While getting engaged is incredibly exciting, planning a wedding can feel totally intimidating. That’s why we turned to industry vet Bronson van Wyck, who—as part of the Van Wyck & Van Wyck team—designs experiences big and small for a wide range of clients, including the White House and Chanel. His approach to events is all about creating the very best environment for guest to create lasting memories.

“It starts with their physical comfort, like temperature, surfaces, hunger, thirst, lighting, but as a host, you also have a responsibility to their emotional well-being—what do they need in addition to a drink in their hand?” says van Wyck. “Think about how you put people together. Create moments where guests flirt and get to know each other. When your friends and family can walk away from the night with a memory or a new friend, they will treasure that long after the social media post has moved down the feed.”

To get started, van Wyck encourages his clients to talk and so he can listen and take in everything from their favorite movie, what type of hotels they like to stay in, and whether they prefer Ralph Lauren or Yohji Yamamoto—it all helps paint the picture of the person. “Most importantly we’re acting as the voice of our client and channeling their vision, aesthetic, and sensibility for that experience that they want to give their guests,” he explains. Here, the thoughtful expert shares a few more tips for approaching the big day in style.

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Bronson van Wyck

LEARN ABOUT THE BARNEYS GIFT REGISTRY

1. It will be a year of celebrating, a year of toasting. Before you dive into the plans enjoy this moment of incredible transition and joy. Cheers to that.

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2. Start with the guest list—the head count will drive so many decisions, especially the destination, the venue, and the budget. Dig out your address book and be thoughtful with your list. Compile a roster of friends and family who not only mean something to you, but also will enjoy the company of one another. Keep in mind, one addition can result in six additions, since the guest list functions like concentric rings and the further out you emanate, the more people included. I like to advise that an invitee need to be present in two out of these three aspects of your life: where you’ve been, where you are now, where you’re going.

SMYTHSON “Little Black Book” Wafer Address Book

 

3. Be open minded about unexpected venues. We have transformed rundown warehouse spaces in Red Hook into secret gardens. Or, for a smaller event, consider a restaurant like Freds—you’ve already got built in infrastructure like a kitchen (often with a killer chef), wait staff, and furniture so you can splurge on other elements.

 

4. Often, clients feel like they have to stick to tradition, but a wedding should be what the couple wants and they shouldn’t feel driven by cramming their day with scripted, prescribed moments. Whether you don’t want to wear white, want to skip the cake, or want to channel Beyoncé’s “Formation” for the first dance—it’s ok (and can be better!) to start new traditions.

 

5. When working with our clients and thinking about the journey of a wedding weekend, we always consider the five senses. Touch is one that is particularly important and this comes into play with linens. Just because you are using rentals for your dinner doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up the head table with luxurious linens or your new family monogram. Register for your favorite dinner napkins and you can start using them on day one!

 

6. Find ways to make functional things attractive. Your budget should be utilized in every way possible, both to serve a purpose and make the event beautiful. One time we put boxwood walls on rollers to help define a large, cavernous venue while also adding greenery and flowers to an indoor space

 

7. Remember it’s supposed to be fun. Get organized, plan in advance (this is where the #vanwyckelves come in), have a cocktail or four – no one wants to see a bride or groom (or M.O.B.) stressed on their big day.

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