Placid Planning

The stresses of planning the modern wedding may have the happy couple so  frazzled, they feel tempted to walk off a cliff, rather than down the aisle, which could explain the continued popularity of Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination.

Stresses and strains aside, global events have many couples choosing to stay closer to home for those first days or weeks of wedded bliss. Destinations that can be reached by automobile offer alternatives that manage costs, as well as security concerns. The drivable honeymoon may be attractive here because our region boasts two of the most enduring destinations, both of which rank in the top ten of domestic honeymoon destinations.

On the best days, planning your wedding can be incredibly rewarding. but on the worst days, it can be chaotic, trying—nightmarish, even. it doesn’t have to be that way. staying focused, organized and calm can help slay your inner bridezilla. these local event planners deal with stress and manage to put together beautiful weddings every day. Steal their secrets.

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Casey Kieffer & Leanne Silicato Affeldt
Make My Day Event Planning
Lewes, 422-9774

Can’t live without: a time line. The duo calls their 20-page behemoth their Bible. It can require hours to put together, but it keeps everyone—including bridesmaids, vendors and family—on time. “It makes everything a lot smoother on the actual day,” Kieffer says. “It helps keep us on track.” Don’t be afraid to make your own. It should include everything from what time hair and makeup should start, to when you walk down the aisle, to when to cut the cake. And be sure to include a little bit of Just In Case time. It seems like no event goes according to schedule all the time, and if yours doesn’t, you’ll have room for error—just in case. After you organize everything, make sure your vendors have a copy. One of the most important people to give the time line to is your disc jockey or band leader. Since this person serves as a master of ceremonies, he or she needs to know when everything should happen.  

Stays calm by: having fun. The two, who have been friends since childhood, blow off steam every year with an annual New York city shopping trip. Be sure to make your own time to relax, or else you’ll wind up too anxious to have fun on your big day. Don’t feel bad about taking time to relax. Get a massage. Go out with your bridesmaids. Have a drink with your fiancé. Whatever you do, have fun.

Shavonne White
T. Alexander Events
Hockessin, 295-1084

Can’t live without: her laptop. “It has all of my information on it,” she says. “It helps to be able to get online, and if I’m stuck somewhere, like at the airport, I can work on a guest list.”  Even brides who don’t like lugging a laptop around can borrow White’s organizational technique. By keeping your vendors’ contact information, guest list and planning details together and easily accessible, you can make the most of unexpected downtime. You can store it in a laptop, or carry a three-ring binder. If you go the Trapper Keeper route you lose some of the cool factor, but you don’t have to worry about car thieves going after your Dell while you run an errand. Either way, you’ll thank yourself for being so organized.

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Stays calm by: keeping her clients happy. “If you know you’re doing a good job, then you can deal with [the stress.]” Keep the Zen going at your wedding by reminding yourself that everything is put together well, and that even if something small goes wrong, it won’t ruin the day. And after all, if something doesn’t work out the way you planned, you’re probably the only who’ll notice it.

Cindy Campanella
Occasions by G.B. at Your Service
Centreville and Rehoboth Beach
(888) 942-7587

Can’t live without: a contact list. Campanella has a number for every vendor and important person in the wedding. That list ends up in the hands of everyone on it. That way if any bumps come up along the way, everyone can reach who they’re looking for. “You want the bride, the groom and whoever is involved in the process to understand that everything is under control,” she says. If you’re going to do the same for your wedding, be sure to include cell numbers, office numbers and email addresses. Everyone seems to have a different means of communication, so the more ways to reach someone, the better. Do be careful about giving out home numbers. There aren’t many reasons the florist will need to reach your grandmother in Lewes.

Stays calm by: anticipating problems and having a plan in place. Every event is susceptible to a minor issues. But Campanella fights the inevitable by having a plan of action for just about every possible flare up. “If you don’t have multiple backup plans, then you’re not always properly prepared,” she says. If you’re worried about feeling the heat on your big day, have a few Plan Bs in place. Have someone available who can pick up a forgotten shoe or cummerbund. Allot extra time to allow for late vendors. If your backups don’t get used, great. But if they do, you can relax knowing that you’ve already taken steps to address the problem.

Samantha Diedrick
The Secretariat
Wilmington, 654-4479

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Can’t live without: an emergency bag. Diedrick is equipped with all of the things needed to prevent a crisis. That includes a sewing kit, Band-Aids, bottled water, antacids and spray deodorant, among many, many other things. Borrow the technique by packing your own. Be sure to have other goodies like hair spray, tampons, white chalk to cover stains and black markers to hide scuff marks on shoes. Even old beauty standbys can play a new role in a bridal emergency. Lotion helps pull hosiery up smoothly. Baby wipes remove makeup, but they also de-lint a black lapel. And hair spray keeps a ’do in place, as well as removes red wine stains.

Stays calm by: being attached at the hip to her phone. Her flip phone is so much a part of who she is, she even dresses it with designer clips to coordinate with her outfit. “I have about 10 of them,” she says. “I get comments on them all the time.” That connectivity has saved many a panicked guest from having to call a stressed bride for directions. Diedrick sends all the guests her cell number along with details on the church and reception locations. “That way, we have the guests who get lost calling us, not the bride and groom,” she says. Use Diedrick’s great idea by delegating to your wedding planner, if you have one, or a responsible bridesmaid.

Borrow Ideas From the Best to Preserve Your Sanity

• Create a detailed timeline for your wedding day
• Anticipate any problems and have backup plans
• Create a contact list of all vendors and important people in your wedding
• Keep organized information with you always to use down time wisely
• Prepare an emergency bag to prevent any crisis
• Delegate a contact person for panicked guests or vendors

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