HGTV's Wedding Lookbook

From the engagement photos to the thank you cards, we'll be there at every step of the way to help plan your dream wedding.

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October 24, 2017
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The Big "I Do"

Bouquets, venues and signature cocktails — we've got everything you need to plan your big day.

'Good Bones' Inspiration

Want to party like an HGTV Star? Steal ideas from Mina Starsiak's dream wedding.

See More Photos: Photos from 'Good Bones' Star Mina Starsiak's Dream Wedding

Engagement Photos

Let the world know you're tying the knot with a creative engagement photo. It's a great way to test out a photographer before the wedding.

See More: 10 Props to Have on Hand for Your Engagement + Wedding Photos

Wedding Planning

Above all, stay organized. Checklists, online planners and the help of your loved ones will help you stay stress-free. Don't be afraid to pass off tasks or hire help.

See More: Newly Engaged? Jump-Start Your Wedding Planning With These 7 Tips

The Hashtag

You'll probably be asking, "What's the hashtag?" long before you decide on a venue. Enlist your loved ones to help you think up something clever.

See More: 14 Tips for Creating a One-of-A-Kind Wedding Hashtag

Timing Is Everything

Spring and fall months tend to be the most popular for weddings. Therefore, vendors and venues charge their peak prices during those months of the year. Choosing a wedding date in the winter can save you a bundle because there are fewer weddings scheduled during those months, leading many vendors to offer discounts on their services. The same is often true for choosing a weekday or a Sunday rather than a Saturday.

Spring Weddings

Beat the summer wedding rush with a spring ceremony — your loved ones are usually less busy between March and May. Keep an eye on the weather, and have a rain and/or snow plan ready.

Summer Weddings

Summer's in the air — smells like wedding season! You can have your pick of a bounty of fresh flowers, produce, local cheese and everything in-between. The season's long days are perfect to keep your party going through the evening.

Fall Weddings

Fall creates a vibrant natural backdrop for your ceremony. The wedding is usually perfect — the chance of rain is usually lower, plus you don't have to worry about sweltering summer heat.

Winter Weddings

Winter weddings are naturally beautiful, but they can also be cost effective. Since spring and summer are typically the most popular times to get married, many vendors and venues have more flexibility and availability during the off-season.

See More Photos: Design a Winter Wedding

Save on the Venue

Save money by picking a spot not in the heart of a city. Popular, in-demand venues tend to have higher rates.

Garden Venues

Outdoor weddings let Mother Nature do the decorating. Be sure to provide shelter from the elements.

See More: 20 Unexpected Places to Have a Garden Wedding

National Park Venues

A popular wedding destination, Olympic National Park’s lakeside lodges can accommodate around 120 guests for a reception and slightly more for outdoor ceremonies. Set amid the park’s ancient fir and hemlock trees, Crescent Lake Lodge is a picturesque — and full-service— locale. Olympic’s Lake Quinault Lodge provides similar services in a historic venue.

See More Photos: 10 Stunning National Park Wedding Venues

Historic Landmarks

Personalize your wedding even more by finding a well-known landmark in your home state or the state you met each other.

See More Photos: 15 Unique Places to Tie the Knot


Husbands Bret and Mike had a traditional chapel ceremony in the Smoky Mountains at Chapel at the Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you're looking for an LGBT-friendly vendor, especially a religious venue, look for the Human Rights Campaign's blue and yellow equal sign logo on the vendor website. Some sites display a rainbow flag. That's a great way to know before you call when booking.

See More Photos: 23 Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Same-Sex Couples

Playful Venues

Eleonore and Albin Bresson celebrated their nuptials at Prater, a public park in Vienna, where they and their guests rode roller coasters and carousels in between the ceremony and dinner. "When the carousel seats came down, they played the wedding march for us, and the crowd applauded — that was both embarrassing and adorable," Eleonore says. The moments were captured by photographer David Zaoui. Wearing a wedding dress on roller coasters was exciting and even terrifying, says Eleonore, whose dress didn’t survive the day. "I'm not planning to use it again, so I'm actually happy that way," she says.

The Honeymoon Has Become the Wedding

The beauty of a destination wedding is, of course, a gorgeous location. But it’s also a great way to entice guests to fly in for a mini vacation and allows for plenty of magical bonding opportunities with your guests and a way to extend your special day into a weekend or more.

The Invitations

Couples want to wow their guests right from the get-go and what better way to do that than an unique envelope liner that speaks to your wedding style?

Go Digital With Paperless Post

Digital cards, which emerge from animated envelopes and can include patterned liners, custom stamps and even wax seals, can all be created through an app. Track RSVPs, send guests messages and even share a photo gallery.

Choose Your Team

Call on your bridesmaids and groomsmen to make your special day run smooth. Even if it seems like a given, make sure to formally ask each member of your party.

See More: Wedding Etiquette 101: How to Be a Good Bridesmaid + Guest

Bridesmaid Wedding Favors and Invitation

This bridesmaid invitation includes a file and nail polish as a gift.

Bridal Shower Ideas

A traditional shower would bestow the bride-to-be with kitchen wares and gifts from the registry, but for this smaller, more intimate gathering, consider asking guests to bring gifts to pamper the bride, like a gift certificate to a spa, lingerie, bath and body products or even a pair of sunglasses to wear on her honeymoon. Another way to make the event more personal is to ask each guest to write the bride-to-be a letter for the bride to read on the night before her wedding. This is a time when brides will be grateful to have a collection of words of encouragement and comfort from her dearest friends.

Fun Bachelor Party Invitations

These DIY bachelor party invitations are sure to get the guys excited for the party. Shaped like pizza boxes and filled with funny figurines and appropriate gifts, the invitations will probably trigger some laughter, too.

Bachelorette Party Nail Polish Party

Crafty brides will adore this DIY nail polish bar. Combine this idea with a spa day, or make it into a nail-centric day of its own. The fun, feminine day will allow plenty of time to chat and dream about the days to come.

See More Photos: 25 Fresh, Fabulous Bachelor and Bachelorette Party Ideas

The Dress

Don't be afraid to take a dare with your wedding dress. This bride chose a short, shimmery dress for a beach wedding.

Restore an Antique

This bride restored and modernized her mother's wedding wedding gown.

See More Photos: Tips on How To Restore a Vintage Wedding Dress

Wear the Crown

Brides are channeling their inner-royalty with crown-style headpieces taking the place of traditional veils.

The Wedding Party

George and Luke used gold for their wedding party. Everyone got to wear something unique that fit them best, but the metallic neutral pulls everything together.

See More Photos: 21 Oh-So-Pretty Bridesmaid Trends

Flower Girl Skirt

Little flower girls are sure to love this bright, floral skirt on the day of the wedding, and many days after. Bright petals float in layers of tulle that are perfect for twirling in. As a bonus, this skirt is simple to make, even if you are new to sewing.

See More Photos: DIY Flower Girl Skirt

Best Foot Forward

For this country wedding the groomsmen wore identical pants, rolled up in keeping with the event’s unpretentious spirit, and were asked to wear brown shoes.

See More Photos: Ideas for a Country Wedding: Hitching Post

Involve Furry Friends on Your Wedding Day

From flower pup to ring bearer, couples are incorporating their pets on their big day in the sweetest ways!

The Color Palette and Style

Get to know your wedding color palette — you'll be seeing a lot of it! This eclectic bride opted for a vibrant, Southwestern-inspired wedding with bright blues, purple and hints of gold.

See More Photos: 8 Eye-Catching Wedding Color Palettes

The Flowers

The season of your wedding will dictate which flowers are readily available. Out-of-season blooms typically will be more expensive — so if you've got your heart set on a winter wedding with bouquets of summer sunflowers, be prepared to factor that into the overall costs.

See More Photos: 75 Ultra-Lush Wedding Bouquet Ideas


Ranunculus and lisianthus bud provide a pop of color against a black tux in this design by by Nancy Liu Chin Floral & Event Design. Photo by Janae Shields

See More Photos: 38 Fresh-Cut Wedding Boutonniere Ideas

Evergreen Arrangements

You can create beautiful boutonnieres and bouquets without flowers or fruit. Winter weddings are the perfect time for evergreen arrangements. Use a variety of evergreen branches, leaves and cones to create beautiful winter clusters or experiment with adding brightly colored autumn leaves or small spring blossoms for late fall or early spring weddings.

See More Photos: 38 Fresh-Cut Wedding Boutonniere Ideas

Fruit Bouquets

Flowers are a beautiful addition to any wedding, but they aren't the only plant from your garden you can use on your special day. Fruits and vegetables can make stunning bouquets, arrangements and even boutonnieres. They also have the added benefit of being a bit hardier than many flowers so you can create fruit and vegetable arrangements and expect them to look fresh, even after a few days stored in the fridge.

See More Photos: How to Make a Wedding Bouquet With Edibles

Paper Flowers

Pretty, inexpensive and long-lasting, paper flower bouquets are perfect wedding mementos.

Get the How-To: How to Make Paper Flowers for a Wedding Bouquet

Silk Flower Wreath

This project is ideal for the DIY bride because you can get started months before the chaotic wedding week arrives. The best part? The silk flowers look so real that guests won’t know they aren’t. Hang these gorgeous wreaths as a ceremony backdrop, or display them at the reception.

See More Photos: 24 DIY Wedding Decor Ideas to Wow Your Guests

A Little Garland Goes a Long Way

Fresh garland is easy to make, affordable and is a great alternative to flowers.

Get the How-To: How to Make Wedding Garland With Flowers

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

Nothing says romance like flowers. But think outside the box and incorporate them into your decor beyond bouquets and table arrangements. Flower curtains, flower garlands, flower carpets and pots of flowers show your love of gardening and the great outdoors.

Centerpieces Don't Require Flowers

Fresh flowers can be a real budget buster, so if you're looking for ideas to cut back in a big way, consider putting together non-floral centerpieces. Depending on your wedding theme or style you could consider anything from vintage books and candles, spray-painted branches, greenery, potted plants, fruit or picture frames.

Natural Inspiration

Taking cues from winter’s bare trees, this flowerless centerpiece is wintry but neither dull nor lifeless. Tree branches create height and visual interest, while flickering tea light candles contribute soft movement. Pinecones add a charming, woodsy accent. Recreate this look with forest finds, or buy natural items in bulk at your local craft store. Hang votives from the branches using twine or wire.

See More Photos: 25 Gorgeous DIY Wedding Centerpieces

A Fun Summer Centerpiece

To make this fun, summer-worthy centerpiece, hollow out the center of a melon or pineapple using a kitchen knife, then place a small cylindrical vase inside and fill with flowers that match the theme of your event.

See More Photos: 25 Gorgeous DIY Wedding Centerpieces

Posh Party Place Setting With Fabric Flowers

Fabric flower pom-pom pins add individual drama to each setting and guests can wear them at the wedding or take them home as favors.

See More Photos: 23 Wedding Table Setting Ideas for Every Season

Late Summer Fun

The citrus duo orange and yellow pair perfectly together for a Southern summer wedding. For an outdoor reception in the middle of the heat, consider serving your guests sparkling lemonade to help them cool down.

See More Photos: 23 Wedding Table Setting Ideas for Every Season

Simple Yet Elegant

Keeping your wedding decor simple can actually make your wedding seem even more chic and elevated. If you choose a naturally beautiful setting you can opt for minimal decorations for a sleek and modern look.

Greenery Accents

For brides wishing to achieve the lush, organic look, a touch of greenery does just the trick. It’s an inexpensive addition that gives dimension and texture to tables, chair backs, arches, centerpieces and more.

Modern Indoor Wedding Altar

Lining the aisles and forming the altar, white rose petals pair with acrylic candle holders to create a romantic ambience for this indoor ceremony. To complement the chic, modern design, create a striking focal point by using a colorful floral arrangement to top the mantel.

Custom Aisle Runner

Using black chalkboard paper and chalk to write a personalized message is a great alternative to a traditional aisle.

Pink Pergola with Roses

This white pergola, flanked by large rose bushes, was highlighted with sprays of hot pink roses. A sprinkle of white and pink rose petals created a path for the wedding couple.

See More Photos: Wedding Flower-Draped Pergolas

Pergola with Peonies and Roses

All four posts of this outdoor structure are covered with tight clusts of hydrangeas, peonies, roses and spray roses. Details Details placed sheer fabric over the top to filter the sunlight and give it a soft, romantic feel.

See More Photos: Wedding Flower-Draped Pergolas

Stylish Savings

The otherwise simple white-on-white scheme here is made dressy with a DIY table runner made entirely out of metallic gold confetti.

Save Your Seats

For this seaside wedding, the bride and groom created nautical chair back decorations.

Use What You've Got

You’d be surprised how many items you toss into your recycling bin each week that can actually be used as wedding decor. Use spray paint, glitter, fabric, lace and more to transform glass jars and bottles into stunning wedding decorations that won’t break the bank.

Wedding Altar With Paper Garland

Dress up a plain birch altar with eucalyptus and strands of paper garland to make a simple, yet lovely backdrop for the ceremony. White garland works great for the minimalist bride, but if you want a little more color, try using shades of one of your wedding colors to create an ombre effect.

Professional Lighting

Planner Kate Franzen, of Glint Events, says professional lighting can transform a wedding or any other space or event. Roses, hydrangeas and greenery designed by The Proper Petal. Lighting by Choice Entertainment.

See More Photos: 20 Lovely Wedding Lighting Ideas

Bistro Wedding Lights

“An outdoor reception doesn't mean you have to let go of elegant elements. We used a mix of bistro lights and candelabras, as well as hurricane lamps and smaller votive candles for this garden dinner. The lighting only became stronger after sunset, creating a truly elegant mix of candle light, bistro lights and the natural light of the moon and stars." - Planner Adam Donovan-Groves, of Donovan-Groves Events.

See More Photos: 20 Lovely Wedding Lighting Ideas

Bright Future

After the sun set, votives and pillar candles in hurricane vases were lit along the breezeway.

See More Photos: 20 Lovely Wedding Lighting Ideas

Wedding Lighting on Tables

“When pairing wedding florals with lighting, make sure to consider how your linens play into the overall look," says Jennifer Taylor, of Taylor'd Events Group.

See More Photos: 20 Lovely Wedding Lighting Ideas

Just Add Chandeliers

Whether indoors or out, chandeliers instantly add an elegant vibe.

Upcycled Lighting

This chandelier was created using an old wagon wheel and thick cord. Just cut a hole into the lid of the Mason jars and insert C9 Christmas lights for instant rustic beauty.

First Touch

Couples holding on to the can't-see-the-bride-before-the-ceremony tradition will love this no-peeking photo opportunity.

First Look

There's nothing like a big reveal — make sure your photographer captures the moment. Many couples now take photos before the wedding so they can spend more time with their guests after the ceremony.

Special Delivery

A borrowed pickup truck transported the groomsmen to this wedding ceremony for a stylish, farm-fresh arrival. In keeping with the farm theme, guests were transported to the ceremony and reception via hay ride. A bluegrass band serenaded guests as they arrived at the reception.

See More Photos: Ideas for a Country Wedding: Hitching Post

Petal Toss Bar

Set up a small table where guests can collect a cone full of petals to toss on the newlyweds as they walk back down the aisle. The charming station will delight guests and add a pretty splash of color to your ceremony.

Wedding Send-Off Ideas

You'll want to capture the stroll back down the aisle after your first kiss, so why not make it fun? For this beach wedding, the bride and groom passed out beach balls to toss.

See More Photos: 17 Fun, Creative Wedding Exit Ideas

For Military Families

For those who have served in the military, a sword or saber arch is an honorable, traditional way to exit the wedding ceremony.

See More Photos: 17 Fun, Creative Wedding Exit Ideas

Light It Up

Sparklers make for great photo ops. Have plenty of lighters or matches on hand, and buy extra-long sparklers so they stay lit long enough to get the shot. Remember, you can never be too safe: supervise children around fireworks, and keep a bucket of water to drop the used sparklers into after the flame has burned out.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are a fun, off-the-cuff idea that could also double as favors for your guests.

See More Photos: 17 Fun, Creative Wedding Exit Ideas

Polaroid Guest Book

It’s hard to remember everyone who attended your wedding. Turn a plain book into a photo book where guests can snap a picture with a Polaroid and write a personal message to the newlyweds. Down the road, you’ll enjoy flipping through the snapshots of your family and friends.

Message in a Bottle Wedding Guest Book

Receive words of wisdom from family and friends for the first five years of marriage. A five tier wine rack holds a bottle for each year. Simply have your guests write out their message, roll it up and put it in the bottle of their choice.

Jenga Wedding Guest Book

Turn your guest book into a game of Jenga for your guests by having them sign a wooden block and putting it back without knocking down the other blocks. Even after the wedding, you will have a fun backyard game to play with your new spouse, family and friends.

Vinyl Record Wedding Guest Book

Bring in a retro vibe to the reception with vinyl records for guests to sign. Metallic permanent markers such as gold and silver work best for readability. Enjoy listening to your favorite tunes from your autographed records or display them in a fun way in your home.

Photobooth Ideas

Photobooths are the Instagram-worthy, all-the-rage accessory for any event, not just weddings. The good news is they're easy to set up and make for a lifetime of fun memories on your wedding day. Here, an antique wooden frame was used as a prop.

Get the How-To: How to Set Up Your Own DIY Photo Booth

Get Some Candid Shots

Make room for your photographer to get candid shots at the ceremony and reception — you won't regret it.

Dinner Party Ceremony

Brides and Charlotte and Gina had a formal dinner party as their ceremony. We love the long dinner tables with dramatic lines of candles. It's easy to create yet incredibly elegant and dramatic.

Dinner in the Dark

White lights, palm trees and alternating tables with short and tall centerpieces made for a magical night.

Wedding Cake Hacks

Custom cakes are gorgeous, but can easily cost you hundreds of dollars. If a personalized cake is lower on your priority list, save money without sacrificing style by buying a plain white, store-bought cake and decorating it yourself.

See More Photos: 3 Trendy + Easy Ways to Dress Up a Plain White Wedding Cake

The Naked Cake Trend

Simple and sweet, these scrumptious desserts are as easy to make as they are pretty. Get the recipe.

Custom Cake Toppers

Make clay versions of you and your spouse. You could copy your exact wedding outfits or show different parts of your personalities and hobbies. The material, Fimo (a type of polymer), is hardy and will last for years after.

See More Photos: 10 Wedding Cake Toppers for Same-Sex Couples

Cartoon Paper Cutouts

Paper dolls aren't just for kids. These easy print-outs are budget-friendly and can be framed or turned into a holiday ornament after the wedding.

Savor the Moment

In addition to capturing fun moments like this, try freezing a piece of your wedding cake and eating it on your anniversary.

Dessert Table

A chalkboard sign states the delicious dessert options at this charming Southern wedding. Your guests will love sampling different desserts as the night goes on.

Edible Favors

You don't have to spend a lot of money on favors. We found these cute, chocolate-covered groom cookies online, but they could easily be DIYed by dipping sandwich cookies in melted chocolate.

See More Photos: How to Plan an Engagement Party on a Budget

Cotton Candy Carts

Thought cotton candy was just for kid’s parties? Think again, because today’s couples are embracing a more laid-back vibe to their bid day, including cotton candy stands with gourmet flavors.

Small Bites

If you're taking photos after the ceremony, serve your guests small appetizers to munch on while they wait for the rest of the wedding party.

Family-Style Receptions

Transforming a casual course into a conversation starter, guests will love being able to pick their portions.

When You Both Love Brunch

Brunch receptions call for a DIY waffle bar. Fill mason jars with an assortment of fruit and syrup to give your guests plenty of topping options.

See More Photos: 30 Simple (and Delicious!) Wedding Cakes and Desserts You Can Make Yourself

Save on Champagne

You can often save money on Champagne or wine by buying wholesale or in bulk at stores like Costco or Sam's Club.

Signature Cocktail

Ditch the fully stocked bar loaded with wine and spirits and opt for one signature cocktail such as sparkling sangria instead! This will take the pressure off the host from having to play bartender all night.

See More Photos: 16 Signature Wedding Cocktails

Mocktails Are a Must

It's great to include a mocktail for those who don't imbibe or little ones in attendance.

See More Photos: 16 Signature Wedding Cocktails

This Way

Directional signs like this one are great for outdoor weddings.

Custom Chalkboard

Let your guests know what delicious treats you have in store for them with this charming hand lettered chalkboard menu. It's surprisingly easy to make and you don't have to be an artist for it to look good.

How To: Make Your Own Cafe Chalkboard + Hand-Lettered Party Menu

Leafy Menu

Greenery is totally on-trend in the world of weddings, so why not incorporate it in a creative way? Using a paint pen and your prettiest handwriting (or a calligrapher), display your menu on a large leaf.

See More Photos: 24 DIY Wedding Decor Ideas to Wow Your Guests

Wine Cork Sign

In the midst wedding planning stress, you probably don’t need a reason to drink wine, but here’s a reason to save the corks. Trace out the word you want to spell on craft paper, and hot glue your corks together. Use it as a decorative keepsake in your home after the wedding.

See More Photos: 24 DIY Wedding Decor Ideas to Wow Your Guests

Upcycled Place Cards

These place card holders were made from an unlikely material: florist frog pins. Coated with gold spray paint and glitter, they're wedding-ready and hold the card stock name cards upright.

See More Photos: 24 DIY Wedding Decor Ideas to Wow Your Guests

Fun and Games

Games add an extra element to your wedding that will keep the party going for hours. This bride crafted this corn hole set with the couple's initials.

See More Photos: DIY Cornhole Game

Whimsical Pinwheels

These pencil pinwheels are especially appropriate for weddings with a light-hearted theme (like a country fair). They may be a kid craft but they'll appeal to the inner-child in your guests.

Make It Kid-Friendly

If kids are on the guest list, a few simple activities should keep them busy. Try setting up a kids-only area with board games, coloring pages and snacks — though don't be surprised if you catch a few adults getting in on the fun!

13 Tricks to Keep Kids Entertained at Parties: 13 Easy Kids' Party Ideas

Thank You Cards

While it does require a bit of extra time, it really goes a long way in helping your guests appreciate how excited you are to have them join you during this special time.

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