Other than the love, good company, and dancing, some of my favorite parts of attending a wedding are the little details that the couple so purposefully add into their big day. The small details are often the most meaningful, and it’s fun to see how each couple inserts their personality throughout the wedding. It’s part of what sets one wedding apart from the next. Yes, people will “talk” about the food, the band/DJ, location, weather, but your guests want to feel included.. hey, they were invited after all. The small details make that happen, and these details don’t have to be things at all. There are no rules, so have fun with it and add your touch wherever you see fit. Here are some ideas to create a wedding that stands out from the rest.
Create a theme.
We identified a few things that were important to us and created our vision through that. For me as a health coach and natural foods chef, I knew that food in its purest of elements needed to be present. For Ethan as an outdoor guide for troubled youth, he knew that bringing “the outdoors in”, as we called it, was how he envisioned our big day. Just by that simple exercise we could see that together we wanted an organic, natural, earthy, ethereal wedding.
Brand your wedding.
As you will see in each of the items below, we inserted our “monogram”/”logo”/”emblem”, whatever you choose to call it, on most of the packaging or displays. I encourage you to not only customize the details themselves, but personalize them with a consistent symbol that you will associate on most wedding items. Whether this be your initials, the date, a graphic, keep it consistent. We put it on everything from napkins, to itineraries, to favors, to cornhole boards. One thing to note is that it’s easy to go overboard on this one, and we self-admitably dabbled at that fine line. The best way to avoid overdoing it is to put your symbol on one item at each event (i.e. rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception), not on everything in every event. Does this make sense?
Create a Hashtag.
This goes along with “branding”, but we created #meetthebravos as a way to get people engaged and connected using social media throughout the wedding weekend. It’s fun to look back through the aggregated photos and see our wedding through our guest’s eyes and lens. I highly recommend creating a single hashtag and sticking with it over the course of your engagement.
Welcome your guests.
We created a welcome bag that included some of our favorite treats, and most importantly a long list of fun activities to participate in when nothing wedding related was going on. My in-laws really helped make this happen, and it was fun to have them get so excited about it. We even chartered a private sail for our guests while we got ready on Saturday. In the end our guests felt taken care of.
Additionally, my mom worked very hard to put together a bathroom kit for each bathroom during our big day. She and I came up with everything that would go into it, made a few mockups, then together with my sister, assembled them two days before the wedding. It helped take care of our guests in an extra thoughtful way. No photo – Sorry!
Gift your guests.
Next, we decided that the main reason for throwing a wedding, rather than say, getting married at the courthouse, is to throw a celebratory party with the people we love the most. We wanted to express how much it meant to us to have our guests there by adding little “thank you” presents throughout the day. We had something at the ceremony, cocktail hour, and a few different treats and gifts at the reception. Add your touch by picking some of your favorite snacks, beverages, and any item that may come in handy for your guests, and just spread giving them out throughout the day or weekend.
One example is from our ceremony. We gave the women pashmina’s to wear in case it got cold during the outdoor ceremony (and boy am I glad we did.. it was freezing.. and misty). And, Sole Mates heel protectors for the women’s shoes on the grass that we’d be on all night.
Another example is something not so serious…Crazy straws for the
kiddos adults. Emily thought up this genius idea, and I have never seen customized crazy straws a wedding. People still randomly send us pictures of theirs at home, and there are a lot of pictures from that night of people holding their straws up.
Connect your guests.
One fun thing we did for the ceremony was create an ice-breaker. On the back of the ceremony programs we came up with a list of “fun facts” for our guests to enjoy and serve as a conversation starter while they waited for the ceremony to begin. It was a huge hit.
We also had a few games of Cornhole (or “bags”, or “bag toss”) made for the weekend. Not only do we love the game, but it is such a social activity. You have to have 4 people to play AND your teammate is forced to be on the opposite board as you. This encourages conversation and connection between guests that may otherwise not meet.
As a trained natural foods chef, it was really important to me to make something for our guests. I decided to make a salt mixture because I find people actually use them, and it was a great non-perishable that could be made ahead of time. I used health promoting Himalayan salt, and mixed it with a classic herbs de provence mixture. I picked my favorite glass jars as the container – Weck Jards, and they looked (IMO) perfect. Do you have a family recipe of a treat that is special to you? It doesn’t have to be food, either. Get creative and have fun with it.
Lots of food.
Everywhere. When you get a large group of people together, they get hungry. At different times. Providing lots of food, and it doesn’t need to be a large quantity at one time, but rather throughout the evening, will keep you guests full and happy. Even though it may sound silly, feeding your guests throughout the night will help them to feel taken care of.
From the time the ceremony ended, up until the guests left the after-party, there was no shortage of food at our wedding. From the cocktail hour appetizers, to the escort card treats, to the meal and dessert, to the late night greasy food, we had food for all tastes. People literally thanked us later. Trust me this is a definite must.
Don’t forget the guys.
Let’s be real here, other than food, most wedding details get overlooked by men. We wanted to give the guys a little something that felt natural to have at a wedding celebration. Ethan loves cigars so, queue the cigar bar. This was a serious hit amongst the guys, and some of my favorite photos are of the groomsmen huddled outside smoking a celebratory cigar after the ceremony.. in the fog and wet air.
And the rest of the details:
The biggest lesson in all of this is to have fun with the details and add your personal spin to it. Don’t over think anything, and remember this is all supposed to be fun. Your guests are here for you, and even if you only include one of the ideas from above, they will love it because it comes from you.
What are some of your favorite details at a wedding?
What were some of your favorite details at your wedding?
Anything unusual that you’ve seen or made?