How to plan your wedding using active wedding brainstorming

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Wedding brainstorming tips from @offbeatbride
Brainstorm postcard by Jillian Nickell

If you've ever worked in corporate America (or the equivalent in other countries), you've probably been involved in some fancy-pants organized brainstorming sessions. They're all about goal-making and no answers are wrong and generally being really structured. I figured that since these sessions can end up pretty useful, that they could probably be applied to wedding planning. And you know what? they totally can. Let's see how we'd do some high-level wedding brainstorming.

Figure out your ultimate “goal feeling”

In traditional brainstorming, this is the “problem” you're solving. Starting out individually, determine the ultimate, awesome outcome. Is it that you want to have an intimate and romantic night bonding with friends and family? Do your guests leave having been torn asunder by rabid dancing and rocking out? Are you blissfully happy having spent the day alone touring the city with your partner after your city hall wedding? Figure out your ultimate goal feeling and then lead everything towards that.

Determine your priorities to support the goal

Once you've figured out your ultimate goal feeling, choose what elements of the wedding will support that goal. If you're looking for intimacy and warm feelings, the venue size and scope may be a high priority. If you're looking to rock out with all your friends, the music, DJ, and/or band may become the priority. If you want your family heavily involved, the guest list is key. If you're looking for a high-end foodie experience, your catering takes center stage. Figure out your feeling, then let the individual priorities support it.

Find the overlaps with your partner

Now that your priorities are in order, it's time to take them to your partner and compare notes. What are the overlapping goals and priorities? Is there common ground that will whittle the ideas down even further? Hopefully you've already done a little bit of high-end dreaming with your partner, so you shouldn't be on opposite ends of all spectrums. If you are, you may need to go back to point one together.

“No ideas are wrong”

This is where you'll take that traditional brainstorming technique and run with it. Once you've gotten the basics down, now you can get creative with out-there ideas. As a team, start throwing out ideas of activities, venues, themes, etc. where no idea is a wrong one. This will get your mind out of all those “traditions” and into avenues that lead to your own kind of awesomeness. I mean, where do you think ideas like a glitter-sneezing, pink fire shooting unicorn come from?

Narrow it down, hardcore

Now that you've got a huge list of goal-supporting ideas, it's time to start narrowing down your choices. Maybe you'll select one or two key ideas (like dim sum + karaoke or board games + shoe game) and cut everything else out. Because in the end, you'll need to be realistic about what can be accomplished.

Share your ideas (only if you need to!)

If someone else is helping to foot the bill or wants to be involved in your planning, feel free to share your newly determined plans with them. If not, feel free to keep it to yourselves to plan in private peace.

Start the next phases of planning with confidence

It's time to start moving on to the active planning stages. Peruse our Wedding Planning 101 section for more advice from here.

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