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I'm a wedding & high school senior photographer, wife, fur-baby mom (aka zoo keeper) and crazy aunt who believes that life is an adventure meant to be filled with experiences. The fastest way to my heart is through food (bonus points for strong coffee and buffalo-chicken dip...just not together!). I live life on my own terms, walk my own path and am fiercely loyal and extremely protective of the people I love.
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You’ve done all of the big-ticket planning tasks (venue, photographer, dj/band, cake, food, etc) and checked them off of your to-do list. But…how can you make your wedding day a memorable one, not only for you and your fiancé(e), but also your guests? Read on for five of my favorite special touches for a memorable wedding day.
First and foremost…make it PERSONAL. I’m sure that this has been a consideration throughout your planning, but at times it can be a struggle to figure out exactly how to accomplish this amongst all of the required tasks that need to be done to get you down the aisle. After all, you don’t need another list of complicated time-consuming hoops to jump through in the months leading up to your big day. Instead, you should be spending time with your fiancé(e) de-stressing and enjoying quality moments together.
Fortunately, there are special touches that you can incorporate into your wedding day that are simple & don’t take a lot of time to put together. These items can have a HUGE impact on making your wedding day personal and memorable for everyone involved. Incorporate just one, or try them all! I’m sure that your wedding day will be one that you, your fiancé(e), and your guests will be talking about for years to come!
I have worked with several couples that have done this for one another. It is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day to photograph! Each of you should sit down and write a personal note to one another. You can talk about your love for one another, your hopes, your dreams, inside jokes. Anything that stands out to you about your fiancé(e) or you as a couple! You can choose to purchase special stationary for this, or just use any piece of paper. It can be as fancy as you’d like, but remember, the WORDS are what are important.
Make a plan to “exchange” your letters prior to the ceremony. Have the Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man, or another member of the bridal party deliver the letters for you. A family member can also help with the exchange.
When I married my husband, Jason, 10 years ago (that’s him in the pics below!), I wrote something up, had it framed, and made arrangements for it to be displayed in the room where he was getting ready. It was a total surprise to him, and my photographer got some really genuine reactions as he read it. That photo is still one of my favorites 10 years later. We have the framed letter displayed in our home. It’s nice to read through it and see where we were and how far we have come.
That brings up an important point. Make sure you clue your photographer and/or videographer in on the exchange. This will ensure that they are ready to capture the heartfelt reading of the letter(s) and the genuine emotions that result.
This one’s an easy one that has a big impact. Purchase a new perfume for yourself and have your fiancé(e) do the same. Save the scent(s) for your wedding day. Once you are married, whenever you wear that scent your olfactory senses will ignite and bring back the memory of your special day.
A word of caution: Make sure that you and/or your fiancé(e) don’t have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the perfume!
Think outside the box on this one, and, instead of just having guests sign their names in a book as a record of who attended, try one of the ideas below (or use them as a jumping off point to come up with one of your own!). You may want to ask your photographer to help with this. Many, including myself, offer custom-designed guest books, and signing albums!
This can be an event that you shared with them or something they admire about the two of you. It can also be a funny story or something that changed for the better after you started dating. The possibilities are endless! You never know what someone will come up with!
You can ask for advice for the 1st year of marriage, or keep it about marriage in general. You can even kick it up a notch by asking a specific question on the back of each guest’s place card. Or, include your question in with their invitation so that they have some time to think about their answer. That way, you get unique advice from each guest, tailored to things you’d like to know about.
As a photographer, this one’s my favorite! It can be done with printed photos or setting up a digital space ahead of time (see Tip #5).
Ask your guests to bring a photo of the two of you to the wedding and have a designated place for them to deposit it. This can be a decorated hat box, glass vase, or anything you’d like. The photo can include your guest, or just the two of you. Bonus points if your guest writes the date and a short note about the photo and includes it along with the pic.
I love this idea for several reasons. It gives you a head start on creating a photo album. It allows you to have photos that you may not have ever seen otherwise. And, lastly, it gives you a snapshot of people who were important in your life that may have passed. As a photographer, I am often told years (or even months) after photographing a wedding that a guest had passed. The photos from the wedding day were the last photos a couple had of them. Those couples are so grateful to have those images!
I highly recommend an unplugged wedding ceremony. This avoids having a bunch of guests holding cell phones in your wedding photos! I do, however, think that encouraging guests to take cell phone pics during the other parts of your day is totally fine. It’s a great way to capture your day from someone else’s perspective.
There are quite a few wedding sharing apps out there that allow your guests to capture the candid moments of your day and easily share them with you from a centralized site. They all work slightly differently, but most generate a wedding hashtag or provide you with a code to give to your guests where they can easily upload their photos.
The Guest app, by The Knot, automatically shares photos and videos in real time – without the use of hashtags or codes. You simply enter your wedding info and add your guests ahead of your wedding day. Each guest receives an invite to download the app. On the day of your wedding, your guests can use their cell phone to automatically upload images to a virtual wedding album! Don’t worry…there is an easy auto-off button in case a guest doesn’t want to share an image. You have real-time access to your album so you can take a peek during your wedding. No waiting to see your pics! You can also break your wedding into several events such as your bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal shower and rehearsal dinner!
Some other apps to check out include the following:
When you are putting together your wedding day timeline, be sure to include 10-15 minutes for the two of you to sneak away for some private time. This gives you a chance to check in, share a kiss, and connect. You can do this at any point in your day, so choose a time that makes sense to the both of you. Some couples will choose to do this before the ceremony during a First Look. I’ve even arranged for couples NOT doing a First Look to stand around a wall from one another, hold hands, and talk – but not actually see one another.
I hope these ideas inspire you to think of the little things on your wedding day that can make the day even more special and memorable for you both. Making your day memorable doesn’t have to take a ton of planning. Sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest splash! I hope you enjoyed our five special touches for a memorable wedding day. Have a special touch of your own that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your ideas! Also, be sure to check out our FREE DOWNLOAD, “Top Ten Tips To Get Ahhh-mazing Wedding Photos (and free up more time for celebrating!)”.