be accessible, so your guests don’t get lost and change their minds then decide to return home. This often happens when the location is hard to find.

Apply For A Marriage License

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Are you getting married in Texas and are ready to apply for a marriage license? Be ready because, from the time you apply until the wedding day, you will only have a 72-hour waiting period. This is mandatory in Texas.

This waiting period can be waived if you are in the armed forces, if the couple has completed a premarital education course, or by a judge. This varies by state and country. Call the courthouse to find out how long you need to wait to receive your marriage license so your marriage can be valid.

Suppose you are getting married in another state. In that case, the State of Texas marriage license may not be valid. To be 100% certain, contact the marriage license office in the state where you are having your ceremony and ask about the rules, restrictions, and regulations. Remember that your license will only be recorded in the county and state you applied to.

Let’s talk about price. When you are getting married, you must pay a fee for a marriage license. These fees are different depending on what state or country you are getting married in. Also, these fees sometimes vary county by county.

If you are not a resident of the county, the price may be higher and can impact your wallet. in Texas, this license can cost from $60 to $85 and a $100 fee is added on top of that if you are not a resident of Texas. In the United States, each state has a different price.

It can go as low as $10 to $115. Also, if you are not from that county or state, get ready to pay a higher fee. I am sure these prices will go up soon because the living costs are more higher.

Related: Our flower arrangement online courses. In both English and Spanish

Getting a license is not as complicated as you think. A marriage license in Texas is suitable for 90 days. The engaged couple must go to the courthouse with the following documents: birth certificate, government-issued photo ID, divorce or death decree if applicable, social security, and parent consent if you are underage.

Couples may apply at any County Clerk’s office in Texas. Please call your local department of marriage licenses to learn more about what you need so you are not rushing at the last minute or, even worst, obligated to change your wedding date.

A marriage certificate is issued once the license is signed and returned by an officiant to the county no more than 30 days after.

Hire An Officiant

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Officiants are a priority when choosing your wedding services. Once you book your ceremony and reception venue, it is time to hire the person who will marry you. Depending on the religion you are part of, it comes with the package most times.

Otherwise, you have the free will to contract an officiant’s service that can marry you outside any religion if that is your dream. You can choose to secure their services at least three months before your wedding day or earlier but do not wait until the last minute.

It could be a minister, a rabbi, or a priest. It’s basically anybody who holds the authority to marry two people according to the religion you follow. If you and your groom follow the same school of thought, church group, or religious sector, you will likely have to go to the place of worship to get married.

It would be suitable for couples seeking a traditional wedding ceremony to have a clergy member carry out the ritual as most traditional religious followers do not deviate from conventional ceremonies. It might be hard to find someone from the clergy if you have an interfaith wedding. However, having an interfaith ceremony is relatively high if you can find someone specializing in interreligious service to officiate your ceremony.

Create Your Wedding Registry

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

You are on the way of having to choose the gifts for your wedding, and you don’t know where to start and what to do. A bridal registry is the best way to select what you want. I remember when I used to work in a bridal registry.

I had so much fun helping the couple register for what they wanted. After we entered all their personal information, I gave them a scanner to scan their gift choices. The groom was the one that had the most fun with the scanner, and they called it a “gun.”

The groom wanted to scan something completely different from what the bride wanted, so we decided to add two scanners per couple. This is so they would enjoy the process more. After they finished, we uploaded all the information to their registry and gave them the registration number and the store info where they registered so they could send it to their guests.

Nowadays, it is easier because you’ll log in and choose your preferences for gifts electronically. First, you will need to create a registry, add everything you want to receive, manage your registry, then send this info to your guests and start receiving the gifts at home.

This is so you do not have to carry them from the reception to your home after the celebrations. Be considerate of your guests when registering your gifts.

When they plan to go to your wedding, they are involved in extra expenses to be with you, so don’t register for super expensive items. One of the most common things the couple will have in their selection will be fine china. Usually, they choose eight sets of five-piece place seating.

A five-piece place setting includes a dinner plate, saucer, teacup, bread and butter plate, and a salad plate or a soup bowl. If you have a dining table for ten, you will need ten sets of five—the same go for the flatware.

Create A Wedding Website

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

A wedding website will be beneficial because your guest will have all the information about the ceremony, reception, how you met, where to buy your desired gifts, and where to send them.

Some guests often don’t pay attention to the gifts registry, but the information on the website will remind them of what the couple wants for the big day. When you create a website, email the URL to your guests.

You can ask the bridesmaids to help with this. You can include the web information to save the date.

When creating the wedding website, make sure to personalize it. The couple seeking to create a wedding website can use the design on the invitation or a logo that represents them. Create a URL, include the RSVP page, and write a short story on how you met.

Post photos that show how you met and tell the viewers a love story. Include the bridal registry information. Include the wedding information even if you sent an invitation because sometimes the invitation may be lost in transit or be misplaced by the recipients. It is always a great read.

Find An Event Designer

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

An event designer will help you create the look and feel of your event, including the ceremony. Be prepared when meeting with the event designer to discuss the look and feel of your big day. For example, be prepared to talk about how you want the presentation of the dishes to look like and how the caterer should serve the food.

Talk about the table layout style and the mood you want to create with lighting. If linens are going to be used, then talk about the quality and color of the linens. Every detail is essential, so don’t forget the design, color, and texture of the napkins.

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If you use fresh flowers, discuss how you want the centerpieces to look, including the color, texture, size, and aroma. Talk about the design and colors of the drapes and the room decoration. Decide on the size, color and style of candles, the tabletop presentation and everything that has to do with the design of your event.

The event designer is not your decorator or your florist. It is the person in charge of the WOW factor, even if that person doesn’t do the manual labor. They should be the mastermind behind the transformation, making the client’s vision come to reality. He/she should be at the venue the day of the event to make sure everything goes as planned.

Decide On Your Decor, Theme, And Color Scheme

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Decide one decor that you enjoy the most. This step is crucial in the success of your wedding relative to how impressive the decor layout and design is. If you do not know where to start searching for what you enjoy the most, try to recall memories in your relationship that bring a smile to your face and choose a theme based on this.

Deciding upon a theme will greatly help you in this part of the journey. Your theme could be based on memories you and your future spouse have, like watching toy story or working as an astrologist. Once the theme is decided upon, you will have an easier time deciding on the decor you want. Remember, the best artists are inspired by others.

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So be sure to find great inspiration in the work of others. Doing a simple google image search on the best wedding decor and color schemes may bring enlightenment to you on this part of your wedding journey. I love the movie Avatar. One of my clients asked for that theme. This is how I brought it to her reception.

The linens were different shades of blue. I used green beaded weeping willow branches for The Tree of Souls. I used spray paint to add green to part of the dry phalaenopsis orchid roots, which I hung from the branches to mimic the floating islands.

I made the woodsprite (the seed of the Tree of Souls) by taking apart a plastic pin cushion, spraying them in silver, and attaching a small crystal to it to shine when the pin spot illuminated the tree. It was a hit. So make sure to get all the details of your theme to have it closer to your vision.

Book A Floral Designer

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

If you intend to have flowers and flower decor at your wedding, consider hiring a floral designer to assist you through this process. Rather than finding the right providers of flowers and coming up with designs for arrangements yourself, find a floral designer with a great imagination.

A floral designer will be able to help you with the information you need to pick the right flowers and choose suitable arrangements. You can find a floral designer online through a google search. Be sure to check pictures of their work and their reviews online.

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Whether you dream of having low and simple or tall and sophisticated luxury floral centerpieces, a knowledgeable floral designer will guide you in choosing the right design for your event. Any other kind of floral decor will also be well known in the hands of these experts.

A good time to book your floral designer is once you have secured your ceremony and reception venue because you will have the information needed during the consultation. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time guessing what can be done.

Find A Caterer And Pick The Food For Your Reception

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

This one is much fun, especially for the groom. It also can be overwhelming if you have a long list of caterers to meet with. Downsize the list to three, which will be the three you like the most.

Call and make an appointment after you research them by reading reviews and performing due diligence on their business history. The first consultation will be to listen to your plans and choose the food you like, and, if you are convinced that they are the one for you, you may sign the contract that same day.

After you choose the caterer, ask them when you can have the food tasting. Be aware that this is not the moment to bring an entourage. This is mainly for the bride and groom, and if the parents are paying for the wedding, they also can go and help you select the suitable dish.

If you don’t know the name of the food, then ask your caterer. Sometimes it can be chicken, but the name sounds sophisticated. Don’t be shy. Ask as many questions as you can now, and not on the day of the event.

Some couples ask for a tasting before committing to the service. Some caterers may tell you the tasting will happen when you have signed the contract and they are correct, or you can pay a small fee if you want to try the food before deciding who you will hire.

Insure Your Wedding

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

A wedding is anything but cheap. So in the same way you have insurance for a car, house, or jewelry, you will need one for your celebration. Having insurance will relax you because you are covered if you have a wedding outdoors and it rains.

If the cake falls or anything goes wrong, you can place a claim and get your money back. Look for event wedding liability insurance, wedding insurance, or ask the agent you use for other policies to see if they offer that service. Believe me, you will not regret this investment.

Some customers think that this is a waste of money until something happens, then they must go to court and pay more than the insurance cost. Be smart and consider this ahead of time to enjoy your celebration, knowing that if something goes wrong, you can get your money back after the event is over.

The cost of this Wedding liability insurance varies, but it starts at around $200. If you want to cover more, then you will likely pay more. At least $495.

Find A Photographer And Videographer

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Finding a photographer and videographer is much easier than it may feel. If you are looking to hire this talent, then be sure to know what you are looking for. Again, research the prospective photographer and/or videographer you are looking to hire.

Ensure they have the testimonials, preferably recent, necessary to back up their quality. This is done so you are more likely to hire a photographer/videographer who is not late with their work and maintains quality. 

Be sure to meet with multiple photographers and videographers and see examples of their best work. See what you like when looking at your favorite videos and photos. Request that the same techniques and methods be applied to your work.

Look at multiple works that you admire so that you may be inspired to add the effects and other techniques you liked the most in your videos and photos which you saw in the other videos and photos.

Once you have decided on the talent you would like to hire, book them for a specific date and make sure to give them the time they should arrive and the time they should leave. Be sure to schedule a date for when you should receive the finished final product of the videos and photos you wanted.

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Find A Dj/Band And Hire Music

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

When planning your wedding, it is important to take the time to find a quality Dj and/or band if a Dj/band is something you desire for your wedding. Your event will soar to new exciting heights with a DJ or band.

The first thing many guests will notice is your music as they walk into your reception. It sets a mood that is rarely, if ever, attained without music. If you want to put music at your event, it is essential to pick the songs you like to be played at your party.

Also, make sure that the performers you hire will know the songs your guests are likely to request. Check their testimonials and reviews before hiring them to ensure they are the Dj or band you are looking for to maximize quality and prevent mishaps such as tardiness or overlooked damaged equipment.

Make sure they are accessible on your event day in their schedule so they do not get confused or unorganized. Another thing to note is to be familiar with the sort of performance they offer.

Look at their videos and check out if they have the right equipment for the right sort of performance you are looking for. Hire a Dj who has a large variety of songs to choose from to create more variety on the night of your event.

Make sure any loose wires the Dj comes with are sealed down, for example, with some tape. Be aware whether or not the Dj is aware of the time he/she should be there and the time they should leave.

You can find Djs and bands online and through sites that specialize in connecting performers to potentials client.

Make A Playlist

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Be sure to make a playlist of songs you want to be played at your wedding event, reception, and any other events associated with your wedding. Pick songs that remind you of the good times you have had in your relationship and songs you have enjoyed throughout your life.

Remember, the guests at your wedding will be listening and dancing to this music so take your time to make a playlist that will make your event a party to remember.

Related: My blog how to make your own flower arrangement.

To assist you with this, consider the theme of your wedding. If you have a rustic theme then play some country music. To make your search easier, you can look up “most popular dance songs,” “most popular country songs,” or “most popular pop songs” on google.

You can use billboard top 100 or spotify to refine your search as well. At your wedding ceremony, you can choose classic songs such as “Wedding March” or “Canon in D.” The last thing you want is to have music played at your wedding that you disapproved. To prevent running out of songs to be played, make sure to choose an abundant amount of music your audience will enjoy.

Shop For Wedding Attire

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

The wedding dress is a unique dress worn on the wedding day. The color and style have a lot to do with their religious background and culture. It will be appropriate to include your tradition, culture, and religion when choosing the dress.

When shopping for your wedding dress, consider where you will have the ceremony. If the wedding is at a beach, the fabric should be lightweight and the dress design should not be ornated.

A sleeveless A-line dress will do it. If your wedding is indoors and formal, the attire should be proper for the event’s formality. The same guidelines apply to the guest’s clothing.

When meeting your designer, ask questions such as when I should place the order, how long it will take to be ready, are there any alteration fees required once I place the order, and what’s the cancellation policy? Now is the time to ask all the questions before committing to them.

The groom’s attire and groomsmen’s attire should be according to the wedding location, religion, and culture. If the wedding is outdoors, you must consider the weather and the formality of the wedding.

This goes for the groom, father, groomsmen, and guests. There are a variety of fabrics and styles for several cultures in weddings. Make sure to reserve enough time to go through every detail when ordering the wedding outfit.

Try on those that get your attention. When shopping for your wedding attires, make an appointment with your favorite designer or grooms’ wear store. It will be a good choice if the groom goes with his groomsmen to place the order.

Set Up Transportation

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Talk to your fiance to decide what type of transportation you will hire. You may only want a vehicle for the two of you, but what about the out-of-town guests?

You may find yourself responsible for providing your out-of-town guests with transportation from the airport to the hotel, the ceremony, reception site, back to the hotel, and the airport after the celebrations.

There are several methods of transportation below. I will give you a few examples.

  1. Limousines: This service is charged by the hour with a minimum of three hours most times. You can have the service waiting if you decide to leave earlier, but the fee will continue until you leave. This service offers a driver. Besides paying the hourly fee, The driver must receive a tip.
  2. Hotel shuttle bus: The hotel will provide this service to their guests from the airport and back to the airport. They also can drop you off and pick you back up, but this service is only available within a certain mile distance. Check with the hotel to make sure you have this service available.
  3. Luxury Motorhome: If you can afford a motorhome to be your way of transportation, it will be amazing because you will travel in style. You have a driver, restrooms, bedroom, furniture stoves, refrigerator, closets, and excellent air conditioning. If you are getting married in an area with no hotel, the motor home is ready for the couple to shower and rest after the celebration. It is fabulous transportation because you can also rent it for a week and go on your honeymoon. 
  4. Tourist Bus: This bus is great for transporting your guests from the hotel to the ceremony, reception, and back to their hotels. They can accommodate many guests, and they are clean and have an excellent air conditioning system.
  5. Party bus: This one is fun, it is illuminated, and you can have a party while going to the ceremony or reception. A driver is included.
  6. Rented cars: Some grooms have always dreamed of driving a luxury car. They are available for rent, but the groom or a friend must drive and return them to the rental car.
  7. Horse & Carriage This is romantic. Usually, this service is meant to pick up the couple after the reception. Before they get to the couple’s destination, they give them a ride around the area where they will be dropped off. You see this service more available downtown.
  8. Vintage Cars: There are many car clubs or vintage car collectors. Some of them rent their cars for special occasions. Here you get a driver because, to the collectors, these cars are priceless jewels.
  9. Luxury Car Service: Last is the luxury car in which you get a chauffeur included in the price with most services. These are a few of my favorite luxury cars: Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera, Range Rover, Maserati Quattroporte, Bentley Flying Spur, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, and Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Hire A Make-Up Artist

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

When in the process of planning your wedding, you may find it convenient to begin a search for a professional make-up artist. You will likely have a higher quality time with your make-up application with a make-up artist. It will leave you looking much more stunning when done by a professional. 

When searching for a make-up artist, it is important to have a vision of what you want. You can gather inspiration by searching make-up styles online, remembering styles from your favorite movies, and asking the make-up artists for make-up recommendations.

You can have your bridesmaid and other key figures in your wedding wear make-up from the professional you hired. 

Be sure to see the artist’s finished work, the one you want to hire, to assure quality control. You must schedule them ahead of time to prevent any confusion. Make sure they have many high-quality reviews so you can better discern if you made the right decision.

Be sure to ask questions like, “how long would this style take to apply to me on my wedding day?”. Ask if they can have a test application on you. This is so you can gather more information about the quality of their work, what will be needed, and the amount of time it will take.

Shop around while you enjoy pursuing finding a professional make-up artist with the proper due diligence.

Book The Hair Specialist

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Be sure to make time to hire a specialist to take care of your hair during the big days of your event. When choosing a hairdresser, be sure to read reviews wherever you can find them. You can find reviews on google, yahoo, angies list, etc.

With a good hair stylist your day will go much smoother. You will be more flexible on the options of hairstyles you have to choose from and other ways you can take care of your hair.

20 Hair Stylist

When looking to hire a great hair stylist, check how long they have been in business. See pictures of their work to ascertain if they have the skills you are looking for as a client. As with every vendor, see how friendly they are.

Make sure they know your vision so they dont come up with a new idea on your wedding day. A professional and knowledgeable hairdresser will consistently deliver your dream style.

An expert stylist will give you options and give advice for what style looks good with the dress you will be wearing. They will also give advice about hair styles relative to the form of your face. It’s a smart choice to hire a professional so that you feel comfortable and relax knowing that you are in trusted hands. 

Here are some tips to help you be yourself.

  1. Never experiment with a new style the same day. Try something new a month before your wedding day if you want to try something new.
  2. Don’t allow your best friend to do your hair if she doesn’t know the ins and outs of keeping your hair looking amazing throughout the event.
  3. If you always have a natural hair style look, do not make a dramatic transformation.
  4. There are many great hairdressers to choose from. Hire the hair stylist that always does your hair and makes you feel happy and beautiful because that person already knows your style and personality.
  5. Be confident that you will look your best.

Choose A Photobooth

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Perhaps you wanted to expand the entertainment at your event and decided to add a photobooth. Be sure to pick the right photobooth for your event. Photobooths are a fun and amusing way to entertain your guests while the party is going on.

Though very fun, they can take up space. Take your time when choosing a photobooth. Verify that it is functional. Pick a good location for your photobooth. Make sure it is not in the middle of where the heaviest traffic will be, but at the same time make sure your guests will notice it. 

Place it somewhere appealing and positioned so that it complements your decor. A good idea is to, as the bride or groom, announce that you are about to be the first to use the photobooth to build anticipation for other guests who want to use it.

Another way to spice up the night is to have the pictures taken from the photobooth fed to a larger screen where all the guests can see what is happening inside of the booth.

You will enjoy the laughter as people wonder what went through your guests head as they took these pictures. If you want to keep a copy of all the photos taken in the booth then be sure to pick a photobooth that will assist you with that by printing duplicates.

If you want to further personalize the expierence, then add a customized backdrop to the photobooth. With a backdrop your guests will feel more in touch with the bride and groom, depending on how personalized it is.

You can also add props like speech bubbles or masks. When searching for a provider of photobooths be sure to ask for pictures of their previous work.

Also, look at your prospective provider’s ratings for quality control. Be sure to schedule a time and date ahead of your event for when the photobooth is to be set up and taken away when the party is over.

Book Other Entertainment

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

There is a variety of entertainment to choose from for your celebration. You can be as unique as you want as long as it is suitable for all your guests or the majority. Do your research and choose the entertainment that will be more enjoyable.

The list below will give you some ideas.

  1. Caricaturist: I am sure your guests will love to have a caricaturist draw their face so they can take it home and hang it on their wall and smile every time they see it.
  2. Comedian: Who doesn’t like to have a good laugh? Having a great comedian will be an excellent way to offer access to your entertainment.
  3. Samba dancers: Have you seen the beautiful moves they make when dancing? It will invite your guests to go to the dance floor and try to make those moves.
  4. Pianist: Imagine listening to the piano playing while having dinner. There is nothing more romantic and relaxing than this. You can give the pianist a list of songs you want to play. Improv is also beautiful.
  5. Violinist: This master of the strings can transport you to the times of Beethoven or Mozart while your guests enter the grand ballroom.
  6. Cigar Roller: The gentlemen will enjoy having a cigar roller. They will enjoy seeing how their cigars are made and then smoking them.
  7. Magician: These experts always amaze me with their tricks that look so realistic. Imagine your guests trying to figure out how it happened. 
  8. Graffiti screen: Seeing graffiti on the walls of buildings and some trains is not fun, but having a graffiti screen at your event will be fun. You will experience the art of graffiti while enjoying the party.
  9. Fireworks: This old but good experience is always a great surprise for your guests, so do not forget to include a firework display in your entertainment list.
  10. Mariachi: Who said you have to be in Mexico to enjoy a fantastic mariachi group? Mariachi is a great way to start the celebrations. It is easy to find this service in some states, especially in Texas, California, and New Mexico.

Book Cake Artist

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

You can now choose from a variety of different designs of cakes. If you decide to have an intricately designed cake, booking a cake artist might be a priority for your wedding. A cake artist will be able to expand your options for cake styles.

Book a cake artist ahead of time, so they have the time to perfect the design you chose. Be sure to ask for photos of other weddings they have done. Some cake designs can go from $10,000 to $30,000, so shop around for the right person to make your cake. 

Know the right flavors you want in your cake ahead of time, such as vanilla or chocolate, so they know what to make for you. Ask them what kind of cakes flavors they can make, for example, red velvet cake or tres leches, so that they can mold your cake based on your preferences.

Do you want your cake to be with or without frosting? If so, which one? This information is essential when having a cake that will leave your guests wanting more. Once again, check reviews of your prospective cake providers for quality control of your cake. This is a very fun process so enjoy yourself when shopping around for the right cake providers.

Plan For Bachelor And Bachelorette Parties

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

This party is the opportunity to say goodbye to your single life and enjoy with your super closer friends before your I DO. Some of the most popular places to celebrate this occasion are Vegas, New York, Cancun, Montreal, Miami, Bangkok, Galveston, Paris, Austin, VienaCabo San Lucas, Rio de JaneiroMykonos, Bali, Panama, Hawaii, Costa Rica. Take these tips into consideration when celebrating.

  1. Plan ahead of time. Don’t improvise.
  2. Dress for the occasion depending on the place you will go.
  3. Book a small restaurant and enjoy a portion of delicious food while cracking jokes.
  4. Rent a motor home and go to the beach and spend the weekend.
  5. Go shopping at your favorite clothing store. It could be a great moment to spoil your bridal party with a thank you give.
  6. Rent a Yacht and celebrate under the sun.

Remember to plan ahead for these parties and double-check who can make it. Make sure the date is not too close to the ceremony or people may find themselves unprepared. Have fun with this enjoyable process.

Plan For Rehearsal

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

I believe it is time to eliminate the rehearsal because everybody has an idea that confuses the couple. Besides, not always all the members of the bridal party are present. Instead of rehearsing the couple, or the planner if they have one, should send a PDF with the information about the processional and recessional order.

They should explain when everybody is to walk down the aisle, and when, how, and where they will stand and the exit. Where pictures will be taken and how long, and what people will need to stay for photos.

I have worked with different cultures. Some don’t know what a rehearsal is, and they manage to walk down the aisle with grace. Those cultures that believe in often rehearsing, even if they rehearse the day of the wedding, will need the planner to tell them what to do during the event because many forget. The night prior, they were not focused on what was going on but thinking of the rehearsal dinner.

When you plan for the rehearsal, be aware that many bridal party members may be late or may not show up. Tell them to be there at least thirty minutes prior, if possible, so you start on time. Tell those going to the practice to let the planner or the designated person do their job.

Some people like to believe themselves to be the expert. The brides have the right to personalize their rehearsal, which is OK. During this occasion be focused and listen, so on the day of the wedding you will be relaxed and everything will go as planned.

Plan The Rehearsal Dinner

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Since the pandemic started, weddings days and sizes have changed. This means you can have your rehearsal any day before the wedding. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was hosted by the groom’s parents, but the etiquette has changed nowadays.

Couples today are more independent, so they host this event. Suppose the couple’s parents join forces and plan the rehearsal dinner; that will also be acceptable. I believe it is a great idea for the parents to do this, so they get to know each other more.

If you decide to have a breakfast wedding, the rehearsal dinner should not be too late. Remember, you will need to wake super earlier to get ready. Plan accordingly and choose the date and time that work for you.

This event can be formal or informal. The formality of the wedding will dictate the type of rehearsal dinner you will have. Your budget also plays an essential role in this decision. 

Here is what you need to plan your rehearsal dinner.

  1. Decide who will host it. If the groom’s parents are traditional, I am sure they will be the ones hosting it even if it is not decided who will host it.
  2. Please choose the color scheme. It can be different than the one from your wedding and reception.
  3. Your bridal party, parents, and out-of-town guests will be enough to celebrate this occasion. Decide who you are going to invite. You do not need to ask every guest going to the wedding to be in the rehearsal. You decide if it will be intimate or extravagant.
  4. Pick the time you will have the dinner. It is essential to select a time because the rehearsal sometimes takes more time, so consider this when booking the venue.
  5. Book a venue. Depending on the budget, you can rent a formal venue or celebrate in a restaurant.
  6. Thank your guests, bridal party, and parents for their support and attendance. If any of your guests want to toast you, having a microphone will be great.
  7. You can give the gifts to the bridal party and parents during the rehearsal dinner.
  8. Have fun but remember the big day is the next day and you want to look your best

Plan For Honeymoon

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

The honeymoon is a special occasion for the couple to bond. Choose a place where you can spend quality time and get to know each other better. Talk about what you enjoy and make sure you book the honeymoon that will make you both happy. Don’t rush, take your time to select your dream location because you will remember this day for the rest of your lives.

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There are so many ideas for honeymooners to pursue. I recommend going to a romantic resort with a private beach and butlers. Having your parents or friends go as well is not a good idea. It is your moment and you must use it wisely.

If you have children make sure you leave them with your parents. If you like to birdwatch, find a tropical paradise where you can enjoy the birds’ songs and beauty and discover new species. What about scuba diving? Book your honeymoon in a destination location that is well known for the experience they provide the couple during scuba diving.

Plan For The Wedding After-Party

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

It would be a great opportunity if you did not invite everyone on your list to the reception. This time around can be informal and relaxed. So plan to have your closest friends and family celebrate with you. It can be done at home, on a beach, on a farm, in a small venue, or your favorite place.

Your choice will depend on your budget and the kind of after-party you want. Make sure you enjoy your guests before you go on your honeymoon, or you can have this party after you return. Send the invites. It can be informal. A phone call, email, or text will be sufficient. After all, you are inviting the closest people to your heart.

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If your city does not have a late limit on consuming alcohol, you can invite your after-party guests to join you in a hotel suite or a more intimate venue. You may want a more relaxing moment after all the excitement of the wedding celebrations.

Maybe invite a few of your friends to a spa day, go to a stand-up comedy club, or have a movie party. Rent a motor home and go camping. Have a brunch, a picnic, or enjoy some outdoor games. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is not complicated because you want to enjoy every second of it.

Create A Wedding Reception Seating Chart

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

I prefer a seating chart over reserved seats. The guests often don’t like who they are sitting with or want to be at a table where there is somebody they know, and they will switch the cards. I have encountered that situation before where they take their card and go to another table.

They also move their chair to a table they want to be. The result is that instead of having the number of chairs the couple decided to have put at each table, there will be one or a few more.

A seating chart helps your guests to find their tables faster. When you create a seating chart, ensure that you are sitting at each table people that know each other or have something in common.

A setting chart helps your guests to find their table faster. The best way to add your guests per table is to have them in alphabetical order, starting with their last name, so there is no waste of time and the line goes faster.

Book Hotel Rooms

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Book hotel rooms ahead of time so that you have the time to do other things. Book your hotel rooms for your honeymoon, the day of the wedding, the reception, and any other days you will need the hotel room, like for parties days after the wedding.

Make sure you give the room number to any guests you want in your room. This can be a friend or the hair stylist, in case you want your hair done in your hotel room. 

If you need an extra hotel room for vendors, friends, or any other reason, then make sure to reserve them ahead of time. If you’re looking to minimize expenses, then book a hotel room ahead of time so you might get a discount.

Call months ahead of time to see if the hotel you are looking to stay in is running any promotions so you can benefit from not having to spend too much on hotel items. You can also find promotions on websites that specialize on matching clients with hotels like

Order Save The Date

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

You can make your save the date card and send it digitally, or you can order them from a stationery company specializing in this service and have professionally done wording done on your card. The stationary company must know the formality of your event.

Save the date is very helpful because the people you care to invite to celebrate with you will reserve that date to be with you and share your happiness. You can send the saved the day cards three to four months before the wedding date.

This is for local weddings. Send them at least six months prior to the wedding date for international guests. It is imperative to send them with enough time so your guests can plan accordingly to attend your wedding.

What do you write on a save the date card? The bride and groom’s name, the city, and state or country where this event is happening, the date it is happening, and let your guests know the formal invitation to follow so they will be on the lookout for it.

You can also add the URL of your wedding website so they can visit your website for any extra information, read about you, and look for updates. This card can be made with formal wording or informal, especially if the newly engaged are young. Many young couples don’t like too much formality. They are very practical, which is excellent.

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Make Or Order The Stationary

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Knowing the formality of your event is very helpful when ordering your stationery for the celebration. The formal invitation and the response cards are what you will need. Still, if you do not have a URL, you may want to buy the engagement announcement, save the date, and other inserts that can go with the formal invitation.

If you have moved, this can be a new address, or p.o. box if you don’t want the gift to be mailed to your home. You can include other cards in the formal invitation card’s envelope, like a map, accommodation, guests information, Itinerary, etc.

As I mentioned before, if you have a wedding URL, the only insert you will need is the response card which some guests ignore. It will be your responsibility or of your wedding planner to follow up with those response cards that are missing to respond when you receive the responses. Don’t forget to include the dress code in your formal invitation wording.

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If you decide to make your invitation, save the date and RSVP. Make sure you have some etiquette knowledge on how the wording should be depending on the formality of your event. Do your research, so you don’t make any mistakes when making your stationaries.

All the numbers are spelled out for formal invitations except for the building number in the address. The zip code is to go on the envelope for mailing purposes only.

If your event is informal, you can have a personalized, fun introduction. Also, have the date and time in short numbers and your first names, itineraries, and venues. You can also add the dress code at the bottom of your card.

Send Invitations

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

I always think it is better early than late, so send your invitational at least two months before the wedding for local guests. If you are sending invites overseas, do it three months prior. Remember, your guests are already expecting the formal card. If you sent the save the date card, the heads up is that the formal invitation is next. Don’t forget to follow up to see if they received it.

Do not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to send the invite. Some of your guests may think you changed your mind and decided not to have them. To save time, ask your stationery specialist to address the envelope. Some also offer a mailing service, so you do not have to worry about it.

If you decide to book this service, make sure you have the mailing confirmation so you can relax and don’t think about the worst. Hire a local company that is responsible and caring, so when you give them the names and mailing addresses, it is spelled correctly. This is also so the invitations get to their destination.

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Book The Food And Beverage Testing

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

To make an appointment for the tasting:

  1. Call the contact person managing your event because they have the details of your event.
  2. Be on time because you do not want to compromise the flavor of the food. They may have other clients to meet with, so don’t be late. Don’t be rude thinking “they have to wait for me because I pay them.”. If you are too late, you may lose the appointment. There may be a do-over and maybe not.
  3. Do not take everybody you want for the tasting because they offer a limited quantity. It is important to tell your contact person who you are going with, and the caterer may say yes because there is no other choice or tell you how many are allowed to do the tasting.

I want to tell you to be aware that when you have the food tasting, the caterer will prepare a small portion. On the day of the event, the food will be prepared for many people. So the taste may be a bit off, but a great chef will consistently deliver that unbeatable flavor.

The flavor that made you choose them. Who does not like this moment? You get to be spoiled by different mouth-watering dishes. Remember to ask how many people are allowed to the tasting. If you have a wedding planner, that person must be there to make sure you get what was selected.

Plan Bridal Shower

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

Planning bridal showers is too much fun, and the Maid or Matron of Honor will be responsible for planning this intimate event. You can choose a different color or theme for the bridal shower. It’s preferable to have this event during the weekend. The bridal shower can be elaborate or simple. You can choose whether to have a dress code or not.

You can have it indoors, outdoors, in a garden, or by the swimming pool, but make sure it is a private pool. You don’t want uninvited people to think they are at a hotel event for their guests. So if you are planning to have it in a hotel swimming pool area, remember this is a public area for the hotel’s guests.

Ask the hotel to put a few signs stating that it is a private party. Ensure the bridal shower is not too close to the wedding or too far from it. Plan to have this party at least three months before your wedding day so you are not overwhelmed by all the planning for the main celebration.

Write Wedding Vows

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

The vow is so personal because it comes from the couple’s hearts. The most beautiful and sincere vows are not copied from somebody else or inspired by your best friend’s wedding but those you take your time to extract from your heart and memories. When writing your vows, be in a quiet relaxing place.

If you have an opportunity, drive to your favorite spot because all those beautiful feelings within you will come out by themselves. All you need to do is write everything down on your mobile phone or use the old-fashioned pen and paper if you are more romantic. You can write everything in your wedding journal.

Start writing how romantic it was when you had your first date or how nervous you felt when you asked her out. Talk about the happiness you experienced all these times you were together. It was beautiful to hold hands and walk, listening to the birds singing, or feel the waves while walking barefoot on the beach holding hands.

Dig deeply into your feelings. If you have a love journal, it can inspire you to write your vows. Don’t stress out because it is all about your love and happiness. Good luck with the writing of your vows.

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Make A Timeline

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

You must write a ceremony timeline and send it to the key vendors and others involved in the wedding party. Don’t forget to include the parents. A timeline is nothing more than a schedule of what will happen that day, including the time everybody must be there.

This includes the couple. If you do not have a planner, make sure you get all the information needed from the church coordinator. Do not assume you know everything because there are rules, and you must follow them.

The timeline will start with you getting ready, getting your hair and make-up done, and making sure your make-up artist and hairstylist have all the details of where to go and the time they must be there. Allow at least two hours and a half for these services.

If you are to get ready at home and want your bridesmaids to be with you, schedule their time with the make-up artist and hairstylist. Each one should take about one hour to ninety minutes to get done.

Next in the timeline will be transportation to the ceremony and all the details that go with the ceremony. The timeline will show how and when you want things to happen. Talk to your planner if you’re going to modify the timeline, don’t wait until the event’s day. It can be stressful.

Make A Schedule Of Events For Workers

How To Plan A Wedding | 30 Year Planner

It will be a great idea to make a timeline for your vendors to get to the venue on time and finish before the guests arrive. The day of the event is very chaotic if there is not enough time to set up. There are so many vendors, and each one has a lot of details to take care of. A timeline or schedule will help have everything done perfectly and on time.

The couple will often book a venue and will not consider the many hours needed to have the job done. Suppose you need to pay for more hours, so there is no rush. This will be a smart idea if needed. It is essential to have open communication with your planner or your direct contact at the venue to know you ahead of time.

Ask your services provider an estimated time to set up and know that if you use linens, that will be the first vendor to arrive. The decorator or designer follows this. Once the linens are done, the centerpieces must go on the tables and other details.

Sometimes there is more than one ceremony at the church the day of your wedding, and, if you have a detailed decoration, there may not be enough time to complete it. Find out how many ceremonies will be where you are having your wedding ceremony.

When it comes to the timeline for the reception, you must consider many things, such as how many vendors you have and how much time each one needs. Talk to the person working your event to find out about having more time for setup. Sometimes venues allow vendors to set up the day prior or earlier in the morning on the day of the event if they do not have anything happening.

About Me

I am the CEO of an event service firm, Bisli Event Services LLC. I am also a published author of my book “Never The Mother Of The Bride”. With an introduction by the world-famous David Tutera, star of the hit show My Fair Wedding on WE Tv.

I also am the author of multiple floral arrangement decor courses online. I’ve been featured on platinum weddings, Top Chef on Bravo, Platinum Weddings on WETV, CNN, CNN Latino, MTV Latino, San Antonio weddings magazine, kens5, and the knot. 

I have been a Wedding planner, floral designer, event designer, speaker, and Luxury celebrations coach for almost three decades. I also have done events for celebrities such as Barak Obama.

Thank you for checking out my blog. I know you will enjoy your event much more filling your time up educating yourself on the various topics surrounding event design. We have even more content for you to enjoy and learn even more tips about event design and decor.

My office is located in San Antonio Texas. If you have questions about booking please contact me at We offer event planning and decor services.

Best of luck to you in your event decor and planning endeavors. See you on the next blog.

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