Every bride and groom wants their wedding to be super stylish and, let’s be honest, different to their friends’ recent weddings. Gone are the days of the formula-led wedding, of booking suppliers but not really thinking about how to personalise your big day.
If you’d like to add some unique concepts to your wedding and steer away from doing things by formula, make a start by checking out these ten great ideas. From the fun to the memorable, you’ll find something that is perfect for you.
Create escort cards
Instead of using a formal table plan, which can be rather stilted on the day, consider using escort cards (sometimes referred to as seating cards). Rather than having your guests stand statically looking at a formal table plan, you instead prepare an arrangement of little tags or cards through which they search for the one with their name on. Along with their name printed on the card is the name of the table at which the guest is to be seated.
Escort cards are great for two reasons. Firstly, they act as conversation starters, simply because many guests will not have experienced escort cards before. Secondly, you can have fun choosing from a whole array of design possibilities. At their most basic, escort cards can consist of small tented cards lined up alphabetically on a table, with perhaps a floral display in the centre. But you can create your own design to fit with the theme of your wedding. Here are some great ideas that we’ve seen:
Tags hanging from a tree
Cards tied to bud vases
Pebbles with names painted on them
Tags tied to vintage keys hanging by ribbon from a door or frame
Corks that have been indented in the centre with a knife to hold the escort card
A welcome drink with a named cocktail flag
Simply type ‘escort cards’ into a search engine for hundreds of design ideas.
Get the sock shot
Buy the men in the wedding party matching socks and ask the photographer to capture the men posing together with the socks on show. Sounds crazy? Certainly – but if you buy madly bright socks to match your wedding theme, you end up with a pretty cool picture.
Go for blackboard signs
If you want to include signage in your wedding but don’t want to fork out big bucks then buy children’s chalk-boards from a pound store or similar. Write block letters in chalk and add little drawings to emphasise a point (cheese table, car park, guest book). You can go over the chalk with coloured permanent markers.
Involve man’s best friend
Do you love your dog? Then why not include them in the ceremony? You can train a dog to be a ring bearer so that they bring you the rings in a special collar worn round their neck. Before proceeding with your dog as ring bearer on the day you need to feel confident that they will walk down the aisle when you call them and stand quietly while the best man removes the rings from the collar. The dog walker can then remove the dog from the ceremony by calling the dog to them.
Alternatively, if you want to keep your dog’s input lower key, why not have a dog walker bring your dog to the drinks reception so you can have photos taken with your pet?
Prepare for late-night munchies
Everyone gets a bit peckish late at night, especially after a few drinks or energetic dancing, so make sure you have something to help soak up the alcohol or to revitalise your guests. Popular choices are meaty rolls like hog, bacon or sausage, or cheese tables. We also like surprising guests with the unexpected: think an Indian food stall or little tubs of ice cream being brought round by waitresses. You need not provide for all of your guests; young families, for example, may have left by this point. Think instead about who may still be there after 10 p.m., partying the night away. As a rule of thumb, cater for around 70 to 80 per cent of your guest list.
Reuse the flowers
Instead of wasting all those flowers at your reception, ask a friend or your wedding planner to remove table flowers late at night and arrange them into small bunches. Leave these on the path leading out of the venue and encourage guests to take a bunch or two with them when they leave.
Show your guests you value them
Is everyone at your wedding special to you? If so then spread the love, handwrite a personal message on the back of the place cards on each table about your favourite memory of you and that person together. For example, you can write something like ‘Kerry – you have been my friend since playschool. I feel honoured to have grown up with you. Love you always, the Bride’.
Showcase family weddings through the years
Gather pictures of key people in your family on their wedding days, put the pictures in some funky frames and display them around your venue. You can do a quiz asking guests to guess who the couples are.
Snap a first-look photo
Incredibly popular in the US and just beginning to slowly filter into the UK market is the ‘first-look’ photo. With first-look photos, the groom waits at a pre-arranged area prior to the ceremony, away from family and friends, where he faces the photographer as he waits for his bride to surprise him. The bride then either calls the groom’s name or taps him on his shoulder. Then, when the groom turns around to see his bride, the photographer takes a fantastic photo that captures their love as they see each other. The couple spends five minutes alone (okay, yes, the photographer is there too), which gives them a chance to relax and regroup before the groom makes his way to the ceremony site to await his bride.
Up the cute factor with page boys and flower girls
Want to get guests smiling before your big entrance and surprise your groom? Give little banners to the flower girls or page boys that read ‘Here Comes the Bride’, ‘Last Chance to Run!’ or ‘Here’s Your Girl, Uncle Chris’. Make sure they walk down the aisle before you do, and watch guests and your fiancé smile when they read the signs. The whole purpose of the signs is to get a smile from your groom.