50 Fun Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Express yourself! Make a statement with these creative ideas and tips. 

By: Rachel Griffiths
  • Don
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    Don't Be Afraid to Be Bold

    Los Angeles designer Wayne Gurnick had a bride wild for Alice in Wonderland. He threw her a Queen of Hearts-worthy bash, complete with flower lollipops lining the walkway, cocktails served with “drink me” tags, and a cutout of the white rabbit holding a clock that showed the ceremony time.

    Photo Credit: Evan Guston Photography

  • The Standard Ballroom Not Your Style?
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    The Standard Ballroom Not Your Style?

    New York City-based Tammy Carmona, the tabletop and event designer behind the “Twilight” wedding, recommends finding a location that’s meaningful to you. “One of my brides wanted to get married in the same castle where her mother married. The place was no longer in use, but we got permission to do the wedding there. It brought back a lot of happy memories for her mom.”

     

    Photo Credit: Longs Photography

  • Show Your Personal Style
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    Show Your Personal Style

    Forget the go-to tulle and gold chiavari chairs — put your personal style stamp on your wedding, says Jill La Fleur, a Los Angeles wedding planner. Jill threw a hacienda-style wedding for a Santa Barabara couple that loves Spanish mission style. The stemware was Mexican blue glass, Spanish tiles served as escort cards, the centerpieces were set in rustic tin containers, and on the dance floor? Maracas, of course.

    Photo Credit: Josevilla.com

  • Showcase Your Favorite Hobby
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    Showcase Your Favorite Hobby

    Jill planned a nautical-themed wedding for a couple that loved to sail. “For the cocktail hours, we had roving ‘cigarette girls’ offering vintage candy, as though guests were on the first-class deck. We flew flags, as if from the mast of the boat. And there were lifesaver rings where the guests could pose for photos."

     

    Photo Credit: Josevilla.com

  • Find Inspiration in Unexpected Places
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    Find Inspiration in Unexpected Places

    Look for inspiration in the . . . office? For a bride and groom who were teachers, Tammy placed shiny red apples in the centerpieces and mini number-two pencils on the escort card table. For a racecar-driving groom, Wayne created a purple-and-white checkered flag motif and used it as a border on the table numbers and escort cards.

     

    Photo Credit: Evan Guston Photography

  • Say It With Favors
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    Say It With Favors

    Wayne had a couple from San Francisco and Los Angeles who gave guests a sweetly wrapped duo of their favorite San Francisco tea and L.A.-roasted coffee beans. 

     

    Photo Credit: Larsens Photography

  • Spotlight Your Family Background
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    Spotlight Your Family Background

    Shine the spotlight on your family background. For a Moroccan couple, Tammy placed each dinner table under its own gauzy tent and decorated with low tables and vibrant pillows.

     

    Photo Credit: Brawns Photography

  • Shout Out to Your College Years
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    Shout Out to Your College Years

    After the ceremony, a USC groom Jill worked with surprised his bride by having the entire USC marching band escort the newlyweds and their guests to the cocktail hour.

     

    Photo Credit: Holli B. Photography

  • Have a Wacky Sense of Humor?
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    Have a Wacky Sense of Humor?

    One of Tammy’s couples hired their parents’ favorite comedian to do a set during dinner. “He was cracking everyone up!” says Tammy.

     

    Photo Credit: Allyson Wiley Photography

  • Say It With Pictures
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    Say It With Pictures

    Plan a slideshow with snaps of you and your groom, or think even bigger and create a slideshow that features a shot of everyone in your wedding party, or each of your guests.

     

    Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

  • Can Food Reflect Your Personality?
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    Can Food Reflect Your Personality?

    Yes, says Sabdy Pacheco at Miami’s A Joy Wallace Catering Production. She had a groom show his love of the ballpark by serving mini hot dogs and kettle corn at the cocktail hour.

     

    Photo Credit: Annie McElwan

  • Bite Into Your Heritage
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    Bite Into Your Heritage

    Jill had an Italian couple who served a pasta course — one heaping bowl of pasta for each table.

     

    Photo Credit: Bowersock Photography

  • Another Variation?
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    Another Variation?

    At a wedding with a groom from Mexico, guests received end-of-the-night Mexican hot chocolate and bags of churros.

     

    Photo Credit: Solar Photographers

  • Bring Back Memories of Your First Date
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    Bring Back Memories of Your First Date

    Many of Sabdy’s couples ask the chef at their favorite eatery to consult on their wedding menu.

     

    Photo Credit: Memoire Studio

  • Put Granny In The Kitchen
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    Put Granny In The Kitchen

    A Joy Wallace Catering Production will not only recreate your family recipes — they’ll also invite your relatives into the catering kitchen to make sure everything tastes exactly the way the family likes it.

     

    Photo Credit: David Schwartz Photography

  • Pass On Cocktail Hour
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    Pass On Cocktail Hour

    Is a sit-down dinner a wedding must? Sabdy says to plan the meal your way. A Cuban couple couldn’t wait to get the dancing started, so they skipped the cocktail hour altogether. Instead of passed hors d’oeuvres, guests were seated at the dinner table right away. There were nibbles on big lazy Susans for between dances, and when it was time for dinner, waiters cleared the lazy Susans and set the first course.

     

    Photo Credit: Larsens Photography

  • Invite Guests on a Late-Night Snack Run
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    Invite Guests on a Late-Night Snack Run

    An L.A. bride of Wayne’s had an In-N-Out Burger truck roll up to her reception at 10 o’clock, so everyone could get a bite of her favorite guilty pleasure.

     

    Photo Credit: Erin Johnson Photography

  • Serve Up Your Personality
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    Serve Up Your Personality

    It’s not just the food that shows who you are—it’s also how you serve it. Sabdy once set up “Missy’s Bake Shop,” a lavish dessert “doggie bag” station in honor of the couple’s dog.

     

    Photo Credit: Holli B. Photography

  • Don
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    Don't Limit Your Music Choices

    The cocktail music doesn’t have to be violins or jazz. For a bride who loved reggae, Tammy brought in an island-style band.

     

    Photo Credit: Leigh Skaggs Photography

  • Pick a First Dance Song That Moves You
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    Pick a First Dance Song That Moves You

    Let Hollywood inspire you, suggests Frank Macioce of Windy City DJs in Phoenix, Arizona. The best romantic movies almost always have a gorgeous song you can dance to, such as “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” from “Twilight” or “There You’ll Be,” from “Pearl Harbor.”

     

    Photo Credit: Minerva Photography