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Planning this thing all on your own? You go, Glen Coco. Our wedding gift to you: these ten utterly sneaky, utterly fabulous pro styling tricks, courtesy of NYC event designer extraordinaire Jennifer Brisman (or as she’s known in the industry, simply The Wedding Planner).

RELATED: *Attn 2019 Brides: Here Are the Year's Top 10 Wedding Trends 

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Photo: Freas Photography; Event Planning: Just Save the Date

PICK A MOTIF

First things first: Your event will look most cohesive and coordinated if you whip up a creative design, monogram, motif or color play to carry through all of your wedding visuals. (Think: a palm frond illustration to travel through programs, menus, IRL florals, etc.)

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Photo: Selycia Yang Photography; Event Design: Mathews Weddings and Events LLC

STYLE LOUNGE AREAS FOR YOUR GUESTS

Know how every professionally orchestrated wedding features a luxe little lounge area or two? Friendly reminder that you can totally DIY this amenity, often with items already at your venue. Brisman suggests checking the furnishings in the foyers, nooks and hallways of venues, and asking if you can rearrange and personalize these “resting spots” with flowers, photos. "If you want to take things one step further, hop on Etsy and source some great throws pillow that work with the look and feel of your wedding while upping the cozy factor!”

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Photo: George and Claudia Photographers; Rentals: Gather & Lounge; Planner: Jack & Grace Events; Florals: Carrie Wilcox Floral Design

MIX AND MATCH YOUR TABLEWARE

According to Brisman, the key to truly professional-looking tabletops is using several different suites of glassware, dishware and/or linens. While one style or pattern can read monotonous, strategically incorporating two to three patterns in a sequential way will read much more interesting and luxurious.

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Photo: Matt Elliott Photography

PRE-CUT THE WEDDING CAKE

Cutting the cake is a major Kodak wedding moment—but Brisman knows it’s not as simple as it looks. “It takes a really long time, it’s messy, and the pieces never look like they should, even with the best cake makers!” Instead of carving the cake in the midst of the party, she suggests having your cake maker produce perfect sheet cakes that can be pre-cut behind the scenes 30 minutes before cake cutting. For an extra classy touch, add a single sugar flower to each individual piece.

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Photo: Fly Away Photography

DON’T SKIMP ON SIGNAGE

Logistics aren’t the sexiest part of wedding planning, but they make a huge impact on your guests’ experiences. To fake a professional touch, over-communicate the plan via pretty signage: “Put signs in strategic locations, such as the ladies' powder room, at the bar and on the cocktail or accessory tables. Note the time of transportation, the pickup location and any end-of the-evening information to make it all run smoother,” says Brisman.

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Photo: Emily Christine Photography; Caterer: Custom Catering; Planner: Michaela Elizabeth Creative

UPGRADE YOUR SUGAR PACKETS

Commercial sugar packs are a big coffee bar no-no, according to Brisman. Instead, she suggests placing swizzle sticks/rock candy on coffee cup saucers. (Bonus points for an adjacent candy bar!) 

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Photo: VILD Photography; Music; Sierra Gypsies

HAVE THE BAND SWITCH OUTFITS

Hot tip: Having your band do a wardrobe change will make your guests think you hired two separate acts. “I often start the band in all black during dinner, and afterwards, I’ll have them change: Women to all white; men to white shirts and off-white long silk ties. Trust me, people literally think you hired two bands!”

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Photo: Mullinix Weddings; Planner: Events By Elle

CRAFT AN INSTAGRAM MOMENT

Think: A unique floral installation or a custom painted backdrop for guests to take selfies against. "People love to feel like they're on a red carpet!" insists Brisman. 

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Photo: Fly Away Photography

MAKE YOUR COAT CHECK DIGITAL

Nothing ruins a perfectly fabulous wedding like a dysfunctional coat check. Instead of handing out those ugly little squares that everyone loses, Brisman recommends having the coat check text numbers to guests’ phones.

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Photo: Dekker Photography; Planner: Sunset Soiree

FACE YOUR GUESTS

But Brisman’s most passionate pro tip? Flipping the standard ceremony setup. “I think it’s such a challenge when couples have their backs to guests, when so many have traveled from far and wide to be there. Even on an angle is better. If you want guests to really experience your ceremony, let them experience your emotion by actually seeing you!”

RELATED: 9 Affordable White Wines to Serve At Your Wedding 

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