How to Turn Your Wedding Event Into an Experience

Learn expert tips on how to make your celebration memorable.

Step out of the box to plan the celebration of a lifetime – avoid ordinary and think extraordinary – by adding breathtaking details, awe-inspiring entertainment, and more.

real wedding photo planned by evoke design and creative black and white theme modern minimalism style black and white dance floor and modern seating reception
Photo: Natalie Watson Photography

Every couple 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 at your wedding 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.

Evoke Design & Creative Table Number

Photo by Amy Raab Photography; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative

Differentiate Your Ceremony

- Try arranging your wedding 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 ceremony aisle, leading one to the other until she met her groom. It was so important to her to have her brothers play a role in the procession, and it was the perfect way to unite them on this 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 wedding entertainment 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 if there will be a lot of time between courses.

- 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 wedding location. 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. 

Unique Gift Box for Guests

Photo by Branco Prata; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative

Showcase Your Personalities with Experiential Elements

- 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 hair-and-makeup touch-up area, complete with professional hairstylists and makeup artists, in the ladies’ room.

Colorful Evoke Wedding Reception

Photo by Geoff Chesman; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative

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 throughout your wedding 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.

For more expert advice, discover how to get inspiration from styled shoots, read photography tips on capturing detail shots, and gather more wedding advice and trends from some of the top wedding professionals in the country.

Opening photo by Natalie Watson Photography; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative; From Real Wedding: Black-and-White Luxe Backyard Wedding with Modern Minimalism Style