How to make your wedding unique and unforgettable
Cookie cutter weddings are now, thankfully, a thing of the past. Nobody wants a wedding that is virtually identical to everyone else’s. Your wedding should be unique, memorable and (most importantly) should reflect your style and personality.
We are spoilt for choice these days. There are endless ideas and options out there and, with the worldwide marketplace at our fingertips, how do you avoid being bamboozled by the multitude of alternatives and create your perfect celebration? Well, it’s easier than you think! Before you get started, you need to know these two words:
There’s no need to blindly follow all the wedding planning guides you’ve read or copy the format of weddings you’ve been to. It’s super important to question every wedding ‘check box’ along the way and consider whether it suits your style, as well as your beliefs. For example, you don’t have to be ‘given away’ by your father. For some, this ritual is super important and they wouldn’t have it any other way. But for others, like those who are getting married for a second time, being ‘given away’ by your Dad kinda doesn’t make sense! Perhaps you feel that (now that you’ve survived a few of life’s curve balls) you are totally your own person and are happy to ‘give yourself away’ to the one you love and would like to walk yourself down the aisle – or do you even need an aisle? I witnessed a beautiful wedding recently where both partners walked in from either side of the venue (a beautiful, historical building) and met in the middle at the ‘altar’ (it wasn’t a church but you get what I mean), and that imagery has left such a lasting impression on me. So be sure to question everything as you go and consider whether it really applies to you and your partner and how you can make it your own.
The next step to planning a unique and memorable wedding is to:
Draft Your Guest List
Your guest list will dictate what sort of venue you will need as well as your budget. A smaller number is perfect for a back yard wedding (my personal favourite) or a private area at a restaurant or smaller venue. A large guest list means a function room, grand ballroom or perhaps a winery or hall. Generally speaking, the more people you have at your wedding, the larger your budget will need to be. It’s also important to note that, the larger the wedding, the less likely it is you will be able to spend any quality time with each of your guests (sad I know, but true), all of whom have made an effort to buy you a gift (and no doubt a new outfit!) and by coming along to support you on your wedding day, they are now invested in the success of your relationship.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘less is more’ and, in this Covid world we now live in, many couples have been forced to slash their guest lists – but with some surprising results. They’ve found they have more funds to put towards creating a dream wedding that would have otherwise have been ‘watered down’ as they would have had to spread their budget across more people. It meant they could afford all the special touches and styling items which help to set the scene and create just the right atmosphere, resulting in a far more memorable day.
It meant they could afford to hire better equipment. Beautiful chairs and tables have an incredible impact on the overall look and feel of your wedding day. They could also afford a professional florist and photographer which I believe are SO worth the investment. Contrary to popular belief, a wedding is not about just one day, it’s about the joy and excitement of the planning journey, as well as the lifetime of memories that will follow, and each of these extra touches will help to create that. The Covid cloud has most definitely had a silver lining for many couples!
Choose Your Venue
Matching your style of wedding (i.e. vintage, boho, contemporary, classic, garden, etc) to your venue is super important. In fact, everything you purchase, hire or include should work together to create the right effect, so keeping your style in mind as you go will help to do that. For example, if you’re going down the vintage route, then an historic building or old town hall would be the perfect venue to create some old-world ambience. If you’re going high-end contemporary, then a minimalistic space like an art gallery, stylish hotel or swanky, modern restaurant will fit the bill. Hot Tip: the most versatile venues, which suit pretty much any style of wedding, will always be a beautiful garden or a marquee. Nature has a way of complementing everything and making it come to life! If it’s a beautiful evening, your marquee sides can be opened right up, if not, clear marquee walls will bring the outside in while keeping everyone comfortable, or you may not even need one at all.
So be sure to choose your venue with love and care.
Order of Events
The usual run sheet for an Australian wedding is pretty much:
- Photos (where the bride and groom disappear and there’s a large gap of time where nothing is happening and your guests are at a bit of a loose end)
- Reception pre-drinks
- Cake cutting ceremony
- Bride & Groom depart
The order of events is another check box that you need to question and put a little thought into. Remember: happy guests = a successful and memorable wedding, so abandoning your guests to have your photo shoot isn’t always the best idea. I was at a wedding once where the bride and groom disappeared after the ceremony while the guests enjoyed the afternoon tea reception. They were gone for so long; they pretty much missed the whole thing! They finally returned for a couple of speeches and some dry scones and then it was all over. It seemed as though it was all about the photo shoot and the guests were completely forgotten about.
On the flip side though, I was once at a church wedding and after the ceremony, everyone emerged to find a pretty gazebo set up with vintage tea cups and teapots, where the couple cut the delicious wedding cake and it was served to the happy guests. They sipped their tea and champagne, mingling and chatting whilst the bride and groom had their photos taken nearby (sometimes with the guests). Everyone then convened at the reception venue for dinner and dancing. No awkward gap! I loved this idea so much, I used it at my own wedding.
Unplugged ceremonies have become so popular lately and for very good reason. If you want your wedding to be unique and memorable, then make sure your guests are fully present and taking it in with all 5 senses! Concentrating on filming you through an electronic device is not ideal. Watching it later on a mobile phone will never beat drinking it all in at the time. The sights, the sounds, the atmosphere and the feeling; your guests will miss all those little things that are happening around them if they’re busy concentrating on a lens. Of course, it’s great to have a record of the day that you can look back on, but that’s what the photographer is there for! Encourage your guests to sit back, relax and enjoy this momentous occasion! There are so many ideas on Pinterest as to how you can let your guests know, in an inoffensive way (and which suits your style), that they are requested to leave all phones and cameras in their bags until after the most important part of the day. There’ll be plenty of time for selfies at the reception!
Back in the day, it was the bride’s family and friends on one side of the aisle and the groom’s on the other. I’m not quite sure why, nor whether anyone still does this, but your guests will feel more at ease if they can simply sit where they wish. Too many rules and regulations can put your guests on edge. Relaxed and happy guests = successful and memorable wedding!
And when you get to the reception, question whether you really need to have a ‘top table’. The one where you and your partner sit, flanked by your bridal party – on display for all to see. Some will love this tradition and it will be a non-negotiable check box, but remember it’s another thing to question during your planning journey. Consider whether it would be more relaxing and fun if you sat amongst your guests.
Furniture & Décor Hire
If you are supplying the tables and chairs for your wedding, it’s important to consider the style of your wedding and your venue in order to make the right choice and create those memories of a lifetime. If you’re going with a vintage style, any type of Tiffany chair will work beautifully, as well as the classic Bentwood chair. For rustic events, choose wooden chairs such as the Bentwood or a stunning walnut Tiffany chair. For contemporary weddings, consider the breathtaking Phoenix Ghost chair; and a gold or silver Tiffany chair will also have an amazing effect!
These days, there are some stunning feature tables available to hire. They look incredible and have the added bonus of saving you money as you don’t have to hire any tablecloths! Over The Moon Events have a range of stunning wooden tables that provide the perfect foundation for an eye-popping tablescape! Their wooden tables are perfect for rustic or vintage style weddings and their wooden tables, painted white, will work beautifully with virtually any style of wedding.
Most weddings take a year or more to plan. During this time, put some thought into every piece of music that will be played on the day. You will be amazed at the impact this will have on your guests and the atmosphere it will create.
Put your headphones in when you’re out walking or running and notice how you feel when certain songs are played. From the music you play as you walk down the aisle, to your first dance as a married couple to the music that everyone parties to later on, it all matters! Music has a way of making people feel different emotions, so keep this in mind as you plan. Don’t just stick with the latest pop tunes and assume ‘she’ll be right’; put thought into each and every song and make sure you go back in time to find songs that will evoke the feelings that you want people to feel. You will be surprised how something as simple (and inexpensive) as music choice, can make your wedding so incredibly unique and memorable.
I often hear people say things like ‘why would you want to spend so much money, just for one day’? But it’s not about one day. As corny as it may sound, it really is about the journey. It’s about enjoying the days and months leading up to the big day, putting your heart, soul and a lot of thought into every detail and questioning every check box along the way, to make sure your day reflects who you are. Do this, and I promise you that the memories of your wedding day will be with you and your guests forever.