What's Your Wedding Style?

We asked Karen Bussen, event planner and author of Simple Stunning Weddings, for some tips to uncover your style.

Karen Bussen

Are you modern or vintage? Or a little bit country? Find out with a little advice from Karen.

Bridal Guide: How do you help an engaged couple find their particular wedding style?

Karen Bussen: The first time I sit down with a couple, I ask them about themselves. How did they meet? What are their interests? Are they outdoorsy types, foodies, high school sweethearts? I ask them to describe the mood they envision for their wedding.

BG: Can you give some examples?

KB: I suggest thinking in adjectives: hot and spicy? vintage? elegant and understated? Or perhaps whimsical and funky? Try some out and see what clicks with the two of you.

BG: What then?

KB: Both partners should write down their wedding priorities. Is the food very important to them? How many guests will they invite? Is being ecofriendly a concern? How much do they envision spending? Also—and this is very important—if family members are contributing money and involved in the planning, you need to play it safe and run everything by them. If you want an alternative 90s rock band, and your parents want a small orchestra, it’s better to know now rather than later!

lanterns and gourds

seasonal produce

From left: Lanterns and gourds make an earthy statement, while a candelabra adds elegance. Seasonal produce in wooden containers defines rustic chic.

BG: So now that everyone’s on the same page…

KB: It’s time to find your venue. This is your most important decision, because the venue will drive your choice of everything else, from your dress to the decor to the food. Let’s say your mood will be earthy and natural but elegant. You know you want something outdoors, with a certain number of people and you’ve agreed on a budget. So maybe you’ll decide on a farm or a small inn.

birch and curly willow

a bouquet made entirely of ornamental kale

From left:For a ceremony, hydrangeas and bittersweet berries on a frame of birch and curly willow. A bouquet made entirely of ornamental kale.

BG: How does the location influence the food and other elements?

KB: Let’s say you've chosen a farm. You'll Source your food and flowers locally. Tomatoes in season or apples for centerpieces— perfect! For music, you might want a bluegrass ensemble or a zydeco band instead of a classic jazz trio.

BG: Does selecting a farm or inn mean you have to go casual?

KB: No! You can go rustic but elegant. If you’re casual, you can use tin pails for centerpieces; if you’re elegant, go with silver compotes filled with apples and surrounded by silver candelabra.

BG: What’s another example of a venue?

KB: Let’s say your mood is urban chic. Perhaps you’ll rent a modern art gallery and put in long tables. Your centerpieces might be a row of narrow, clear cylinders, with a single fl ower in each. You’ll go with chic food presentation and swanky cocktails. But let’s say that sustainability is also a priority—choose organic produce for the meal. With thoughtful planning, it’s usually possible to get exactly what you want!

Photography: Stewart Tabori & Chang