June 03, 2016 01:00 PM

Whether you’re newly engaged, have tons of friends who are, or just have a Facebook account, chances are you’re hearing a ton about weddings at the moment. You know all about the “I dos,” but how much do you know about the “do nots”?

In honor of PeopleStyle’s first annual Wedding Week, we caught up with Abby Larson, founder of the popular wedding and lifestyle site Style Me Pretty, to ask her about the mistakes she’s seen brides make in her years as a weddings expert. But even if you hit one of these “misses,” remember, there’s really not much that can derail a wedding: “Everyone looks beautiful on their wedding day,” says Larson. “That’s a given.”

Matt Harrington

MISTAKE NO. 1: Not hiring a makeup artist.
“If you’re going to splurge on anything on your wedding day, hair and makeup is a great place to do it because it allows you to relax,” says Larson. Not only does having a professional on hand eliminate the stress of making things look “perfect” yourself, but “they’re trained to apply makeup in a way that translates beautifully in photographs, and that might not be your everyday definition of what looks great,” she says. “Make sure that they’ve done weddings before, because weddings are different than applying makeup for a gala or other event –you’re being photographed constantly.”

Then, look at their portfolio and see if you like their makeup looks. Larson suggests that you ask yourself if the brides in the photos remind you of yourself, and if you can envision a similar look for your big day. Then talk to friends and get referrals. “There’s nothing better than word of mouth,” she says. Style Me Pretty has a “Little Black Book” of approved vendors.

Once you’ve made the decision to hire a makeup artist, you should definitely do at least one run through of your day-of look. “You don’t want your look to be a surprise, even if it’s a nice surprise,” says Larson, who says she’s had brides tell her of makeup artists gone rogue. “Trying a new look on your wedding day is definitely a mistake,” she says. “A lot of people use that day as an opportunity to go really glam, but if you’ve never worn a red lip, your wedding day is not the day to try it.

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MISTAKE NO. 2: Your look doesn’t match your wedding vibe.
Before finalizing your look, consider your venue,” she says. “Certain looks aren’t right for every setting either. Is it an art gallery or a yacht club? A garden or a barn? Women always want to shop for their dress right away, but find your venue and ceremony spot first, and everything else will fall into place.”

Read: Beachy waves might not work for ballroom weddings. “Even in traditional weddings, hair looks have gotten really loose and ethereal,” she says. “The hair is coming down and you’re not seeing structured updos as much anymore. If there is an updo, it’s very loose and boho.” So don’t count out formal looks. “There is a place for a gorgeous updo, and I think some brides maybe forget that,” she says. “That natural look is so popular right now that they forget there are some shockingly beautiful more structured things they can do with their hair, and you can still work these edgy elements in if you want to.”

Related Video: Glam, Wedding-Worthy Waves

MISTAKE NO. 3: Getting too into having a theme.
Beware of the Pinterest-perfect wedding. “I really think brides and grooms are so overwhelmed by everything they see online,” says Larson. “They feel like they have to have it all and work every detail in, and their wedding becomes sort of like a Pinterest board. That’s not what a wedding should be; Every detail should be meaningful and thoughtful. You should truly, authentically love it and it should add in some way to the greater wedding story. It really is the story of you guys. Over-styling is a mistake we see all the time.”

MISTAKE NO. 4: Going super-traditional for the registry.
“Couples are just different now,” says Larson. “More and more couples have lived together for years already, so they already have almost everything they need. They have plates. They have flatware. They really want a home. Most couples, up to their mid-thirties, haven’t invested a lot into their décor yet because they’re busy working and going out. They have a social life. That’s where their money is being spent.”

These days, you can register for almost anything: “Even a butler on your honeymoon!” she says. But Larson recently teamed up with One Kings Lane to promote their revolutionary registry fund. Gifts come to the couple in the form of credits for the site, and they never expire. “You can develop your decor over time as you start to build out your home,” she says. “You can get a great, well-made sofa that you’re going to have for ten years or a beautiful rug.” Plus, this type of registry means you don’t have to go through the pressure of creating a specific list of items right when you get engaged, which can be stressful.

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According to Larson, this new type of registry is going to change the industry. “I got a tip from someone who was like, ‘Get the same china that your mother and your sister have so if you have a big dinner party, you can pool your resources’,” she says. “Well, I’ve never had a dinner party for 36 where I need 36 settings of china. I’m 11 years in and that still hasn’t happened. But I’ve got that china! I wish I got the one that I really, truly loved. It was crazy and ornate and it was by Vera Wang. I still think about it to this day. It literally inspired everything. I wear gold now because of that china.”

MISTAKE NO. 5: Skipping the “golden hour” for photos.
There’s no one style of dress or style of hair that photographs the best. “If  the dress makes the bride feel like she looks absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, she is going to photograph that much better because she just has that confidence,” says Larson. “But natural light has so much to do with how something photographs. Getting the bride and groom outside at dusk during that magic hour, that’s where you get some of the most beautiful, portrait-style photos.”

Tell us: Do you agree with Abby’s advice? What’s your biggest wedding style etiquette question?

–Catherine Kast

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