Wedding planner Beth Bernstein shares her tips on how to customize your big day.
I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary this spring. As a wedding planner, people often ask me what I would change about my wedding if I could go back in time.
Our wedding was held at a traditional, private club with high ceilings, gorgeous crystal chandeliers, and dark hardwood floors. I kept everything classic – a palette of white, ivory, and champagne; tall centerpieces set atop large silver candelabra; Chiavari chairs; engraved invitations; and a menu featuring a choice of filet mignon or sea bass.
Would I change anything? Not really. (Well, maybe I wouldn’t use lilies in my arrangements – while they looked gorgeous, their fragrance is a bit overpowering.) I look back at my photos and think it holds up pretty well in comparison to the events of today – even after almost two decades.
What I would do is add a personalized touch. While my wedding was beautiful and classic in every way, it really could have been anyone’s celebration. There was nothing about it that illustrated, “This is Beth & Dan’s wedding.”
Couples have a multitude of ways to personalize their wedding and avoid the curse of the “cookie-cutter” wedding. Here are a few ideas to consider when planning your nuptials in order to let your guests know who you are as a couple.
Create a custom monogram or “logo” to be featured on every paper element of your wedding. From the save-the-date cards to the menus to the cocktail napkins, branding your wedding is the best place to start putting your stamp (quite literally) on every item your guests will touch.
Photo by Nakai Photography; Invitation by Ceci New York
Who says brides have to walk down the aisle to “Canon in D”? While the song is absolutely beautiful, I have heard it at 90% of the weddings that I have both attended and planned. Music is the perfect way to personalize your wedding to your taste. Are you and your partner super fans of The Beatles? “Here, There, and Everywhere” is one of my personal favorites and is sure to bring a tear to your guests’ eyes (and yours) as you walk down the aisle. For a more contemporary tune, “Marry Me” by Train or “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri are both lovely options. Upbeat songs such as “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates and “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors for the recessional let your guests know that they are in for a fun evening!
Here’s where you can really get creative, and personally, I think cocktail hour and dessert are the best places to infuse your personal taste. For passed hors d’oeuvres, add a pennant with your favorite baseball team’s logo to mini hot dogs or include lobster rolls if you’re from New England for a unique bit of flair. Don’t love cake? Serve a variety of your favorite pies for dessert! Donut die-hards? Bring in these sweet treats from a local bakery and serve them with coffee – in a personalized cup, of course.
Photo by Dennis Lee Photography
Photo by Jeremy Lawson Photography
Photo by Nakai Photography
Photo Booth Fun
Photo booths are hot right now and they aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Instead of the traditional booth like you see in bars or at every other wedding, do an “open” booth with a custom backdrop. I know a bride who surprised her British groom by bringing a bit of London to Chicago with a backdrop featuring Britain’s iconic red phone booths.
Photo by Averyhouse
So whatever your taste may be, let it be yours. Allow the big day to represent the two of you: where you’ve been or even where you hope to go. By including details that go far beyond the typical expectations, you’ll create what may turn out to be some of your favorite memories of the day.