Wedding Planning 101: Finding Your Wedding Aesthetic

by Abbi Morgan September 01, 2017 18 Comments

Let’s be upfront here: wedding planning is a ton of work. Between choosing your vendor, creating your guest list, cake tasting, bridesmaid shopping, registering, finding your dress, etc. etc. there’s about a million and one things you have to do to prepare for the big day. Luckily, there’s an abundance of resources out there for you to find your perfect wedding inspiration. On the other hand, there’s often so much to look at that you can feel even more overwhelmed. So in an effort to help you narrow down your choices and help you find your perfect wedding aesthetic more easily, we've created a guide for everything from deciding your theme to choosing your colors!

How to Decide on Your Wedding "Feel"

Before you dive into planning the details of your wedding, it's important to know your timeline. You would hate to plan your perfect beach wedding only to find your beach venue isn't available! We love this super helpful chart from My Wedding Reception Ideas that really helps lay out all the details. Print this off and check off your tasks as you go!

Wedding planning checklist to make your process a little easier | Kennedy Blue

First Off: Sit Down and Talk With Your Fiancée.

Some guys don’t want anything to do with planning the wedding. But your groom-to-be should still be involved, at the very least for the budget talk. So plan to sit down with your fiancée and discuss the details, starting with the budget. Everything comes back to that dollar amount and you don’t want to way overspend. Did you know that the average American wedding costs 26,720 dollars? Some people can swing this amount, and others can’t so it’s important to set your guidelines.

When having the “budget talk” there’s a lot to consider. Will your parents generously pitch in to the fund? Have either of you saved any money specifically for the wedding? Keep in mind too that if you want to go on a honeymoon you will need to set aside some allowance for that as well. After you decide on the final amount, try and allocate how much money should be in each category. If you want to book a fancy venue in peak wedding season, you should expect to spend top rates and as a result should be ready to adjust your budget accordingly. Maybe you will then decide to buy your dress off the rack to have enough for the venue. And always, always set aside some money for the last minute extra costs that will sneak up on you. Read our blog on 37 Wedding Costs That You Need to Budget For.

A beautiful moment between a bride and groom at their summer wedding | Wedding 101: Finding Your Wedding Aesthetic | Kennedy Blue

Hannah Schmitt Photography

After you and your fiancée decide on your budget (congrats!) Take some time to get his honest opinion. Does he want to have the wedding close to home or would he rather have a destination wedding? Does he care if it’s indoors or outdoors? What season? He may not care about the little details like what table settings you choose, but he may be able to provide some guidance for any venues he likes or colors he doesn’t like. Maybe he really wants to involve his collegiate basketball team somehow (we’ve seen this a lot!) Knowing this from the start will help you plan accordingly. And keep him involved as you continue to plan! You don’t want to leave him out, because it’s his wedding too.

Second: Picking a Wedding Date.

This is a huge step in wedding planning because everything kind of revolves around it! The Wedding Wire suggests choosing your date about 11-12 months out. Check out their wedding date planning helper here for tips on everything from important holiday reminders to famous wedding anniversaries! There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing a date such as:

The wedding invites set the tone for your wedding theme! | Wedding 101: Finding Your Wedding Aesthetic | Veronica Lola Photography | Kennedy Blue

Veronica Lola Photography

Venue availability. Perhaps the most important factor of all, finding a date when your dream venues are available is huge. If you have been dreaming about being married in a particular church or event center for years and you just can’t get married anywhere else, your wedding date will probably depend on when the venue is available. If you’re more flexible and can get married in a few different locations, you have more freedom here to pick and choose.

While having your wedding over a 3 or 4-day holiday weekend like Labor Day or 4th of July may sound like a great idea, a lot of wedding guests don’t appreciate it. Many people already have plans for these weekends that are booked far in advance, and may not be able to move things around for your wedding. Plus, travel costs are usually higher around these dates which adds another strain for your guests. Consider also that if guests need to find babysitters or pet sitters for the big day, these will be harder to come by and more expensive over a holiday weekend. On the flip side, I did attend a wedding on New Year’s Eve which was easily one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to, so there are benefits and downsides with this one.

How long do you need to plan? If you are someone like me who is kind of a perfectionist and doesn’t like to be rushed, you may want to give yourself over a year to plan for the wedding. Some people can pull off a wedding under a short time frame, but keep in mind that your dream vendors may not be available under short notice.

What’s your budget? Friday weddings seem to be becoming increasingly popular as people realize how much cheaper it can be to book your venue for a Friday! This can literally save you thousands of dollars. If you are on a tight budget, also keep in mind that in-season vendor rates can be significantly more expensive (think June-August) than less popular wedding dates (like January). According to The Wedding Wire, 13% of weddings occur in May! So when do you think venues/vendors will be the most pricey?

Still having trouble deciding? Read an in-depth look into this topic with our blog “How to Pick Your Perfect Wedding Date.”

Okay, now that you’ve picked your date, you have one more decision to make before you start really seriously planning: do you want to hire a wedding planner? This can be a HUGE help, especially if you don’t like event planning. Read our blog “A Wedding Planning Guide to Hiring a Planner” if you need some additional tips on this subject.

Alright, now it’s time to dive right into planning!

Next Step, Choosing Your Venue.

Your venue is, arguably, one of the most important elements of your wedding day. It can totally determine the “vibe” or theme of your wedding, make or break your budget, and can make all the difference in your wedding photos! Now before you panic, décor can go a long way to spruce up a space if it’s not your perfect picture. Check out Wedding Wire’s vendor manager to look at venues in your area, read reviews, and see real wedding inspiration. Choosing your venue can be tough, so we’ve come up with a few guidelines to help narrow down your search.

What’s your budget? Again, it all comes down to that budget amount! (Which is why it’s one of the first steps you complete in your planning.) Maybe the fancy hotel isn’t in the cards, but the arboretum is. Check peak prices versus off-season prices, availability, and additional costs that might be tacked on.

What’s your theme? This is a big one here. You can always decorate your venue accordingly to fit the vibe you’re going for, but the theme kind of starts and ends with the venue. Need help deciding your theme? If you have a venue in mind you can start with the space and choose your theme based on it, or vice versa. Read on for some more venue/theme tips.

Rustic: This one might go without saying, but rustic themes work perfectly with a ranch or barn venue! This style is rapidly spreading, and rustic weddings are oh-so-cute. Have the reception in a barn, decorate with plenty of string lighting, mason jars, and florals, and arrive in a horse drawn carriage! I think the common misconception about barn weddings is that you have to include cowgirl boots and animals, but this totally isn’t true. You can go the more “elegant rustic” avenue and forego the DIY chalkboards for lace and chandeliers.

A big, beautiful, barn for a rustic themed wedding | Wedding 101: Finding Your Wedding Aesthetic | Kennedy Blue | Ray + Kelly Photography

Ray + Kelly Photography

Whimsical: Wanting to express your free spirit? Arboretums, gardens or botanical gardens, country clubs, castles/mansions (wouldn’t that be awesome), orchards, or even a spacious backyard is perfect for this vision. Decorate with plenty of string lights and florals, but be prepared because these venues are often outdoors.

A whimsical wedding venue | Wedding 101: Find Your Wedding Aesthetic | Kennedy Blue

Nyk and Cali Photography

Black Tie/Formal: Black tie weddings can be an absolute blast. How often do you get to be so dressed up and classy? For a formal feel, your venue definitely has to convey your theme with this one. Guests will just not feel as fancy in a barn. Think country clubs, fancy hotels, wineries, mansions, historical buildings, or event centers. Depending on which venue you pick, this could be out of your budget so you may have to compromise with an out-of-season date.

Nautical/Beach: I think this one is kind of obvious…but I’m going to talk about it anyways. For a beach or nautical themed wedding, the best venues are near the water. Decorating with anchors and “sailing into married life” kind of décor will look out of place at hotel. Try to stick to venues that are at least near water, if not located overlooking it. Yacht clubs, your friend’s beautiful lake cabin, the beach, or a destination wedding are all great spots for this type of wedding. I live in Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes, so this theme is relatively easy to accomplish anywhere here.

Outdoorsy: This theme is great because if can be a less expensive option for your budget. Imagine celebrating your big day in a state park, cabin resort, garden, ski lodge (in the summer or winter), orchard, or winery. Some of these venues are often outdoors, but you can say your vows outside and then move the party inside. Tip: these venues can often be way less expensive than your country club, but be prepared to bring in your own electric capabilities and have a Plan B on deck for bad weather.

Beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony venue | Kennedy Blue | Bram Vandermark Photography

Bram Vandermark Photography

Need other wedding theme inspiration? We have an entire blog dedicated for “25 Ideas for an Unforgettable Themed Wedding”

Next, What’s Your Color Palette?

Now that you’ve picked your theme, you color palette should naturally follow more easily. Some palettes work naturally with some themes, such as blush pink, sage green, and gold for a rustic wedding. Other themes you will have to decide for yourself! Wedding colors is a whole other overwhelming beast on Pinterest that you can quickly get lost in. Slate blue or cornflower blue? What color complements my lilac bridesmaid dresses? This can so quickly become stressful. Narrowing down your choices can help immensely.

Sit down with your fiancée and ask him what he wants. I talked about this earlier, but you could be surprised with how much help you could be! And even if he is able to say “I don’t like yellow” or “I like outdoor weddings” this could really narrow down your Pinterest feed. Besides, it’s his day too and he will probably want some say in it.

After you consider your fiancée, the next most important factor is the season. If you have picked your wedding date and know what the weather is generally like, your wedding palettes have already been thinned down for you! Searching “late summer wedding color palettes” is a whole lot easier than just “wedding color palettes.” I like using Wedding Wire’s color generator because it considers your season when providing you with color combinations.

Use Wedding Wire's color generator to help decided what color scheme to choose for your wedding | Kennedy Blue | Wedding Wire

After I chose Fall as my season, I could choose between cranberry, plum, champagne, and orange for my primary color. Then Wedding Wire provides 6 sample color combinations to look through! Now, being able to search “cranberry, emerald, and gold fall weddings” in Pinterest just made your search that much easier.

What is your personality like? If you are a peppy and bubbly person who loves bright colors, then you should consider combinations like raspberry, gold, and orange. Laid back and casual? Consider more neutral and earthy colors. Consider what colors you usually like or gravitate to. Do you wear a lot of navy blue shirts? Is your kitchen decorated with hints of sage green? Personally, I love the color sea foam blue and know I would try to incorporate it into my wedding palette.

Keep the important things in mind. Did you always dream of having baby breath flowers in your bouquet? Do you picture your bridesmaids in blush pink dresses? Starting with these type of priorities will be a whole lot easier than trying to fit them in at the end. You don’t want to run with a theme and color palette only to realize later the brown wooden lanterns you bought, specifically for the wedding, don’t match!

Pinks, reds, and greens, the perfect color combination for this outdoor wedding aesthetic | Weddings 101: Finding Your Wedding Aesthetic | Kennedy Blue | Nyk and Cali Photography

Nyk and Cali Photography

Choosing your wedding aesthetic can be tough. There’s so much inspiration out there, and narrowing down what you actually want can seem impossible. If you are feeling overwhelmed, that’s totally normal. Talk with your fiancée, set a budget, determine your priorities, choose your venue, and the rest will follow more easily. Your theme and color palette is huge part of your wedding vibe, so consider what you naturally like, the season, and what you want your wedding to reflect about you and your partner.

Remember that it’s easy to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes you just need to log out and take a break. While your wedding aesthetic is important, remember that some details are less important that others and that your gut feeling is usually right. Good luck!

Let's Chat

How did you choose your wedding theme? Did you always have a specific vision, or did you have to search through Pinterest for hours? What advice do you have for other brides? Let us know in the comments below!



Abbi Morgan
Abbi Morgan

Author



18 Responses

Ayesha Khan
Ayesha Khan

February 06, 2018

Spend time on the important stuff. Long after a wedding, people don’t remember what things looked like as much as how the night left them feeling.

Ashley Flaten
Ashley Flaten

December 31, 2017

I appreciate the advice. I tend to like many different styles and trying to decide on one has been a challenge. I will keep checking back for more advice. Thanks!

Hannah Tong
Hannah Tong

December 30, 2017

This is so great, especially for someone that’s just starting to plan a wedding!!

Devin Hanlon
Devin Hanlon

December 03, 2017

So helpful!

Rachel
Rachel

November 01, 2017

Thanks for the directions…it can be an overwhelming process but this is helpful!

Olha
Olha

October 31, 2017

Thank you for the post

Rachael Reeder
Rachael Reeder

October 23, 2017

Love this!

Chelsea
Chelsea

October 20, 2017

Just starting my wedding planning and this is super helpful!

Erica
Erica

October 16, 2017

Sorry helpful. I’ve been overwhelmed with all the options and exactly what I want.

Lacy Hall
Lacy Hall

October 16, 2017

This blog was very helpful… so many tips and the advice is great… being a bride to be is a handful in itself… the planning of a wedding may get overwhelming but with helpful tips and advice like this, it will definitely be a little easier!

Jessica Drew
Jessica Drew

October 15, 2017

Thanks soooo much for this article, my wedding is next October and I’m trying to plan the perfect rustic barn theme with the colors I’m using.

Nicole Witman
Nicole Witman

October 11, 2017

Super helpful – trying to find some ideas for a rustic barn themed wedding.

Bethany
Bethany

October 08, 2017

Love this!

Lexi
Lexi

October 06, 2017

So helpful!

Erica Tabb
Erica Tabb

October 05, 2017

These are great ideas!

Lacy
Lacy

October 03, 2017

Great info!!!

Michelle Dean
Michelle Dean

September 27, 2017

This is SO informative!!

Harley
Harley

September 27, 2017

I found this extremely helpful as I am in the middle of wedding planning, which can be very overwhelming. Wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing!

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Measurement Guide - How to Measure for Your Size

Taking Your Measurements

For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn’t be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.

Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.

Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5” (size 12), your waist measures 31” (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5” (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body.

Bust Size

Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).

Waist Size

While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button. Stand up straight and do not “suck in” when taking this measurment.

Hip size

Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.

Depending on the fabric, a dress can be altered down up to 2 full sizes, but can be very difficult to let out as there is only about .5 inch of fabric to do so at the seams.

Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.