Wedding: Bouquet: Ask The Experts: Problem Solved!

Sage advice from the pros to solve all of your wedding day conundrums

My fiancé and I definitely want a band for our reception, except we really want the original version of the song for our first dance. Is that possible?  Would the request offend our bandleader?  

Expert: Eddie Bruce, owner of Philly-based Eddie Bruce Music  

A good, reputable band is always equipped with a DJ’s sound system, says Bruce, and should certainly be able to play your song the way you want to hear it. As for whether you should expect raised eyebrows when you ask? “Usually a first-dance song is the type that’s really unique to the artist,” Bruce says, “so if the couple wants to hear it the way they fell in love with it, I’m happy to play it.” If his band happens to do an excellent version of that particular song, he’ll offer to play it for them, so they can compare—but otherwise, “If that’s how they want it, we’d never let our ego get in the way!” A professional band will just seamlessly flow into the next song.

For various reasons, we had to move up our wedding date—and now it’s only three months away! How can I slim down and get toned so I look great in my dress when I’ve only got 12 weeks?   

Expert: Lauren Boggi, founder of Lithe Method, in Philadelphia and Ardmore  
The good news is it can definitely be done, says Boggi—and she’s got four great tips to make it happen. 1. Set a reasonable weight goal, put that goal on Post-its, and stick them everywhere! 2. Clean out your fridge and cupboard of all junk food. Cook on Sundays to prepare for the week with at-the-ready items like grilled chicken, cut-up carrots and hard-boiled eggs—you’ll be less tempted to grab on the go. 3. Diet is 80 percent of weight loss, so count those calories (shoot for 1,200 a day; 1,300-1,500 if you’re working out). Buy an adorable journal, measure your food, write it down, and add it up—you need to be able to see your calorie intake. 4. Work out! With 12 weeks, do whatever you love for an hour a day, six to seven days a week. Nothing less.  

We’re having a cocktail-style reception, with just hors d’oeuvres, cake, drinks and dancing. So how do we orchestrate a sit-down portion of the evening for things like toasts?

 Expert: Scott Barnes, director of marketing and public relations (and former planner) at Manayunk’s Feastivities Catering  
Communicate to your planner, DJ or bandleader that you’d like to get your guests’ attention about an hour and a half into your party, says Barnes—then knock out all the traditions at once. “By that time, their bellies are full, they’re still sober, and you’ll be able to captivate them for about 20 minutes.” The order: toasts, first dance, and cake cutting—all the things people love to watch at weddings. Then let your guests go back to the bar, food or dance floor. And Barnes points out that for a cocktail reception, you probably only need to have seating for about 80 percent of your guests: “At these types of parties, you’ll never get everyone to sit down at once.”