How to Plan a Cool Girl Core Wedding

A look at the stylish trend with "je ne sais quoi."

Bride and groom at seated dinner in black and white

Photo by Corey Tenold

The "cool girl" wedding aesthetic is perhaps one of the most difficult to define but one of the most impressive to pull off. The look is derived from a style and attitude a couple evokes, along with a celebration captured by a raw, photojournalistic-style lens. "This term is tough to describe," shares Minh Cao, founder of Du Soleil Photography. "When I think of a cool girl wedding, I identify it more by what I see in the bride's mentality. This mentality is someone who's comfortable in her own skin, not afraid to break traditions, and looking to show some individuality."

"In some circles, you might call her an ‘it girl'—chic, fashion-forward, confident, and always in the moment," notes Dani Blasena, founder of wedding planning firm Hautefêtes. "The ‘cool girl’ wedding aesthetic is all about the effortless elegance that comes from not taking yourself too seriously and in turn, giving the impression that you’re not taking your wedding too seriously, either." Trent and Dara Bailey, photographers of Trent Bailey Studio, add, "She exudes confidence and style effortlessly, with a French phrase 'je ne sais quoi' that perfectly captures her vibe. The result is a wedding that is effortlessly stylish and authentically reflects the couple's unique personalities and tastes."

So, what does this type of wedding look like? Here, we explain exactly how to plan a cool girl core wedding.

How to Plan a Cool Girl Core Wedding

"The cool girl wedding style is all about departing from the traditional and expected norms of a wedding," say Trent and Dara Bailey. "Instead, it's about revisiting old classics from the '90s, such as the Calvin Klein Carolyn Bessette aesthetic. This style is classic, chic, and minimalistic." Jung Lee, founder of Fête, Jung Lee NY, and Slowdance, says a neutral palette and an eye for couture can be markers of this style. "Effortless details are key to the cool girl aesthetic leaning in on a more organic feel," she shares. "Avoiding the traditional, the aesthetic is generally laissez-faire with a focus on quiet luxury. Less is more to achieve this style of wedding."

Bride in Pink and White Floral Dress Leaning on Groom in Black Tuxedo on Velvet Couch at Reception

Photo by Joe + Kathrina

Cool Girl Core Wedding Fashion

"The way people dress is an easy way to catch this visually because it's one of the easiest to notice," explain Cao. "You might see non-traditional dress code for all attendees, or better yet, a couple that attracts people unafraid to break dress code traditions. Moreover, the bride may add her own fashion spin just with her attire. For instance, I have photographed a bride who partnered with the dress designer to add 10 more feet to her wedding cape." Fashion choices at this wedding often extend past the first look a couple wears while walking down the aisle. Blasena advises, "Don’t forget the second dress. There’s nothing like a LWD (little white dress) to up the flirty factor to really get the after glow started."

Cool Girl Core Wedding Design

The design of your celebration can also lend to this cool girl aesthetic. "Soirées are intimate—never over-produced," suggests Blasena. "Table settings should seamlessly blend with their environments." Other details she loves for this style are hand-written menus, dirty martinis, monogrammed napkins, and a touch of sparkle. As for venue choice, Cao shares, "One of my brides chose to have her wedding in a fully indoor, low-lit concert venue, while many others at the time of year trended towards sunny outdoor spaces in warm weather. A lot of unique photographic moments that made the couple stand out happened as a result of this decision." A cool girl wedding might even play with the timeline of the day. "In a wedding of an industry friend, guests were greeted with a courtyard cocktail hour before the ceremony suddenly formed amidst them," remembers Cao.

Black and White Photo of Bride with Short Hair Dancing in Mini Dress

Photo by Corey Tenold

Cool Girl Core Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is the final marker of this aesthetic. "The cool girl bride values the importance of capturing the energy and vibe of the day, rather than being beholden to a long list of detail shots. They understand that the day is about the experience, and this carries over into their approach to wedding photography," share Trent and Dara. "When it comes to wedding photography, it's important to find photographers that are looking for real moments and less emphasis on the perfect details and flat lay images. By focusing on capturing authentic candid moments, photographers can better capture the vibe and energy of the day, which is ultimately what matters the most." A piece of advice from Blasena? "Be nonchalant and don’t pose," she says. "Cool girls are sassy, and caught in the moment, keeping your photographer on their toes."

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