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While it is technically your day, your wedding is also an important moment for your and your future spouse's families. If you're so inclined, it's often a nice idea to remember the other important weddings in your family's history on your own special day. While you don't have to make any grand statements at the actual event, there are a few small ways you can add a sense of nostalgia to your wedding.
Photo by Cramer Photo
Wear Your Mother's Veil
Sure, you could go all out and wear your mother or grandmother's gown on your wedding day, but there's a likelihood (especially if your parents got married in the 80s) that her gown is just not your style. A veil is less of a committment and most classic heirloom veils will look beautiful with a variety of more modern gowns.
Photo by Vivian Chen Photography
Don Some Heirloom Jewelry
A delicate bracelet, necklace, or earrings previously worn by a relative on their wedding day can be a lovely symbol of your family's history.
Photo by onelove photography
Add Some Heirloom Quality to Your Bouquet
Wrap your bouquet with lace from your mother's wedding gown or attach a locket or handkerchief to the stems.
Photo by Laura Elaine Photography
Give Your Ceremony a Personal Touch
There are lots of ways you can incorporate your family's history into your ceremony. Walk down the aisle to the same song your mother did, incorporate a reading or other musical selection that was performed at your parents' wedding, or use acutal items like wine glasses, unity candles or religious elements from your parents' wedding during the proceedings.
Photo by Ten 2 Ten Photography
Wear Heirloom Rings
Wedding bands are often passed down from generation to generation, and it's a beautiful way to honor those who came before you.
Photo by j.woodbery photography
Display Family Wedding Photos
You can display family wedding photos near the guest book, on the escort card table, or simply on their own table or mantle at the reception. Your guests may chuckle at your relatives' fashion decisions, but it's a nice way to showcase your family history.
Photo by Katie Slater Photography
Pick the Same First Dance Song
Classic first dance songs are making a big comeback! Share a first dance song with one set of parents - if the tune suits your musical tastes as well.
Photo by Earthmuse Photography
Share a Cake Topper
Vintage cake toppers are all the rage, so why not use the same one your parents did on their big day? It's a subtle, but nostalgic touch.
Looking for more vintage wedding ideas? Visit our Flowers & Decor editors for lots of gorgeous inspiration!
Sure, you could assign each of your reception tables a number - it's clear, traditional, and easy for your guests to follow. However, if you want to be a little more creative, you could name your tables based on a theme. While this is certainly a cute and clever idea, we only recommend doing it if you can find a "naming theme" that truly resonates with you and suits your wedding style and venue. Check out a few of our favorite ideas here:
Love to travel? Name your tables after places where you and your spouse have visited, or plan to visit. Your sweetheart table can be named for your honeymoon destination for a cute touch!
Photo by Joel Bedford Photography
If you and your spouse are truly best buddies with your family pets, why not name your tables after them? You can name the tables after important animals in your life - from your dog, your grandmother's cat, a horse you grew up riding - the options are endless!
Photo by Jillian Mitchell Photography
For couples who love watching or playing sports, name your reception tables after your favorite teams or, as this couple did, your favorite players.
Photo by Genesa Richards Photography
If you and your honey are college sweethearts, you might name your tables after buildings or landmarks at your alma mater.
Photo by Shannon Cronin Photography
Getting married at a vineyard (or just loooove wine)? Naming your tables after your favorite wine varietals is fun and totally works with a vineyard theme!
Photo by Shelly Kroeger Photography
If you and your future spouse met at work, you could find creative ways to use your careers in your table names. For example, this lawyer couple named their tables after Supreme Court Justices. Just make sure that your guests can understand the references.
Photo by Abby Jiu Photography
Are you and your future spouse huge music buffs? Name tables after your favorite artists or songs - even your the music venues you frequent!
Photo by Tia & Claire Studio
Seasonal and Venue-Focused
Think about the season when your wedding is taking place, as well as the venue. This couple named their tables after apple varieties for a fall wedding at an orchard. But for spring weddings you could name tables after your favorite flowers, or your favorite beaches at summer weddings.
Photo by Jagger Photography
Looking for more table number sign ideas? Check out these beautiful ideas!
Save the sparklers for the nighttime! After you share your first kiss as a married couple, you'll want to celebrate as you walk back up the aisle. Of course, festive musical selections help, but getting your guests involved is even more fun. Check out some of our favorite recessional ideas.
It's festive, fun and creates a super-colorful photo op!
Photo by Julie Saad Photography
Perfect for a whimsical outdoor garden wedding - and the kids in your wedding party will love it!
Photo by Jodi Miller Photography
Tossing rose petals is the ultimate classic recessional activity, but try a different flower, like mums, to brighten things up.
Photo by onelove photography
So cute (and patriotic) for a Fourth of July wedding!
Photo by Shannon Cronin Photography
Another idea for an outdoor wedding - ask your guests to toss lavender seeds as you exit your ceremony. And - bonus! - it's good for the environment.
Photo by Annie Hosfeld Photography
Give your guests colorful ribbon wands to wave. It's a fun DIY project too!
Photo by Crystal Satriano Photography
Looking for send-off ideas for the end of the night? Click here for more great suggestions!
Photo by My Life Photography
“First looks” are photo sessions that take place before the wedding ceremony, capturing the soon-to-be-married couple seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. Some couples may choose to wait to see each other until the ceremony , but we think these first look sessions can be totally amazing for a variety of reasons. Check out our top tips for a successful first look photo shoot!
Talk to your photographer before your wedding day to discuss the logistics of the first look photo shoot. The first look session should take place about two hours or so before the ceremony, so it’s important to plan your getting-ready schedule accordingly to make sure you and your spouse-to-be are fully prepped with plenty of time.
Pick a Quiet, Well-Lit Spot
Your photographer should arrive well before the wedding to scout out an appropriate location where the shoot will take place. Find a spot that’s relatively secluded – or if it’s indoors, sealed off so that no one can enter and interrupt this intimate moment.
Try to avoid seeing (or talking to!) each other before the first look session. Get ready in separate locations, and tell your bridesmaids and groomsmen to avoid putting up any photos of you on social media before you’ve seen each other for the first time. You want the moment to feel special and genuine, not “oh, I just saw you five minutes ago but I’ll fake it for the photo.”
Incorporate Photo and Video
Make sure both your photographer and videographer are in the loop about the first look – of course, the photos are a wonderful visual representation, but it’s nice to also have the sounds and movement on record as well.
Keep It Natural
This is one of those photo moments during your wedding day that should not be posed – your photographer can explain to you and your groom (separately) in advance where she’d like the two of you to stand and walk, but when the first look moment actually occurs, your photographer should avoid talking to let the moment flow naturally.
Keep It Simple
There are lots of creative ways to stage a first look session, but the most important part is being able to see the looks on both of your faces. We recommend keeping it super simple – for example, one partner has his/her back facing away from the other, and then with a tap on the shoulder, turns around. It’s simple, sweet, easy to stage, and you’ll get emotional and clear photos.
Enjoy the Moment
Before you see each other for the first time, take a deep breath and let all of the wedding-day stress melt away. When you have that initial first look moment, don’t immediately launch into all of the things that are going wrong (“My mom is being really annoying!”). Talk about how happy you are to see each other, and express your love for one another. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment and you want the photos to convey your happiness, not the stress you were feeling at that moment.
Take a Pre-Wedding Photo Without Seeing Each Other
If you or your spouse are traditionalists and truly do not want to see each other before the ceremony, you can still have a modified first look by standing on opposite sides of a doorway, holding hands, but not peeking at each other. It can still be a sweet and emotional moment to capture.
Photo by Photo Love Photography
Chances are, your groomsmen are not accustomed to taking formal portraits on the regular. So try to keep things relatively natural and easy for them when it comes to taking pictures. Here are a few of our favorite “poses” for groomsmen shots.
The most traditional of the groomsmen poses, your guys stand in a row or, if there are more than five or six of them, in two rows, hands in pockets. It's so GQ.
Photo by Sherri J Photography
The "We're All Friends Here"
Hopefully, all of your groomsmen are pretty close - and even if they aren't, at least they can act like it by putting their arms over each other's shoulders, frat brother style.
Photo by Maxwell Monty Photography
The "Just Taking a Stroll"
Fact: People look more natural in photos if they're in motion. So, tell your groom and groomsmen to take a walk together. Their faces will look much more relaxed, you'll see!
Photo by Melvin Gilbert Photography
The Seated Pose
Your groomsmen may feel more comfortable posing while sitting down. And here's a bonus: these portraits will show off those cute socks!
Photo by Petula Pea Photography
The Groom in Front
It's the groom's special day, so give him some pride of place by having him stand a few steps ahead of the rest of his best buds. This is a particularly nice pose if all of the guys are dressed fairly similarly.
Photo by William Innes Photography
The "Do Something Funny"
Of course, you'll need to take some more traditional portraits, too, but if it helps your guys loosen up, let them have some fun with their portraits. Add props like sunglasses if you'd like!
Photo by Steven and Lily Photography
The Jumping for Joy
If you can get your groomsmen to try it, it's pretty cool to have a shot of them in midair!
Photo by Wren Photography
Need we say more?
Photo by Weston Neuschafer Photography
Looking for more groomsmen attire ideas? Check out our Fashion Editor's board for even more men's attire inspiration!
Photo by Melissa Copeland Photography
From dress stains or rips to headaches to paper cuts, there are a variety of minor mishaps that can occur on your wedding day. But instead of worrying about them, be prepared! Create a wedding-day emergency kit or ask one of your bridesmaids to do it for you. Even if your wedding day is smooth sailing, you’ll be glad you had these essentials on hand:
Things may get a little emotional on your wedding day, so be sure to have a pack of tissues close by at all hand. If your dress has pockets, all the better – if not, ask one of your ‘maids to stash some tissues in her purse for you.
Double Stick Tape
Also known as “Fashion Tape,” this can help your gown stay in place, especially if you’re wearing strapless. It can also secure a ripped hem (which can happen if someone accidentally steps on your dress).
A shoe heel breaking can leave you barefoot on your wedding day (unless you’re having a beach wedding, in which case, we say go for it!). Bring a back up pair of heels that are around the same height as your primary shoes, just in case of an unforeseen footwear malfunction.
We highly recommend that you take the time to enjoy the food on your wedding day, but take a moment to check yourself in the mirror afterwards – and be sure to have some floss on hand just in case of any unsightly food particles!
Of course, any prescribed medication that you take on a daily basis is a must, but also bring over-the-counter medications, in case of headaches, stomach issues, or allergies.
Sewing Kit with Scissors
Be sure to have a sewing kit on hand (with scissors!) in case of loose threads or buttons, accidental rips, or even just your bridesmaid forgetting to take the tag off her dress! Also important: Someone who actually knows how to sew!
Because blood on your wedding dress isn’t a great look.
Stain Removal Pen
Always good to have in case of a stain on your or one of your VIPs’ attire. Depending on the fabric of the stained attire, one of these bad boys can be a lifesaver.
It doesn’t always work, but chalk can be a quick fix for a stain on a white wedding dress.
For sipping drinks pre-wedding so you don’t ruin your lipstick!
Feminine Hygiene Products
Because…well, you never know.
Your spouse-to-be will thank you.
Concealer and Lipstick
Even if you’re having your makeup professionally done, chances are some of your makeup might rub off by the end of the night. Freshen up with a little concealer and lipstick so you look great for your grand exit.
Follow our Advice Editor for even more wedding planning tips!
Photo by Levi Stolove
From the moment you started sharing the happy news of your engagement, you’ve probably been inundated with questions. When’s the big day? What’s your color scheme? What type of dress do you want? Before you can answer any of these questions, you need to come up with a general idea of the type and style of wedding you’re looking for. Sounds overwhelming, but it actually can be easy - and fun! Here are our top tips.
Look at Photos
Start by perusing wedding photos and ideas and saving the ones that excite you. There doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to the photos you choose, just that you like them. Then, take a look at your saved photos and try to find some common ground between them. Are there certain colors you gravitate toward? Or do the photos all come from weddings at a specific venue type?
Casual or Formal
One of the most basic decisions you’ll need to make is if you want a casual or formal wedding. Do you picture your guests wearing long gowns and tuxes in a grand ballroom or having a picnic-style reception outside - or something in between?
Is there a particular venue where you’ve always dreamed of getting married? Or even just a type of venue that you like - a beach, garden, ballroom or historic inn, perhaps? Think about the type of wedding that would best fit with your ideal venue - a beach wedding calls for a more casual feel, while a wedding at a historic inn could be more vintage-inspired. Often times the venue you choose is the first step to deciding on your wedding style - it helps narrow down the options.
Talk It Out
Sit down with your fiance(e) and have an open and frank discussion about how each of you picture your wedding day. Start by each writing down a list of adjectives that describe your ideal wedding, then compare lists. Make a note of the words you have in common, as well as the words that you disagree on. Try to find common ground and come up with a final list of "wedding adjectives" to share with vendors as you meet them.
Once you have decided on your wedding style, it’s important to stay focused, especially when dealing with your vendors. If you’re planning a formal and classic wedding, don’t switch to a vintage-inspired and casual wedding halfway through the planning process. Make a decision and stick with it for your own sanity!
Looking to get started finding your style? Check out classic, modern, rustic, and vintage wedding inspiration to decide which style you like best!
Photo by JaneCane Photography
It’s one of the only universal wedding truths – you can’t control the weather. So what do you do when the forecast calls for rain (or snow or sleet or hail or high wind conditions) on your wedding day –especially if you’re planning an outdoor celebration? Here are our top tips to help you prepare for not-so-great weather conditions.
Have a Plan B from Day 1
When you’re looking at outdoor wedding venues, make sure you ask what the rain plan is. Even if the location where you’re marrying is known for sunny weather, you’ll still want to make sure you’re happy with the bad weather alternative. Whether it’s putting up a tent or moving the entire event indoors, make sure your venue provides you with a firm plan before you book.
Enlist Vendors’ Help
If rain or other bad weather is in the forecast, talk to your vendors about how they plan on handling the situation. Wedding planners or site coordinators are particularly adept at moving things around to help plan for bad weather. Ask for help or advice where needed and be flexible if certain details of your wedding need to change.
Consider Both Major and Minor Weather Issues
Of course, rain is always a concern, but also think about high winds or unseasonably hot or cold weather, as well. Your guests’ comfort and safety should be your primary concern. If the weather is hot, consider bringing in fans and providing your guests with cold beverages throughout the day. For colder weather, heaters and blankets may be necessary. And if the weather conditions are simply too uncomfortable, consider moving things indoors – even if precipitation isn’t an issue.
You may want to research wedding insurance as an option, particularly if you’re getting married during hurricane season or in the wintertime on the off-chance that you need to postpone your wedding.
But, if you’re simply dealing with a little rain or a bit of snow, make the best of the situation! Find umbrellas and rain or snow boots that match your color scheme, and take some fun photos outdoors. Talk to your photographer about finding creative ways to take outdoor photos. And remember – rain on your wedding day is considered good luck!
Looking for more inspiration and ideas? Check out this stunning rainy day wedding and these snowy winter weddings!
Photo by Kurt Boomer
You’re probably stressed out enough about your wedding going according to plan. Add in all of the wedding day superstitions that some say will cause “bad luck” on your wedding day and you’re bound to lose it. Check out these wedding superstitions
Superstition #1: Seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck.
We say: There is a certain magic about couples seeing each other for the first time as one walks down the aisle, but for many couples, waiting until the ceremony doesn’t work with their wedding-day timeline or style. A “first look” photo shoot pre-ceremony can be just as magical, and we promise, it’s not bad luck at all.
Superstition #2: Looking at yourself in the mirror when you’re fully dressed in your bridal attire is bad luck.
We say: Um, hello? Clearly you want to look at yourself in all of your wedding-day gorgeousness before you head down the aisle – so this superstition is clearly outdated. But if the mirror breaks? Well, that’s another story (just kidding!).
Superstition #3: You must wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
We say: Sure, this is a fun tradition, but if finding the requisite items is causing you stress, you don’t have to do it. Check out these ideas for easy ways you can incorporate something old, new, borrowed and blue!
Superstition #4: The bride must be carried over the threshold when you arrive home for the first time after the wedding.
We say: Sure, it’s a cute tradition, but don’t freak out if you forget. You’ll probably be exhausted right after the wedding anyway!
Superstition #5: Getting married on a date that includes the number 13 is bad luck.
We say: Ask anyone who got married in the year 2013 (or Taylor Swift) – the number 13 can totally be good luck, so flip this superstition on its head and get married any day you desire!
Photo by 52Forty Photography
Most couples want their weddings to be unique and personal, so why not try these twists on tradition to keep things interesting. They’re not so out-of-the-box that you’ll confuse or upset your guests, but they’ll make your wedding super memorable.
Have Cocktail Hour Before the Ceremony
If you’re hosting your ceremony and reception in the same place, consider offering cocktail hour before the ceremony. It might sound totally weird, but look at the positives – your guests won’t be famished post-ceremony, and it will pretty much guarantee that everyone is on time for your walk down the aisle – even if someone arrives late to the cocktail hour, they’ll still be in their seats by the time the ceremony rolls around.
Offer Other Entertainment
From photo booths to caricature artists to lawn games and cigar bars and more, provide your guests with an alternative to dancing – especially if your crowd isn’t into dancing. Just make sure that whatever activities you provide, they fit your personal style and work within your wedding venue! For more wedding entertainment ideas, click here!
Serve Dinner Cocktail or Family-Style
Instead of serving a sit-down or buffet-style dinner, why not do a small plates menu featuring different stations so that guests can get up and move around throughout the reception – a great way for everyone to mix and mingle. Another idea: Serve dinner family style. Passing and sharing food will get everyone chatting and provide a light-hearted and relaxed feel. Click here for more creative catering ideas.
Don’t Assign Seats
This works especially well if you’re having a smaller wedding and your guests all know each other well. Skip the escort cards and allow your guests to sit wherever they like. Again, this is another nice idea for a more casual and relaxed wedding.
Skip the Traditions
Bouquet toss, garter toss, long speeches – all of these “interruptions” might pause the flow of your wedding reception. Let your guests enjoy the party and keep the music going throughout the night. Keep the speeches to a minimum (save the long ones for the rehearsal dinner), and feel free to skip the bouquet and garter toss (for some alternative to the bouquet toss, click here!).