Finding Your Wedding Vision

Wedding planning information and ideas from Wedding Planning and Management:  Consultancy for Diverse Clients by Maggie Daniels and Carrie Loveless:

Before you can start on your checklist of things to do, before you can book a venue or hire a photographer, you have to find your wedding vision.

“A wedding vision is an imaginative conception of the event that encompasses all five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.”

What makes you unique as a couple? How can that be expressed in your wedding. Focus on ideas and concepts that you like from bridal magazines, Pinterest boards, photos of outings with your fiancé, swatches of fabric or any items that reflect the most important aspects of your life. When planning your wedding it is important to establish a focused vision to determine your ideal wedding day and then make that vision a reality.

In the process of finding your wedding vision, certain themes are likely to emerge. Wedding themes can vary from subtle to dramatic and generally feed into destination and site selection as well as influencing other elements such as floral décor and favors.

Consider these themes when defining your wedding vision:

  • Favorite Color
  • Seasons and Holidays
  • Historic Periods and Eras
  • Culture, Subculture and Heritage
  • Earth and Celestial Elements
  • Sports, Activities and Hobbies
  • Popular Culture

“A common starting place is a favorite color. A color scheme can be the motivation for the entire framework of a wedding.”

“A second theme category pertains to seasons and holidays. Seasons often coincide with colors, with pastels working best in the spring, bright colors coordinating with summer, muted tones favored in the fall and festive shades and darks working well in the winter. Considering the calendar year, some popular holidays that coincide with wedding themes include Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A specific aspect of a season or holiday period can be used to dictate the thematic elements; for instance, a harvest wedding can include a hay wagon, mums, pumpkin centerpieces, a cider-based signature drink and favors such as baskets of pumpkin bread or candied apples.”

“For those with an appreciation of the past, a wedding theme based on a specific historic period may be appealing. Renaissance and Victorian periods as well as eras such as the Roaring 1920s and the Big Band 1930s and 1940s lend themselves to specific musical genres as well as clothing styles.”

“A related theme involves drawing upon a specific culture or subculture. This may be based on the experiences or heritage of the bride and/or groom or could be based on a particular interest or borrowed culture. For example, a couple may wish to have an Ascot-themed wedding, not based on a British heritage but because of their love of horses. Another couple, equally passionate about horses, may opt for a more casual country-western theme. A subcultural theme can even be based on a career; for instance, military weddings have embedded customs and protocol.”

“Couples with an interest in outdoor activities may decide to have a beach, mountain, garden or park theme. Gazebos, atriums, resorts, national parklands and estates lend themselves to outdoor themes. A related thematic area is comprised of earth and celestial elements, which can be tied into conservationist weddings as well as those using stars, planets, the moon or angelic features.”

“Sports allow for a broad array of themes.  Whether participants or fans, a passion for golf, football, martial arts, baseball, snowboarding, kayaking, surfing, soccer or any other sport can translate into a clever theme.  Similarly, other recreational or competitive outlets can lead to imaginative themes.  Activities and hobbies such as traveling, cooking, gardening, karaoke, camping and painting bring couples together and can lend to a wedding theme.”

“A final, broad theme pertains to popular culture, with couples frequently drawing upon books, theatre, television and film to inspire their weddings. Plot lines, time periods, clothing and music associated with historic or modern fiction, such as Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter, Twilight and Downton Abbey, fuel the imagination.”

“When choosing a theme, it is important to consider the knowledge base of the guests. If the couple wishes to incorporate Scottish elements into the wedding based on the bride’s heritage, it will be helpful to explain the significance of the unique features in the wedding program so the cultural experience will not be lost on guests who are not of Scottish descent. Additionally, the comfort level of the guest must be kept in mind.”

Wedding Planning and Management: consultancy for diverse clients is available at

Credit:  Daniels, Maggie, & Loveless, Carrie (2014). Wedding Planning and Management: Consultancy for Diverse Clients (Second edition). New York, NY: Routledge. Illustrated by Rodney Bailey.

The Washington DC metro area makes an amazing backdrop for wedding photography.

Wedding Photography by Rodney Bailey

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