Where to Start: Envisioning Your Dream Wedding

"Without vision you don't see, and without practicality the bills don't get paid."  -Paul Engle


We all want our wedding day to be perfect, with just the right personal touches that express who we are as a couple. All the months of planning, organizing, and obsessing should make it come off without a hitch. Right?

Yet even with the best wedding planner, venue manager, florist, or myriad of Pinterest pins or Instagram photos, wedding planning has never been so complex. There are so many options available today that it can be overwhelming, making it difficult to know where to start. And even once you start, it is still hard to narrow down all the choices.

As you begin to think about the venue, food and beverage, dresses, grooming, photographer, flowers and décor, etc. the pressure will mount. So what can you do to take it down a notch and in the end be happy with your decisions?

The first and most important step is to ask yourselves the question “what do we envision this day to “be?” If you can envision it, you can create it. This is the beginning of the creative process and will help you be more certain about what you want and save you a lot of time floundering in the no man’s land of indecision.

Start with your fantasy vision. Play with it, have fun with it, get comfortable with it. Let it roll over you. It might go something like this:

Imagine a perfect day. Picture yourself slipping into the wedding dress of your dreams, feeling totally beautiful. Envision yourself walking (skipping!) down the aisle deeply inhaling the magic and color of the surroundings. Bask in the smiles on the faces of your happy guests. Conjure up the tinkling of champagne glasses as your family and friends toast you and your spouse. See your guests having a blast on the dance floor and hear the beat of your favorite song.

Do your version of this every day for a total of seven days whenever you have a moment to mentally escape: before you drift off to sleep, in the shower or bath, or on your way to and from work, in yoga or spinning class. Don’t rush it. Let it wash over you. Feel it. Be in the moment of your fantasy.


This meditation will help you conceptualize (and later bring to fruition) the vibe you want. Is it romantic and frilly, elegant or eclectic, formal or relaxed, rustic and earthy, urban and industrial or hippie chic? A mixture of looks? Is it on a farm or at a vineyard, brewery or distillery, in the hotel’s grand ballroom or your own backyard? The only limitation is your imagination.

Finally does your vision speak to you? Does it feel authentic? Do you believe you can create it within the budget you’ve set? Once you’ve got your vision, you’re now ready for more serious vision-scaping:

  1. Pin or place photos of weddings and décor that you like into your phone or computer.
  2. After you have about 20 photos, start to examine them carefully for common elements that you like.
  3. First look at the venues:
    • Are they mostly outdoors or indoors?
    • What time of year? What time of day?
    • Does the landscape match your vision?
    • Will the ceremony be at the venue or at a church or synagogue?
    • Is the setting formal or relaxed?
    • Clothed tables or bare wooden farm tables?
    • Large floral displays or smaller eclectic arrangements?
    • Fabric covered chairs or wooden chairs?
    • Plated dinner service or buffet?
  4. Look at the wedding dresses and suits or tuxes in the photos.  Do the ones you like match the style of the venue or vibe you want?

This process will start your wedding planning in earnest. Once you have an idea of what you want it is much easier to begin ruling out what you don’t like and ruling in what you do! As with any planning and creative process, know that your vision will evolve. There will be tugs and pulls, ups and downs. But always remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” -Lao Tzu






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Judy Caplan is a nutritionist by day (founder of Go Be Full: Good Nutrition in a Nutshell) and co-founder of Field & Gown. With an excellent eye for style, her favorite hobbies include scouring antique stores and 'dumpster diving' for cast-away furniture and other odd-and-ends discarded to the side of the road. Field & Gown is a wedding decor rental company based in the Washington DC area.

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