Weddings should be about celebrating you and your fiancé. However, anyone will tell you that it takes a conscious effort to keep the focus of such a huge, potentially high-pressure event on the heart of the matter. I had a large wedding that included a lot of guests — more than I would have invited if I could go back — and I was intent on making everything a personal reflection of my husband and I. While these may seem like small details, they’re the moments that stand out to us the most. Here are a few things we did to make our wedding feel more like us.
A Live Painting During the Ceremony
My husband and I were married at my in-law’s church, so we searched for a way to incorporate our own personal touch into the ceremony. I came up with the idea of doing a live painting of a tree. We had our pianist play a song while the painter worked and then, after the pianist finished – and the painter was mostly finished – our minister said a few words about it.
Looking back, I was initially self-conscious when I told my family about this idea, but it’s the thing I’m perhaps most proud of from our wedding. We bought an antique gold frame, and it’s traveled with us through three cities and four houses — and I always make sure to give it a prominent display. My favorite moments are when someone asks about it and I can relive the day.
The Music During the Ceremony
This may seem obvious, but we were met with shock upon telling our parents that we wouldn’t be walking down the aisle to the traditional Canon in D. Instead, one of our friends, who is brilliant pianist, helped us curate songs for the wedding party to walk to that complimented a piano version of Here Comes the Sun, which played while I made my trip down the aisle. It was perfect.
I’m a big believer in choosing regional items for wedding favors, and for us that meant grabbing coffee from favorited roasters in our college town. A lot of people at our wedding went to college nearby and were equally excited to see goods from spots they recognized. Others who were not as familiar with the brand still appreciated the favor because almost everybody likes coffee.
The whole bean blends were displayed in cute, decorative tins, and could be taken home in little brown bags that were stamped with the phrase, “Thanks for coming to Brittany and Nathan’s Wedding.” They were a hit and they made the entrance/exit to the reception venue smell like heaven.
Luckily for us, we’re from the same hometown, so this meant that my husband and I had a lot of shared love for certain landmarks. We chose to do our first look at Tower Mountain, a hometown landmark that overlooks a beautiful lake. It had been one of our favorite places to go for hikes, or just sit and stare at the gorgeous view.
Capturing a first look at a shared special location isn’t possible for everyone, but any location can be decorated with photos of your engagement or relationship milestones. This way, any space can become special.
Don’t Forget the Bridesmaid and Groomsmen Gifts
I knew early on that I was going to give my bridesmaids the shoes that they’d wear during the ceremony. I took a lot of time choosing shoes that were both cute for a wedding and could translate into daily life. What I feel like a lot of brides don’t know is that they often become responsible for the groomsmen gifts as well.
My husband had no idea what he wanted to do, and quickly obliged when I offered to help. I landed on Beer Baskets. I had my husband create a “choose your own 6-pack” of beer for each of his groomsmen and purchased gift cards that corresponded with each friend’s favorite thing to do. The cards ranged from tickets to brewery tours, to gift cards for GameStop, the movies or bookstores. This made it easy to personalize each gift — and the guys loved it!