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Ask the Expert – Q&A with Houston Wedding Planner Two Be Wed

With all the woes of wedding planning ahead of you, the process can be overwhelming to say the least. Natalie Dawley of Two Be Wed is coming to the rescue with all the advice on planning a cohesive wedding look that’s uniquely “you.” Read on for tips on creating a wedding “blueprint,” ways to ensure those special moments happen amongst the rush, the best ways to personalize your decor, and more!

Photo // Nancy Aidee Photography

What is the best way to achieve a cohesive look throughout a wedding?

Create a blueprint that will map out the details for every aspect of the event before you attend any of your major appointments. Creating a wedding is similar to building a house – you wouldn’t design and build your kitchen without planning how it will flow into your living room. You don’t want to select your linens or flowers without having given any thought as to how your stationery will coordinate. Every detail should be considered before any decisions are made.

Before we make any design decisions we take our clients on a #colorexperiment. During this process the client selects fabric swatches of colors, patterns, and textures they are attracted to. Even if the couple has a specific color palette in mind, we encourage them to go through this process with an open mind and include anything that catches their eye.

This is a very revealing process and once we begin laying everything out it is common for a bride to include a brand new color not previously considered, or maybe even remove a color that clearly doesn’t work with the overall vision. We build off of the colors by including other textures such as china, paper goods, flatware, vases and containers to show how color and texture comes in many more forms than fabric.

From here we are able to create a digital design board that is used as a blueprint to build the wedding. The design board covers every detail including attire, stationery, floral and decor, linens and lighting, fixtures and furniture, signage and stations, cuisine and cake, and entertainment for the guests.

It is so fun to incorporate a pattern on a cake that was also used on the invitation or to create an interactive escort card display, but in order to plan those special moments you must look at every aspect of the design, in advance. The design board will guide the couple and the vendors in appointments, making their time together more collaborative and efficient. The blueprint not only lays out the vision it will keep you from making impulsive decisions.

What is your number one piece of advice for couples preparing for their big day?

Planning a wedding can be stressful, to say the least. There are many fun parts to planning and also tedious aspects about the process. Deciding on a budget and allocating funds can be complicated, especially if your priorities are different. The key is to discuss each other’s top three priorities (ie: decor, food, music, open bar, band vs. DJ, guest list, etc..) and see where you align.

Creating a guest list that is both practical and inclusive can be tough, and though people will continue to tell you “it’s YOUR day,” there will be times where outside opinions come flooding in that it feels like nothing further from the truth. There will be times when you feel you have to accommodate your parents, your future in-laws, the guests who are traveling from out of town, all the while trying to plan a wedding that you are excited about and proud of.  Stay true to your vision and to one another.

Prioritize your partner and their opinion – at the end of the day it is the two of you who should be on the same page. Communicate when you need help, support or a listening ear. Don’t be afraid to ask a neutral third party (like your wedding planner!) to step in and help diffuse a situation.

Enjoy the journey of engagement. The wedding is merely the celebration of something much greater happening between two people. Relish in the fun aspects of the planning process and delegate the tasks and elements of the wedding that require expertise from a professional. Don’t DIY unless you’re 100% confident in your ability to pull it off. Our experience tells us that DIY projects add extra pressure on the couple. Lastly, remind yourself that while it may be stressful, the end result of being married and celebrating with all your loved ones is totally worth it.

The day will fly by, so try your best to enjoy every moment. Stay close to each other during the reception, even if that means you need to hold hands or escape to the dance floor. Loved ones will want to catch up on life and pull you to the side for photos. You have permission to excuse yourself at any point to find your significant other.

We love planning a private toast for our couples during the night where they can look upon their reception and soak in the details and their guests celebrating. After months and months spent planning it would be unfortunate to miss the experience because you didn’t have a moment’s time to reflect. Some couples will tell you they had no idea what the reception even looked like until they saw the photos because they were too busy to ever take it all in. Share that special moment with your spouse – it may be your favorite of the night!


Share your favorite ways to personalize a wedding.

The personal touches are what your guests are going to take note of and remember at the end of the day. If there is something specific like a pastime, hobby or tradition the bride and groom share they should consider ways to include it. We had a couple whose favorite date night was visiting new coffee houses so at the end of the night they sent guests home with samples of their favorite coffee beans with a personalized label and note.

Disposable items such as cocktail napkins, escort cards, table numbers, photo booth props, dance floor loot, and favors can usually be customized at a minimal cost and have a big impact on your wedding experience.

Our favorite thing to do with our clients is designing custom bespoke items that can be used in the couple’s home after the wedding. We’ve commissioned custom pillows, monogrammed napkins, specialty cake table linens and artwork that hold a special place in their hearts and homes for years to come. These goods serve as a beautiful reminder of the wedding day.

What should a couple consider when selecting their venue?

Selecting a venue can be like purchasing a home – you may not find a place that checks off everything on your wishlist so it is important to know your priorities. There are certainly practical aspects that every couple needs to consider. It is crucial that couples know their guest count before touring venues. It is very challenging to rectify a situation where a venue is simply too small to handle the amount of guests attending. The guest count is also important in terms of budget. Some venues break down their pricing per guest. You may only be able to afford a certain venue if you have a limited guest count. Location is another important aspect to think about. If your ceremony is at a separate location you should consider the distance and travel time between venues. You may need to consider transportation for your guests if the distance is considerable.

Determine what is important to you. If the design and decor of your wedding is a priority, then seek out a venue that coordinates well with your vision. If industrial chic is your look you should steer clear of classic ballrooms. If you have your heart set on a big live band and a robust dance floor you should consider venues with room for a large stage or even a stage already built in to save money. If you envision including outdoor activities but want the safety net of an indoor wedding, find a venue with a courtyard or terrace that can be used for cocktail hour. If for any reason, you have inclement weather you can transition back to the indoor space.

Pay attention to the ambience of the venue. For a more intimate reception you may be open to a venue with lower ceilings and dimmer lighting, but if you know you want a big party atmosphere with oversized floral and decor you may need a venue with vaulted ceilings. Ask yourself what is most important to you on your wedding day and how you want your party to look, feel and flow, and determine if the venues you’re considering will enhance and achieve that vision.

What wedding trends do you foresee in 2019?

Extending color palettes to include metallic and iridescent accents pair well with acrylic décor and metal furniture. Couples are not bound to seasonal colors – they’re finding new ways to use shades that are typically labeled “fall” or “spring.” It is totally acceptable to see a deep merlot bridal bouquet in the spring or pops of brighter colors in the fall as long as mixed in with other hues that are complementary to the space and overall aesthetic.

Another fun color trend is selecting a variety of shades of one color to create an ombré effect. This look goes well with different style bridesmaids dresses and loose and natural bouquets, each varying in color and shape.

We expect to see more creative thought given to the ceremony. Traditionally, a majority of the design efforts have been focused on the reception. Couples are getting more creative with seating, some opting for a ceremony in the round instead of forward facing seating. Even lounge and cocktail furniture with overlapping rugs can create a more inviting environment.

Innovation with altars is on the rise, and couples are creating an artistic statement for their ceremony.  Designing elaborate backdrops and artful structures for the ceremony that can be repurposed for the reception is a cost effective investment. Of course, this only works if both events are taking place in the same location. A floral structure used for nuptials can be transformed into a backdrop for selfies for the guests or a key location for the cake.

Any additional tips you have for a couple planning their big day?

Hire a wedding planner! In the modern age of Pinterest, YouTube tutorials and endless online resources it is very tempting to try and tackle this day on your own. Having access to all of these resources has actually made wedding planning more complicated than ever before because there is lack of experience and expertise to fill in the gaps.

A wedding planner is more than an investment. A planner is like having insurance that your special day will be better than you imagined with the least amount of stress on you! No amount of resources can compete with years of experience and first-hand knowledge. Every major purchase in life – a car, home, wedding ring – needs insurance. Your wedding day is a major investment and it needs the same protection. Make sure you have a professional that ensures your day is planned and executed flawlessly.

Special thanks to Natalie for sharing her advice with us today! To get in touch with Two Be Wed, you can directly message the team via their Brides of Houston profile here.