A mix-and-match bridal party

Nothing says super-formal like an impeccably matched bridal party.

Here’s a shocking secret: your bridesmaids don’t have to wear matching dresses, and the pictures might look better if they don’t. In the first of many discussions, sit down and talk to your beloved friends and family about the idea of letting the bridal party choose their own dresses—or their own outfits, period.

Together, you can pick out the color scheme you want to stick to and come up with a few styles that you’d prefer, then let the bridesmaids run wild.

They can wear dresses that flatter their figures and make them feel beautiful, too, but your wedding photos will still have cohesion.

A suitable occasion

The relaxed dress code applies to the groomsmen, too. Rather than a traditional tux, which has no place in a rugged, rustic space, let the guys wear suits.

Opt for a country chic aesthetic that incorporates silver accents, plaid patterns, and maybe even cowboy boots. For a dapper look that’s still laid back, think about three-piece suits with vests, the men walking around in suspenders and shirt sleeves, and vintage-inspired accessories, such as oxfords or penny loafers.

The wedding photos devoted to the groom and his boys will have an irresistible vintage edge.

A candid atmosphere

You can still instruct your photographer to pose a few of the pictures, but allowing him the freedom to snap photo after photo during the ceremony and the following reception is an option that results in joyful, unstudied photographs that capture precious moments in time.

It’s sometimes better to give your photographer leeway, in fact.

Left to his own devices, he can grab pictures of the moments you might otherwise miss. Imagine having a photo of your vow recitals, for example. Seeing the way you and your spouse look at each other as you recite your heartfelt vows is a priceless gift.