One of the biggest wedding-planning challenges can be cohesiveness — presenting a consistent vision for your event from start to finish. As a wedding planner, I see brides (especially those who are newly engaged) struggle with this all the time. They've picked their venue, theme and dress...but none of the three really match.
Throughout the process of falling in love with gowns, flowers, linens, and all things wedding pretty, you might find it difficult to maintain focus and your wedding can take on a life of its own. So, how do you prevent this from happening? The good news is that by outlining key factors early on, it's totally doable to execute your big day without getting completely lost in the process.
I've put together some easy tips to help couples stay on track throughout the months leading up to their wedding. By no means do you have to follow these to a T. My hope is that you will find a way to personalize these steps and bring your vision to life in the most magical way possible!
1. Book your venue before anything else.
This is the one key piece of advice that I've shared with all of my clients throughout the years that hasn't changed. In your venue selection, you'll narrow down the search by finding out what you're stylistically drawn to and what reflects you as a couple. Your entire wedding vision will become more defined throughout this process.
For example, let's say that you originally imagined a completely black and white look, but you decide to book a ballroom and it has brownish carpeting. You may want to tweak your palette to incorporate creams, browns, metallics and black, instead.
2. Edit your inspiration board.
Whether you have an old-school binder stuffed with magazine spreads or a Pinterest board that you started on the day you said "yes!", now is the time to edit. Looking at your photo inspiration, you may see four completely different weddings going on. That isn't necessarily a bad thing in the early stages of planning but when you're ready to start tackling your to-do list, it's time to refocus your vision.
Narrow down images that evoke an emotion or represent an idea you'd like to incorporate. There should be a specific reason why you're keeping each photo, whether it's because you really want to have a cigar bar and that was the only image you could find or you love the wording in that thank-you card for your bridesmaids.
Here's a great example of a cohesive board:
Photo collage by Davia Lee Weddings & Events
This one doesn't work because it has too many different seasonal elements and concepts going on:
Photo collage by Davia Lee Weddings & Events
3. Use keywords to describe your dream wedding.
Romantic? Casual? Black tie? Beachy? Rustic? Modern? Think about the words you'll use during your conversations with vendors to describe your vision. Also, imagine how you'd want your guests to describe the event after the fact to their friends.
Although this may seem trivial, identifying keywords will be more helpful than you can imagine later on, when you're torn between two different products or services. (Go with whichever one best embodies your overall concept!)
4. Create a color story.
Next, pull up photos of your venue and decide which colors work best to help tell your wedding story. If you love purple but you realize it doesn't mesh with your location, that doesn't meet you can't include it. You may just want to consider bringing it in through small details, rather than making it an overwhelmingly purple-themed wedding.
Also, you don't have to limit yourself to two or three hues, as long as they're all from the same color family. For example, blushes, peaches, creams, whites, purples, wine colors, reds and copper all work together to create a great "color story." Once you've created what you believe to be your color story, add it to your inspiration board to ensure that everything is coming together accordingly.
5. Share all of the above with your gown consultant.
Choosing your wedding gown might be the most personal decision you make throughout the planning process. Although you may have a specific silhouette or designer in mind, don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone! Some of the most beautiful brides are the ones who stumbled upon "The One" because they were willing to try on styles that the salon owner or their mom suggested to them.
But most importantly, share your venue and overall concept with whomever is helping you. A lace sheath would be lovely for a vintage wedding, a breezy A-line gown would be great for a garden ceremony and a lavish ball gown fits right at home in a European castle affair. Now this isn't to say that those are the ONLY types of wedding those dresses would work with. Just make sure that your dress fits both your personality and the one that you've assigned to your wedding.
6. Tie everything in with a few meaningful details.
This is the step where everything will start to come together. You will work on everything décor- and design-related, from the calligraphy that you'd like to the color of the roses you want to use. This is when you'll need to refer back to your edited inspiration board — there are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming!
Surround yourself with people who will help keep you on track. Remember to use your keywords and color story to help guide your decision-making process and conversations with vendors.
Tell us: Are you torn between different wedding themes or styles?
— Davia Lee
Davia Lee is a real bride, entrepreneur, lead designer and wedding planner for Davia Lee Events. She loves all things sparkly, fashionable and girly. In contrast, her fiancé, Jesse, is a "man's man" — beard and all! They are the poster couple for "opposites attract" and prove that true love knows no boundaries. Their greatest wedding-planning challenge will be finding a middle ground where all of their wants, needs and dreams will meet. We can tell you this, though — when everything aligns, their big day will be fabulous!