Planning a wedding can be difficult for even the most organised bride-to-be: one minute you’re engaged and on top of the world, and the next you’re stressing over the guest list, the venue, the dress, the flowers, the cake, the décor and the seating plan.

It’s a logistical nightmare and, needless to say, it’s also fraught with social landmines.

Celebrity wedding planner Patrizia Cilli offers 10 essential tips to help you navigate the choppy waters, and bring you closer to your dream wedding.

Tip 1: Start with the guest list

Who to invite is always the first question you should ask yourself – it lays the foundation of your wedding planning by helping you decide on the location, the menu and even the decor. The size of your wedding is not to be taken lightly.

Tip 2: Don’t forget about Mother Nature

Whether it’s an exotic destination or your hometown, a park or a beach, a traditional venue or something with a little flare, think out how to make your guests and yourself comfortable by readying for any weather or nature related issues.

Tip 3: Pick a convenient date

How do you pick a date that works for everyone and is still special to you? Start by working out dates that work for you, and then take into consideration the weather on those dates. Think carefully before deciding to hold your wedding on a major holiday, during school term or during a big sports tournament as your guests may find it difficult to attend.

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Tip 4: Opt for in-season flowers

Use flowers in season at the time of your wedding – this will vastly help with the cost. It’s best to have a colour scheme and concept in mind that complements your overall décor.

Tip 5: Make a meal plan

Recently, couples are gravitating towards a more organic, sophisticated selection as part of their wedding menu. Premium, fresh food should always be offered as an option. Since the wedding week is often packed with multiple events, guests prefer sit-down meals for some events and buffet-style for others. I would usually suggest a buffet-style welcome cocktail for when guests arrive, and then move the guests into a dining room for a sit-down three-course or four-course meal.

Tip 6: Create a memorable experience

Stimulate all five senses to create an experience that will trigger memories for years to come. Use jasmine or rose scented fragrances wherever guests will gather, use a visible colour scheme, use fabrics with textures, gentle sounds to unify the day and foods to entice the taste buds. Complete the week with fun and relaxed activities for guests.

Tip 7: Find a fitness guru

There’s nothing like a wedding to make even the most confident woman question her looks. A fitness guru can guide you to feel and look radiant on your wedding day with a plan tailored exclusively for you. Fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and exercise will help you get lean while still maintaining a healthy glow. I’ve seen some amazing transformations with the help of Rob Donker P.T. based in Dubai, founder of Beyond Wellness.

Read: How I stopped Dieting And Lost 8kg

Read: 4 Top Slimming Treatments In the UAE

Tip 8: For the dress, go classic and timeless

Do focus on finding the best wedding dress silhouette for you. Don’t get pressured into deciding on a dress that you are not completely convinced about. Try on as many dresses as necessary. When choosing a dress think of a timeless gown instead of a moment’s trendy one; and girls, don’t forget to wear a well-fitted bra. Here’s our pick of the top three local tailors to make your wedding dress

Tip 9: For hair and make-up, test the waters first

The morning of the wedding is not the best time to start experimenting with hair and make-up – in other words you need to plan ahead for best results. Book your trials with professional hair and make-up artists, and choose the one that understands what you’re looking for.

Tip 10: Take the last week off

The last thing you want to do a week before your special day is stress out. So when mapping out your timeline, make sure to leave the last week empty. Join a pre-wedding package where a spa will help you unwind with massages, facials and pedicures.

Celebrity wedding planner Patrizia Cilli will host the second edition of The Wedding Excellence 1-to-1 event in the UAE in November, an event which will offer UAE brides-to-be a chance to consult with high-profile wedding, fashion, style and health professionals. To reserve to the event, mail

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Words: Patrizia Cilli, Celebrity Wedding and Events Planner

Image: Getty