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Wedding Planning: Q & A With Wedding Planner Steve Kemble

The star of TLC’s special, “Battle of the Wedding Planners,” shares his best wedding planning advice with The Knot.

Want your wedding to stand out? Steal one of these clever ideas from guest expert and wedding planner Steve Kemble (stevekemble.com), star of the special, “Battle of the Wedding Planners,” which airs on Friday, November 13, at 10/9c on TLC.

Q What’s the most creative thing you’ve done for a ceremony?

A Years ago -- way before any YouTube sensations of bridal parties singing or dancing -- I choreographed a full production number with make-believe bridesmaids and groomsmen. This couple was always known for pulling pranks on their friends and family, so we hired 16 models to play the parts. Guests were stunned by the beauty of the wedding party as they walked down the aisle. The group then broke into song as the real wedding party walked down the aisle, and the crowd realized it was all for fun! It created such a wonderful energy for the wedding.

Q And what about for a reception?

A For one recent wedding, the couple were huge fans of gospel choirs, so I found one to surprise them with a performance during the reception. It was a huge hit! Every guest was singing and clapping along with the choir as it serenaded the couple.

Q What’s your favorite wedding theme?

A I like “romance” as a wedding treatment. You should tell your love story through different aspects of the wedding so your guests will literally say, “Ah, they’re so in love!” Include how you fell in love in a special keepsake program for your guests, and pick a ceremony site and reception venue that are romantic in nature, like a beautiful park with a glorious fountain or a beach at sunset.

Q What seemingly small detail can make a big impact at your reception?

A Candles are the most cost-effective way to create an atmosphere of romance at your wedding. I love to use candles in various sizes and shapes -- tea lights, votives, pillars, and more -- throughout the reception venue. Just steer away from scented candles; you don't want them competing with the fabulous aromas of the food you serve.

Q How can you personalize your wedding in an easy way?

A Incorporate beautifully framed photos of family and friends on the tables and around the site, serve your favorite foods at the reception (one couple even had the chef use their family recipes to prepare the food!), and give guests discs of music that was played at your reception. They’ll remember your wedding every time they pop in the CD!

Q What do wedding guests enjoy the most?

A When all the traditional dances (like the father/daughter and mother/son dances) are done to one song instead of multiple ones, it's quicker, and the energy and movement this provides has guests applauding loudly! Guests also really love the “lounge look,” when the reception is set up with various furniture groupings. Not only does this provide comfortable places for your guests to gather, it also encourages conversation among people who don’t know each other that well.

Q How can you keep the reception exciting?

A Lighting is becoming one of the hottest wedding must-haves. Crowds love it when you change the mood and atmosphere as the night goes on through color and lighting design. Guests also love the mix of a DJ and a band. When the band takes a break, the DJ takes center stage!

>For more wedding planning advice, check out TheKnot.com/planning