By Erin Steiner who writes regularly for WeddingChaplain.ca. A freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, she also covers current events, geek culture and business/personal finance topics.
It’s the goal of every couple: to create a marriage ceremony that is completely and totally personalized and reflects their personalities while also providing a beautiful and fun event for family and friends. It’s hard to do. As every bride and groom knows, everyone (literally everyone, from the wedding officiant to the flower girl’s best friend) has an opinion about how the wedding should be, and exactly no one is willing to keep that opinion to themselves.
Look at that happy couple! Photo Credit: Jason Sussberg
It’s challenging to try to accommodate everybody’s ideas while staying true to your own vision of your big day, especially if a lot of people (*cough* your mother and future mother-in-law *cough*) want it to be really fancy and you would genuinely be happy having a potluck in the backyard and playing board games all afternoon.
Still, there are a lot of ways to personalize your wedding, while also keeping up with all of the different traditions and formalities that you might be forced to incorporate into your marriage ceremony and big day. Here are five of them.
1. Your Vows
Even if you and your partner are dead set on writing your own vows, it’s a good idea to have at least a few meetings with your wedding officiant before your marriage ceremony. You want your wedding officiant to have a good idea of who you and your partner really are before you work on your vows. That way he or she can put together a ceremony that is representative of who you are instead of who others think you should project.
2. Wedding Favors
Every wedding and reception offers guests some sort of keepsake that can be taken home as a memento of the big day. This is where personalization can be really fun. There are so many different things you can buy in bulk and give to your guests that can be personalized with your names or a saying that you think encapsulates the day or your relationship.
The blog post “20 Things You Probably Never Thought to Personalize” has some great ideas for favors that go beyond the traditional bag of Jordan almonds or chocolate candies (which can now be printed with whatever you want).
3.Location, Location, Location
Choose a location that you think best encapsulates who you are as a couple. For you, this might be your church. It might be the beach. It might be the banquet room at your favorite pub. It might be a fancy hotel. Whatever it is, make sure you choose a place you both love. Remember: Even if the place where you have your ceremony isn’t up to you, you likely will get to choose the location of your reception.
They’re on a boat! Photo Credit: Ben Salter
4. Let Your Personal Style Show Through
If you’re not a pastels and sparkly lights kind of bride, that’s not just fine, that’s great! Put your personal style “stamp” on everything. In Bridal Guide’s “50 Fun Ways to Personalize Your Wedding,” a wedding planner talks about the Hacienda-themed wedding she helped plan for a couple that loved the style and ambiance of Spanish Missions. Just because others like white, frilly and formal doesn’t mean that you have to love it or that your wedding has to be done in that style!
5. Your Dress
This is where you might have to gear up to do battle with your mother (or even your future mother-in-law), especially if your idea of the perfect wedding dress is not the poufy white number that others have always pictured you wearing on your wedding day.
Author Jen Lancaster’s wedding dress was, for example, black – something that horrified her mother. She talks about the process of designing her dress in detail in her memoir Bitter Is the New Black. Some women are choosing to forego the wedding dress altogether and are choosing, simply, dresses that they love, bought off the rack, found in thrift or vintage shops or even made themselves.
Remember: It’s your day. Opinions are great, especially if you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas. In the end, though, what matters won’t be the tiny details but the fact that you’re married! Congratulations!