When couples sit down to start mapping out their big day, it’s easy to forget some of the core reasons that motivate us to even host these events in the first place. As a wedding planner and blogger in the Atlanta area, I speak to a lot of brides and grooms that struggle with the huge task of planning the largest, most high stakes party they’ll ever throw. One of the most important things to remember in the early stages is that the ceremony and reception are a reflection of you and your love for one another.

Dreaming up a wedding in the style that best represents the couple —who you are as individuals, and what you have become as a partnership—is very important, but it can also be very complicated. So, after months of blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes very literally), how do you end up with a wedding that screams “you?” I’ve compiled seven steps every couple should take when planning their wedding to ensure that the event mirrors your chosen style and resonates with your personal tastes.

Step One: Give It Some Thought

Many men and women have their perfect wedding in mind, sometimes years before they even get the ring. But when you’re officially betrothed and that planning reality comes a-knocking, it’s time to buckle down and really consider if you still want that horse-drawn carriage you envisioned when you were a teenager. Here are some things to think about and discuss with your partner:

  • Will it be a big or a small wedding?
  • What time of year or season do you prefer?
  • Fancy yourself an indoor or an outdoor ceremony?
  • A wedding at home or a far-off destination?
  • What calls to you in terms of styles and themes (rustic, glam, modern, vintage, romantic, superhero?)

Once those big questions have been answered, it will become a little bit easier to truly begin rocking your planning to-do list. Choosing the time of year will likely help set a few workable dates, as well as help determine if your affair will be in or out of doors.

Step Two: Find Inspiration Everywhere

You might already have a Pinterest board full of ideas for your wedding, but remember that ideas exists beyond the computer screen: from your chosen wedding season, to a favorite accessory, to a color you’ve always been drawn to. Flipping through bridal magazines might not be your thing, so it is important to remember that inspiration is everywhere. Be careful not to overwhelm yourselves with collecting photos, color swatches, or ‘pinning’ on Pinterest though, because it can be easy to fluster yourself in the inspiration-gathering stages.

Step Three: Focus on Formality

What kind of atmosphere do you want for your wedding? This is the stage at which couples need to evaluate not only how you want the day to feel to you personally, but how your guests will remember it too. This determination should also help with selecting ceremony and reception locations. If you want a fun summer wedding where guests can play games outside while they wait for their meal, a formal ballroom is probably not for you, but a cottage on a couple acres of land might be. Once you figure out how formal or casual you want your wedding to feel, it will be easy to match a location to your style.

Step Four: Home in on Your Style

Now that you have some inspiration and hopefully some locations reserved for your ceremony and reception, it’s time to solidify the style of your wedding, which will help you choose the look of your flowers, the decor of your reception, and more. If you are working with a wedding planner, it is easier for them to focus on a specific theme; “rustic” is quite a broad approach, but something like “rustic lodge” or “rustic western” will help them understand exactly what you are looking for. When contemplating your ideal wedding style, consider you and your partner’s interests, such as comic books, a beloved travel destination, or a favorite era of time. But be forewarned: this process can (and should) be a compromise, as often hobbies and personal tastes can be drastically different. So if your partner wants to incorporate his love for superheroes into the wedding day, find something you can both live with, such as hero-themed bow ties.

Step Five: Choose Your Colors

Once your wedding style has been more or less defined, the coordinating color scheme for the day should fall easily into place. If it seems more complicated than it should, take a look at the season in which you are having your wedding: spring tends to see more pastel colors; summer works great with pops of color like bright pink and blues; fall is filled with changing leaves so burgundy, orange, and browns are popular; and for winter, dark green, maroon, gold, and silver shine their brightest. If your style doesn’t come with a specific color theme, it is best to pick colors complementary to the season. Don’t feel limited to choosing one color, however. Flowers and decor really work best when several colors work together in harmony, and metallics work well with every palette and season.

Step Six: Get Into the Details

Now’s the time to begin looking at invitations, cakes, centerpieces, and favors. These items should all reinforce the style you have laid out, but invitations are among the most important in communicating the formality, mood, and design of the big day. As these paper creations are the first things your guests will see, you want to make sure that they truly represent your wedding style. A more casual wedding will have a more casual invitation, while a formal ballroom affair should have a very elegant, perhaps letterpressed or hand-calligraphed invite.

Step Seven: Remember That This is Your Wedding

Along your planning journey, family members and friends are sure to give you their input, send you photos of what they feel are the “best” floral arrangement, and so on. This is fine if you are actively asking for advice, but do not let the opinions of others overwhelm you. You and your partner might not like their suggestions, and it is important to remember that this is your wedding. Everything should be as you want it, not how someone else would prefer. Make your wedding stand out in the collective memory of your friends and family according to your own vision, showcasing you and your beloved’s specific style, and you are guaranteed to have a magical day.


Written by Borrowed and Blue, Author Theresa Gibson