While it’s one of the most exciting times of your life, planning every last detail of a wedding’s aesthetic can be overwhelming. Long reception tables or round? Silver or gold accents? Votive candles or long tapers? We’ve gathered some tips to help you narrow down your endless options and find a style that suits you both.
1. Gather source materials with your sweetie.
There are two kinds of brides – those who love bridal magazines and immediately stockpile them upon getting engaged, and those who gag when they see them at the newsstand. If you’re in the latter category, swallow your pride and pick up a few. Take 20 minutes with your fiancé, go to separate corners with a handful of magazines each, and tear out a few pages that you like. You can choose pictures of cakes, dresses, table settings – whatever. Then compare. What do your images have in common?
If he loves a sleek, modern aesthetic with metallic accents and you envision a rustic, outdoor setting, try to compromise. Maybe he’s willing to get married in a beautiful old barn so long as the groomsmen get to wear slick suits and the tables have crisp white tablecloths. It’s a great way to see what you and your partner envision for your wedding but may not be able to articulate. If you’ve both chosen beach-themed pictures or are both drawn to the color blue, you’re already ahead of the game. Stick the pages in plastic sleeves in a three-ring binder to reference later on in the process if you feel yourself being overwhelmed by options.
2. Shop at other people’s weddings.
If you’re of the marrying age, you’ve probably attended a fair amount of friends and families’ weddings already. Which weddings did you find the most beautiful? At whose wedding did you have the most fun? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so if you loved your cousin’s bouquet, ask her about it. Did you think Steve and Tammy’s ceremony went on waaaay too long? Talk with your officiant to make sure yours clocks in under 20 minutes, if that’s what you want. Check out other couples’ favors, color choices, flowers and food, and talk to your fiancé about what you’d love to replicate or what you’d NEVER do for your own wedding. In some ways it’s better than a bridal magazine, because you’re experiencing it firsthand.
3. Hire a professional.
If you don’t have the budget for a professional wedding planner or decorator, or if you’re set on DIY-ing your wedding décor, this may not be an option for you. But a professional wedding planner is trained to assess what you’ll like, and can help you develop a theme that suits both of your personalities. They may have ideas you’ve never even heard of, and their portfolios alone are often jam-packed with ideas for floral arrangements, dresses, lighting, centerpieces and favors.
And be aware that hiring a professional wedding consultant doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank; these pros often have insider discounts for services like catering and photography. They’re sure to know all the wedding service providers in your area and can steer you away from lemons. Find a reputable planner in your area via the Association of Bridal Consultants.
4. Harness the power of the interwebs.
You are fortunate enough to be getting married in an age where literally everything is at your fingertips. Want a space-cowboy-themed wedding with a photo booth, a sundae bar, sparklers at every table and tulips flown in from the Netherlands? Done. Don’t settle — you can have exactly the wedding you want, no matter what your budget or taste. Shop around! Check out some wedding blogs. Ask questions in online . If you see something that you like online, track it down! You can find amazing deals online, and the internet is full of images, info and experts that will help you narrow down the perfect style for your special day.