When a recent snowstorm hit my house in New Jersey, I realized that it was finally time to catch up on all the shows on my DVR.  First up, My Fair Wedding from WE tv.  There were ten episodes just waiting for me to watch and as I settled down into the couch, I was transported into the mind of an incredibly talented wedding planner, David Tutera.

In case you haven’t seen this outstanding reality show, it’s basically brides looking for assistance three weeks before their nuptials.  David shows up, gets to change whatever he wants–even the wedding dress, and the bride finds out where her wedding is and all the details ON the day of her wedding.  She might have handcrafted every single detail of the reception decorations, but David blasts through those often tawdry items and replaces them with something elegant, glamorous, and visually stunning. On one episode, the bride begged not to replace the wedding dress because her mother had bought it for her; too bad, David found a runway-worthy gown and replaced the original frock. The show is a must for every engaged couple as David compares what the average person considers for decorations and then how to revise those plans into something glamorous.

The main lesson I’ve learned from this show is invest your  money into real flowers.  I’m not kidding.  That’s the main difference I’ve seen.  Less is more, so kitschy “theme” touches should just go. But it’s real florals in bouquets, centerpieces, and decorations that make a monumental difference in the elegance of a reception. If you have to skip the chair covers or the matching napkin rings, save your cash for where it makes the biggest punch: flowers. Looking back on weddings I’ve attended, I have to agree. Fake silk flowers wrapped around an arbor do not photograph nearly as well as the dewy texture of real flower petals. Same goes for the photos of you holding your bouquet. And of course as the guests are seated at the reception, staring at a centerpiece of soft, lustrous flowers instead of plastic-stemmed artificial ones add to the ambiance.

All of the other details that David changes on the show–the reception hall, the lighting, the dresses–both bridal and bridesmaid, and the cake–don’t make the impact that is so noticeable as the floral arrangements. They are glorious, sophisticated, and chic, but when the rubber meets the road, it’s the change from faux flora to genuine that seems to be the biggest bang for your buck.

Watch the show if you get a chance; it’s great inspiration and learning to revise your original vision pays out tenfold!