"You're engaged, congratulations! What style is your wedding? Where will it be?" Some people are lucky enough to have a clear vision of what their ideal wedding will look like, even before they become engaged.
If you're anything like my husband Ben and I, the answers were "we don't know!" and "we know what we don't want". So how do you start figuring out what you want?
Here are some questions to help you discover your unique wedding overall style, venue/location, colours and priorities. There are some examples for practical applications.
1. What is your every day style?
Are you crisp, modern and minimalist; flowing floral and bright; relaxed, homely and earthy? What sort of things are in your home? Think about cushions, crockery, artwork, clothes. Do they have simple lines and are mostly black and white? Are they organic and bright? Or are they flowing and natural coloured? Defining your style can guide design decisions and the overall theme throughout the planning process.
2. Is there a place or area special to you as a couple?
Ideas include: the area you grew up, where you met, your first date or where your proposal happened. Use these locations as inspiration to decide where to get married (general area or specific venue). Consider established wedding venues; venues that may not advertise weddings (such as the local hall, schools, your parent's backyard, botanic gardens, vineyards); or that special place of yours. In Australia, we are lucky: you can get married anywhere. If your special place is a secluded beach, National Park or the paddock down the road, you can be married there! Being married in a meaningful location is a great way to create a wedding truly unique to you. Once you have a location or venue chosen, this can very much help inform other decisions. For example Cassie and Mark's first date was wine tasting in Hunter Valley. They ask if their favourite vineyard accommodates weddings and they say yes! Cassie wants to be able to walk easily amongst the vines which helps her choose dress with a free-flowing skirt. Their overall theme could be "rustic", relaxed and vine inspired.
3. What are your favourite colours?
A simple question that is hopefully easy to answer! Do they go together (complimentary or harmonious colours) or do they contrast (clash)? If you can choose two or at the most three colours that are harmonious, these could be the central colours of your wedding. Think bridesmaids dresses, reception table centrepieces, guys ties, flowers. For a deeper explanation and to see where your favourite colours appear, see here (thanks to J. L. Morton at Colour Matters).
4. What are your interests (both of you!)?
Can they be incorporated into your wedding or as a basis for inspiration? For example Harry is into medieval history and Sharon is an environmental scientist. H&S could design an icon of a sword entwined with native leaves. This could appear on their invitations, cake and menus. They could have bouquets of native foliage with iron coloured flowers.
5. Do you enjoy doing things together?
You might go cycling, visit art galleries, watch movies, travel in Asia or share great food and wine together. Are they large parts of your lives? For example Sam and Paul enjoy watching movies and visiting farmers markets. They could have a movie themed photo booth at their reception and look for a caterer who champions local produce.
6. What style of dresses or suits look good on you and you enjoy wearing?
Use dresses or suits you currently own and love as inspiration for your wedding dress and suits. For example you have a figure hugging evening dress with a low back you feel like a million dollar every time you wear it. Or you love your legs and 1950's tea-length skirts. You could consider a wedding dress in a similar style.
7. Do you have any favourite local jewellery designers or fashion labels?
Do they create engagement and wedding rings; or bridal wear? Local designers are really easy to work with: you love their work already, you talk to the actual designer/maker (instead of a sales person) and you feel good supporting local creative businesses.
8. At weddings, what elements are important to you?
You may absolutely love the idea of being given away by your father. Your husband-to-be may have a family tradition of story book ceremony readings. You both kill potted plants, so flowers are not important. Do you really need a cake? It's your wedding so you can choose what you must have and what you can leave out.
Having answered the above questions, hopefully you have discovered your unique wedding overall style, venue/location ideas, colours and priorities. These broad ideas can be applied to details and inform decisions moving forward. Establishing your priorities can help prepare your budget: what areas are you prepared to spend more on.
I have put together a worksheet for you to write your answers to keep for future reference. You can download it here!
If I can help you with your wedding photography in the beautiful Wairarapa, Wellington, please feel free to contact me: Sarah at Lucalia Photography.