Ask the Experts: Problems Solved

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

My soon-to-be brother-in-law gets a little out of control at weddings (or at any open bar), and I really don’t want him making a scene or, worse, grabbing the microphone. What’s the best way to keep that from happening at our wedding? 

EXPERT: Sheryl Garman, a Conshohocken-based wedding consultant  With help! Clue your wedding planner and DJ or bandleader in to the potential troublemaker in their midst. Also point him out to the bartenders, and ask them to keep his drinks weak, says Garman. You can even start to control the situation before the wedding begins, she says, by limiting the amount of alcohol available at that point in the day and then serving soda or water on the bridal-party bus between the ceremony and reception. “Also, have your Uncle Fred be on the lookout, and when your brother-in-law looks like he’s had enough to drink,” she says, “Uncle Fred can ask him to come sit and have some coffee.”

I’ve got a bridesmaid with tattoos that are visible in her gown. I’d rather not ask her to cover them up, but I don’t want them in the photos, especially the portraits. How hard is it for a photographer to photoshop them out? 

EXPERT: Laura Novak, of Wilmington’s Laura Novak Photography That depends, says Novak, not only on the size and location of the tats, but also on how the bridesmaid is posed — a tattoo on a flat area of the skin is easier to erase than one that contours around the body or a muscle. For the most natural-looking results, your photog might have a professional retoucher do the removing (for which you’d be charged a nominal fee). Or for an easier option, Novak suggests, “Give your ’maids scarves for their gifts, and discreetly ask your photographer to make sure any tattoos are covered when taking bridal-party photos.”

My fiancé and I are planning a small out-of-town wedding, but would love to celebrate our engagement here with all of our friends — including some we won’t be able to invite on the Big Day. But is it assumed that if you’re invited to an engagement party, you’ll be invited to the wedding? 

EXPERT: Melissa Paul, a planner with Philly’s Evantine Design “Technically and traditionally, yes,” says Paul, though she adds that, today, people are far more understanding of budget and travel limitations when it comes to the guest list. So a big engagement party may still be the way to go. “But the smarter option might be to do a big, casual party after the wedding,” Paul says. “That way, you avoid the questions and expectations entirely, and only have the celebration to share.”