Thursday, March 4, 2010

Expert Advice From Top Planner Nerissa Montemurro – Part One

In January, Stephen and I attended a fantastic event called “The Art Of Planning Your Own Wedding,” hosted by Private Receptions™ at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

“This event was designed specifically to help brides/grooms that either enjoy planning their own wedding or cannot afford the luxury of having a planner,” said Founder & CEO Nerissa Montemurro in our recent email exchange.

Featuring a round-table planning session, panel Q&A with top wedding experts, and raffle giveaway, the event was fun, helpful and extremely innovative. As a bride entirely familiar with the challenges of planning one's own wedding, I strongly recommend this program to couples looking for expert guidance that is straightforward and truly useful.

Best of all, Nerissa has now been kind enough to share even more of her planning tips and strategies! Enjoy, and be sure to check back tomorrow for the second half of our Q&A.

Another day at work for Nerissa Montemurro (left) of Private Receptions™!

What are your top tips for a bride just beginning the planning process? What should she consider when trying to decide whether to plan her wedding herself, or whether to hire a planner?

· Consider how much free time you actually have. A realistic assessment of your availability will save you heartache down the road.

· Get a good understanding as to who will be contributing to the wedding, and how much each contributor will need to be involved in the decision-making process.

· Be flexible! It’s very common for a bride to change her mind in reference to an idea, date, style, venue, etc., and quickly learn she is looking for something entirely different.

Brides taking notes at “The Art of Planning Your Own Wedding™.”

What should she look for and think about first, and what are the most common mistakes she should avoid?

· First, determine a budget. The purchases you make for a wedding are a lot larger than from a spontaneous day at the mall. You need to know how much you have for the entire wedding, honeymoon, and any other events you may be hosting for yourself (engagement party, shower, etc.)

· Second, determine which is more important to you – the ceremony and reception location, or the date. If you determine that the location is more important, call for the dates available in the season or month you are looking for. If the date is more important, it will help you weed out the venues that are booked.

· Common mistakes:

#1 -- When shopping around for vendors, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Most of the time, brides are looking at the bottom-line number, and are not educated about what that dollar amount offers.

#2 -- Online research is both a benefit and a huge hindrance! Many sites out there are marketing a product or service, or flat make money from advertising but lack quality content. Know your author and become an informed and empowered bride.

Nerissa speaking with a group of brides at the Jan. 31, 2010, event “The Art of Planning Your Own Wedding™.”

What are some good solutions for a bride who can’t afford a full-service planner?

· Hourly consultation with a planner to help them get started

· Workshops like “The Art of Planning Your Own Wedding™”

· Look into partial-planning options

Are you planning your own wedding, or bringing a planner onboard? What are some helpful tips you’ve learned along the way?

(Photo Credits: Photo # 1 -- Private Receptions™ & Photos #2-3 -- Freed Photography)

Respected throughout the wedding industry for her business savvy and artistic talent, Nerissa Montemurro brings to life a company that not only has it all, but gives every ounce of it to you! Private Receptions™ is a full service wedding planning and wedding design company founded by Nerissa herself. The firm specializes in one-of-a-kind weddings that represent their client's unique style and vision. Based in New York City, the firm services the greater metropolitan areas of New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.


  1. Sounds like fun!! I wish I could go, I'm having problems with my wedding planner these days.

  2. No planner for us, just DOC. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Great advice! We're hiring a DOC service through our venue. I'm a little nervous about it, but my MOH has offered to lend a hand if things start going south that day of . . .

  4. Great tips! The caterer/event planning company that we booked our venue through takes care of the reception, so we'll probably just get a DOC that will take care of only the rehearsal and ceremony.