Formal vs Informal Wedding | Creating a guest “experience”

April 23

Formal vs. Informal wedding

When it comes to your wedding, creating an “experience” is key! All your planning and hard work, the details and the fuss: it all boils down to that one thing.
Your wedding experience is a complete package; the heartwarming memories that will forever be cherished.

But, what does that experience look like? How do you want the day remembered?
While I could spend hours on the nitty gritty, I can carefully pair that question down to one…. do you want an environment that formal or informal?

And by dissecting these two elements and considering them in every area of your planning, rest assured your experience will be awe-inspired; a genuine and authentic portrayal of your two hearts. That in itself is a “once in a lifetime” experience.. not only for you, but for your guests!

I’ve chosen the key components, most influential when creating your wedding experience.  Let’s start, shall we?!

Bridal Hair

When selecting your wedding hair style, consider a few things: how do I wish to feel on the day (carefree and comfortable or poised and extravagant), where will we be spending our time (outside in the heat or cozy indoors) and  how “done up” do I want to look (like everyday me, but polished or like a goddess, worthy of royalty). Many of these questions will dictate your look.

Should you exchange your vows at your favourite park, with your closest family and friends, a semi-formal or informal coif, will perfectly complement your intimate affair. Where as, if your marrying at a manor or in a glamorous ballroom, with a widespread guests list, a formal hairstyle will reflect your environment and leaving you feeling like the princess of the day.

Bridal Gown

Much like your hair, your gown is a personal statement. It says “here I am!” and “this is what I stand for!”

So, what is your personal style? Do you love to get gussied up and dawn your newest garments?  Do you prefer to look sophisticated but not as if  you tried too hard? or do you prefer to go casual, living in your favourite jeans?

Don’t get me wrong, many brides will opt to play dress up, treating their wedding like the one day to have an out of body experience. If that’s your case, simply picture your dreams and follow suit. Dare to step out side the box and reveal a side of you, you’ve yet to discover!

Bridal Party Attire

Your bridesmaids are your posse; an extension of you and your surroundings. And whether you like it or not, their attire largely dictates the mood of your photos.

Do you want them to be fun, stuffed full of character and charm? Or how about romantic, with sweet sentiment and whimsy to spare? Or is it elegance and glam that  you wish to portray? After all, how silly would it be, to see haute couture gallivanting through the sand – or simple frocks and ballet flats, striking pose as if in vogue?

Consider your photographers style (you chose them for a reason),  moving forward from there.


Truth be told, florals are more flexible, when it comes to formality and looks. But when considering your wedding experience, they’ll set the tone from ” I do,”  to “see ya later!”

Traditionally, weddings were more formal and floral arrangements were dominated by a few: roses, peonies, stephanotis, orchards and calla lilies, to name a few. Bouquets and arrangements were constructed with “only the best,” in polished and contained shapes- aka: “dome.”

Should you wish to honour tradition, while adding personal charm, consider adding in your favourite  garden bloom, be is distinguished or not. I personally adore berries and small whimsical wild flowers. By adding more variety and levels of floral “class” you create a look thats semi-formal.

And for those of you looking to throw tradition out the window, being uniquely and truly your own, the sky is really the limit- Be it long and airy, wild and robust, or simple and quirky.

Wedding Ceremony

Your ceremony is the first impression; a taste of all that is in store.

For you, is it only the best? An opportunity to spoil your guests; an indulgence in every facet?  Or have you spent hours considering every personalized detail, ensuring it embodies your story? Or will your setting paint the picture, no need to compete or add much fuss?

Consider the location and how much you wish to embellish. That in itself will dictate your formality; ultimately your wedding experience.

Wedding Reception

While your ceremony is the heart, your reception is the party; an opportunity to host your perfect bash!

Do you want to play around, be carefree and ultimately relaxed? An informal setting can be reminiscent of your everyday lives, amped up and slightly more beautified. Or do you wish to bask in a lavish sophisticated setting?  China. Stunning Architecture. Exquisitely fine food. All these things pair well in a formal setting. Or what about the in between? Chic elegance, that’s sophisticated and inviting; but most importantly, far from stuffy.

Consider the party and set an environment thats sure to suit.

Wedding Fare

Now, I’m not just talking cake here folks! Consider the whole package. What time of food and sweets will you be serving?

Be it cocktail hours, sit down and plated, with a grand and glorious cake, you’re sure to paint a picture of formality. ’cause really, who doesn’t love black tie?!  But if you’re planning something less expected, with grandma’s signature cake and your personal favourite dishes, the setting will feel cozy; informal but uniquely your own. And if your honouring mother tradition, while adding something quirky, like say a signature cocktail, cupcakes or a candy bar, you’ll surely sing the songs of semi-formal.


And there you have it- The basics of a formal vs informal wedding, in creating your wedding day experience.

Have a question or need some more advice? Email me; I’m happy to help!



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About Kailey-Michelle

Grace clinger. Marriage lover. Moment savourer. Passionate Creator. Seeking to inspire this generation as a Professional Wedding Planner, Speaker, Writer and Business Coach, to focus on what matters most in life and leave a legacy of love and service.
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4 Responses

  1. jeanie says:

    i ❤ your blogposts, km! always so informative and inspirational! (:

  2. Kailey, your ideas are inspiring and your pics are absolutely gorgeous! Fabulous styling!

    • Kailey-Michelle says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad! I absolutely love when my heart resonates with others and I appreciate you taking the time to say so.