Table set for wedding reception outdoors
Credit: Paul Viant RF/Getty Images

Every wedding is a unique event that’s tailored to the couple’s preferences. And while there is no exact formula for success, there are still things to keep in mind if you want your big day to be a memorable one for both you and your guests. We asked long-time wedding producer, Allison Aronne of Fête New York, to give us the lowdown on the five things all great weddings have in common.

Authentic - Brian Dorsey Studios.jpg
Credit: A Fête Event, Photographer: Brian Dorsey Studios

1. Authenticity
“Weddings are a unique opportunity for couples to share the things they love with the most important people around them. So I think that ever detail from a couple’s wedding needs to make sense to them and the authenticity of it needs to be a common thread throughout,” says Aronne.

So don’t be afraid to put your own spin on your wedding (it is your wedding after all) even if it’s not something you would normally see suggested in magazines or on Pinterest. And speaking of Pinterest, don’t overdo it. It’s a great place for inspiration but draw the line at that.

“People fall into a little bit a hole where they are looking at images on Pinterest all day long,” explains Aronne. To truly bring the authenticity factor up, look less on social media and more into your own life as a couple to draw inspiration from it—your lifestyle, your trips, and your hobbies are a good starting point.

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Credit: A Fête Event, Photographer: Brian Dorsey Studios

2. Décor
“Many brides fall into this tunnel-vision trap that they think it’s all about the flowers. The flowers are one factor of many,” says Aronne. Having beautiful floral centerpieces on your wedding is great, but it’s not the only way to set a celebratory mood.

Nothing can transform your reception venue quite like lighting, for example. It has a romantic effect and can make the place feel magical. And there so many options to choose from: candles are great for indoor weddings, and lanterns would transform your outdoor celebration into a fairy tale.

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Credit: A Fête Event, Photographer: Konrad Brattke

Your wedding should really appeal to all five senses so think about the presentation of your food as well. Of course, having tasty dishes is essential, but work with your caterer on the way they are presented. All elements from your wedding should complement each other.

3. Music.
“From ceremony, to cocktails, to dinner and dancing, music is the soundtrack of your wedding. Make sure it’s great and share music that touches you,” explains Aronne. “It’s about finding what you love and where you can inject it appropriately while still keeping your guests happy and entertained at the same time.”

A former client of hers was really into New Orleans jazz music, for example. But since it wasn’t appropriate to have that kind of music play the whole night, Aronne hired a jazz band that showed up at the end of the reception and accompanied the guests to the after-party location. “It was super fun. And that’s how they injected something they like into the wedding,” she says.

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Credit: A Fête Event, Photographer: Maike Schulz

4. Service.
“It’s all about the hospitality. People usually complain that there are a lot of lines at weddings,” explains Aronne. Service is not something couples often think about when planning a wedding but it is an important component of a great celebration. Talk to your caterer about it in advance. Waiting for ten minutes to get a drink at the bar can ruin the experience for some of your guests. Instead, have someone walk around and pass drinks for a few minutes at the beginning of your cocktail.

5. Keep your guests engaged.

“Weddings can start off great, but if timing is too drawn out and nothing changes, things tend to lose steam,” says Aronne. This is where having a well-planned wedding program comes into play. Talk to everyone who is giving a speech at your ceremony beforehand and ask him/her to keep it short.

Work with your planner to create a program that is not going to bore your guests. “Sticking to that schedule and making sure you are injecting different surprises is really important to keep everyone engaged,” says Aronne.