How To Design Your Wedding with a Story in Mind
"When you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is."
– Shauna Niequist
With so much wedding inspiration online these days, it can be incredibly overwhelming to know where to start if you are planning and designing your own wedding event. You may choose one color palette that you like, then as time goes by, wish you'd chosen something else you're suddenly inspired by. The truth is, we could all play 'fantasy wedding' forever and re-design our wedding days over and over again with no end in sight. So our best advice is to represent your story as a couple within the design so it stays timeless and meaningful to you as you start a new life. We're so thrilled to have talented planner and wedding designer, Krissy Campbell here today to guide you through designing your wedding with your story in mind...
"Engaged couples will often come to me saying they are completely overwhelmed with where to start in designing their wedding. They may know what they are drawn to, but there is so much inspiration out there that it can become quite overwhelming to navigate all the options that would fit them best, let alone ensure that all the details and elements flow effortlessly together. Rightfully so! Your wedding is potentially one of the most important celebrations of your life!
It is quite normal to feel this way, and I believe it’s a great place to start when designing because it truly forces you to think intentionally and creatively. My response to the overwhelm is always to go back to YOU - to your stories, your experiences, your love, your families, your home, your passions. When you are true to who you are and acknowledge the small steps that led you to this moment, you will undoubtedly create an original design and plan that most reflects you and fits the experience you didn’t even realize you were hoping for."
I’ve had the privilege to share this journey as a teammate with each of my clients and vendor teams as we begin to hold who they are and who they want to be as a couple as the most authentic and unique inspiration for each element of their celebration. It’s something I return to with my own business, home, and creative projects as well.
The story is key.
Lean into it and consider these few simple thoughts as you begin to create a design blueprint you can return to and build from:
I don’t mean to romanticize “story” too much, as I know each of our lives, and some more than others, can be scattered with difficulties that have shaped who we are. I invite you, however, to allow yourself the space to ask questions like the ones below to get you started. Revisit experiences and places that can help shed light on what’s truly meaningful to you and your significant other and what you each value most.
What person has most inspired you? Why?
How do you spend your days (for a living or otherwise)? Why do you do what you do? How do you feel when you do it?
What is your favorite place or space (a room, a view, etc.)? Describe it.
What most inspired awe in you as a child? As a young adult? What inspires awe in you right now? Jot down adjectives and words or find pictures that describe these in a more tangible way. (Hint: These don’t have to have anything to do with a wedding!)
Have you traveled abroad or otherwise? What is your favorite place you’ve visited and why?
What have you experienced together as a couple? What did those moments or places look like and why are they important to you?
Your Love and Your Marriage
Take time for each of you to describe in about three adjectives what you love most about the other. Then take some time to describe what you want your life as a couple to be about. How do you want others to remember you and what you represent as a couple? What characteristics describe you as a team? This gives you the opportunity to revisit why you are creating this celebration and space in the first place and again, what you most value in life and in your wedding.
Naming the Experience
At this point, you can’t ignore the wedding specifics you might have been dreaming of for years or know are non-negotiable elements for you. What are these things? They could be as specific as the venue or location, a live band versus a DJ, a quote that you love, a loved one you want to remember or involve in some way, a feeling or mood you want to evoke in guests. List these in order of value and priority for you. This will be essential when working with your planner in choosing a vendor team best fit for you and designating the budget you may have accordingly within the design. Trust us and your vendors to carry these priorities and create the best possible experience for you! Having these values and descriptions to form a blueprint will clearly communicate and make it even easier for the vendor team to bring it all to life.
It’s also okay if you don’t have many preferences here. The more open you can be, the easier it will be to design most authentically to what you discovered above.
Tying It Together
You’ve revisited your stories, asked yourselves questions that bring insight into what you both love and value, and named the non-negotiable aspects of the experience and elements you want to have. Now it’s time to make sense of these things.
If you haven’t already, actually write down the words, experiences and values you thought of above. Do any of these speak to the venue or location you choose? Do your top priorities and non-negotiable items line up with who you want to be as a couple? Which of these priorities or other elements of the space make you feel most inspired, at home and like yourself, based on the places and experiences you had described?
If you named a special place for the two of you, don’t be afraid to find ways to incorporate if you can’t actually be there. I once had a couple that found significance in the symbol of a lovely fountain because the groom’s grandmother had a fountain at her home where they enjoyed visits, and there was a fountain that was significant to their walks and vacations together (which later became the fountain that they were engaged at).
To draw the fountain into their celebration design, our stationery designer hand drew and letter pressed the fountain into the top of the menus at each place setting, added a small fountain covered with florals to their venue space, and organized separate small cakes in a cascading flow of tiers on a table. Some of these elements may not have been obvious to everyone, but these two knew the significance that was part of their story.
If you are most inspired by nature and listed that you want your guests to feel relaxed, you might consider florals and colors that flow with the natural surroundings of your venue and consider light hearted music or simple, yet timeless place settings for dinner.
If you value a personalized, high quality experience for your guests, think about a smaller, intentional guest list, a favorite destination you can share with those closest to you for a few days, the extra details at each place setting, seat or room that would make guests feel seen and thought of at every turn - a handwritten note to each guest, a personalized favor at each seat, overall feelings of community and festivity as guests sit around a long elegant table.
"As you start considering these values and meaningful pieces of your life with the natural elements of your space, you might just surprise yourself at the effortless beauty and significance in design.
All in all, be inspired to celebrate your story, take pride in your uniqueness as a couple and revel in the fleeting moments of this special season. You are one of many, yet are defined by no one else. You (and your marriage) stem beyond the celebration day but are worth making magic for."
A huge thanks to Krissy Campbell for her expertise today and guidance! You can see more of Krissy's wedding planning and design portfolio and services here - you won't be disappointed!
Photography: Clary Pfeiffer | Floral Design & Styling: Kelly Lenard | Planning & Design: Krissy Campbell | Hair and Makeup: Danielle Style Events | Stationery: Ink & Press Co. | Rentals: Burns Special Events | Shoes: Bella Belle | Gowns & Veil: Claire Pettibone | Jewelry: Katie Carder Fine Jewelry | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Model Agency: 19:30 Model Management | Model: Amber Crossen | Model: Kathryn Farr