How to Make Your Wedding Your Own

In an ever-evolving society where traditions and culture continuously merge, wedding etiquette continues to be a shape-changer. While there are some traditional rules that the bride and groom may want to stick to, a cookie-cutter wedding complete with a toy bride-and-groom on top of the cake may not be what the bride and groom’s memories are made of today.

The wedding is yours and yours alone.

Here are a few tips on how to make it your very own …

1. Write your own vows….Many brides and grooms from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and religions have chosen to write their very own vows or to interweave those vows with traditional vows. Have a serious discussion with your rabbi, priest or official of the wedding. Make sure the vows he or she uses are the ones you want to hear and are the ones that you are willing to say. If traditional vows or slightly altered vows don’t say enough, perhaps you and your groom should consider writing a few words of your own which either you may repeat to each other or ask the minister or official to say. Additionally, you may choose a variety of readings, scriptures, poems or songs to incorporate in your vows to make them your very own.

2. Keep your bridesmaids, grooms and other friends and relatives apprised of wedding news. Create a webpage or blog which they can regularly tap into to catch up on any changes, schedule announcements, registration locations (either on-site or via internet.) Send a flurry or cluster of emails to bridesmaids to keep everyone in contact with each other concerning flowers, dresses, measurements and other tidbits of fun gossip to keep everyone on the wedding track. The same goes for groomsmen and any other member of the wedding party you’d like to keep updated. The website may also include maps, directions and even local points of interest for guests arriving from out of town.

3. On the day of the wedding, instead of asking guests to sign a traditional guest book, hand guests a small note card and pen. Ask each guest to write something noteworthy either about the bride or groom, or request that each gives their advice for a long-lasting, successful romance. Ask guests to drop them in a basket or a coloorfully-designed box which may be collected. Paste the note cards into a wedding album later for some sage advice to turn to later.

4. On the wedding day, don’t forget to continue the colour and theme of the event into the restrooms if possible. Colourful linens, small paper finger towels, soaps and floral arrangements will help create consistency. Add a bowl full of mints to the ladies’ room and flavoured toothpicks to the men’s rooms. Inquire with hotel or location managers before placing any arrangements in restrooms, which may be used by those other than your guests.

5. If children are attending your wedding and reception, create a kid’s corner with games and balloons to keep them busy while parents relax briefly. Or tie a balloon to each child’s chair so they can recognize their own seat. Or if a child’s area isn’t easily created, choose a small gift bag of treats, small toys and games to keep them busy while seated at the reception.

6. Be sure to check out the lighting of both your wedding and your reception. While a DJ can provide some additional lighting such as a spinning mirrored ball, a hotel or event manager may be able to add some additional overhead lighting along with a spotlight or twinkle lights to add drama to the event. If ambient light is your only choice, look into the cost of Candelabras or a varied group of candles in the same color scheme to add both additional light and ambiance. The feel will be more romantic. A hurricane lantern in the center of the table surrounded by a spray of petals will also create a low-cost but romantic ambiance.

7. If your wedding is being held outdoors in an open space, you can create the feel of shifting the actual ceremony to a more relaxed feeling by renting tents and canopies for the reception. Hang lanterns from trees with small candles inserted for a lovely evening of ambient light provided by the stars and candlelight.

8. If the bride and groom and guests must be transported from one location to another for the reception, look into various kinds of transportations. Horse-drawn carriages may be the call for an elegant wedding. Even golf carts, decorated festively, can be an easy way to move guests from a lawn wedding to an indoor reception.

9. If your guests need a little additional entertainment at the reception, create an ongoing slideshow or video that can be played back to back in a corner of the reception hall or against a sheet-covered wall in the corner of an outdoor wedding. The video or slideshow should include photos from the bride and grooms’ childhood and clips from their college life, dating life and snippets of adventures with friends and family.

10. Create a signature drink for the wedding by incorporating colours and flavors that are reminiscent of the theme. A Carribean wedding may include a rum drink with a fuschia-coloured crushed ice added to it. Be sure that all drinks may be served virgin as well so that non-drinkers don’t feel left out.