That “I just got engaged!” feeling – there’s nothing quite like it, is there? That warm, soul-filling and heart-fluttering moment when you realise that the love of your life wants to spend the rest of theirs with you.
The phone calls to squealing family members, the congratulations, all of the happiness and excitement surrounding you and your partner in your own little bubble as you enjoy this totally-at-peace-and-madly-in-love moment together.
It’s a special time that should be cherished for as long as possible, because it’s what comes next that can be a teeny bit overwhelming. That bubble-crushing moment when you realise there is a whole lotta planning and a million and one things to be done before you can say ‘I do’.
You probably have an abundance of ideas flying around like crazy in your head. The first step (and usually the trickiest) is defining your wedding vision. Because how can you start planning your dream day, if you don’t actually know what your dream day looks like?
Defining your wedding vision is a crucial first step in the wedding planning process if you want to ensure that your wedding day is everything you ever wished for and as beautiful as you had dreamed.
Luckily we have a few tips on hand (and a free worksheet) to help you pull all of your ideas together into a clear and cohesive vision, to make sure you create a seamless and unforgettable wedding!
Get your priorities in order
First things first, don’t forget the true purpose of this day – to celebrate the love between you and your partner! When you start to define your wedding vision, you want to make sure it is authentic to yourself and your partner, and totally reflective of the awesome team that you make and the love you have for each other.
So it makes sense that to start defining your wedding vision, you should first think about what defines you as a couple – your relationship, values and the personalities you have.
Are you a relaxed and easygoing pair who spends your weekends down at the beach? Maybe a coastal inspired summer wedding would be a great way for you to celebrate. Or if you are both huge foodies and love entertaining family and friends, then a long feasting lunch outdoors might be your idea of the perfect day.
If there is a particular memory or hobby you share that is special to you, then it can be a nice personal touch to incorporate this into your wedding vision as well. For example, if you have fond memories of the 6 months you spent travelling Italy together then why not allow this to be a part of your inspiration with an Italian menu or sprigs of olive leaf included in the décor?
Once the planning starts it can be hard not to get caught up in the little things and forget about the big picture – so sit down with your partner and talk about your absolute essentials for the day and the things that are the most meaningful to you.
Download this worksheet to help you and your partner define your wedding vision and set your priorities for the big day!
Try jotting down the 3 things that are total must-haves for your big day. Get your partner to write down their top 3 non-negotiables while you do the same (no peeking!).
It might be details like having your signature drink served at the bar, an acoustic musician for the cocktail hour, or your favourite colour included in the décor. When you have finished, compare your lists and order those key elements by priority!
It might surprise you to see what your partner has listed as a high priority – they may have some really meaningful ideas in mind that you would never have considered otherwise.
Having your essential items listed in writing is the perfect way to keep you focused on what is truly important when it comes to defining your wedding vision, and to stop you from getting overwhelmed with trivial details.
Print out the Wedding Vision & Priorities worksheet for you and your fiancé to figure out what’s most important to each of you. Keep this list handy and refer back to it often, ticking each item off as you go.
Consider your wedding date
Have you decided when you’re going to tie the knot? Even if you don’t have a specific date locked down just yet, you probably have an idea of the season in which you’d like to get married, and this can be a great starting point when it comes to defining the look and feel of your wedding!
Are you planning an outdoor wedding in the middle of summer? A dark and moody colour palette with lots of heavy linens might not be the best fit for that particular setting, but a fresh and light theme with bright colours and natural textures would create a beautiful and seasonal ambience for your guests.
On the flipside, if your wedding is taking place in the middle of winter then part of your wedding vision might be having woven baskets of warm blankets scattered around the venue for your guests to snuggle up with. Little touches like these are not only thoughtful and practical, but are also reflective of the season and can turn into really beautiful details that help to define your wedding!
Work with your venue
Another decision you will make early on in the planning process will be securing your wedding venue, and you’ll want to make sure your creative vision is going to flow cohesively with the location.
You might have the perfect wedding reception all planned out in your head but think about how this is going to tie in to your venue and work as a whole once everything is set up.
A picnic wedding reception sounds super sweet, but how well is that going to complement the industrial warehouse space you have chosen? Think of your venue as the foundation of your wedding design and keep this in mind when you start to define your vision.
Don’t forget that you have chosen your wedding venue for a reason – maybe you were obsessed with the architecture, the view, the beautiful garden – whatever it might be, think about what made you fall in love with the space to begin with and draw on this when you are pulling your ideas together.
Gather your ideas into a vision board
When it comes to the style and aesthetics of your day, it’s likely you have some dream wedding inspiration tucked away somewhere already – whether it’s a Pinterest board, torn out photos from a bridal magazine, or a phone album filled with Instagram screenshots.
It might even be a tangible thing like a postcard you have saved or a swatch of fabric that you love. Gather all of your inspiration together in the one place, and make sure you cull any inspiration that is no longer relevant or that you aren’t one hundred percent in love with. There is definitely such a thing as ‘too much’ inspiration and you don’t want to become overwhelmed by having too many ideas!
Once you have culled your inspiration, you can start creating a vision board – online tools like Pinterest are a super easy way to do this, but you can also get old-school with a scrapbook or journal.
Using Pinterest as your vision board
If you are using Pinterest and have a few boards on the go (one for flowers, one for stationery, etc) then create a new Pinterest board with a selective choice of photos from each to further narrow down your ideas.
A vision board doesn’t only have to consist of photographs either. It can be helpful to include some words or quotes that encapsulate how you want the day to feel. Words like relaxed, vibrant, festive – these words mean something to you which makes them an important part of defining your wedding vision.
Go through and caption your images with the elements that you love about them and why they are meaningful to you. Not only will this remind you why you chose the image, but it will also be extremely helpful when you need to communicate your ideas to your wedding vendors.
Remember that an image can be interpreted in many different ways, so include specific descriptions to help your vendors relate – for example, ‘I love the peach and white tones in this bouquet and want to replicate this colour palette for my own flowers, but with more foliage and greenery’. Perfect! Your florist will know exactly what you need based on this.
If you want to learn more about how to use Pinterest as a tool to really articulate your vision, start by reading this blog post.
Streamline your vision
Your vision board will be able to give you an overall sense on if your ideas are working together harmoniously, or if there are some elements clashing. After you have created your vision board, take a look at the overall concept – does it make sense? Do the colours work in harmony? How does it make you feel?
Things to look out for to help streamline your vision are; a consistent colour palette that you love, certain textures or patterns that continue to reappear, and an overall ‘vibe’ that seems to shine through that fits your description of the perfect day.
You might take a look over your vision board and follow a thought process along the lines of, ‘Okay – the colours appearing across my vision board are quite light and neutral, and I can see lots of organic textures and details like foliage and timber. All of the floral arrangements seem to be very loose and unstructured, with lots of white and green throughout. There are a lot of candles and warm lighting, and the overall ambience seems to be very relaxed and fun.’
Guess what – you just defined your wedding vision in a few short sentences! Being able to identify common threads like these is exactly what defining your vision is all about.
Get a second opinion
If your vision board isn’t quite coming together but you can’t seem to put your finger on where the clash is coming from, ask someone you know for a second opinion or put your vision board aside and revisit it after a couple of days. If you have been concentrating on it for too long, it can be easy for everything to start to blur together so it’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes to look back over your ideas!
Keep your vision board handy once complete as this will become a valuable resource that you can send to your team of wedding vendors, from your florist right through to your DJ – that way, all of your suppliers will know exactly what you are envisaging and can offer their own creative input and advice on bringing this vision to life.
Go with your instinct and not with the trends
In the wonderful world of weddings, trends come and go faster than you can blink an eyelid! A Pinterest image of a geometric candle holder gets repinned ten thousand times and all of a sudden, geometric accents are everywhere you look until the next trend starts to go viral.
While it’s always exciting and inspiring to see these fresh new ideas, it can be so easy to become obsessed with a popular trend, base your entire wedding vision around it -and then fall out of love with it just as quickly. You will be looking back on your wedding day for years to come, so try to gauge if what you are loving right now feels authentic and true to yourself or if it might just be a temporary obsession!
Trust your gut instinct
The most important thing to remember is to follow your heart and create a vision that is perfect for you and your partner. It’s one of the most important days of your life, so don’t stress about trying to please everyone else.
After all, as much time as you might spend deciding on the little details that will soon be forgotten like the perfect napkin fold or the right shade of ribbon for your bouquet, the one thing you will always, always remember is how the day made you feel – so make sure you focus on the details that are going to make you both happy.
It can take some time, but once you have confidently and thoughtfully defined your wedding vision keeping the above tips in mind, the good news is that the rest of the wedding planning process will start to unfold naturally (we promise!) and you will find it much easier to communicate your vision to everyone involved in bringing your big day to life.
And don’t forget to have fun doing it– enjoy this process of watching your vision come together, and take a moment on the day to stand back and appreciate the beautiful wedding that you created!