I have had the pleasure of advising many couples on how to create the wedding of their dreams and the most important tip I always share is to make your wedding your own. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life so it is your right to make it entirely about you and your partner.
From the moment you get engaged, you will get tons of advice, mostly unsolicited, on how to plan your wedding. Ignore most of it! Keep in mind that it usually comes from a place of love, but you have to remember that this is your day and so don’t let anyone hijack your wedding no matter what. Weddings are the ultimate expression of love and they are called a party for a reason. Planning a party should not involve stress, so take a deep breath and remember that this should be one of the most incredible and fun experiences of your life, so you owe it to yourselves to make it so.
I have been to many weddings that felt “corporate.” I could have cut, copied and pasted the names of any couple into the wedding and it could have been their special day instead. Those weddings didn’t feel like celebrations of love, they felt more like generic parties made to cater to family members and friends, instead of allowing the guests to share in the happy couple’s love. Weddings are all about love and romance, so make sure you create opportunities to truly celebrate your love in ways that are authentic to you and your partner.
Brides and grooms often get caught up in irrelevant bullshit like charger plates (I mean really, why does your plate need a decorative plate?), extravagant centerpieces and turtledoves, but I can promise you that none of your guests will remember any of it. They will remember one thing only, and that is how you made them feel at your wedding. Personalize your wedding ceremony and reception by weaving in your personalities in creative, unique and fun ways.
For example, weeks before our wedding we asked each of our guests to email us their favorite quote about love. We wrote each of the quotes on red hearts and had them hanging from a beautiful tree beside our ceremony location. This tree became a focal point of our décor and a place for meaningful photos surrounded by words of love.
Scott and I decided to write our entire wedding ceremony so it was very personal and meaningful to us. We wanted to share intimate moments in our love story with our family and friends and let them participate in our magical day. Our best friend Cory conducted our service. We had someone who knew us both so well begin our ceremony with his heartfelt observations of our relationship and then guide us through each step of our service.
My grandparents were too sick to make the trip to Tuscany for our wedding, so Cory read a letter they wrote to us for the occasion. It made my heart feel so happy to include them in our service in this way even though they couldn’t physically be there. Asking Cory to stand up there with us on our most special day was one of the best decisions we made. Cory will forever hold a special place in our hearts and be an important part of our wedding day. Having a family member or friend officiate your service is a special way to add a personal touch to your wedding day.
We also gave each of our guests their quote about love on a red heart at our ceremony and had everyone stand and read their quote during our service. Scott and I each wrote a poem to one another for our ceremony. Our friend Steve read Scott’s poem to me and our friend Elizabeth read my poem to Scott during our service.
During our vows, we shared inside jokes and moving stories of our journey together as a couple and we laughed and cried tears of joy as we proclaimed our love for one another in front of our family and friends. We walked down the aisle as husband and wife to an acoustic guitar version of “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles because that is my favorite lyric of all time.
At our wedding reception, our first dance was a salsa number we choreographed after taking three months of private lessons as a couple. We stole away together in the days leading up to our wedding and secretly practiced our wedding dance in the alleyways of Siena and under the moonlight at our villa. Our first dance perfectly encapsulated our personalities and our romantic connection as a couple.
Instead of a traditional tiered wedding cake, we opted for a homemade Italian fruit torte filled with custard. It was decorated with my favorite flower, Sunflowers, and it was another unique touch that really helped make our wedding our own.
A memorable wedding is all about the details and the most important details are the ones that showcase the love you share with your beloved. Follow your heart and no matter how crazy, quirky, funny or over the top it may seem, as long as it is an expression of your love for another, you can never go wrong. Skip the generic wedding fanfare and just do you! You will create an unforgettable wedding that you and your guests will cherish and it will be truly yours.