I T IS PERSONAL
As a wedding planner for more than fifteen years, it’s safe to say that I have seen my fair share of wedding ceremonies and receptions and that after a while they can start to blend into each other.
What does make one wedding stand out from the next is when a couple puts their own stamp on things - when they get creative and put a twist on different elements of their day, making it unique and memorable - a personal reflection of them as a couple, as opposed to creating a “cookie cutter” style wedding.
So, as a couple on the wedding planning journey, how do you incorporate your style into your wedding; how do you make it personal and your own? Quite simply, the first rule is … there are no rules! Do away with what is considered “traditional”, adopt ideas you like, and intertwine them in a manner that suits you. That way, when you look back in years to come, there will be key highlights that stand out.
Working to a theme can help tremendously as you can focus on different elements within the theme. A couple whose theme was travel, due to the extensive amount of travelling they did together, referred to their journey together in their vows - how they would carry each other’s backpack during times of trouble. The reception tables were given country names in the form of postcards, with a personal note on the back about the couple’s time in that country. Their seating chart was a huge world map directing people to the various countries, favours were personalised luggage tags, and their cake was a large spherical globe. Their master of ceremonies was the “Cruise Director” and stayed in character the whole time, which was a huge hit with the guests, as was the travel pop quiz that had guests vying for prizes.
I’ve had the pleasure of planning two weddings where the grooms sang to their brides - one as she came down the aisle and the other just prior to their first dance. Without a doubt, both grooms were super nervous and it took a fair bit of practicing, but the end result was spectacular. The grooms felt as though they were an integral part of the wedding and it was the most intimate and heartfelt gift that either of them could give their respective brides.
There are a myriad options to make the reception centrepieces personal. One of my favourites was a couple who were avid readers and took the time to scour bookstores to find their favourite novels, which were then included as part of the centrepiece display. A little sign was popped in the floral display with their favourite quote from one of the books.
One groom’s surprise element for his bride was a bagpiper playing when the couple arrived at the reception venue. But, instead of piping a traditional tune, he played the bride’s favourite AC-DC song. The bride was absolutely blown away and the guests thought it was fantastic, too.
There are also interesting things that can be done with “guest books”. One groom was a very keen surfer and the couple had recently bought a bach. They bought a beautiful black surfboard for guests to sign with white Sharpies, and this now proudly hangs in their bach. A couple who were marrying not long before Christmas bought beautiful Christmas baubles for guests to sign - these are now hung on their Christmas tree every year as a beautiful reminder of their day.
Wedding cakes are another area where you can add a personal touch to your day. Most couples are swapping the traditional fruit cake for anything from chocolate to lemon, from raspberry velvet to banana, and everything in-between. Many have weird and wacky cake toppers which raise eyebrows and get a giggle. Some couples are going for other alternatives such as “cheese cakes” - a stack of cheese wheels decorated with grapes and flowers. Once cut, it is then placed on cheese boards and served with crackers, preserves and a dessert wine. For those who like something sweet, but are not big cake eaters, a croquembouche (profiterole tower) is a great option, and quite a novelty for guests.
A recent pregnant client decided to go for a scan to find out the sex of the baby. Instead of being told at the time of scanning she asked the technician to write down the baby’s sex and place the information in a sealed envelope. This envelope was then given to the baker, who was instructed to make the inside of the wedding cake either blue or pink. On the wedding day, the couple cut into the cake in front of all their guests to discover the sex of their baby for the first time.
The moral of the story is to be creative, be different, add your own style, and end up with a wedding that is uniquely yours – a day that is filled with true reflections of you as a couple, elements that your family and friends will instantly recognise as having you written all over it!