My Wedding - - PLANNING - By Nicky Luis

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!

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