There is nothing better than working with a couple whose focus is on making their wedding completely personal. I’ve seen many brides ask for everybody else’s opinions on what to do for her wedding. The thought of looking back on your wedding day and cherishing that fact that you made it unique to yourself and your spouse – and didn’t just aim to impress everybody – is what makes the whole experience worth it. In trying to personalize your wedding and add your own “Wow” factors, many couples face challenges. Anybody can spend the extra money on extravagant flower arrangements and grand ballrooms; what are some other ways to add unique touches? Allow me to offer a couple of unexpected ideas…
Go Different With Dinner
It’s pretty much a given: everyone will eat at your reception. But don’t think that you have to have a seven-course, plated dinner in order to make the dinner hour personalized. There are inexpensive ways to make the meal memorable. Try asking your caterer about a themed menu, and tailor it to you and your spouse. Are you going to Hawaii for your honeymoon? Add Polynesian flavors and dishes to your dinner. Was your first date at a baseball game? Have a hot dog stand with different toppings as a late-night surprise. You can also get creative with the bar. Are you having a brunch reception? Try a mimosa bar, with several selections of inexpensive champagne and sparkling wine; then add a variety of juices and frozen fruit garnishes, and let your guests create their own cocktail. And don’t forget about the guests that abstain from alcohol. Have your caterer create a signature “mock-tail”, which guests will find more delicious than a basic soda.
Really Take Care of Out-of-town Guests
If a large portion of your guest list is from out-of-town, they are already footing the bill for travel, lodging, attire, and a gift. There are creative ways that you can really show them how excited you are that they came to celebrate. Be generous with the information that you give guests. I utilize the free options online to create wedding websites for my clients. Block rooms at one or two hotels that are close to the venue (be mindful of the cost). Be sure to provide written directions on the website, as well as addresses, for those that may or may not have mobile navigation systems. If you have an in-town friend/relative that’s itching to help with the wedding, see if they might be willing to host a casual dinner or cookout the night before. Most importantly, leave an unexpected touch to welcome out-of-town guests. It could be anything from a small plate of homemade cookies that can be left at the hotel front desk for when they check in; or a simple personalized note with tips on shopping and restaurants, as well as a sentence or two expressing how much you love that they traveled to be a part of your wedding.
Include the Kids
Many couples choose to have adults-only receptions, which is perfectly fine. But if you are inviting little-ones to your wedding, make sure to look for unique ways to make them feel just as important as their parents. As an unexpected twist to the traditional role of ring-bearer, have your little guy act as “security” for your wedding bling! If you’re adding an extra table for kids in the reception, make some coloring books that are personal to you and the groom – it’s as simple as white paper, a black marker to outline your wedding fairytale, and a trip to the copy store to have it copied and bound. As an added touch, address the kids personally in your invites. On the invitations that will be going to a family, leave a space on the RSVP card for the children of the family to include a fuzzy plus-one. Then, leave blank escort cards and crayons at the children’s table for them to write the names of their guests. A table of cute kids and their cuddly friends makes for some unexpected and adorable photography moments.
Other Unexpected Party Touches
Now that the reception is in full swing, wow your guests by paying attention to the areas that many couples forget. Leave the ultimate first impression by focusing a little extra money into your entryway. Some extra flowers, lighting, and a creative picture or guest book will immediately set a tone of the festivities-to-come. You can ensure that your DJ is well-prepared by including a song-request line on the RSVP card; guests will get a kick out of hearing their favorite song played without having to talk to the DJ personally. Lastly, you can inexpensively leave a surprise basket of flip-flops in the ladies’ powder room for tired feet, or business cards from local taxicab companies to encourage guests to find a safe and responsible way home. You won’t break your budget, and your guests will appreciate the effort you took to focus on some unexpected details.