There is a lot that goes into deciding what you want your wedding to look like. It’s more than just the perfect dress, which we may or may not have dreamed of for a long time. There is the venue, the bridesmaid dresses, the groomsmen outfits, the decorations, the theme for the reception, the decor for the ceremony—and that’s just the tip of the wedding iceberg decisions.
Your first decision after coming up with a budget is to find a venue. People can often wait months or years for their perfect venue. What is your ideal guest size? What season are you looking to get married and are you willing to compromise? Do you have family traditions that need to be incorporated in the time of day or locations that influence your style? All of these questions can be incredibly overwhelming at first. Who knew there were so many moving parts to a wedding? The more decisions you make, the less overwhelming and more fun the process is.
Pinterest, though not the wedding end-all be-all, is one place to start perusing wedding ideas. There you will find that some general styles people tend to associate with wedding styles are: fashion forward, glamorous, casual, vintage, boho, beachy, hipster, classic, modern and offbeat. These are important ideas, thoughts, and concepts that you will need in finding your style. It is also important to take your partner’s style into consideration. Yes, it’s a big day, but it is about both of you and should reflect your style as a couple.
Finding the words that describe you as a couple can really help guide the concept of your wedding style when making decisions about the following facets of your wedding, and, hopefully, considering some of these ideas will help planning your big day seem more manageable:
Location, location, location. Choice of location is a good way to show off your style on a large scale. Refer back to the general umbrella term(s) you’ve chosen to describe your wedding style, and consider the culture, traditions and hobbies that you share.
For example, if religion is an important aspect to you, perhaps a place of worship would be a good place for your ceremony and maybe even reception. Permits are possible for beach or park weddings for the more casual affairs. And of course, there are specific venues such as theaters or other interesting buildings-turned-venues, such as old firehouses, cultural centers, art galleries or museums.
An interesting idea that is offbeat but can be very budget friendly is having a ceremony at the place of your choosing but hosting your reception at a restaurant. The cost of caterers quickly becomes astronomical when you take into consideration the linens, plates, servers, approved bartenders, whether you choose to have an open or partially open bar, not to mention the food is included in this sometimes thousand dollar portion of your wedding. One thing guests remember most about weddings is if the food was delicious, so you might not want to compromise on a cheaper caterer if it means sacrificing food quality. A restaurant includes all of these subsections in the price, and you can often rent out part of the restaurant–or all if your wedding and budget at large.
Some prioritize a specific date for their wedding because of an anniversary or if they share a favorite month, season, or number. A couple may choose a date simply because the way the date is written appeals to them, such as if there happens to be a palindrome.
What ideas do you feel represent you as a couple? What interests or cultures do you share?
Do you want to incorporate your venue style into your theme? For example, if you chose an old playhouse because a love of theater is something you share, you can continue that theme into centerpieces, place settings, decor and favors. Or say you choose not to give wedding favors, which is becoming a perfectly acceptable element to eliminate. Some argue that many favors are no longer taken with guests when they leave.
Some choose to center their theme around a holiday or celebration. Winter weddings might reflect the icy season or Mardi Gras for a February wedding in the south.
Another idea to consider is your color scheme. These might tie into the season of the wedding, your shared favorite colors or colors traditionally associated with your broader theme (i.e., for a Mardi Gras theme, your colors may be gold, green, and purple).
Many brides are drawn to a certain style of dress when browsing pictures on Pinterest or magazines if they are a bride who chooses to wear a dress. Some are even beginning to order their dresses online instead of buying them in a traditional bridal boutique. However, different styles look and feel different on different body shapes. You may think you’re sold on a certain style, only to try it on and realize it doesn’t fit your body shape as you expected. That is why you should consider initially visiting a wedding shop to try on different styles, and keep an open mind–it is not uncommon for a style a bride would never have chosen in a million years to be the fit that makes them feel the most beautiful. Choosing the dress that makes you feel the most comfortable and beautiful will go a long way in helping to make you glow on your big day. If you choose to browse the Internet for your dress, at least you will now have an idea of the style(s) that make you feel your best and look and feel just how you want to look and feel.
Same goes for the groom. A good way to show the groom’s individual style is through accessories like ties, pocket squares, socks and even shoe types. Consider the style of your wedding here, as well: is this a formal affair, where he or she will wear a tux or fancy suit? Or are you casual, where he or she may wear a fancy vest and interesting button-down with the sleeves rolled up?
Another idea to take into consideration is the look of the bridal party. You can go the traditional route with your bridal parties by having each member wear the same cut and color dress, suits, ties and shoes. Color is another unifying option, but different styles of dresses for bridesmaids–styles which suit each individual woman or person, are a common sight now. It is not uncommon for opposite genders standing on either side, as well, and color in this instance is another good way to unify you and your bridal parties. Maybe the bridesmaids all share a solid unifying color and the Maid of Honor wears a print with the color.
A step further to consider: Do you want to include a bridal party at all, or would you like it to be a more intimate affair, with just you and your partner standing up during the ceremony?
Something to consider is whether or not you wish to create a wedding hashtag so that photos your guests take and upload to social media can be found in one place. Puns with last names are very popular to consider in creating your custom hashtag, and some are more traditional and keep it simple with names, wedding, and year or date.
Hashtags are an example of something that may go out of style quickly. You want to keep that in mind with your choices if you want to stay with more classic concepts or stay trendy with the details of your day.
Flowers. Professional arrangements can quickly eat up a good chunk of your budget. To save money, you might scale back on where flowers appear on your day. Perhaps you only plan for you or your bridal party’s bouquets and boutonnieres to be created by a professional, but don’t include flowers in centerpieces or other places of decor. Another hot option is the brooch bouquet, but be advised: they quickly get expensive and are heavy to carry. Boutonnieres are also a good opportunity to showcase your style and theme. For example, if geek culture is key to your partnership, perhaps you create boutonnieres not with flowers, but with small figurines, like LEGO people.
Approach, Putting It All Together
DIY is a recent trend, especially with the rise in popularity of Pinterest. Beware of how much DIY you plan on undertaking for your wedding. If you are crafty and a DIY wedding is important to you, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish your projects. You will want to start them as soon as possible because they often take longer than you originally expect. The previously mentioned brooch bouquet falls into this category. Another good way to make your DIY dream a reality is recruiting friends and family members to help. Host crafting nights where you supply beverages and snacks for your helpers and make it fun. These can create great memories and experiences. Again, strongly consider starting even a year in advance. The last thing you want to be doing the week, days and hours right before your wedding is burning your fingers on a manic hot-gluing spree.
If you do not have a ton of spare time or crafty talent, and even if you do, hiring professionals in some capacity will save your sanity. Something to consider is consulting a wedding planner early on, especially if you are planning a destination wedding or the wedding will be taking place somewhere besides where you live. An often overlooked and highly recommended consideration is a day-of coordinator. There are many moving parts in weddings and having someone who makes sure everything transitions smoothly, directs people where they need to be and keeps everything on a schedule will allow you and your loved ones to fully focus on enjoying the day and celebrating your love and dedication you are making to one another with your union.
Photographers and videographers. Choose these professionals carefully, they will be the ones capturing your memories forever. Look through these professionals’ reels and portfolios and consider if their artistic style suits you. Do you want your memories to be captured in fine art style? Do they typically specialize in bright, modern colors, gritty realism or the currently popular faded and pastel filter? Consider the longevity of your style. If a style is popular now and not necessarily classic, consider if you will still be happy with their style many years from now. These are once in lifetime memories which are gone in an instant and which last forever once processed.
It is possible to have your dream wedding on almost any budget. It is all about priorities and compromises. If you have a smaller budget, you may have to do a few things yourself with the help of your friends and family. No matter your budget size, determine with your partner which ideas are the most important to you and allot the appropriate amount of funds to those causes. We have an article to help you figure out how and where to start the budgeting process, Don’t Panic: Wedding Budgeting Tips Made Simple.
Wedding planning can be crazy stressful but as long as you have support and work together with your future spouse, or other helpers if your spouse really would prefer you make the decisions, you can bring your vision to life.