9. "I know it sounds cheesy," says Sirie, "but my favorite wedding tip came from my fiancé, Chuck, right before the ceremony. He turned to me and said, ‘Honey, let's take the time to enjoy the ceremony, and appreciate the actual moment when we're becoming husband and wife.' It's so important to do."
10. For Sebastian and his bride, Alexandra Salomon, meaningful vows were key. They recommend finding an officiant you like and trust. They had no problem deciding who was the right person to marry them—the officiant at their Northern California wedding had known the bride all her life.
11. Netherlands-born Catrien wanted to make sure that her and John's ceremony was inclusive. So she arranged for two guests to read a passage from the Bible at the wedding—the first reader recited the verses in English, the second followed, in Dutch.
12. Lona Smith and her fiancé, Zachary Schiffman, invited one extra-special guest to their wedding: their dog, Bailey, who wore a purple collar with a rhinestone bow tie.
13. When Iranian bride Ellie Kheirkhahi married Steven Love, the couple created a Persian altar for the ceremony, complete with jeweled eggs to represent fertility and a mirror symbolizing their bright future.
14. Sometimes the location is all the décor you'll need. Kate and Barrett tied the knot under the spreading boughs of an ancient oak tree. The only decoration was a curtain of fluttering streamers embellished with orchids, which hung from the branch beneath which the couple exchanged vows.
15. New Yorkers Margaret Gould and Adam Korn wanted a small gathering of intimate family and friends for the exchange of vows, and a splashy reception. The solution? A civil ceremony in the morning, at which friends and family spoke personally about the couple, followed by a big bash in a Greenwich Village townhouse.
16. Julie's matron of honor hand-sewed the pillow for the rings—complete with two tiny birds perched on top, to honor the nature-loving couple.
17. "I did not want a typical bouquet!" says Lona, who carried a clutch of flowers cuffed with snowy-white feathers.
18. Three isn't always a crowd. Sirie chose to walk down the aisle between her father and her stepfather. "They're both important to me, and they both felt included," she says.
19. Lona is Catholic and Zack is Jewish, and they wanted their ceremony to combine aspects of both faiths. So a rabbi married them, and Lona had her friends read Catholic prayers.
20. If "Here Comes the Bride" doesn't suit your style, substitute your favorite song instead. Kate hired a cellist and a guitarist, and made a dramatic aisle appearance to "The Rose," by Bette Midler.
21. Make a fashion statement: Kate, whose wedding color was apple green, wore festive kelly-green Kate Spade shoes—complete with decorative pom-poms—for her walk down the aisle. "Those green shoes were definitely a big thing for me, and the crowd noticed too!"
22. Melissa's three brothers were her "bridesmaids," and her fiancé, Dave, had his sister stand up as "best man."
23. Honor your friends: Melissa didn't want her close pals to feel slighted by her decision to have only her brothers in her wedding party, so she gave each friend a corsage in the wedding colors.
24. Don't want that hail of rice or birdseed? Catrien and John's guests rang tiny silver bells.
25. Steal some precious moments together. After the ceremony, Alexandra and Sebastian sneaked away for a few minutes before the reception—a chance for the couple to reflect on the vows they'd just taken.
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