5 Affordable Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Are you feeling pressured to plan a "unique" wedding? Initially, my fiancée Claudia and I struggled to find a balance between creating a wedding that is unpredictable and fun, yet still captures the beauty of the rite of matrimony. When we won our consultation with David Tutera, he told us one piece of advice that would change our entire wedding-planning process. He said, "Years from now when your guests talk about your wedding, it's the little things that they'll remember the most." 

Together, we decided which areas we wanted to keep on the traditional side, including wedding attire, venue, and entertainment. Then, we brainstormed five areas where we can get a little more creative. David helped us realize that we don't have to spend a lot of money to impress our guests. Here, our favorite wedding details that cost $400 or less. 

1. Bride vs. Groom Display
This project couldn't be easier. The bride writes 15 to 20 things that she likes most about her husband and places them on the "He" side; in turn, the groom does the same for the "She" side. The characteristics can be as funny, sincere, honest, and as personal as you like. The last line for each frame reads, "HE...is my husband" and "SHE...is my wife."

We brought the typed document to our local printing facility to blow it up so that it fits the exact size of the frames we want to use. We had so much fun doing this together! 

Total cost (including frames): $25.poster describing the bride and groom
Photo Credit: Casey Fatchett Photographyhe said, she said
Photo on Engaged and Inspired via Lover.ly

2. Say "Thank You"...in Advance
We really want our guests to know that we appreciate and love each and every one of them. Therefore, we decided to break tradition and give them their thank-you cards while we are together at the reception, instead of mailing them out days later. We created a basic card template in Word, then made a few different varieties with our favorite inspirational quotes.

Total cost: $40.thank you
Photo Credit: KLinspirations on Etsythank you card
Photo Credit: Dondalees on Etsymap thank you card
Photo Credit: TheSweetUnfolding on Etsymixtape thank you
Photo Credit: Saidthepelican on Etsythank you
Photo Credit: WedDesigner on Etsy
Photo Credit: ThatPrettyInvitation on Etsy

thank you thank you
Photo Credits (from left to right): Jaime Irene on Etsy and ThatPrettyInvitation on Etsy

3. Include Your Favorite Hobbies
We love the wedding tradition of card boxes and sign-in books, but we wanted to make them our own. Claudia loves to ride her bike and I play guitar, so we decided to incorporate those two pasttimes into our reception décor with a bicycle "box" and guitar "guest book."

First, we spent a fun weekend searching antique shops and yard sales for a vintage-looking bicycle that needed some love. We cleaned it up and replaced the basket with a card collection box. 


old-fashioned bicycle

And After:seafoam green bicycle

Then, we removed the strings from one of Rigo's acoustic guitars, so that guests can sign it and leave us messages. It will then be restrung and displayed in our home for years to come.

Total cost of the bicycle project: $45.
Total cost of the guitar project: Free.

More bicycle décor ideas:

bicycle seating arrangement bicycle seating arrangements
Photo by: Dana Grant on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

i do bicycle wheel bicycle for programs
Photo at left by: Dana Grant on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly
Photo at right by: Welsch Photography on Events by Heidi & Kate via Lover.ly
bicycle with yellow flowers
Photo by: Emily Porter on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

4. Express Your Personal Taste
We knew that many of our guests wouldn't indulge in wedding cake, so we decided to go with a smaller-sized one. We'll supplement it with a dessert table that will include cookies, cupcakes, candy, and even fresh fruit for guests to take home as a favor. We started this project about a year before the wedding. It was necessary to start early so that we could find the best deals on the glasswear that will display our desserts. Saving on a smaller cake allowed us to splurge more on the party favors.

Total cost (including glasswear):  $400bananas for you
Photo by:  Diana Rush Photography on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly

bananas in chocolate banana pops
Photo by: Diana Rush Photography on Bridal Musings via Lover.lydessert table
Photo by: Paper Antler  on Well Groomed via Lover.ly

cupcake tower
Photo by: Ashleigh Taylor Photography on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

wedding dessert table

Photo by: Liesl Cheney Photography on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly

i love you dessert table
Photo by: Rena Harvey on Polka Dot Bride via Lover.ly

apple pie
Photo on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

whoopie pie
Photo Credit: Z Media on Style Unveiled via Lover.ly

sweet love sign candy bar
Photo by: Jen amp Chris Creed on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

5. Paint a Memory You’ll Never Forget
Claudia and I are most looking forward to our first dance as husband and wife, in front of all our loved ones. We decided to immortalize it by hiring a local artist to sit in on our reception and paint this moment, along with anything else at her discretion. 

We visited the art department of our local universities and reviewed different student portfolios until we found an artist that completely understood our vision. The artists were very excited for the opportunity to network and add to their own portfolios. We can't wait to see how the watercolor painting of our first dance turns out!

Total cost (including 4 hours of the artist's time and all materials/supplies): $275

panting of first dance painting of first dance
Photo Credits (from left to right): Stacy von Wormer on Etsy and Billie Bennett on Etsy

portrait of first dance portrait of first dance
Photo Credits (from left to right): PeapodArts on Etsy and Julie Hill on Etsy

Photo Credit: Kelly Cameron Photography from Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

Happy planning, everyone! Leave a comment telling us how you're personalizing your wedding day.

—Rigo Garcia


Meet the winners of our Pin to Win a Dream Wedding Design by David Tutera Contest, Rigo Garcia and Claudia Hernandez!Claudiais a registered nurse in the surgery department, which is where she met her fiancé Rigo Garcia, a nurse anesthetist. They became best friends and fell in love with very little effort, a trend that continues today. They will be married at Meyers Castle in Indiana on June 8, 2013. They are planning a fabulous wedding filled with traditions, entertainment, surprises, and many unique ideas inspired, in part, by David Tutera.