Generally speaking, every couple that decides to exchange vows in front of their family and friends hopes to plan a wedding day that is both unique and special to them. While there are infinite ways to personalize a ceremony or reception, those options don't have to cost a lot of money or take significant amounts of time. After all, the focus of a wedding day should always be about the couple and celebrating their moment together! Here are five basic ideas to help make a wedding day memorable.
1. Make Guests a Meaningful Part of the Ceremony
One options is to include "vows of support" within the structure of the ceremony. My husband and I wrote our own ceremony, and we requested that our officiant highlight that our family and friends form our community of support. We asked that they stand beside us to offer their love and continuing encouragement, that they help us to honor our marriage. Some couples opt to go a step further and ask their guests to respond to a request for support with a collective "we do."
Another idea is to include a candle lighting as part of the ceremony. Each guest is handed a candle, and at a designated time during the ceremony the bride and groom light the candle of a family member in the front row. Then, in turn, that person lights the candle of a guest behind them until the entire room is illuminated with candlelight. That particular option might not work well for outdoor spaces, but would be beautiful in a chapel.
Additionally, you could include a ring blessing ceremony where the couple's wedding bands are passed to each guest in attendance. While each person holds the ring for a moment, they are asked to bless the rings with love and positive wishes for the future.
2. Consider More Personal Music Choices
Even if a string quartet is providing the melodies for the ceremony, that doesn't mean classical tunes are the only available options. At my own wedding, during the recessional, our string quartet played a Beatles song that was meaningful to my husband and me. Important songs can also be played as the couple is announced together at the reception, during the ceremony processional, and while guests are entering the reception and finding their respective seats. To ensure a packed dance floor, the couple could make a request for guests to list their favorite songs on RSVP cards included with the invitation, and then pass those onto the band or DJ.3. Personalize the Bouquet
Since the stems of a bouquet are usually somehow wrapped or tied together, that serves as a perfect opportunity to choose a special type of fabric or a personal adornment to accompany the blooms. I used fabric from my mother's wedding dress to tie my own bouquet and tucked one of my grandmother's earrings into the stems. Another option would be to include a locket with a special picture inside or perhaps the birthstone of a loved one whom the couple wants to keep close on their wedding day.
4. Create a Custom Monogram
A monogram is a quick way to personalize a wedding and tie several aspects together cohesively. Monograms can be introduced on the invitation and then also displayed on ceremony programs, napkins, the dance floor, and even on the wedding cake! After the vows are over, the monogram can be used again on thank you cards or throughout the house on linens and home décor.
5. Choose Personal Favors
Edible wedding favors are always popular, but they're also a perfect opportunity to send guests away with a personal thank you for being part of the wedding day. One of my close friends gave each guest a personalized jar of honey from her father's honeybees. Traditional family recipes can also be gifted to guests along with an ingredient from the recipe — small potted basil plants could be included with the instructions to make your favorite pasta dish, or perhaps vanilla beans for a sweet dessert.
Bonus: Want to become a wedding planner? Enroll in the New York Institute of Art and Design's Wedding Planning Course today!