Expert Advice from Event and Floral Designer Matthew Robbins

Known For
An artistic, hands-on approach to pulling off highly personalized weddings

Where to Find Him
Matthew Robbins Design in New York City (matthewrobbinsdesign.com)

What exactly does an event designer do?
Our role is to steer the look of the entire day -- everything including flowers, linens, and food presentation. Every detail is a puzzle piece, and we make all of them come together. Some designers will also collaborate with planners, and they'll help manage budgets and time lines, too.

When's the best time to hire a designer?
Around nine months before the event, or whenever you have your date, location, and rough guest count lined up. If you already have other vendors booked, great. And if not, your designer can help you find them and will work with them.

What details should couples never overlook?
Chairs and lighting. If your venue has ugly seating, that's all guests will see, no matter how chic the rest of the room is. And with lighting, you can spotlight the good stuff and cast shadows on not-so-great curtains or carpet.

You're also known for your floral design -- what's your best advice?
Instead of fixating on which types of flowers you'd like to use, focus on color. It frees your florist up to use whatever's available and most beautiful at the flower market that day, rather than forcing something that isn't in season or doesn't look incredible.

Tips for couples planning winter weddings?
Play up the romance of the season with rich metallics, lots of candles, and luxurious textiles like velvets and heavy silks.

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