My wedding date is August 8, 2015. That may seem like the distant future, but in my dream last week, it was tomorrow—and I hadn’t mailed out invitations. I’m no Freud, but here goes: I’m a bride, in the final stages of wedding planning, and I have some things to nail down yet.

So when I got word that Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party was hitting the Ritz-Carlton Chicago this past Sunday, I was in. The event offered a trade show floor filled with ideas for flowers, honeymoon destinations, and yes, even invitations.  There was also a discussion with TV personality and designer Lauren Conrad, who was in town to promote her line of Paper Crown bridesmaid dresses.

Conrad got intimate with the crowd during a chat with Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings and a Q&A with the audience. She dished out plenty of tying-the-knot tips based on her personal experience. Here are my top five takeaways (you can find more of Conrad's tips at

1. You’re the bride—not the people-pleaser. When selecting attire for your bridal party, it’s nice to consider what your pals will be comfortable in. But Conrad highly recommends going for what you—that’s right, you—really want. “At the end of the day, when you sign up to be a bridesmaid, you sort of agree to do what your friend wants you to do,” she said.

2. Anticipate lots of questions about the dress code. It’s likely that guests will want a little sartorial direction from you. “I put together a really simple inspiration board and sent that out that so people could get an idea of what my bridesmaids were wearing, what my mother was wearing, and what the flowers looked like—if anyone cared,” L.C. said.

3. Know that there will be hiccups. No matter how much you’ve poured into planning, there will be curveballs on the big day. But here’s the kicker: No one will notice. “[Guests are] there to have good food, good music, and good company,” Conrad noted.

3a. Acorns aren’t a good look. There was one caveat to Conrad’s lax approach to wedding-day surprises. “The boutonniere did change [day of] and that was a little crazy,” she said. “It was a cluster of acorns, and that I couldn’t let go.”

4. Nothing beats a personal touch. Conrad and her husband love a good game night. Of all the personalized elements of her wedding, Conrad remembers her favors—small wooden boxes filled with pencils, scorecards, cards, and candies—the most.

5. Weddings are costly, but the best parts are free. Do you or your future spouse have a special talent? Consider surprising your guests—or each other—with a memorable party trick. “I had to beg him to do it, but my husband sing,” said Conrad. “And it was by far my favorite part of the wedding.”