50 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding receptions may hog most of the attention, but the ceremony is ultimately the most important part of the day. Whether you’re saying your vows in a traditional church or at a casual backyard gathering, there are plenty of ways to make the proceedings more personal and entertaining for your guests. Here, steal some inspiration from these couples and their unforgettable ceremonies.

By: Chrisanne Grise

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  • Sing a Song

    Sing a Song

    Give the DJ a break and sing your favorite love song as you walk down the aisle. There won’t be a dry eye in the place.

  • Book Décor

    Book Décor

    If you’re a bookworm, incorporate your passion into the décor. Choose your favorite love stories (Pride and Prejudice, anyone?) or books that are meaningful to you as a couple.

    Related: 10 Sweet Ideas for a Literary-Themed Wedding

  • Modern Banner

    Modern Banner

    Say what you’re thinking – this funny “Best Day Ever” sign gets straight to the point and makes for a perfect photo op.

    Related: 50 Clever Signs Your Wedding Guests Will Love

  • Beer Blending

    Beer Blending

    If typical unity ceremonies aren’t really your thing, create one that fits your personalities. This couple blended beer to create a extra special black and tan.

    Photo Credit: Libby Neder

  • Beach Balls

    Beach Balls

    If you’re having a beach wedding, there’s no excuse for not having beach balls. They’re great for an exit toss.

    Related: 70+ Ideas for Beach Weddings

    Photo Credit: Life Long Studios

  • Live Music

    Live Music

    Live music during the ceremony will help create festive vibes. Ask the band to play acoustic versions of your favorite pop songs for a nontraditional twist.

    Photo Credit: Tec Petaja

  • Big Balloons

    Big Balloons

    Skip the bouquets and give your bridesmaids giant balloons for a more whimsical look.

    Photo Credit: Watson Studios

  • Dramatic Backdrop

    Dramatic Backdrop

    Understated is overrated. These vibrant flowers and drapes make for a breathtaking backdrop.

    Related: 20 Eye-Catching Ideas for Your Ceremony Backdrop

    Photo Credit: Susan Stripling

  • Appetizers


    Nothing says “welcome to the party” better than booze and burgers.

  • Narrative Aisle Runner

    Narrative Aisle Runner

    Tell the story of your love (so far) on your aisle runner with photos, dates, and fun facts about your relationship. This DIY activity is a great way to reminisce together before the big day (date night idea!).

    Photo Credit: The Other Sister Photography

  • Favorite Lyrics

    Favorite Lyrics

    Set a romantic mood by incorporating your favorite love song lyrics into the décor.

    Related: 50 Quotes About Love and Marriage

    Photo Credit: Fete Photography

  • Lego Bowl

    Lego Bowl

    Leave out a bowl of Legos or blocks so kids (and adults) can construct something cool during any downtime.     

    Related: Lego-Themed Wedding Ideas

  • Laugh It Up

    Laugh It Up

    Your wedding vows are serious business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them. Write in a few jokes to lighten the mood.

    Related: 30+ Examples of Wedding Vows

    Photo Credit: Choco Studio

  • Heart Décor

    Heart Décor

    These adorable hearts will instantly brighten up your aisle. Getting married inside? Consider hanging them off the end of each row instead.

    Related: 40 Ways to Decorate Your Ceremony Aisle

  • Hand-fasting


    Hand-fasting is an ancient Celtic ritual that’s easily adapted for a modern wedding. Your officiant can help fasten your hands together with ribbon or a cord while you exchange your vows.

    Related: Irish Wedding Traditions

  • Alternative Flower Girls

    Alternative Flower Girls

    Don't have any little ones to be the flower girls? No problem! Just enlist your grandmothers to take on the job instead.

  • Lawn Games

    Lawn Games

    Keep your guests entertained before the festivities with lawn games. This personalized cornhole board can be a treasured keepsake later on, too.

    Related: 20+ Games to Play at Your Wedding

    Photo Credit: KT Merry Photography

  • Cozy Furniture

    Cozy Furniture

    Let attendees kick back in comfort during the ceremony. Rent or borrow mismatched furniture for a homey vibe, inside or outside.

    Photo Credit: Ryan Ray

  • Family Tree

    Family Tree

    Display old photos of your families in vintage frames for a personal touch.

  • Grand Entrance

    Grand Entrance

    Want to really relish your moment in the spotlight? Make the grandest possible entrance with candles, subdued lighting, and a sensational train.

  • Farm Animals

    Farm Animals

    Animals make everything more fun — especially when you walk in with a donkey! If you’re planning a rustic wedding, consider bringing along a gentle farm critter to delight your guests.

  • Bring Your Dog

    Bring Your Dog

    If you’ve got a furry friend at home, include him as the ring bearer or just as a distinguished guest.

    Related: What to Consider Before Including Your Pet in the Wedding

    Photo Credit: SMS Photography

  • Love Story

    Love Story

    Some of your more distant relatives are probably a little hazy on the details of your love story, so fill them in with a cute infographic in your program.

  • Word Search

    Word Search

    Keep them busy while they wait with a word search — wedding-themed, of course!

    Photo Credit: Blueberry Photography

  • Big Board Games

    Big Board Games

    Set up giant versions of your favorite games, such as Connect Four or Jenga, for guests to enjoy before or after the ceremony.

    Photo Credit: Lawson Photography

  • Confetti Toss

    Confetti Toss

    Hand out confetti for guests to toss during your exit. It’s way more fun than rice and will look prettier in photos, too.

  • Bright Colors

    Bright Colors

    Bright colors make everything cheerier, so don’t be afraid to go all out with bold décor.

    Photo Credit: Krista Photography

  • Bubble Fun

    Bubble Fun

    Or, opt for bubbles for your exit toss. They’re fun and they’re mess-free!

    Photo Credit: Oana Foto

  • Scenic Setting

    Scenic Setting

    A scenic setting — like this one in the mountains — will make your guests gasp in amazement.

    Related: 50 Unexpected Places to Tie the Knot

  • Sand Ceremony

    Sand Ceremony

    A sand ceremony is symbolic of blending your two families together. Each of you chooses a different sand — some people choose different colors, while others pick from a meaningful location. If you have children, this is the perfect time to include them as well.

    Related: 10 Meaningful Touches for Your Ceremony

  • Ringwarming


    A ring warming lets your guests be more involved in the ceremony and is a great way to incorporate different religions. Pass your wedding bands around so each person can privately make a wish or say a blessing over them. 

    Photo Credit: Chard Photographer

  • Ring Security

    Ring Security

    Promote your ring bearer to a security guard. Just be warned — he might steal the show!

    Related: 100 Times Kids Stole the Show at a Wedding

    Photo Credit: Kim Le Photography

  • Unusual Recessional

    Unusual Recessional

    Opt for a peppy, nontraditional song for your recessional. It’ll signal to your guests that it’s time to get the party started.

  • Unique Reading

    Unique Reading

    Select a lighthearted reading to make your guests laugh and cry at the same time. If you’re stuck, try children’s books or poem (like “Oh the Places You’ll Go”) for simple but heartfelt descriptions of love.

    Photo Credit: Designs by JK

  • Popcorn Machine

    Popcorn Machine

    Guests will love munching on a tasty snack before the ceremony starts. Bonus: the vintage popcorn machine adds a quaint feel.

    Related: 50 Ideas for a Vintage-Inspired Wedding

    Photo Credit: Sarah Dicicco

  • Pom Poms

    Pom Poms

    Let guests celebrate your union by tossing bright pom poms as soon as it’s official (kids will particularly love this one!).

    Photo Credit: Hannah Costello

  • Pot a Plant

    Pot a Plant

    Get those freshly manicured hands dirty by potting a plant together. Then, watch it grow alongside your relationship.

    Photo Credit: Studio 29

  • Pinwheels


    Pinwheels add the perfect amount of breeziness to your big day. Use them as décor, or simply leave them to entertain kids while they wait for the ceremony to begin.

  • Play with a Piñata

    Play with a Piñata

    Immediately following the ceremony, let attendees take a swing at a pinata full of treats. Bonus points if it’s wedding-themed, like this one!

    Photo Credit: Debra Gulbas Photography

  • Aisle Décor

    Aisle Décor

    Get your guests in the right mood and set a dreamy, romantic vibe before the festivities even begin by sprinkling white flower petals on the aisle.

  • Paper Flowers

    Paper Flowers

    Choose an alternative bouquet, such as this beautiful mix of paper flowers. You won’t have to worry about it wilting, and it will be a timeless souvenir of your wedding day.

    Related: Say No to Flowers: 25 Alternatives to the Bridal Bouquet

    Photo Credit: Ria Mishaal

  • Friend as Officiant

    Friend as Officiant

    Having a friend or close relative act as your officiant adds a sweet personal touch to the proceedings.

  • Newspaper Program

    Newspaper Program

    Get creative with your wedding program. We love this couple’s personalized newspaper featuring stories and photos about their love.

    Photo Credit: Riverland Studios

  • Mismatched Bridesmaids

    Mismatched Bridesmaids

    Letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses gives each lady a chance to show off her unique personality. You can give them guidelines as to what color, length, fabric, or style you prefer — or you can go with a bold variety like this bride.

    Related: Mix & Match Done Right: 25 Ideas for Your Bridesmaids

  • Unity Painting

    Unity Painting

    You don’t need to have artistic talent to make a beautiful unity painting. You and your partner each pick a color and carefully pour a small amount on a blank canvas, watching as they blend together.

  • Honor Tradition

    Honor Tradition

    Honor your heritage by working in cultural traditions, such as this tea-pouring ceremony.

    Related: Fun Cultural Traditions to Include in Your Wedding

    Photo Credit: Docuvitae

  • Time Capsule

    Time Capsule

    Ask your guests to leave a message for your time capsule, to be opened at least a year after your marriage. Now you have one more reason to look forward to your anniversary!

    Related: 50 Unique Wedding Guest Book Ideas

  • Spiral Seating

    Spiral Seating

    Who says your guests have to sit in straight lines? This spiral set-up lets everyone get a close-up with the bride as she makes her way to the center.

    Photo Credit: Gideon Photography

  • Sneakers


    If sneakers are part of your daily uniform, there’s no reason why you can’t wear them on your wedding day, too. Colorful Chucks add personality and style to the event, and you can customize them with your new name or wedding date.

    Related: 30 Wedding-Worthy Flats

    Photo Credit: Mary & Roy

  • Petal Shower

    Petal Shower

    Celebrate your first kiss as a married couple with a surprise petal shower.

50 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

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