TURN­ING YOUR EVENT INTO AN EX­PE­RI­ENCE

Add unique touches that your guests will re­mem­ber.

Inside Weddings - - Inside - KAIT­LYN HOSTETLER FOR EVOKE EVENT & DE­SIGN

Ev­ery­one has a story to tell. There’s no bet­ter way to share the tale of your courtship, your dis­tinct per­son­al­i­ties, and the things you cher­ish most than by cre­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that re­flect what is unique about you. Step out of the box when it comes to plan­ning the cel­e­bra­tion of a life­time – avoid or­di­nary and think ex­tra­or­di­nary – by adding breath­tak­ing de­tails, awe-in­spir­ing en­ter­tain­ment, and more. Here are a few sug­ges­tions that will el­e­vate your wed­ding so that it’s not only an event, but also an en­counter your guests will re­mem­ber for­ever.

Start with a wed­ding week­end kick­off.

• After – or in lieu of – a re­hearsal din­ner, think about host­ing a ca­sual cock­tail re­cep­tion for your en­tire guest list. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but your at­ten­dees will feel wel­comed; this will also give them a chance to meet some­one new be­fore the fes­tiv­i­ties be­gin.

• Host a moon­light ac­tiv­ity the evening be­fore the big day. An en­gag­ing guided tour will share all sorts of secrets and facts about your lo­ca­tion while your friends and rel­a­tives en­joy lo­cal bev­er­ages and bites of cui­sine.

• The re­hearsal din­ner usu­ally in­cludes fam­ily, the wed­ding party, and out-of-town guests. Per­son­ally, we love hav­ing rev­el­ers pick a num­ber out of a hat to tell them at which ta­ble they will be sit­ting. It’s a great way for your fa­vorite peo­ple to get to know each other bet­ter, meet new friends, and kick off the week­end with an el­e­ment of sur­prise.

Dif­fer­en­ti­ate your cer­e­mony.

• Try ar­rang­ing your cer­e­mony seat­ing in the round. You will be sur­prised by how in­ti­mate the lay­out can make the am­bi­ence of the vow ex­change, as guests will feel closer to you and your beloved, as well as more deeply in­volved dur­ing this spe­cial mo­ment. One of our re­cent cou­ples even asked groups of peo­ple who have in­flu­enced and sup­ported their lives and re­la­tion­ship to rise and be rec­og­nized dur­ing the service as a spe­cial way to honor and in­clude them.

• An­other bride we worked with had each of her broth­ers walk her down a sec­tion of the aisle, lead­ing one to the other un­til she met her groom. It was so im­por­tant to her to have her sib­lings play a role in the pro­ces­sion, and it was the per­fect way to unite them on the spe­cial day. • Give a nod to your her­itage. Have a bag­piper play as you pro­ceed down the aisle or have your dad per­form your most beloved fam­ily song on the piano dur­ing the cer­e­mony. It’s a way to ac­knowl­edge your fam­ily roots that will make your nupi­tals feel spe­cial and per­sonal.

Set the tone.

• You want to en­cour­age min­gling through­out the cel­e­bra­tion, in­clud­ing dur­ing din­ner. Don’t leave guests sit­ting for too long be­tween each course. Con­sider or­ga­niz­ing a dance set be­tween serv­ings to get your guests up and mov­ing around.

• End the night with a per­son­al­ized note for each at­tendee. It il­lus­trates grat­i­tude, adds a cus­tom­ized touch, and pro­vides a spe­cial way to say thank you for be­ing a part of your big day.

• Bring in lo­cal el­e­ments to give your fam­ily and friends a true taste of the area. It helps to bring the cel­e­bra­tion full cir­cle. Im­merse your guests in the cul­ture, for ex­am­ple, by treat­ing them to a wine tast­ing and tour at a lo­cal vine­yard. Bot­tles of wine from the vis­ited prop­erty can also be the per­fect gift for your guests to take home to re­mem­ber the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Show­case your per­son­al­i­ties.

• If you love mu­sic, in­cor­po­rate a vinyl record sta­tion into the cock­tail hour where your guests can se­lect the next song: juke­box style.

• Think about the flow of the day – you don’t want to leave your guests with any dull pe­ri­ods. Be at­ten­tive to their needs, but also in­cor­po­rate un­ex­pected treats. For ex­am­ple, at the end of the evening, hire a string quar­tet to en­ter­tain loved ones at the valet sta­tion while they wait for their cars.

• Sur­prise them in the most un­likely places. Place a hairand-makeup touch-up area, com­plete with pro­fes­sional hairstylists and makeup artists, in the ladies’ room.

As you be­gin to plan, think about the pro­gres­sion of the event and how your guests will feel through­out each part of the day as they tran­si­tion from one por­tion of the fête to the next. Make it per­sonal and find unique ways to in­clude cus­tom touches that will al­low your guests to con­nect with you and with one an­other. In­clud­ing th­ese in­spired com­po­nents will be sure to turn your event into an un­matched ex­pe­ri­ence and cre­ate last­ing mem­o­ries.

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