This is a question I often get from new brides. They’ve heard of the term branding and know that many celebrities have “branded” themselves as a way to market their image and sell their products. Martha Stewart is perhaps one of the best-known brands. When you think of Martha Stewart, you immediately conjure up images of a certain lifestyle, décor and high taste. She is the ultimate icon of American domesticity. She’s built an empire around this image, with her award-winning television program, best-selling magazine, and multiple books on cooking, gardening, and home decorating. This is her brand, and it has made her millions.
Many brides like the idea of branding their wedding, but are not sure how to apply it to their big day. Despite the fact that we’ve all heard of the term and understand it at some level, it helps to break it down to its key elements. Then it becomes easy to see how branding can turn a special day into a spectacular event that people will remember and talk about long after the bride and groom have left for their honeymoon!
There are four areas that I describe when explaining this term to the couples I work with:
- Look and Feel
- Expression of an Ideal
- Continuity, and
Look and Feel
This is perhaps the easiest aspect of branding that people identify with. When you walk into a wedding there is an immediate look and feel that you get. Is it fancy with lots of ornamentation to create a high-style traditional look? Or does the wedding take place in a barn outside with wheel barrels filled with wild flowers to create a down-home country wedding? The location, ceremonial and decorative touches, flowers and even texture – whether it’s the linens, the wedding program or favors – all contribute to the overall look and feel. They combine to provide the “wow” factor because it’s the first thing that hits you when you walk into the venue. Branding is about creating this look and feel from the beginning to the end. The invitation will be the first hint to the guests of what the wedding will feel like – a black tie event will have a very different invitation from a country wedding.
Expression of an Ideal
This is about who the bride and groom are as a couple and what they want to project to the world. Are you an edgy, artsy couple that enjoys an alternative lifestyle? Or are you all about luxury and fine things? Your wedding is the perfect opportunity to put your stamp on the world; a statement about yourselves as individuals and as a couple. Whether you are earthy-crunchy or sports fanatics, you project these qualities to others. It translates into everything you do, the things you buy, the clothes you wear and even the cars you drive. This is how you express yourself and want others to see you. Think about your best qualities, likes and values – as an individual and as a couple – and these are the elements that we’ll use to brand your wedding day. They inform the look and feel of your wedding and set you apart from any other couple. Your ideal “you” is what we want the guests to experience and appreciate on your wedding day.
This is about creating a theme to the wedding and a consistent standard and aesthetic throughout – from the first invitation to the final thank you card. This is the part of branding where the Look and Feel and Expression of an Ideal are applied. The wedding planner will work with the bride and groom to seamlessly weave these elements into the design, artistic touches, activities and organization of every aspect of the wedding. By ensuring that the quality remains at a high standard and everything ties back to the theme, you can be sure that expectations will be met and your guests will have the same wonderful experience. Continuity is what makes the “wow” factor keep on giving throughout the entire wedding.
When helping a bride and groom create their brand, there may be ten different ideas they want to incorporate. The wedding planner should help the couple distill their ideas down to the few most important elements that define them. It’s important to have simplicity in the brand or your guests may be overwhelmed and confused by all the things you’re trying to convey. Creating that “personalized stamp” has to be easily understood and must capture the bride and groom’s identity as a newly married couple. Simplicity creates the strong impression that people walk away with – the couple’s unique footprint – easily remembered and, hopefully, something they will want to imitate for their weddings and special occasions!
By understanding what branding means in the context of a wedding, you can use this knowledge to select the right wedding planner. Be sure to ask: what can you do to help me brand my wedding? What have you done for other brides you’ve worked with? Can I see examples of that? What is your process for helping us to create a brand? How much do I need to be involved in the branding effort? These are all questions that the wedding planner should be able answer, and then guide you through the process so it is easy, seamless and doesn’t require any extra effort for the couple.
Written by: Edna Dratch-Parker
EFD Creative – Event Planning & Design • The Wedding Brander™