10 Ways to Personalize your Wedding
White dress, tuxes, cha-cha slide. After a while, weddings start to blend together. But they don't have to. The day you say "I do" is the most special day of your life, and with some creativity it can be memorable for your guests as well. Try these tips for personalizing your wedding.
1. Send Ingenious Invitations
Designing your own invitations is a great way to show your guests who you are as a couple. For a destination wedding, write the event details on a postcard from that place, or use pieces of a map in your invitations. Include the URL for your wedding Web page or travel agent's Web site, where guests can find all the necessary details.
If you're okay with taking a leap of faith, enlist a graphic artist friend to design the invitations as a wedding gift to you. Express unity by adding a monogram of each of your first initials, or go the puppy love route by including a childhood photo of each of you.
2. Add Pizzazz to your Programs
Rather than describing your attendants simply as "The Sister of the Bride" or "Friend of the Groom," give your bridesmaids and groomsmen descriptions that show off their personality. For your former college roommate, try a blurb like "Marcy Henderson, bride's sorority sister: Makes a mean margarita." Or for the ring bearer: "Johnnie Diaz, groom's nephew: Best Little League pitcher we know." The tongue-in-cheek descriptions will make conversation fodder at the reception.
Another idea is to turn one page of your program into a crossword puzzle to keep early arrivers entertained. Include clues such as "We had our first date at this Thai restaurant in Manhattan" and "Our dog's name is…"
3. Customize the Ceremony
Enlist friends and family to take a special part in your big day. For instance, a childhood friend can recite your favorite Shakespearean sonnet, your musical cousin can play "your song" during a slide show, Grandma can lead the congregation in reading a cherished passage of Scripture, or a male and female friend can reenact your favorite scene from West Side Story. Asking people to perform these special roles is also a great way to trim the list of things to do for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
4. Show Off Your Musical Taste
Who says you have to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon in D? Surprise your guests by choosing a song that truly reflects who you are as a couple. If you were born in Tuscaloosa and your groom hails from Cleveland, then exit to the Osmonds' "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock 'n Roll." To celebrate your Lebanese heritage, wow the reception crowd with a traditional belly dance. Off to Argentina for your honeymoon? Take tango lessons and impress your guests with a sensual first dance.
5. Honor Thy Relatives
At the reception site, arrange a gallery of your relatives' wedding photos. For uniformity, mount each picture in the same type of frame, tie on a ribbon and affix to the wall with removable hooks.
6. Create Place Cards with Character
To give a nod to your love of skiing, insert each guest's name into a snow globe. For a beach wedding, take a break from the stress of planning and spend an afternoon collecting shells on the shore; use a glue gun to affix a name card to each shell. Postcards are an even easier way to personalize place cards. If you met at New York University, then write each guest's name on the back of a postcard from the Big Apple. Honeymooning in Hawaii? Order some Maui postcards to remind guests where you're headed. And photo place cards are sure to stimulate conversation. Upload pictures of the two of you—or of each guest, if you have them—to a site like Shutterfly.com or Snapfish.com. Select the "caption" option, and in that space, type the guest's name and table number.
7. Tantalize Their Taste Buds
If you met your honey at Mardi Gras, serve up jambalaya and Creole shrimp cocktail. To commemorate your engagement atop the Eiffel Tower, offer French fare, such as seafood stew, crepes and individual chocolate soufflés. Also consider putting a twist on the traditional wedding buffet: provide a pasta, baked potato, popcorn, coffee or ice cream sundae bar. If you two love camping, then skip the chocolate fountain and instead set up a hibachi s'mores station.
8. Make Sure Your Cake is Tops
Opt for a cake topper that says something about you as a couple: your favorite flowers, a monogram, customized bobbleheads, or Mickey and Minnie figurines if you're off to Disney World for your honeymoon.
9. Register with Flair
Depending on your life stage, you and your fiancé may already have all the blenders and silverware you need. So have some fun with your registry. If you love home entertaining, then sign up for a Nintendo Wii or a collection of board games. Barbecue-lovers can add a top-of-the-line grill to their wish list. Or jump on the latest trend of registering for honeymoon activities. An espresso maker is nice, but espresso for two at an Italian bistro is even better. Get started at a site like TheBigDay, HoneyLuna or Distinctive Honeymoons.
10. Don’t Forget…You Can Personalize Anything!
Here's a quick and easy way to personalize the, um, facilities at the reception hall. On the door of the women's bathroom, affix your photo, silhouette or first initial. Do the same for the men's room, using the groom's photo or monogram. Just because you're renting the reception space doesn't mean you can't personalize it to make it your own.