My daughter Emily is getting married. Even though the wedding isn't until the spring of 2020, we're eager to start planning. Today we went to the East Texas Wedding Extravaganza at Harvey Hall, a Tyler bridal show with vendors from all over the area.

We talked to florists, venue owners, photographers and caterers and left with a ton of information. We're just getting started, so while I was there I asked vendors what one piece of advice they would give a bride when it came to planning their big day. Here's what they said.

Top Wedding Photography Tip

Lee and Martha Martin are the husband and wife team behind Martha Escudero Photography. Martha takes the romantic, emotional wedding photos and Lee uses videography to create a lasting memory of the event.

Martha's advice was for the bride to have her face clear. "So many times the bride has hair in her face, and that's all you see in the photo. Make sure as much as possible that the photographer can get clear shots of your face."

"Avoid shiny makeup too," Lee piped in. "Your pictures will turn out better without it."

Best Wedding Florist Advice

Like most mothers of the bride, I'm already concerned about what Emily's wedding is going to cost. Paddy Fitzpatrick of Fantasy and Fairytale Floral Design had advice I appreciated.

"Do not go broke over your wedding," she tells couples. "You should not start a marriage by going into debt. There's that old saying that romance without finance is a nuisance, and it's so true." She said it probably costs them in sales, but they try to help couples achieve the look they're going for in a way that doesn't break the bank.

Brandy Ferrer of Simply Beautiful Flowers also had valuable advice. "Don't be afraid to try something new," she said, recommending brides try replacing the traditional wedding arch with a moongate or exploring the Bohemian Chic trend to make your wedding feel soft and romantic.

When Choosing Your Wedding Cake

There were a lot of beautiful, traditional white tiered wedding cakes, and most of the vendors offered samples. However, Emily is anything but traditional. My quirky biology major was drawn to the wedding cake that looked like a geode. I wanted to dig into the one that looked like it was covered in dark chocolate leaves.

Joseph Cardenas of Adalante Catering and Events gave one piece of advice for choosing your wedding cake. "It has to show your personal interests," he said. "Don't take everyone else's advice. Your wedding should be your day, it's about what is most important to you. Choose a cake that reflects who you are."

Advice for Traveling Guests

Most of our family lives in East Texas, but several families will need a hotel room when they come to Emily's wedding. We asked a Homewood Suites representative to give us one piece of advice for making people from out of town feel comfortable and welcome.

"Put together a welcome bag," Cassandra Snyder advised. "I've seen people do something super simple like giving everyone in the bridal party a bag with a water bottle, aspirin and gum." She said it's a thoughtful touch, personal touch. Other items she recommended putting in a welcome bag were chocolates from Sweet Gourmet, a breakfast bar and a printed map to help guests find your venue.

#1 Tip From Venue Owners

Several vendors had booths at the East Texas Wedding Extravaganza. Every one of them had beautiful grounds for a wedding ceremony.

When I asked a few of them for their best tip, I was surprised they all said the same thing. The most important advice when it comes to choosing a venue is to make sure you have a plan B. They all pointed out how a ceremony could be ruined by unpredictable East Texas weather.

Emily and I came home full of ideas for flowers, food, decorations and more. It was nice to have all those vendors together in one place where we could meet each one and ask questions about what they offered. If you're planning a wedding and you missed this event, there's another in November.

What about you? If you've planned a wedding, what one piece of advice would you offer brides to be? Share in the comments.

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