Anyone planning a wedding and those of us who work on them are all familiar with popular wedding adjectives; elegant, sophisticated, whimsical, charming, romantic... there are just about as many words to describe a wedding as there are weddings but do we really know what these words mean? If you're going for an elegant feel, will your 75-year-old aunt get the same feeling of elegance as you do from your choices?
Have you ever said a word to yourself so many times that the word lost its meaning? Try it with wedding. Wedding. Wedding. Wedding. Wedding... after awhile, you'll forget what that word means, at least momentarily. Wedd----wha?
So when considering the adjectives you want your wedding to embody, it's important to get down to the base meaning of the word. You can interpret the word any way you like but without understanding the mutually agreed upon definition of the word, it'll be hard for you to execute that interpretation. Let's start by analyzing one of the most popular wedding adjectives: elegant. Dictionary.com defines it as "tastefully fine or luxurious in dress, style, design, etc.: elegant furnishings" or "gracefully refined and dignified, as in tastes, habits, or literary style: an elegant young gentleman; an elegant prosodist." Except for the fact that few of us know what a prosodist is, I think we can mostly agree on this definition.
Do we all agree on what is luxurious or tasteful? Absolutely not. Personally, I find my cozy, oversized fake lynx duvet cover to be luxurious, but if my grandmother (may she rest in peace) were to see it, she might feel it's tacky and ridiculous.
While you should definitely keep your guests in mind when planning your wedding, the key thing to remember here is that however you choose to interpret your wedding adjectives, that interpretation will be correct. It's not about having the most elegant wedding in town, it's about using the feelings those words give you as inspiration to bring your ideas to life, and to help communicate your vision to your vendors and planner.
Let's say you're going for a "classic" feel. Does that mean a traditional white dress, understated linens and conventional ceremony music? Or does it mean poofy bridesmaids dresses and the Electric Slide?
The point here is that it means whatever you want it to mean.
If you're in the early stages of wedding planning, start by writing some of the adjectives you would like to describe your wedding. If you get stumped, try plugging a few words you have already picked into the thesaurus. Popping "elegant" in Thesaurus.com gives us: affected, appropriate, apt, aristocratic, artistic, august, chic, choice, classic, clever, comely, courtly, cultivated, cultured, dainty, delicate, dignified, effective, exquisite, fancy, fashionable, fine, genteel, graceful, grand, handsome, ingenious, luxurious, majestic, modish, neat, nice, noble, opulent, ornamented, ornate, ostentatious, overdone, polished, rare, recherché, refined, rich, select, simple, stately, stuffy, stylish, stylized, sumptuous, superior, turgid, well-bred. How many of those would you want associated with your wedding? Superior? Overdone? It's hard to believe that any couples who want their wedding to be elegant are going for a stuffy, overdone feel.
Remember these are similar words, not the definition (which we already established). Use them for inspiration but don't get too caught up in the words themselves. If you do, you run the risk of losing the meaning completely.
The one thing we can probably all agree on is that your wedding is a celebration of your love, and we all know what love truly means.