Creative Ways to Personalize Your Wedding
It Starts With Your Theme
Seasons can provide plenty of inspiration, from color schemes to flowers. A winter wedding might include candlelit lanterns, masses of evergreen wreaths and a roaring fire in the reception hall. A backyard ceremony, a bouquet of wildflowers and a tented reception are hallmarks of a perfect summer fête.
Hobbies and shared interests are another jumping-off point. If you’re foodies, why not plan a wedding reception catered by a favorite restaurant with a menu of your must-have entrées? On your invitation’s reply card, include an area for guests to select a preferred dessert option, like “cake” or “pie.”
Other themes to consider: outdoor activities like cycling — a tandem bike can serve as your signature image — camping (DIY trail-mix station, anyone?). “A friend who loves to kayak decided to have her guests sign an oar instead of using a traditional guest book,” Emma says. “Afterwards, she varnished the oar to preserve the signatures, and it’s now displayed in her home.”
A save-the-date is not mandatory, but it’s a fun way to share your news with guests. “One of my favorite designs features a library card that asks guests, ever so sweetly, ‘May we borrow you?’ ” says Emma.
Any wedding location can benefit from the inclusion of handcrafted, personal details. Imagine your favorite flowers lining the way as you walk down the aisle to meet your future spouse — jars of peonies, lilies, daisies, sunflowers. To craft them yourself, fill each jar one-third full with water, place the flowers inside, wrap wire around the top of the jar to create a handle and tie on a ribbon for a pretty bow. If your wedding is outdoors, insert shepherd’s hooks along the aisle and hang your jars from their handles. After the ceremony, enlist friends to help carefully transport the flower-filled jars to the reception site as décor for the head table.
If you’re having an evening wedding, you have the opportunity to revel in the romantic glow of candlelight. Place candles in glass containers — hurricane lanterns, jars or decorative lanterns — and set them along the aisle. Or line the aisle with wreaths. Decorative twig wreaths from a craft store can be embellished with seasonal touches such as moss or ivy in the spring or metallic ornaments and sprigs of holly in winter.
Be creative with your seating. Instead of the soon-to-be spouses’ families picking sides, place a sign outside the ceremony site that tells guests to “pick a seat, not a side” — as both families are joining as one. At an intimate wedding ceremony, seat guests in a circle, so everyone has a front-row view of the nuptials.
They can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, depending on your budget and level of expertise. Get inspired with these unique wedding-day ideas. Wine glasses can take on an entirely new function when set upside down. Place silk flowers in the center of each table, turn the glasses upside down, one directly over each bloom, and set a pillar candle on top.
Or consider a centerpiece that ties in directly with your wedding theme. For a woodland-themed celebration, a birdhouse centerpiece set on a bed of moss would work perfectly.
In summer, look to colorful fruits like lemons, oranges or limes placed in a large apothecary jar; in fall think about apples or pears placed in small wooden boxes.
Food & Drink
At the top of your to-do list: creating a memorable menu. Keep your theme in mind. For instance, if you are planning a backyard wedding with gingham tablecloths and lawn games, serve home-style family favorites like barbecued chicken and corn on the cob, with cherry pie for dessert.
Beach wedding-goers could dive into a seafood selection of shrimp cocktail and grilled salmon. Carnival-themed weddings call for festive fare like corn dogs and cotton candy. If you’re serving a special drink, give it a new name. At the bar, how about serving a “Marry Me Martini” or “Grin and Tonic”?
At a wine-themed wedding, arrange for a tasting in lieu of cocktails. For a fun nonalcoholic option, serve up some old-fashioned favorites like root beer or black cherry or cream soda in glass bottles. Carry your palette through to your drinks with colorful sips like mint juleps, pink-grapefruit mojitos or lemonade.
Did Someone Say Cake?
If you’re unsure where to begin, consider a few popular cake choices that befit the season. In winter, a romantic red velvet or spice cake; in warmer weather, a beachy vanilla sponge cake with coconut filling.
Make a cake more memorable with unexpected embellishments. A beach wedding cake can be adorned with edible chocolate-filled seashells. Or use a coating of brown sugar to create the illusion of sand, then trim the cake with piped starfish. For a nature-inspired wedding, consider sugary faux pinecones or fondant crafted to look like birch bark, trimmed with fondant “twigs.”
Or consider an alternacake idea like cupcakes, which are a fun, festive twist on tradition. And since they are ready to serve, you can skip the cake-cutting fee many venues charge. Stacked cookies — like Oreos, sugar cookies or gingerbread — or doughnuts can combine the look of a wedding cake with the fun of a dessert bar.
Show your guests some love with homespun, handcrafted mementos. Edible favors are always a hit. Some ideas: Homemade jams, pickles or spiced fruits presented in pretty jars are all tasty choices. (If DIY is too much of an undertaking, there are plenty of mini delicacies for purchase. Just add a thank-you tag to personalize.)
Tiny jars of honey are another sweet option.
Bring good fortune to guests with custom fortune cookies. You can order them online with a customized message inside.
When it comes to keepsake favors, consider functionality as well as individuality. Who wouldn’t love a mason jar lantern? Use them to add a romantic glow to your celebration and after the last song is played, let guests know that the lanterns may be taken home. To DIY, wrap wire around the mouth of a mason jar to create a handle. Fill each jar partway with sand and snuggle a votive down into it, then tie on a thank-you tag. Instead of a take-home favor, why not give back to nature and plant trees in your guests’ honor (check out friendsoftrees. org). Include a thank-you note to each guest that also shares the news of the tree being planted in his or her name.