Believe it or not, the photos above feature the same exact dress! "Transformer" wedding gowns allow you to showcase different looks for the ceremony and reception (without having to purchase a second gown). Look for a style with a detachable skirt or chic overlay.
Mom's wedding gown has sentimental value, but most brides prefer to wear a dress that reflects their own personal style (and doesn't have shoulder pads from the '80s!). The perfect compromise: This bride had a seamstress cut out the beaded flowers from her mother's dress, and she applied them to the bottom of her own veil.
Or, wrap the bouquet handle in the same fabric as your mother's gown. This bride chose to honor her grandmother by incorporating her dress fabric and a pendant that she gave to her for the wedding day.
Sew a secret message onto the underside of your gown—only you'll know it's there, but it will add a sentimental touch to your bridal ensemble. This bride cut fabric from three generations of family members' clothing into the shape of hearts. They were sewn into her dress so that she could "carry their hearts" with her.
Personalize your photos, song list, or even the way that you're introduced into your reception with a nod to you or your husband's profession! Wear each other's firefighter jacket and hat, military beret or doctor's lab coat. Whether you choose just one element—a scientist could serve cocktails in miniature beakers or name them after chemical compounds—or go for a full-out theme, it will make your wedding that much more meaningful to you as a couple.
When it comes to real weddings submissions, we're suffering from a major case of whiplash—who could blame us with a back this divine? Whether the posterior of your dress is plunging, embellished, or in a keyhole shape, there's no better way to shock and awe guests as you walk down the aisle.
No wedding album would be complete without a shot of your gown in all its glory before you slip it on. It's resplendent as is—the light streaming through the windows casting a magical glow—but we've noticed more brides are adding mementos in the background. Add a blink-and-you'll-miss-it family photo, childhood keepsake, or other fun surprise.
In this Up-themed wedding, the couple wrote their names on the bottom of each other's shoes, in a nod to their other favorite Disney film, Toy Story. Take a cue from Woody and pals by scrawling a love letter for your sole mate.
This bride's necklace stole the show. If your gown is on the simpler side, style it with a dazzling crystal belt, chandelier earrings, or a thick cuff to add visual interest. (Dainty jewelry is just as lovely, but we're talking "unforgettable" here.)
Don't forget your groom's accessories! This Southern gent's personality shines through his patterned bow tie. Black-white tuxedo shoes and personalized cuff links would also be memorable—choose just one. You don't want to cross over into kooky territory.
After springing for shiny new wedding bands, you'll bet they'll be part of your wedding footage. Photographers are coming up with crazy-inventive places to put your rings, including on your iPhone, a miniature picket fence (we kid you not), a Christmas tree, and more.
Embroider your bridesmaid's initials on their bouquet ribbon to personalize their blooms. You can even select a special quote or Bible verse that is a reflection of your friendship, like this bride did.
Make an exciting moment even more emotionally-charged by blindfolding your groom before he catches a first glimpse of his beautiful bride. Don't want to break tradition? Hold hands with your backs turned, like this couple did.
Hosting a wedding weekend with scheduled activities for guests? Bring attractions to life with custom illustrations, so they know what they're in for (and have something to look forward to!). You can even choose to highlight your honeymoon destination on the map, like this couple did.
Use craft letters or a sign to add an extra dimension to your engagement photos. The photos serve a multitude of purpose: You can display them at your bridal shower, turn them into a guest book, or use them for your save-the-date.
Make your wedding day even more romantic by giving your groom a surprise he'll never forget. May we suggest boudoir photos? Nothing too racy—just enough to make him blush. Love letters or a small gift will always do the trick. Anything that shows how over-the-moon you are to be marrying the love of your life.
If you're going the mismatched route, let bridesmaids choose from two hues in the same color palette for a look that's still cohesive, like these gorgeous ladies. Check out more hot trends for bridesmaids.
They patiently listened while you unburndened yourself of wedding stress. Without them by your side, the feeling of joy on your wedding day wouldn't nearly be so great. Repay them in kind with a present that expresses your gratitude. It doesn't have to be pricey jewelry or crystal trinkets you can't afford—just something with thought behind it, like these moniker flasks.
Classic bridal party portraits are necessary, but after what feels like hours of standing perfectly composed, smiling just enough, we think you deserve some fun. Throw in a few creative wild cards to add variety to your photo album.
Don't repeat yourself 20 times about what time the bridal party should be ready to take photos. Instead, hand out one of these sweet cards. That way, a bridesmaid who has her own definition of time (there's always one...) will get the hint!
Make the cutest members of your bridal party feel special, too! A princess-worthy handbag or activity kit can help keep them occupied and quell their nerves before their walk down the aisle.
If you have a flower girl or niece you adore, snap a priceless photo of them "wearing" your wedding gown on the morning of your big day. Years from now, at her wedding, you could gift it to her in a beautiful frame!
"Here Comes the Bride" signs are still going strong! Add a personalized touch with a funny message ("Wait 'til you see her") or secret catchphrase you and your groom use ("Love you to the moon and back").
An aisle runner or flowers arranged in an intricate pattern turns a standard ceremony space into a spectacular one. Plus, they're more budget-friendly than you'd think, so you don't need much else (if at all) in terms of decor.
Custom silhouettes or illustrations of the bridal party is becoming a hot motif for ceremony programs. Include the relationship of each bridal party attendant to you (e.g. best friend, coworker) along with any fun facts (e.g. did you know Jenna and Alison met in a yoga class?).
Weddings are rife with emotion; there's bound to be a few sniffles and mascara streaks. Prepare guests for a tearjerking-good time with miniature tissue boxes displayed throughout the church or a tissue enclosed in your ceremony program.
Picture this: Your processional starts playing and it's time to approach your handsome groom. The doors swing open, and your guests gasp when they see how beautiful you look. No door? No problem: Set up a temporary door frame display to get the same effect in sunshine.
Incorporate a Ceremony Tradition or Invent Your Own
Add cultural flair to your wedding ceremony. This couple followed the sacred Greek wedding rite of wearing "stefana" or crowns that are tied together. They represent the bond between the bride and groom. The priest places the crowns on the bride and groom's heads and the best man (or "koumbaro") exchanges the crowns three times. Learn about more wedding traditions from around the world.
We'll always have a special place in our hearts for limos, but for some couples, non-alternative options like trolleys, a horse-drawn carriage, or even a ski lift are more their speed. Your transportation should reflect the overall theme of your event. If you're considering an unusual vehicle for your arrival or departure, keep your dress style in mind: Pedaling a bicycle built for two in a ball gown might not be physically possible!
For as long as she can remember, bride Johsi's family has only ever owned Land Rovers. After her father passed, she held on to his last car. In honor of him, she featured a Land Rover as a prop in the pre-dinner drinks picnic area at her wedding.
You already know the traditional must-have shots. Ask your photographer to mix it up! Some ideas we love: They can shoot your veil enveloping you and your groom, include fun props (like your marriage license) and capitalize on gorgeous backdrops (e.g. your silhouettes illuminated by sunset). Browse Photo of the Day for tons of inspiration.
Not sure whether to spring for LED lighting? It's worth the investment—incorporate just one color or switch between hues throughout the reception to evoke different moods. There's also tons of DIY lighting options you can explore, including renting chandeliers, hanging light-up lanterns, or assembling candles (more is more in this case).
When your DJ or band announces your names and guests rise to their feet, set the tone with a fun anthem, like this couple did (they chose "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO). Show off your best dance moves (and sense of humor) with hilarious props. Find tons of song recommendations for your wedding here.
Guide guests to their seat with escort cards that reflect your wedding theme, season, or story as a couple. For example, this bride loved rustic-elegant details, so her wedding planner hung her seating cards around a large, burnt-out tree. Inside the seating card was a little story the bride wrote about love, which was a nod to her profession as a writer.
At this wedding planned by David Tutera, butterfly die-cutes cards took flight atop a "field" of lavender.
Photo Credit: David Tutera
Clever Escort Cards
If you're having a super-sized group of guests, display a large scroll or sign that outlines their seating arrangements, rather than individual cards (which may take longer for them to find). At this wedding, the couple named each table after a lovely pairing, like spaghetti and meatballs.
Many brides put the most thought (and biggest chunk of their décor budget) into the centerpieces, since that’s what guests will be staring at for most of the event. However, party planner Preston Bailey advises that entrances set the tone for the entire evening, so pull out all of the stops there.
Many wedding coordinators will build in time for the couple to view their reception space before guests arrive. Sneak away to practice your first dance, take deep breaths before greeting loved ones and shout, "We finally did it!"
We vote for a sweetheart table over a head table. They're incredibly romantic; you'll have the chance to hold hands with your groom and spend a few precious minutes alone in between all of the necessary mingling.
Instead of settling for a regular spiral-bound notebook, this is a place where you can really use your imagination and get creative, even if you're having a more formal wedding. This couple asked loved ones to sign this wooden table with their wishes and remarks. After the wedding, they displayed it in their home, as a constant reminder of their big day!
Guests were instructed to choose a word that described the bride and groom in a dictionary, and sign their signature next to it. Their wedding planner, Heather Lowenthal from Posh Parties, provided markers and stamps, which made for an engaging experience.
Another way to brand your wedding with your name is to use monograms for frosted plastic cups (containing your signature cocktail), ice luge, stir sticks, picks for appetizers and tags to hang from rearview mirrors (when guests receive their car from the valet).
Is there anything more adorable than a four-legged friend at a wedding? Case in point: The photo above. Your pet is a member of the family, and there's lots of different ways to include them in your big day, such as bringing them to your engagement shoot or donating favors to the ASPCA foundation in honor of your beloved pooch. Get more pet-friendly wedding ideas here.
Have friends and family members write letters to you—write one for your groom, and vice versa—which are sealed into a box. Open it on your one-year anniversary and read the notes aloud (ideally with a glass of bubbly in hand).
Instead of selecting your typical crab cake for cocktail hour, design a menu that tells the story of who you are as a couple, relating back to places you were born, where you met, got engaged, and now, where you're getting married. For example, if your groom popped the question in Ireland, Guinness-battered fish would be the perfect snack! With customized signage at each station to tell your story, guests will love the symbolism of each item they snack on.
Design your cake to reflect your interests, home state, or even favorite pop culture references. This bride was a girl scout throughout childhood and even ended up working for the Girl Scouts of America organization as an adult, so her baker decided to do a girl scout-themed confection. Different kinds of cookies were gold-dusted and used on the cake. It was so pretty and true to the couple!