Now, just because “etiquette” gives all these rules and regulations regarding each type of wedding, it doesn’t mean you have to follow them. They are simply suggestions. This is your day. That means you will take into consideration the opinion of those that matter to you, but in the end, you will do what your heart leads you to do.

The most important thing you can do is take some time to sit down with your fiancé and make a list of those things that are most important to each of you. Determine what is negotiable and what is not. Regardless of what the wedding planners and the retail and service providers want you to believe, there is no such thing as a perfect wedding.  And simplicity is still the ultimate sophistication, which is why I’ve written The Simple Wedding: A Faith-filled Guide to Enjoying a Stress-Free Wedding (GuidepostsBooks).

Most of us dream about our wedding day from the time we are young. In the end, the most important thing is that we feel beautiful, honored and cherished. When my husband asked me what was my most important expectation for our ceremony, I told him it was simply to feel cherished—and that part of the planning was left up to him. He met my expectations by singing to me. I can honestly say that I enjoyed my wedding day, and so did my husband, thanks to some ‘wedding style’ advance planning.

Your Wedding, Your Way

·         Consider the statement you want your wedding to make. Your wedding is not just a symbol of your love but also an expression of your personalities and what you esteem most in your relationship. Think about what you want your ceremony to say. What do you want your guests to remember about your wedding? Apply patience, persistence and creativity in devising a plan that will fulfill what both of you desire from your wedding experience.

·         Once the two of you know what you want, gather your family together. Share with your family your plans for how you want your wedding and reception to be handled. Be prepared for high emotions—the closer you get to the wedding day, the stronger the emotional attachments become. Acknowledge your families’ feelings, but confirm your stand as well as your loyalty to family. Let them know their help is appreciated, but gracefully assert yourself as the final decision maker.

·         Consider a theme. Though not necessary, a theme can make your plans easier. Whether it’s cultural, ethnic or topical such as a beach theme, it can help you focus on style. Victorian is a very popular style for weddings. This is an especially good match if you are wearing an antique gown.

·          Take advantage of the plethora of wedding resources out there. Here are a few websites I find helpful:, and The My new book, The Simple Wedding: A Faith-filled Guide to Enjoying a Stress-Free Wedding (GuidepostsBooks), is designed to help brides and their mothers simplify the planning process.  And you can always hire a wedding consultant—just be sure he or she belongs to The Association of Bridal Consultants.

Sharon Hanby-Robie is the resident home décor expert for QVC, Inc., an author, speaker, and television personality.  It is Sharon’s goal to “help people discover their own personal style, and to give them the confidence to move forward with making choices that make sense for their families and lifestyle.” She has been an interior designer and member of the American Society of Interior Designers for more than thirty years.  Her new book series, The Spirit of Simple Living™, is published by GuidepostsBooks.