Expert wedding planning tips for 2011

May 9, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Look for unique wedding ideas to make your big day truly special. Karen Bussen, celebrity wedding planner and David’s Bridal style council member, provides some fabulous wedding planning tips for 2011.

Vintage wedding cake with handmade cake topper

Hottest wedding trends for 2011


2011 is so exciting in weddings; color is the first trend we're spotting. More than ever, couples are using color as a way of expressing their style. With bold combinations like cobalt and orange, hot pink and steel grey, and adding metallics for a bit of glamour, there's no need to feel restricted by the traditional wedding decor hues. Even when it comes to the dress, many brides are opting to wear a gown that sports decorative details of color.


DIY projects are hot on the to do list in wedding planning in recent years. Brides are personalizing their receptions with fabulous handmade details like escort cards, table numbers, and edible centerpieces of their own design. Personalized projects are a great way to cut costs and give your reception a bit of personal flavor.

Karen's new website features some great how-to videos for reception projects. Watch them here!

3 Ways to cut costs

Cutting wedding costs Don't over-decorate cocktail hour

Wedding reception with pink accents

This time is all about mingling, just make sure the hors d'oeuvres are plentiful and the bar is well stocked. Add some simple votives to your cocktail tables and a splash of color with paper napkins or a tablecloth and you're done! Save your budget for the reception itself, which is where you and your guests will spend more time.

Cutting wedding costs Pick the right venue

Choose a venue that has most of what you need. Ask the venues you are considering to provide a list for what's included. Big ticket items to consider are adjustable lighting (bringing in a lighting designer can be costly), nice tableware, and a sound system for toasts and speeches. If there is in house catering, you might also save on things like kitchen rentals.

Cutting wedding costs Get discounts on dresses

On the money-saving side, when you buy your dress at David's Bridal you have access to great discounts on your bridesmaid dresses. That makes shopping easy for you and the girls. Many bridal shops will offer similar discounts just for buying your bridesmaid dresses at the same place. If they don't offer, don't be afraid to propose it yourself.

Something unique

Photo station

We recently created a very cool guest book concept. We hung fabric as a backdrop and made a photo station. Guests were asked to write their wishes for the bride and groom on dry erase boards with fun markers, then they were photographed holding their messages. After the wedding, the photos were uploaded onto one of the many web photo sites and made into an online gallery and a keepsake book for the couple. So fun!

Slide show

Some photographers are offering special services, such as setting up a flat screen at the reception site and showing a slide show of images taken from the ceremony and portraits of the wedding party. It's really fun for guests to see the moments captured so beautifully and so immediately.

5 Unique Registry ideas

Forget toasters and flatware, today's couples are thinking out of the box (quite literally) with their gift registries. Check out some of these modern wedding registry trends:

1. Honeymoon Registry

HoneyFund allows you to ask for money without really asking for money. The site allows you to tastefully request cash for everything from airfare to a special breakfast.

2. Home Savings Registry

HatchMyHouse offers couples the opportunity to put money towards a future home or perhaps just furniture and home improvements.

3. Gift Card Registry

CardAvenue allows couples to register for gift cards from select stores and let friends know about their choices via email. It's also offers guests a resource for buying fully-priced or discount gift cards.

4. Donation Registries

Through the I DO Foundation, guests can donate directly to a couple's chosen charitable cause via a secure system. Charities are grouped into six focus areas including health, environment, social justice, community development, education and children, youth and families.

5. Wine Registry

Couples can create a wish list at WineEnthusiast and fill it with everything from stemware, corkscrews and accessories to selections from the The Wine Enthusiast Catalog's wine cellars. Most items are available gift wrapped.

Read on for your honeymoon planning checklist >>

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8 Unique wedding ideas
4 Practical ways to cut wedding costs