by Ashley Rader
If you've been to one wedding, you've seen it all. From the flowers and the candles to the dress and the music, the typical wedding can be as predictable and generic as your Uncle Leo's dance moves. For your wedding to stand out, you need to involve your guests in the sentiment and process of the day. It's not the cake or the great food that will be remembered, but all the little details that will make your wedding as unique and memorable for your guests as it will be for you. These 25 ideas on how to personalize your day will make it the event that will be talked about for years to come:
- Write a welcome note for your out-of-town guests on postcards from the city your wedding takes place. It's a nice personal touch that shows tremendous thought as well as a keepsake that can be saved with photos of the wedding.
- Include an "About the Wedding Party" section in your programs or on the reception tables for your guests to learn more about the members of your bridal party. Not everyone will know that you and your Maid of Honor have been best friends since preschool.
- Hang your dress on a pretty silk coat hanger the day of your wedding. People will be taking photographs of the dress before you put it on and you'd like to avoid having it on an old wire coat hanger.
- Send your invitations to Loveville, Maryland first -- they've developed special wedding postmarks that add a nice "love" touch to your envelope. Call 301-475-5243 for details.
- Invite the President, Pope, and the Queen of England for a special wedding surprise. Be sure to send their invites out early.
- If you're planning on taking pictures prior to the ceremony, clear everyone out of the ceremony site and have your groom at the end of the aisle. Walk down the aisle, so it's only the two of you. It's a very sweet and special moment that you can share... and the pictures of the tears in his eyes will be priceless.
- Place tissues or personalized embroidered handkerchiefs in the rows where family will be seated for their "tears of joy".
- Write a letter to your mom and dad and have it waiting for them at their seat during the ceremony. It could be about anything: a thank you, how you hope your marriage turns out like theirs, your gratitude everything they have done for you, etc. They will be so touched and honored that you took the time to arrange for this and you'll have them in tears before you begin to walk down the aisle!
- Have each bridesmaid carry a bouquet made entirely of their favorite flower. Your bouquet will be a combination of all of their flowers.
- Dress your flowergirl in a bright color rather than a replica of your dress so that the dress can be worn again.
- Read your vows to candlelight. All your guests will receive a candle on their way into the ceremony. When it comes time for the vows, have your ushers or groomsmen go around and light the candle at the end of the row and let them "pass the flame." It's a nice romantic touch to a very sentimental and powerful moment.
- For family members who have passed away or cannot physically be there with you, wear something of theirs so that they are with you. It could be a lapel pin tied to the ribbon of your bouquet, your great aunt's pearls, or your grandmother's handkerchief.
- Pick a special ceremony start time, like 5:17 -- the exact time he proposed to you.
- Serve your cocktails from a "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" menu. Take recommendations from special people involved in the wedding for their favorite old/classic drink, a new/modern drink, a favorite borrowed unique drink recipe, and a blue cocktail. It’s a festive way to get the party started!
- If an ice sculpture is a must have, go for a martini luge. It's a great accent to every bar and it will certainly give your guests something to talk about!
- Write special love quotes on the inside of everyone’s place cards.
- Forget the clinking glasses and ringing bells. Have your guests sing loves songs to get you and your groom to smooch during the reception.
- Have guests sign a tablecloth or guest book platter to be used at special dinners in the future in lieu of a guestbook.
- Set small photo albums, notecards and a disposable camera at each table. Create a sign asking each guest to write some words of wisdom on the notecards and put the card into the photo album. Make sure they take a photo of everyone at the table. After the wedding you can combine the notecard on the same page as the photograph and you'll have a special keepsake of every guest at your wedding.
- Be sure to have your parents and married siblings first dances played at the reception- and make sure the DJ or band recognizes them when its played!
- Rather than doing the money dance, do a "wish dance". The bride and groom start off dancing together, then guests cut in for 10-20 seconds of dancing and their chance to give you any last minute marriage advice and parting words.
- Assign table numbers by age and accent the decor with pictures of you and fiancé from that time. For example...at table sixteen you could show pictures of your fiancé with his new car and you at your sweet 16 birthday party.
- Be sure to have a kid oriented table. Lay down block paper for them to draw on, have them make you cards, serve hot dogs, chicken fingers, ice cream sundaes. Perhaps even have a side room for them with Disney movies playing or a magician for entertainment. Your guests will love you for getting the kids out of their hair for the night!
- Wrap a "keep out" or "no trespassing" sign around your leg outside of the garter. Your groom will find a shocking surprise when he dives in and your guests will find it to be quite humorous!
- Race through a tunnel of swords, ski poles, sparklers or boat oars for a different grand exit.
Remember that this wedding is about celebrating your love and inviting your family and friends to see a glimpse of who you are. Don't be afraid to do things a little differently... your guests will appreciate and remember your day all the more for it!
Ashley Rader is the owner and editor for Moments of Elegance Bridal, an online boutique specializing in discounted wedding favors, personalized gifts and wedding accents that will truely make your event unforgettable.