Weddings - Putting the You Back in "I Do"

By Caroline Wolfe Papocchia on January 5th, 2010

Everyone wants to be a star — and when are you more famous and beautiful than at your own wedding?

Weddings have always been a cause for celebration, for various reasons — the joining of families, the commitment of two people to each other for life, the most complete expression of love and devotion. In recent years, however, weddings have begun to focus solely on the bride and groom. And why not? They are after all the raison d'etre of the whole affair. Nowhere is this trend more evident than in the recent popularity of using photos or illustrations of the couple to personalize or brand everything from the invitations to the escort cards to the reception decor.

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Photos of the couple are often used for Save the Dates and Thank You cards. These days, it is common practice to tuck a photograph of the married couple or the wedding party inside the thank-you card; some couples prefer to use the printed image as the actual card. Save the Date cards almost always include a romantic portrait of the engaged couple, printed on everything from an elegantly designed card to a magnet for the recipients' refrigerator.

But a portrait of the couple is undeniably charming, intimate, and personal — emotions that have become increasingly important in modern weddings, as the economy has suffered and the national mood has shifted. Coupled with the advent of digital photography and advanced graphic design techniques, as well as a revival of DIY crafting, the result is a veritable explosion of personalized wedding details based totally on an image of the bride and groom.

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For example, I know a couple who framed a photo from their engagement shoot in a wide white mat. At the wedding, the image became the de facto guest book — laid on a table with markers for guests to sign their names and best wishes directly on the mat. The photo is now a framed memento of the wedding. That was a couple of years ago, however, and pales in comparison to what is happening today.

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Creativity is boundless, and clever designers have taken the portrait concept and run with it — from photo to illustration, and from 2D to 3D. A recent groom I know is an illustrator, and the invitations, escort cards, thank you cards, and even the cake were all created from cartoonish drawings he had created of himself and his wife-to-be. A quick trip around the web yielded some equally fantastic results. Custom silhouette cards are so elegant and traditional, yet totally modern. Cake toppers painted to resemble the bride and groom are charming keepsakes. Anime-style illustrations are utterly adorable. And the most amazing yet? An enterprising bride created masks of her and her groom's faces and mounted them on sticks as a very cheeky table favor and photo prop.

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Modern weddings are all about being unique and totally personalized, and what is more central to a wedding than the couple getting married? As more brides and grooms realize the endless opportunities to use their own image throughout their wedding details, it looks as if this trend is here to stay.

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