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Why the Word SIMPLE Tells Me Absolutely Nothing About What You Want for Your Wedding - A Rant

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SIMPLE is probably my least favorite word in the bridal vocabulary. What does it mean when a bride says she wants a SIMPLE wedding? That tells me absolutely nothing. I'm a wedding planner, not a psychic! 2016-04-26-1461699237-4796847-110813_SandyMalonePortraits201640x427.jpg

Just so we're all clear on this, Merriam-Webster explains the word SIMPLE as having three primary definitions:

Not hard to understand or do
Having few parts, not complex or fancy
Not special or unusual

I have never met a bride or groom who didn't want their wedding to be "special," and regardless of what kind of wedding the couple chooses, rarely will it have "few parts" and be "not hard" to do. But even if the true definition of SIMPLE is what the bride and groom want, the word still tells me absolutely nothing about their vision of their wedding day.

To make sure I wasn't missing something, I dug a little deeper for the extended definition of the word SIMPLE:

Free from guile
Free from vanity
Free from ostentation or display
Of humble origin or modest position
Lacking in knowledge or expertise
Stupid
Not socially or culturally sophisticated

You get my point now, right? SIMPLE is probably the most overused word in weddings, while at the same time, its definition absolutely, positively does not apply to what the bride and groom are describing. A wedding is a "display" of your love, although it doesn't have to be ostentatious. And nobody wants their wedding to be considered "not socially or culturally sophisticated" even if they're DIYing every part of it! And let's not pretend there's not a little vanity in mind. Otherwise, brides wouldn't spend so much on wedding gowns, shoes, hair and makeup. Your wedding day is one of the only days you're allowed to be vain without feeling bad about it!

I believe most couples use the word SIMPLE when they mean easy and low stress - but wedding planners have to figure out what they're describing. Some couples mean they're not going to do fancy décor, or invite a lot of people. Telling a wedding planner that you want a SIMPLE wedding doesn't give them enough information to estimate a budget or give you recommendations. Using a non-descriptive word like SIMPLE when talking about a wedding does a massive disserve to the couple and their vendors.

Some brides and grooms use the word SIMPLE as a synonym for inexpensive, and that's not usually true. In fact, sometimes the things that look like the simplest choices are actually quite time-consuming and expensive to execute.

There's a better way to describe what you need and want for your wedding to your vendors, and it involves using a LOT of adjectives.

  • When you start planning your wedding, think about what you really want in terms of details for your big day. Think color, texture, vibe - and write those things down. Do you have a particular theme in mind? Whether it's a "Frozen" Winter Wonderland, or a tropical island paradise, the theme will dictate some of the colors you use, and style of display.
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  • Do you want a lot of candlelight? Or elaborate flower arrangements? Or both? How do you picture the lighting - will fairy lights on the tent and in the trees suffice, or do you want to create a more vintage feel with the bulbs of Italian lights strung throughout your event? For a modern wedding, you'll probably want colorful uplighting, and maybe some designs. Nowadays, you can have pretty much anything you want, as long as you can afford it. The more elaborate you get, the more expensive it will be.
  • Use pictures to show what you like. It doesn't have to be a picture of what you want exactly. It's fine to say "this is the cake I want, except I don't want the designs on the sides," or "just like this but with three tiers, stripes on two tiers, and sugar flowers in more colors." For choosing flowers, you can show your florist three different bouquets and explain that you like the colors in one, the shape of another, and the way the stems are wrapped in the third. A good wedding vendor will tell you what they need to do to create the look you want for your wedding day based on everything you show them.

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  • Consider the way you want your guests to feel at your wedding. Do you want things to feel very formal? Or do you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere with less structure? These are the things that will help determine whether you do a seated/plated meal with place cards, or a free for all with food stations that stay open for an extended period while your guests dance, mix, and mingle. Tell your caterer what you have in mind so they can recommend the best food options for your budget and vision.
  • Music plays a big role in the event, too. Tell your wedding planner what kind of wedding reception you want to have. For a party feel, you have to play party music. You'll probably want something lower key during cocktails and dinner, but maybe not if you're doing stations instead of asking all your guests to be seated at one time. A live band can do a lot to reinforce a theme - calypso music for something tropical or zydeco for a Mardi Gras celebration, for example - but you can do the same with a DJ as long as you create a fantastic playlist. Remember to choose songs your guests will want to dance to or the party won't get started easily. Ask your wedding planner for suggestions. If you can't afford live music all night, maybe you can afford a guitar trio or jazz quartet for cocktails and dinner, and then switch it up later in the evening.
  • Some couples are crazy-easy to work with because they're super descriptive about their wants and needs. We did a neon wedding for two brides, and even dyed the flowers. Another bride wore a fantastic designer gown with a skirt that lit up when the reception started, and the lights went down, so we created a light-themed wedding reception with black lights, glow necklaces, glasses and bracelets. And I've tied enough burlap and lace around vases for "vintage" weddings that I could do it with my eyes closed.

    Your wedding planner and wedding vendors want you to be happy on your wedding day, and that means we have to deliver as promised and help you execute your own vision of your big day. We don't have crystal balls - although I wish we did. We can't read your mind. If you want something, you have to tell us about it. Describe what you have in mind, and send us pictures if you have them. A wedding planner's ability to create your dream wedding depends, first and foremost, on your ability to explain what kind of wedding you want, in detail.

    Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!

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