How to Personalize Your Wedding
We’ve all been to that classic wedding. You know the one. Pachelbel plays as the couple walks down the aisle. 1st Corinthians is read to remind everyone what love is. The guests sit down for their plated meal of chicken, beef, or vegetarian, and the evening finishes with some familiar tunes on the dance floor.
Over time, through a series of traditions, habits, and societal expectations, many weddings have become formulaic. They are void of personality, storytelling, or new traditions as unique as the couple themselves.
We’re not saying any of the traditions above are wrong. For many couples, they are exactly the things that make for a perfect wedding day. But we would like to challenge couples to look beyond these traditions and expectations and envision a wedding that captures the couple’s love story.
Wedding planner Todd from Woodland Events and wedding officiant Liz from Liz Rae Weddings teamed up to discuss the many ways couples can break away from a traditional formula to have a wedding that is uniquely theirs.
Think About Your Love Story
What do you love about your love story? Your endless ability to find new recipes to cook every day? Your love for exploring the outdoors? Your willingness to endure anything for each other? List as many important aspects of your relationship you’d like to highlight in your wedding, even if you’re not quite sure how to incorporate them yet.
If you’re stuck for ideas, reflect back to your first dates or meeting your families or memorable trips you shared. All of those little moments, the ones you may not think about daily, are all elements which built your relationship and can be used to tell your story during your wedding.
Once you’ve got this list, you’ll be armed with plenty of inspiration for planning your wedding! Was your first kiss at the state fair? Maybe you’ll incorporate some midway games into your day and serve deep-fried Oreos for dessert or tiny sausages (in place of foot-long hot dogs) at your cocktail hour! Did you meet when one of you fell out of a canoe and the other dove in to rescue you? Perhaps you can incorporate an oar into your decor or foraged flowers from around that lake into your bouquet.
Finding little ways to share your love story with your guests can make for a truly unique and unforgettable wedding day.
Plan With Intention
When working with our clients, we like to ask the question “why?” Why is this important to you? Why does this need to happen? Why are we doing this instead of that? If you don’t connect with a certain reading, why not read something else? Why red flowers?
Whether it’s because of decades of tradition, family expectations, something deeply meaningful to you, an item from that list you made in the last section, or just a pretty thing you saw on Pinterest, when thinking about your wedding, plan intentionally by thinking through why each element is important to you.
Every aspect of your wedding day is a reflection on you as a couple. They are details you are likely to remember for the rest of your life together, so invest a little time in deciding what is really important.
Create Meaningful Experiences
Do you want a wedding that will stand out to your guests? Then plan on having interactive, engaging, and meaningful experiences!
There are literally endless ways to do this, so we can’t exactly tell you what you should do, but some of our favorites have included installing mini-golf courses or escape rooms inside the venue, roaming magic shows during cocktail hour, and petting zoos and corgi cuddle puddles. You can even engage your guests in your ceremony, too, through interactive unity pieces, thoughtful callbacks to memories with guests in the ceremony, and encouraging a little cheering at the beginning.
These experiences don’t always have to be big, elaborate ordeals. Simple experiences like handwritten notes to each guest at their assigned place setting, a collaborative painting in place of a guest book where each guest paints one or two strokes of the artwork, or even edible place cards! Whatever might surprise and delight you and your guests are excellent options to create meaningful experiences!
Of course, you can make these experiences even more meaningful by tying them back to your love story. One Woodland Events couple shared their love story by writing reflections on their first fifteen dates and printing them on the back of each table number. Their first date was at table one, their second date at table two, and so on. When guests realized this detail, they started getting up and going table to table to uncover the mystery and relive the couple’s love story with them!
Let Your Officiant and Planner Really Get to Know You
Your planner and your officiant are going to be the two vendors who spend a lot of time with you. You’ll share deeply personal information with each of them, so set aside time with them far enough in advance of your wedding. The more they get to know you, the easier it will be to bring your wedding vision to life.
As you tell your story to your planner and officiant, don’t be afraid to dive into the nitty-gritty details about your personalities, the good and the bad of your relationship, and all of your favorite things. It may seem strange to share your obsession over ramen, but your planner can use this to help you think of a fun and elegant way to incorporate ramen into your wedding. One of our clients loved Harry Potter and college football, but also had a traditional southern family (with no exposure to the wizarding world) that expected nothing less than a classy Catholic wedding. We found ways to incorporate all of that by making subtle nods to Harry Potter in the jewelry and decor (you would notice if you were a fan, but would think it just look nice if you weren’t, playing a live feed of the Georgia Bulldogs game in the lobby of the venue, and otherwise keeping things pretty traditional. Of course, they also got married in a church that looks like Hogwarts.
As you share your story with your officiant, let out all the feelings! Will it seem a bit awkward at first? Yes, definitely. But a good ceremony will capture your story and the way you both felt over the course of your time together to bring out all the feels in your ceremony to keep your guests laughing and crying throughout.
Don’t Overthink It
You may read lists and lists of items you must have at your wedding to make it personal, but if something doesn’t seem quite right to you, don’t stress over it. If something isn’t calling at you or feels a bit too cliche for your wedding, you don’t need to include it.
You also don’t need to over personalize your wedding, either. If you’re private people, the smallest details can be simple enough to share your story without divulging everything there is to know about you to everyone attending.
You know yourselves best, so hands down the best way to personalize your wedding is to do what feels right to you.
The above pictured Woodland Events / Liz Rae couple personalized their wedding by blending the bride's Christian background with the groom's Jewish background. They are seen here with officiant Emma signing their Ketubah (a Jewish marriage contract) just before sharing communion wine (a common Christian tradition seen in weddings).
The two Liz Rae couples below had unique unity ceremonies. Two food scientists decided to create a sourdough starter together and these gym enthusiasts assembled a barbell together.
Woodland Events is a wedding and event planning business all about planning events that bring stories to life and are remembered for a lifetime. We guide our couples through many of the items listed in this blog to help them create a wedding day that is both unique and unforgettable. We are Minnesota based, but available worldwide.
Liz Rae Weddings are wedding officiants who write kick-butt, custom ceremonies from scratch; no template included. We like to make the ceremony writing process fun, engaging, and unique for each couple we work with. Liz Rae weddings has officiants in Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, and more. Liz herself travels around the world officiating weddings in multiple languages.
Both businesses are committed to leading the wedding industry in promoting acceptance and representation for all couples, including LGBTQ+ and BIPOC.
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