Your wedding day is first and foremost meant to be a celebration of the love between you and your husband-to-be, but that doesn’t mean your ceremony and reception can’t also be a seriously fun party. When it comes to planning a wedding, there are a few basic elements you have to have: the ceremony where you and your groom will exchange vows, followed by some form of reception (whether that means a sit-down meal or simply cocktails and passed hors d ‘oeuvres). And while these basics do make up the event, you can transform these essential details into unforgettable elements of your big day as a whole.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to transform your big day into something unforgettable. Whether that means upgrading certain details (like your menu or music) or selecting more unexpected elements (like the décor or lighting), these small changes have a big enough impact that your guests will remember your wedding day for many years to come.
We’ve started from the very beginning, highlighting the importance of personalized stationery, and go all the way to the end (may we recommend an after-party?), so you can decide which details are worth the investment for you. And while we’re sure you’d happily include all of these elements, you don’t need each and everyone to have an unforgettable wedding.
Ready to start planning the most unforgettable wedding ever? Keep reading to see all of our tips to throw a wedding your guests won’t soon forget!
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Send Beautiful Invitations
Your wedding invitations are the first indicator of what kind of party you’ll be hosting, so don’t miss the opportunity to tell your guests all about your big day.
Choosing who is going to be by your side on your wedding day is very important, and not as easy as you may think. First things first, figure out who you want at your wedding and who you don’t want at your wedding. If you need some help, check out this helpful invitation diagram. With the help of your significant other, come up with a guest list. Give your guests at least eight weeks notice. That way, they have no excuses to miss out on your special day.
Here are a few ideas for your “Save the Date” invitations:
- Add a pop of colour
- Keep it simple
- Use a scratch-off to reveal the date
- Include a photo of the two of you
A Luxe Reception Lounge
Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area at your reception. To implement this fun and sophisticated wedding idea, fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they’re resting. Want to wow ’em? Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.
Opt for Inventive Reception Seating
While a well laid-out seating plan is an important part of any wedding, choosing a creative seating pattern will make the evening unforgettable. Long banquet-style tables look beautiful and, when planned well, make for easy conversation among guests.
You may already be planning to have your ushers escort guests to their ceremony seats, but here’s a unique wedding idea: consider reception ushers. These “live escort cards” walk guests to their tables for an upscale restaurant experience. Ask your reception venue or caterer if its waitstaff can do this double duty, or assign a few ushers to the job.
Have a Short Gap Between the Ceremony and Reception
While you might be able to get a better price for an early ceremony time and a later reception, it’s best to keep the gap time between your events short enough that guests won’t be left wondering what to do. Of course, there are circumstances when this just isn’t possible (say, if your childhood church or temple only offers one time for the ceremony, and your reception venue cannot accommodate an earlier start time). If that’s the case, it’s nice to plan a mini-reception for guests, offering small snacks and drinks, or arrange for a group outing, like a local wine tasting or museum visit.
If you’re planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation. Take wedding transportation to new heights with a hot air balloon ride. Or, if it’ll suit your wedding style, get nostalgic with some charming yellow school buses. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the bus with a sign that reads, “Sarah and John’s wedding or bust!”
Have Fun With Seating
Instead of benches or chairs, select distinctive seating that reflects your wedding style for your ceremony, like floor cushions or these laidback tree stumps painted with tribal print.
Pre Ceremony Cocktails
Your guests won’t be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up a table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just don’t serve anything too strong—try mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats (and don’t forget to have nonalcoholic versions too). Have your caterer or ushers collect any stray glasses to make sure the space is tidy before the processional begins.
Upgraded Welcome Bags
Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. To make this great wedding reception idea come true, stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favourite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.
Thoughtful (and Useful) Favors
Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Out of town guests will appreciate a custom scented soap, so they don’t have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Planning on dancing until the next morning? Put out baskets of flip-flops (in your wedding colours, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception that might get breezy? Make sure guests keep warm by offering up some cozy pashminas. And for a summer outdoor ceremony in the
Make Fruit the Favor
For some favours that guests will use, set up a “farm stand” of fresh fruit and small baskets that they can fill on their way out the door.
Have Fun With Cake Toppers
The traditional bride and groom cake toppers are so 1980s. Top off your cake with an accent that complements your wedding theme. We love this light bulb one for an industrial-style wedding, especially how it tops each tier of the cake to say, “Light of my life.” Swoon.
Play Up Your Tablescape
Instead of using actual plates for plate chargers, opt for something more befitting to your tablescape; think palm leaves for a tropical setting or antique tiles like the one shown above for a romantic Italian villa inspired look.
Convenient Child Care
Hire a babysitter (or two) and set her up in a room, so your youngest guests have a place to go when they tucker out. If it’s possible, pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on the tykes and then return to the party easily. Stock the room with snacks, games and a portable DVD player to keep them entertained, and make sure there’s a soft sofa and blankets for those inevitable naps. Parents will love you forever for this helpful and unique wedding idea.
A Bubbly Bar
Make toast time delicious by letting guests customize their champagne. Dishes full of fruit purees, lavender sprigs, citrus twists and flavoured ice cubes that can be spooned into glasses of bubbly will make the toast that much more fun.
Go for Local Delights
If your wedding will take place far from where you grew up, offer tasting stations with cuisine from that locale. A few ideas: clam chowder and lobster rolls for New Englanders, chilli and tacos for Texans, or oysters for New Orleans.
A Memorable Guest Book
Think beyond the typical guest book. One creative idea we love: Create a jigsaw puzzle of your photo and let guests sign each piece. Or put out silver trays with engraving pens so guests can carve a lasting message on a useful keepsake for you.
Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help you organise a stress free wedding.
Choosing the Perfect Band or DJ – BVTLive!
Choosing the right band or DJ to perform at your wedding is very important. You want to hire a group that has the experience, stability, and a good reputation. Let BVTLive assist you in finding the perfect wedding dance-band or DJ for your special day. BVTLive’s groups:
- provide a variety of music genres
- are fun, professional, and entertaining
- will have your guests on the dance floor all night long
- perform over 750 events a year
- have won many prestigious awards
Decorations, Flowers & Lighting
Simple decorations can go a long way, and have your wedding guests raving. By hiring a wedding planner or designer, you can ensure that your day will be just as beautiful as you are. If you are looking for someone to help with decorations, flowers, and lighting, check out Beautiful Blooms or Eventricity. Both companies’ provide exceptional service, as well as beautiful design.
Choose Gorgeous Florals
From your bouquet and ceremony flowers to your reception décor, splurging on something a bit more statement-making than your average bundle of blooms makes a big impact. Pretty details like floral table runners and ceremony structures, a flower wall, or bold bouquet are all details that will stand out in the minds of your friends and family long after the event is over.
If it’s an outdoor wedding, create custom signs as pointers for guests (“this way to the cocktail hour” or “wedding this way”). For a more formal wedding, make beautifully scripted table numbers, monogrammed cocktail napkins, and even bathroom-door labels that read “ladies” and “gents.”
Splurge on Incredible Lighting
Lighting is an important part of any party, but particularly one where photography will be a big part of the proceedings. Whether it’s for your ceremony or reception, it’s worth the investment to upgrade to unique or romantic lighting that will add tons of interest to your photos.
Read on for more advice on Styling your Summer Wedding Party.
Make a Serious Statement Down the Aisle
All eyes will be on you on your wedding day no matter what, but there are a few ways to ensure your ceremony entrance is extra grand: set the tone with some amazing music, choose unique lighting, and wear a spectacular wedding dress.
Hire a Meaningful Officiant
Your officiant can be anyone—your lifelong religious leader, a great friend, or a special family member. Whoever it is, it’s important that you feel they understand you as a couple and can relay your love story to your guests on the big day. On top of that, you want someone articulate, outgoing, and entertaining since these attributes will all help capture the attention of your guests.
Offer Delicious Meal Choices
Your guests may not remember the exact details of your floral arrangements or what song you walked down the aisle to, but they’ll likely remember what they ate—especially if it was particularly delicious! Choose a menu with tons of tasty options (and one that accommodates common food allergies and dietary restrictions) and your friends and family are sure to leave your reception happy.
A First-Dance Confetti Drop
Your first dance will be one of the highlights of your wedding, so add this extra-special touch to up the entertainment factor (and make for some serious photo ops). If your song is slow and romantic, have fresh flower petals instead of confetti dropped from the ceiling. Your rental company and florist can work together to make this happen—and don’t forget to make sure the reception wait staff will be standing by to clean up.
If you want your wedding to stand out from the rest, switch it up and bring out some yummy snacks towards the end of your reception. This idea is unique, and the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few “post-party” food ideas:
- Serve your ultimate favourite food (such as fries or pizza)
- Have a “S’ more Bar”
- Fill a Piñata with candy
- Have a “Create Your Own Sundae” station
- Serve finger foods
Just when everyone thinks the fun is winding down, liven up the party with late-night snacks that’ll leave everyone ready for an after-party. Think about it: crinkle French fries, fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk shooters, a fully loaded taco bar or doughnut truck.
The best way to make this day memorable for both you and your guests is to be unique. It is not that often that you hear of food being served at the end of the reception. By this time of the night, your guests are most likely hungry (and drunk). Give them a snack to take home, and a night to remember!
A Hip After-Party
Instead of just hitting the bar next door when your reception venue closes, plan a true post-wedding bash for you and your hardest-partying guests. Book a space with a completely different vibe from your reception (like a relaxed patio bar or a karaoke club to offset a formal ballroom) to keep the party going.
Incorporate Social Media & Technology
One of the hottest new wedding trends is incorporating social media and technology into the mix by using Hashtags, a location “check-in'”, go-pro’s, drones and more! Over 50% of couples are now creating their own “Wedding Hashtags”. This is a great way to look back at photos that your guests posted from the wedding all in one album.
Other unique ideas include:
- hiding a go-pro in your bouquet
- getting some stunning aerial photos with a
- have your guests check-in to your venue
- live stream your ceremony (for those who couldn’t make it)
Save the Planet
If keeping a low environmental footprint is important to you, then make an effort to reduce, recycle, reuse for your ceremony and your reception. You can do that in lots of different ways. For example, use recyclable dishware for your meals, skip the fireworks, and purchase carbon offsets for all your guests who travelled to your ceremony. You may also be able to donate your flowers, your extra food or even your wedding dress after your event. Now that’s a wedding idea that will make you feel good.
Final Preparations & Tips
As exciting as your big day is, you may get caught up in all the excitement and forget some key essentials. One of the biggest things that will make your day unforgettable is if something goes wrong, here are some tips to make sure everything runs smoothly on your big day.
- Create a day-of Itinerary
- Pack an emergency kit (just in case)
- Make sure you eat!
- Arrange transportation
- Pack for your honeymoon early
- Most importantly, have fun!!
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes. So, whether you tend to the more traditional or to the super off-beat, there are many ways to add a touch of something different that is uniquely you. After all, it is THE day to celebrate your love!