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Mindy Weiss

NUPTIAL BLISS: Seeking the smoothest possible path from "Will you marry me?" to the wedding of your dreams? Beverly Hills-based party-planning guru Mindy Weiss has the answers!


Mindy Weiss knows how to party. As one of L.A.'s most sought-after event planners, Weiss has spent more than three decades orchestrating epic weddings for A-list couples including Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, and Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum. She has even created the camera-ready nuptials for three different couples on ABC’s The Bachelor and authored a best-selling wedding planner book and an organizer.From posh parties in Beverly Hills and Malibu to destination celebrations in Paris and Riviera Maya, Mexico, Weiss-orchestrated weddings are as well known for their comfortable luxury as they are for their high style and personalized touches. Here, Weiss shares her best advice for newly betrothed couples seeking a smooth journey to the perfect wedding day.


1. SLOW DOWN AND SAVOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT.
“One of the biggest mistakes newly engaged couples make is trying to plan everything the minute they get engaged. Before I get hired, they find the place and book it without researching, and then they realize they spent their entire budget just on the location,” says Weiss. “Slow it down, take a deep breath, and give yourself a chance to enjoy the process.”

2. START WITH A BUDGET.
With this number in mind, consider what’s most important to you. Is it the music? The food? The location? Think of your budget as a pie, Weiss suggests, and set your priorities so you have enough of the pie at the end to have a little bit of everything you want. “I think it’s really important not to book anything until you have [ your priorities] figured out,” she says.

3. MAKE YOUR GUEST LIST BEFORE VIEWING LOCATIONS.
“A lot of times people come in and say, ‘Oh, we’re only going to have 150 people.’ And then they go home and actually make the guest list,” Weiss says. You probably know more people than you think you do, and you don’t want to get your heart set on a venue that won’t accommodate all of your guests.


4. BE EXTRA THOUGHTFUL WHEN PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING.
If you’re dreaming of a far-flung celebration that lasts a whole weekend, be sure to budget accordingly. “You actually have to take an extra trip just to plan a destination wedding—maybe even more than one extra trip,” says Weiss. Also consider the expense for guests, who are traveling, booking accommodations, and taking time off work. “When your guests get to the location, it’s very nice to do as much for them as you possibly can,” Weiss says, “such as hosting a welcome party, or picking up some of the meals if you’re able to, because they have spent so much to be with you.”

5. REGISTER FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
“I truly believe that when you’re getting married or having a baby, you can literally ask for whatever you want,” says Weiss. “You don’t have many opportunities in life like this, so if you’re registering for gifts, don’t feel like you have to hold back.” Do register for gifts in various price ranges, she advises, since your parents will be buying different gifts than, say, friends from college.

6. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF COMFORT FOOD.
“We are not nouveau cuisine-ing anymore in my world,” Weiss says. “We are serving food that people recognize. My signature is French fries in baskets on the tables—serve that with a nice steak.” Weiss adds that fish is just as popular as meat, and “we always have a vegetarian choice,” she says, “which is even creeping up to being more popular than fish.” If the bride and groom are foodies, Weiss encourages them to serve their favorite dishes and note “His Favorite,” “Her Favorite,” and “Their Favorite” on the menu.


7. BE LESS FUSSY, MORE CONFIDENT WITH DRINKS.
Craft beer has taken a big lead at the bar, says Weiss, who has done weddings with mini beer gardens featuring four or five interesting craft beers that spark conversation and interaction. “Millennials also know a lot about wine, and they definitely have their favorites,” she says. “They’re not pairing wines and taking it so seriously—they’re just serving the things they like.”

8. CREATE COZY SEATING AREAS.
Attendees at a Mindy Weiss party are apt to find at least three relatively quiet spots with plush seating where they can congregate. “I do furniture groupings because I feel the cozier it is, the longer people will stay,” says Weiss. “It’s nice when guests can step out into the foyer where there’s a beautiful seating group. Or we can put [ groupings] in the back of the room so guests can get away from their tables, take in the entertainment, and move around a little.” ◆

- By Elizabeth Turner