A Wedding Just for You

You announce your engagement to the world. Then what? All too often, a wild frenzy ensues, as family, friends and associates rush to put in their two cents. The groom is pushed to the side while the bride is peppered with advice. Everyone seems to have ideas about how to plan your wedding except you, the happy couple. Thoughts of eloping begin to fill your minds. Can you relate?

The reality is this happens with almost all engagements. The good news is that you can make your wedding your own if you take a break from the madness to sit with your partner and talk through a list of simple questions about your personalities and passions. The answers will help you identify the essential elements of a wedding that truly reflect your unique bond. Although you may still compromise on details with your families, especially if they are offering to help financially, the focus you gain will give you a better shot at garnering their moral support. It will also help guide decision-making throughout the planning process, reducing the pressure on everyone.

French writer Marcel Proust famously explored issues of personality by answering a list of questions. Today, an adaptation of what’s since been dubbed the Proust Questionnaire is used by interviewers such as James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio and by Vanity Fair. So in the spirit of that approach, set the scene for a romantic evening, indulge in your favorite food and wine, and with notebook in hand, cozy up to ask each other the questions listed below. Feel free to add your own unique questions to the list. And don’t forget to quiz each other on important nitty-gritty details such as your budget and how many guests you’d like to invite. If it feels like you’re on a reality television show, remember that the prize in this case is the wedding of your dreams!

• How did you meet?
• What are your occupations?
• What are your favorite activities?
• Where do you like to travel?
• What is your favorite season?
• Do you prefer city, country, mountain or sea? Indoors or outdoors?
• Is your style simple, modern, formal, casual, traditional or eclectic?
• What are your favorite colors?
• What are your favorite flowers?
• What are your favorite magazines, books, movies?
• What sort of music do you love?
• What food and drink do you like best?
• What cultural or religious traditions are important to you?
• What charities do you support?

My friends Heidi and Tom used this method to remind themselves that they met on the college ski team, that they love skiing, adore the mountains, and share a love of red wine, good literature, classic design and serious fun! So what did they do? They rented a ski chalet on a mountaintop that was only accessible by gondola, where they could enjoy the party as long as they wanted because there was no noise ordinance.

They chose a design of vintage crossed skis for their invitations, on ivory textured paper with burgundy accents. White, burgundy and brown were the accent colors used throughout as it matched their mountain theme. The bride wore a velvety white dress with a furry white shawl. For the outdoors photography, the wedding party wore vintage brown snowshoes—the perfect touch!

Inside the chalet, a huge warm fire blazed, branches strung with lights hung down from the ceiling, and the long wooden tables had clusters of candles of all sizes that created a wonderful romantic light. The couple served an amazing selection of red wines, and their parting gifts to guests were favorite literary works holding custom bookmarks showing their photograph from the days of the college ski team.

Heidi and Tom’s list paved the way for precise, personalized planning. Yours will too.