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Anthony Navarro's tips for creating a worry-free wedding, including locally sourced food

Every wedding is a new story, a chance for a couple to make dreams come true. The most enjoyable and worry-free day, though, comes after intense planning and decision making.

To help brides and grooms eliminate stress and make great choices, the Something New Bridal Event is welcoming nationally recognized event planner Anthony Navarro to downtown Elkhart on Saturday, Jan. 9. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lerner Theatre and Crystal Ballroom.

Navarro understands successful events. He was the winner of TLC’s “Four Weddings” in 2012, and is the founder of the acclaimed company Liven It Up. He’s also appeared on WTTW-TV’s “Talk of the Town” and “Martha Stewart Weddings,” and has received best-of honors from “The Knot.”

To get you going down the aisle in the right direction, Navarro has three suggestions for creating a worry-free wedding:

Shop local

Even from Navarro’s home base in Chicago, he sees tremendous value in supporting independently owned businesses. “I would say 98 percent of the wedding market — vendors and companies — are small local businesses. You might have to go with a national (or franchised) company for rentals based on lighting and production demands, but almost everything else can be done locally.”

“Here in Chicago, I love being here and experiencing the culture and the specialties we do. Local farms, local breweries and wineries, photographers and videographers — your own communities and neighborhoods have so much local talent, I recommend couples take advantage of those special opportunities,” he said.

Hire the right people

Navarro cautions couples to never make hiring decisions solely on price or, worse, based on friends’ experiences, good or bad. “If you pull the right team together,” Navarro says, “everything will work out as smooth as can be. You have to hire people based on your intuition, the connection you make with them. A wedding is one of the few things I find in the world that’s still a very personal experience. You have to make sure you’re working with someone you get along with well and whose credentials line up with your goals.”

Get guidance

Every bride (and don’t let them fool you, even a groom or two) has long dreamed of their perfect wedding. No matter your stress level through the planning, the people trusted to provide the services should provide suggestions and answers.

“In any line of work, there are challenging clients, for sure,” Navarro said. “I try to let them know how I work. I am thorough in consultation and lay out the process in a very clear and detailed manner. I can follow up with a written proposal. Step by step, the couple must receive attention and responsiveness, and they’re more likely to be on the same page. A lot of what would make a challenging client a challenge then goes away.”

You can hear more advice from Anthony Navarro and local wedding experts at the Something New Bridal Event. Visit to view the event schedule and RSVP for free tickets. Admission will be $5 the day of the show.

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