The past year has seen its fair share of micro weddings and backyard bashes, and it’s had a significant effect on the wedding industry. These intimate gatherings have allowed couples to come up with more and more ways to offer guests a unique, personalized experience filled with fun surprises.
Gone are the days of cookie-cutter celebrations where guests just observe the day of festivities. Today, attending a wedding is about sharing a couple’s love story and becoming a part of it on their big day.
We’re certainly not here to knock wedding monograms or logos; they are classic and still going strong. But it’s time to explore additional ways to leave your mark on your wedding beyond this. Here are some fantastic ideas for creating a wedding as unique as you and your relationship:
Elevate Your Signature Drink
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Having signature drinks is a beautiful way to share your spouse's and your favorite cocktails with guests. Choose drinks meaningful to you, like a cocktail served on your first date or when your partner proposed to you. Don’t forget to give it a cute name too.
Take this idea up a notch by enhancing it with customized ice cubes stamped with your faces, a quote, or frozen with something inside that is on-theme like petals or fruit. If your wedding is taking place in the fall or winter, you can even have an edible topper printed with your photo placed atop a frothy drink.
Share Fun Facts About You & Spouse
Not every wedding guest is going to be your bestie. Take the time to bring those plus ones or distant relatives into the fold, so they can get to know you both better and share in this joyous day. A great way to do this is to print coasters or cocktail napkins with fun facts about you and your partner.
Include tidbits like where you met, when you went on your first date, your honeymoon destination, favorite hobbies, quotes, etc. This can even serve as an icebreaker or mini trivia for wedding guests too.
Display Your Family Tree
If your venue includes outdoor space, try designating a tree as your family tree. Hang frames with photos from your parent’s and grandparent’s weddings along with favorite family photos of you and your spouse when you were younger. No outdoor space? Not to worry, adapt this idea by adding these frames to a table or shelf during your cocktail hour instead.
Select A Signature Scent
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The music is pumping, the lighting is perfect, the food melts in your mouth, and your dancing partner is clutching onto your arm. What a way to engage all of the senses, right?! Hmm, wait, something is missing. Oh yeah, smell.
This is one of the most commonly ignored senses during wedding planning, but it can significantly impact your celebration. If everything is perfect, but the room reeks of overcooked fish, it’s not going to go over well.
Indulge the sense of smell by selecting a signature scent for your wedding day. Companies like Jo Malone allow brides to custom mix a concoction that hits all of the right notes. Embrace florals from places you’ve traveled together or pick scents that remind you of one another. Then bottle it up and spritz it throughout your venue, or send everyone home with tiny bottles of it as your wedding favor.
Keep The Kids In Mind
If little ones are attending your wedding, consider creating something special just for them. We love the idea of custom coloring books so they can draw in your smiles on your big day. Not only will it keep the kids entertained, but their parents are also sure to be grateful. Just don’t forget to pack enough crayons as well.
Tiny Touches For Your Tablescape
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One of the kindest small touches we’ve ever seen is handwritten, personalized thank you notes left by the couple for each guest at their place setting. It’s a worthwhile activity that leaves a big impression on wedding guests, especially those coming from far away.
If you are short on time, consider leaving a meaningful quote or printed illustration on the back of a place card. This little personalization goes a long way in grabbing your guests’ attention.
Escort Cards That Wow
Remember those tiny folded white cards with the gold trim? Of course, you do. They are everywhere. The secret is out that there are better ways to escort your guests to their table. Lately, elaborate escort card displays have taken over, featuring everything from fruity popsicles or beach balls in the summer to embroidered blankets or ceramic mugs in the winter.
You can even knock out two items on your checklist by combining a wedding favor or signature drink and escort card into one. Sometimes all it takes is a tiny tag with guest names and table numbers to whisk them happily off to their seat.
Guest Books That Are Far From Boring
Anything goes when it comes to guest books these days, and no, it does not even need to be a book. Infuse some personality into this tradition by having guests sign something that ties into your unique story and wedding theme.
Love to travel? Set up a table with vintage travel postcards and a small mailbox. Miss talking on the phone? Have guests leave you “voicemails” with an audio service like Fete Fone. Moonlight as a DJ? Have them sign a vinyl record instead. You get the point. The ideas are truly endless.
Leave A Note Behind
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Exchanging a love note with your soon-to-be spouse is a magical way to start your wedding day. Rather than writing those sweet thoughts on a piece of paper, grab your partner’s shoes the night before. Then scribble your love note with a marker on the soles for a surprise the next day. Be sure to ask your photographer to capture this note on camera early in the day if there’s a lot of walking involved.
Put Your Vows On Display
If you’ve had your vows written for a while, why not display them front and center? From ceremony backdrops to reception table runners, this is a great way to proclaim your love for all to see.
Set the Scene While Getting Ready
Getting ready with your bridal party is an essential part of your wedding day. Make the memory last by personalizing hangers with your bridal party’s names. This can be easily achieved with a vinyl decal and is a touching keepsake that’ll last them far beyond your wedding day. Treat yourself to a fancy hanger that features curved metal with your new last name or a beautiful vintage hanger just for you, bride.
In Memory Of Those We Lost
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Save empty chairs at your ceremony to honor those who could not be there with you at your wedding. Print a sign with a saying such as “I know you would be here if heaven weren’t so far away,” and display a photo in memory of your loved one. This will keep them at the forefront of your mind and in your heart on your special day.
Pay homage to your hometown by creating a dessert tray of cookies in the shape of your home state. Prefer to focus on where you are heading rather than where you’ve been? You can custom print cookies with photos of your honeymoon destination or have them piped in frosting with your wedding date.
Want to up the ante? Display your ice cream bar in a custom ice sculpture frozen with elements from your wedding theme like fruit, flowers, or even photos.
Enhance Your Bar
Your bar is one of the most frequented spots at your wedding. Why not make it look fabulous? An easy way to add some custom flair is to post a sign with a cheeky quote or song lyric like “Drunk in Love” that keeps guests coming back for more all night long. Splurge for a neon sign or live bar to add even more drama to the space.
Personalize Your Attire
There are many creative ways to customize your wedding day garb, from custom suits to embroidered veils. Take a cue from celebrities like Hailey Baldwin, who had the words”’ Till Death Do Us Part” on her veil, or Angelina Jolie, who included her children’s drawings on her dress.
Add personalizations to commemorate the big day, like embroidered clothing labels, cuffs, collars, or handkerchiefs. Other ideas include custom jewelry, personalized cufflinks, or a watch engraved with a special message. Matching denim or leather jackets are always a popular choice that looks great on the back of your sweetheart table’s chairs.
Flowers Made for You
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When selecting your flowers, keep your favorite varieties in mind. Decide whether you prefer homegrown, locally sourced florals or want to ship in exotic flowers from favorite places you’ve traveled. One idea we like is incorporating the state flowers of your hometowns or the place where you got engaged.
If you enjoy gardening, even better if you can pick a few buds you’ve grown yourself to throw into your bouquet or a small vase. To make your bouquet even more unique, attach some charms or photo lockets of loved ones to its ribbon.
Allow your guests to play DJ for the night by asking for their song requests in advance on your RSVP card. Select a few and have your emcee dedicate the song to your guest who requested it.
Be sure to include songs meaningful to you as a couple, and as an extra special surprise, ask the DJ or band to play your parent’s wedding songs during your reception.
Choose A Venue That Matters
Don’t only tour traditional catering hall venues. From museums to parks and farms, nearly any spot can be transformed into a wedding venue these days. When searching for the perfect setting, think about memories you’ve shared and places you’ve visited as a couple. If you can incorporate these memorable locations into your venue selection, it’ll make your big day all the more special.
Get The Party Going Before They Arrive
Are you planning to have a wedding shuttle? Ask your transportation company to pipe in music from a designated wedding playlist through the speakers. This is sure to get the party going before they even arrive on site. As a bonus, include personalized water bottles on the shuttles as well to keep guests hydrated.
Through the Years Aisle Markers
Skip the traditional posies and use photos of you and your spouse as aisle markers instead. Organize them as a timeline from your childhood to now or from your first date to your wedding day. Not only will it be a great conversation starter, but it will also be an especially meaningful way to walk down the aisle.
Cake Topper Keepsakes
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Traditional ceramic cake toppers are hardly used these days. Instead, select ones that are true to who you are as a couple, whether that means custom bobbleheads or an elegantly scripted wooden sign. Save your topper after your wedding and use it for your anniversary cakes in the years to come.
Leave Your Imprint On Your Wedding Band
An engraved wedding band is a wonderfully thoughtful way to show your future spouse you care, but it can be difficult to read the entire message as intended, given the limited room. Consider this alternative: have a jeweler take an imprint of your fingerprints and meld them on the inside of your bands.
Table Numbers With Meaning
Get creative with your table numbers, naming them after places you’ve visited together or want to travel to in the future. Or, if sticking strictly to numbers, consider using milestones to mark down a short note about the number and its significance in your relationship.
Let Your Menu Tell A Story
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Many magical memories are made over a meal. When selecting your catering menu, embrace favorite foods from your childhood or those that give you a feeling of home. Consider adding a special family recipe to your menu. Post a handwritten copy of the recipe or its backstory in a frame, on a tea towel, or on a serving board during your reception.
Surprise Your Loved Ones With Thoughtful Touches
Treat your parents and grandparents to tiny surprises throughout the day. Place embroidered handkerchiefs with a special note at their place settings during the reception. Gift your father a tie with a sewn-in patch featuring a memorable photograph of the two of you when you were younger. Include their favorite flowers in a boutonniere or floral wristlet. Most importantly, thank them for their help and spend a quiet moment together on the wedding day.
Lead the Way for a Great Day
If you’re getting married in a place you know well, include a wedding guide on your website or in your welcome packages. Share your favorite hangout spots, restaurants, walking paths, or cultural institutions with your wedding guests so they can fall in love with some of the same places that you have as a couple. Take this idea a step further by turning it into a city scavenger hunt if you have some extra hands to help with this.
Incorporate Your Ethics & Favorite Charities
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Value sustainability or have a favorite local charity? Coordinate with your venue and vendors to make sure your wedding stays true to your principles. Many local nonprofits partner with wedding venues to repurpose leftover flowers for senior centers, nursing homes, or houses of worship. Similar relationships exist to ensure food is not wasted but given to those in need. Be mindful of these charitable relationships and environmental practices if it is important to you.
Wrap Your Dance Floor
Vinyl-wrapped dance floors are a relatively affordable way to create a customized design that packs a punch. Match the floor to your theme with a cute saying or florals that will leave an impact while guests dance the night away.
Get Your Furry Friends Involved
Whether you’re naming your signature drink in their honor or handing out pet treats at the end of the night with their illustration on the label, you’re going to want to keep your best furry friend nearby. Even better if they can be there to help you walk down the aisle. If not, keeping them close by in spirit is an excellent second choice.
Don’t Forget Your Something Old
If your wedding is close to home, you might want to incorporate family heirlooms or antique furniture into your wedding displays or sweetheart table. Choosing a destination wedding? Ask your mother, sister, or grandparent for a piece of jewelry or small decorative item that has passed down through the generations instead.
However you choose to personalize your big day, remember to savor every moment of it. It will all go by too fast, so capture as many memorable experiences as you can.