Our 5-Step Wedding Design Process

February 8, 2023

Meet Deanna

I'm here to make your wedding planning experience  way less stressful. Consider me your go-to guide to an intentional, personalized, and authentic celebration!

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Megan Menchaca Photography

Wedding design is one of our absolute favorite things to do in the wedding “off-season” and a way we stay inspired in the cold, Midwest winters!

Also, before we begin, I just have to say that the Hamilton song where they say “I designed the menu, the venue, the seating” is a wedding planner’s anthem and job in a sentence! I’ve never resonated more with a song!

Wedding Planning Roles

Let’s take a look at the roles that are necessary for a perfectly executed wedding day. Manda with Mae + Co (a planner in the wedding industry we look up to highly!) breaks down a planner’s role into 4 categories (paraphrased by yours truly):

  • Planner: The person managing budgets, timelines, contract reviews, literally everything that you have to think about to make sure your wedding day is pieced together and not a hot mess express leading up to your wedding day.
  • Coordinator: Communicates and manages the details and vendors for the wedding day
  • Designer: Creates and brings together the design and vision
  • Stylist: Executes the design and brings it to life

***And so much more. The job description part that says “and other duties as assigned” would 100% include an unpaid therapist. But I digress.

Why define these roles? Because that’s 4 jobs in one y’all! Consider that when you’re looking for a wedding planner. Do you simply want a coordinator who executes, or do you want someone to dream with you and design your day? You may have the design chops but need someone to tie up the loose ends when it comes to logistics. OR you have the coordination side down but could use someone to help you curate your vision.

Regardless, as someone who has hired designers for my website and branding, I know it can be difficult to design for yourself, especially for something as important as your business, which I’m sure is how you feel about your wedding day! That’s where a full-service planning company like ours comes in!

Our design services have become increasingly popular as more of our clients look to us for help in designing their special day. Even if you have a good sense of design, trying to reign it all in for your wedding day can get overwhelming quickly. Because Pinterest can set some unrealistic expectations (especially with inflation!), a professional wedding planner and designer can help couples:

  • hone in and curate their vision
  • stick to a budget
  • get connected with the right vendors
  • reduce decor and decision-making overwhelm
  • execute the vision

If you’re curious to learn a bit more about our design process keep reading below!


Our Approach to Designing Your Day

When we design, we design for our COUPLES, not us. We do talk through options and why X may be better than Z, but we help our couples consolidate all their thoughts, make them cohesive, and help them achieve it with whatever budget they have!

We truly believe amazing weddings merge good design with good logistics. Design is SO much more than a Pinterest board. When you hire our team for design and coordination or full-service planning and design, it is not only our goal to have an aesthetically pleasing day, but also an enjoyable, memorable, and stress-free day for you. It takes a lot of hands on deck and managing all of the moving parts to have a seamless day.

Just like you would hire a website designer to give you a stunning, unique website that helps you stand out, website designers intentionally have a process/strategy to give you your desired results and convert potential inquiries to clients. Along the same lines, wedding designers want you to have a memorable wedding design that serves your guests and make your wedding day a wonderful experience for your guests that has them talking for years!

No pressure though…truly, because we also know that your wedding is about your marriage, not about impressing, and we’re here to remind you of that. Whatever you want your wedding to be, we design with you in mind and with your best interests at heart.


1. Design Questionnaire

When designing, we need as much info about our couple’s likes/dislikes and personalities, and we capture that through a design questionnaire. We love infusing personal details. For example, if you are originally from Louisiana, or your family is from Mexico, you can work with your caterer on a custom menu with some menu items that remind you of your home. 🙂

Our design questionnaire is extensive and goes beyond favorite colors. We even get into details like how our couples want their meals served – because designing a tablescape that flows well is equally as important!


2. Color Palette

It can be tricky to establish a color scheme. When in doubt – think about the season you’re getting married in. Obviously, you can do whatever you want, but when you think bright, vivid, and airy, you will lean more SPRING; and velvet, dried florals, and deep burnt hues scream FALL. If you’re too scared to go bold, you can never go wrong with neutrals! We love earth tones because they’re cozy and still allow for color without things being a little too much. But I mean, we are very biased with our earth tones.

When putting together your color palette, try a blend of warm and cool tones with an accent color or two.


3. The Moodboard / Design Deck

We as a team and brand are always inspired by natural, organic, and sophisticated elements. But as “simple” as that sounds, anyone that has attempted to put some photos together and have it look cohesive quickly learns it is actually SO time-consuming and not as easy as it seems. Design truly is a skill! I didn’t go to school for design, but I AM a much better designer than I was 4 years ago and I love that I am only getting better at it the more I do it. It is more intuitive and there’s always something to learn.

Mood boards are not intended to be exact replicas of events. Events SHOULD be special, unique, and different from the photos you see on Pinterest. One of my favorite things about being in the industry is working with talented people who put their spin on it. I always am so amazed by florists, and their ability to take our mood boards and make them even better! Then we build out a visua break down every facet of a wedding day, from color palettes to the tablescape, dessert, linens, and even attire!

Example 1: Airy + Industrial with Mid-Century Modern Details

Here’s a different design mood board below and how this came to life on their wedding day.

Hart + Fig Photo

Example 2: Dark, Moody, and Romantic

Here’s a different design mood board below and how this came to life on their wedding day.

Tribute Film + Photo

3. Add Personal Elements

A wedding is just as unique as the couple. Sometimes it helps to have a planner to help you see all the ways that you are truly special! 🙂

In one of our previous weddings, the groom was a pilot, so they included some fun details into their wedding day that was a nod to his career: plane-shaped bottle openers as favors for guests to take home, and a bar that was built to look like a plane propellor! For the bride: Elvis sheet music as table runners down the tables for her favorite musician.

4. Design + Budget Review

Then the most exciting part: we share the design board and talk through our inspiration with clients. This is an opportunity for us to bounce off more ideas and refine the vision. Sometimes we play off of each other even more and collaborate on something unique and amazing! Once the entire design deck (usually over 20+ pages) and budget is approved, we put together a proposed budget for design-specific expenses for rentals, florals, lighting, stationery, signage, dessert, and linens.


5. Vendor and Decor Sourcing

We initiate the design vendor inquiry process on our client’s behalf and start pulling together quotes to fit your budget. Anything we can’t find locally, we can also source for decor (linens, tabletop items, etc.)! It takes a village to pull off a wedding design, and we also rely on experts in rentals, installations, florals, lighting, etc. to help our clients achieve their vision as well. We simply couldn’t do it without our amazing vendor partners!


We’re Your Planning Partners

Design is no easy feat. In fact, it’s the perfect marriage of logistics and aesthetics. Our job is to translate and convey your love and story in a way that is achievable, enjoyable, and memorable for you and your guests!

On the fence about hiring a wedding planner and designer? Our Madison and Minneapolis wedding planning team can customize a wedding coordination package for you that is a happy medium for your needs and your budget. Reach out to us today!