I'm immersed in weddings, with Milkmaid Press, Jubilee Photography and the blog, I can't get enough weddings. I know I'm not alone, considering how many amazing blogs are devoted to these inspiring events. Being involved in weddings so deeply, I knew when it came time for my own wedding a few years ago, I wanted something different initially, but the more I planned, the more that little girl I never knew I had inside me wanted a more traditional wedding. But we still put our own twist on it to reflect us as a couple.
Here are some of my simple, inexpensive suggestions to help personalize your big day!
1. Have a friend perform the ceremony.
Nic became ordained forever ago to be the officiant of his best friends wedding. So when the time came for us, we decided to have one of our best friends, Matthew, perform the ceremony. It meant a lot having someone we both loved perform the ceremony, and a good friend up there with us.
2. Personalize the Music.
By now, I'm sure you've all seen the hysterical procession dance on YouTube, or the various wedding blogs. If that suits you, by all means, go for it-it will definitely be memorable! But if you aren't interested in busting some serious moves as you waltz down the aisle, pick music that is special to you. I'm not one of those girls, and we are definitely not one of those couples who have "our song", but there are certain things we both like. Nic is a huge Danny Elfman fan, from his days in Oingo Boingo, and I love his haunting musical scores. So, for the ceremony music, we chose songs from Edward Scissorhands. It just meant more. If you have friends in a band, recruit them for the reception-you could even have a small concert wedding with your favorite band or bands playing while guests rock out.
3. The Dress
Maybe a wedding dress isn't what you imagine. Maybe you want a vintage frock, or something colorful, or perhaps you lean towards a simple suit a la Carrie Bradshaw when she married Big at the courthouse. You could find a seamstress to create a dress for you, find one on ebay or borrow one from a friend. It can be long, short, tight, poofy, elegant, hip, fun or classy. It's all about you, so don't feel like you have to spend a fortune or be traditional.
4. Alternative Reception
Ah, the reception. For many couples planning a wedding, there is a certain formula involved in the traditional wedding reception; Happy Hour for guests while you get your pictures, introductions to some funky dance, toasts, first dances, food, drinks, more drinks, ridiculous partying and the older crowd doing some serious "shuffle foot" dancing (my personal favorite). So why not think of something unique? For Nic and I, we had a small wedding, and we're not huge dancers and neither are our guests, so we opted for a photo-reception. We brought an old 4x5 film camera (you should see our collection of film cameras, mainly Nic's, but we're married, so they're mine now!) and bought massive amounts of polaroid, some hot lights and let our guests enjoy posing and getting their pictures taken as an alternative to both a dancing reception and a guest book. Having these cool, imperfect polaroids was perfect for us, both photographers. Our guests LOVED it. And so did we. And in the end, that's all the matters.
Other ideas are simple dinner parties, have a game theme wedding with poker, table games like blackjack or craps, sporty recpetions with games like badmitton or croquet. Play your favorite movie or home videos, or create a really cool movie and screen it at the wedding. Or you could choose a different location for your event that really sets the mood. I had one friend who rented a haunted inn for their nuptials and had a weekend murder mystery wedding. Nic and I were originally going to have a suprise wedding at an art gallery featuring his photographs and my art prints. Nothing says you have to play by the rules. It's your wedding, do what you want!
5. Style & Decor
For the fashion, flowers and decor, many couples, or brides, spend hours scouring the internet for ideas, flipping through every wedding magazine incarnation imagineable for something that catches their eye. A good friend and I were having a lunch a few months back at Terrain and she mentioned how stuck she was on decor. She's having her wedding at her families estate and really wanted the entire event to feel very personal and familial to all the guests. She had mentioned to me earlier that she and her fiance were orchid addicts when we walked past the orchid room, and how their house was full of all these orchids they had grown. I mentioned that having orchid centerpieces might be the perfect way to personalize the wedding. They could grow a few orchids specifically for the wedding. This way, no flowers die, and it adds something really special.
You could create photo collages of the two of you as a centerpiece, maybe you collect something like vintage tea cups, or maybe you are both really huge animal lovers and want to include a nod to your affinity for all things dog-show yourself in the decor. It doesn't have to be huge or over the top, just a little something. Many years ago, when I was a second shooter for a MD based studio, there was a couple who were very interested in wildlife preservation, so for centerpieces they had created cloches with rocks, dirt and plants-and they gave the cloches to the bridal party and parents as thank you gifts. It was simple but stunning and I never forgot it.
Maybe the decor will have little hints to your life together, how you met, how he proposed. Maybe he proposed in the Spring and there were all those fluffy pink cherry blossoms, and that will always remind you of that moment, so you decide to use cherry blossoms throughout the decor. It doesn't have to be obvious or sentimental to anyone but the two of you.
Think about what matters to you or what you, as a couple or two individuals coming together, would like to share with your guests. If it's something you love or a passion, find a way to incorporate it. Love books and reading? Use old books stacked on the table, maybe with a very simple flower arrangement or potted plant. Love the outdoors and anything nature? You could do really cool branch arrangements, simple moss filled boxes or a zen rock garden. Maybe it's something simple and fun, like having Krispy Kreme Donuts as favors or In and Out Burger Cater the event. Express yourself. After all, it's YOUR wedding!
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