Almost everyone has been to a wedding, but they haven’t been to your wedding. Sure, there are elements nearly all weddings have — an exchange of vows, food and drinks, dancing. Guests come to a wedding knowing more or less what to expect. But what if you want to add a bit of flair?
Turns out, there are lots of ways to do that. According to local wedding planners, most couples want to find ways of inserting their personalities into their big day. From a popcorn bar to a personalized couple logo, weddings are straying — to fun and memorable effect, wedding planners say — off the beaten paths.
Here are seven ways to put your own mark on your wedding.
1. Spring for a late-night snack
After a couple hours of “Twist and Shout” and the “Chicken Dance,” who wouldn’t be a little peckish? The late night snack is becoming an increasingly popular trend, said wedding planner Julie Park, owner of Birch Events and Design in Alexandria.
“Late night snacks are where I see a lot of personality,” she said, because there are so many options — mini tacos, a popcorn bar, mac and cheese, a candy bar, pizza.
Some couples have even enlisted food trucks to come by to give guests a fun way to indulge their munchies.
2. Not your grandmother’s monogram
“A big thing now is definitely using a logo with [a couple’s] initials,” said Cara Weiss, owner of Save the Date in Rockville.
Monogrammed cocktail napkins are, of course, a common, classy wedding detail. But many couples are taking it to the next level, Weiss said, enlisting the help of a graphic designer — or talented friend or family member — to design a custom wedding logo that incorporates the couple’s initials. And then that logo will be branded across the wedding.
A logo can go on anything, Weiss said, from invitations and menus to the wedding party chairs and even the dance floor.
3. Spice up your spirits
Signature cocktails are already pretty popular, said Tracy Bloom Schwartz of Creative Parties in Bethesda. In fact, many caterers include that in most of their packages now, she said. But that’s not the only way to experiment with your beverages.
“We definitely see a lot of personalized drinks,” Schwartz said. “Sometimes, it really is the bride and grooms’ favorite drinks, but other times it’s just what seems to work.”
And what works can mean thinking about your theme or aesthetic. Going for a rustic wedding? Maybe a beer station would be a good fit. Want to show off that wedding logo? Many micro-breweries and vineyards will let couple’s design their own label, or even have input on a brew or wine, Schwartz said.
4. Lean in to the ‘something old’
Many mothers hold on to their wedding dress thinking that maybe their own daughter will one day carry on the tradition. That doesn’t necessarily happen because styles and plans change, said Park, but that doesn’t mean couples don’t want to honor their family history.
Couples are increasingly using elements from their families — part of a wedding dress or grandmother’s broach — to be featured elements of the wedding ceremony. One couple, Park said, used the bride’s grandmother’s broach to hold together the bouquet. Another, according to Weiss, used the mother’s wedding dress to make the sack for the breaking of the glass.
5. Destination weddings an hour from home
A destination wedding can invoke ideas of Caribbean beaches or European castles. But some couples are instead opting for a local destination, like a location an hour or two outside the city that has meaning to them or is a place they’ve always wanted to go.
“People want more than just a wedding,” Weiss said. “They want to see people spend the weekend with them. And people love it — they want to get away.”
6. Take a chance on your venue
If you really want to make your wedding memorable, sometimes it’s as easy as picking an unusual venue, said Schwartz. She’s had couples get married in a bowling alley, for example, or a two-story venue. It can offer unique ways to approach your wedding, she said. The two-story venue, for instance, means the couple could have levels with two different feels — maybe one that’s quieter for chatting and another one for the loud and raucous dancing.
“We have to understand what [a couple] is looking for and if they’re willing to go outside of the box,” Schwartz said.
7. Don’t forget the photo finish
Outside the professional wedding photos, you also want the fun, goofy, silly and sweet candids of the night as well. From disposable cameras on each table to Instagram-like wedding photo apps, couples always want their guests to commemorate the moment with them. Is there another way to do that?
“A big thing that people are doing now are photo booths,” Park said.
Instead of just a fun photo backdrop, couples can rent a whole photo booth for the evening with customized backgrounds and props, she said. And guests can choose to upload those photos to social media or just print them out to take with them. n