As a child, I grew up next-door to Katie, playing dress-up and telling stories. In high school, Katie’s family moved, which was sad for us, but both of us were glad that she would still attend the same school. Moving 10 minutes away, however, changed Katie’s life forever. There in the rural outskirts of town, she met Jacob. Jacob was a year ahead in school, and wasn’t connected with the same circles as Katie, which meant they never had reason to know each other previously. As neighbors though, he noticed her quickly, and made an effort to ask her out on dates. Jacob graduated and served voluntarily as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The pair wrote each other diligently for two years and each kept a stack of letters from the other.
Now, four years later from first meeting each other, and all grown up now, Katie and Jacob have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. They were married in Provo, Utah on April 21, 2016. She was a beautiful bride, glowing in her mother’s white bridal gown.
I felt so happy and privileged to help make their day possible, even in the smallest of ways, by setting up the reception. One of the highlights for me as an amateur wedding planner was unboxing the decorations and feeling like I was unboxing a little of Katie’s personality.
Katie is a horticulture major, and has always loved plants. She chose to highlight that passion in her reception décor with ferns, pinecones, acorns, tree cookies, and white lilacs. Katie has also always been a reader and loved to write, so choosing the event room at the local library was a perfect choice in venue.
As we set up the trees, birch arch, photos and centerpieces, I was overwhelmed by how lovely it all was – and it was because I knew it was Katie’s wedding. Not her mother’s. Not her aunt’s. Hers. This is an essential principle that every bride needs to understand, accept and embrace as they plan their wedding. Your wedding should reflect who you are as a couple.
Arizona Foothills Magazine put it very well: “Wedding planning can be such a whirlwind of venues, dresses, flowers, and food that you can forget to incorporate one of the most important details- YOU, darling! Integrating your personality as a couple into the details of your wedding is essential and it can be more than just choosing your favorite colors and favorite food. When your wedding reflects who you are not only will you enjoy your wedding more, but so will your guests.”
There is an endless sea of wedding inspiration on Pinterest, blogs, and bridal magazines and with so many ideas, it can be really hard to define what you want your wedding to look like. Julianne Hough, famous for her roles as a professional dancer and actress also writes a personal blog, and she also expressed the overwhelming decision she faced even before getting engaged about what style she wanted to express on her wedding day. She used a mood board to define each of these styles, a method that many brides can benefit from. (This is the site she refers to for more information about mood boards) See her blog post here.
But it’s not only about deciding who you want to portray or what style of dress you want to wear. It’s about bringing in the little details that make a day special. Repetition of small details can be what completes an experience. Why do you think Disney Theme Parks use “hidden” (aka “subliminal”) Mickeys?
PopSugar talked with celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss “about ways to add some personality to your big day.” She shared her expert advice to make your wedding “unmistakably ‘you.'” Before a brief summary of some of PopSugar and Weiss’ tips, keep this in mind: “When infusing you and your partner’s personality into the wedding, ask yourself: what is something about the two of you that people would recognize as soon as they walk into the room — that would make them go, ‘Oh, this is definitely fill-in-the-blank’s wedding’?”
- Your venue – whether it’s a sentimental location to you as a couple (the place of your first date, etc.) or if the event itself can reflect the setting and culture of another place important to you, places mean a lot and can hold a lot of sentimental value that typify you as a person and as a couple.
- Include hobbies, careers and passions that each of you have. Whether you’re sports fanatics or book worms, there are ways to incorporate the things that are important in your everyday life.
- Themes and details from a favorite book, television show, or movie can add personality to your wedding that will make your guests smile knowingly.
- “Pick wedding traditions that are unique to your and your partner’s cultures and history, and ditch traditions you don’t feel connected to.” If you don’t want to stand in a receiving line, don’t! If it’s important to wear another color besides white in your cultural heritage, don’t be afraid to wear something bold. Be creative and true to yourselves.
- Ask your friends what they did to personalize their weddings and take note when you attend weddings about what from their personalities they were able to communicate through the details.
I know I took note when I helped with Katie’s reception. It can be so motivating and inspiring to plan a wedding when it includes things you love personally for yourself, your fiancée, or your family. Design it for you, not social obligations.
Looking back on that special day now, Katie is so glad that she did her best to not stress about tradition and people’s expectations. The most important thing for her was to be surrounded by what she loved most in this world. In the end, it’s not about what others say, this day should be about love; that applies to the design of the event, who is chosen to be there, and the couple. A wedding is not just a hallmark for the extended family, but as a couple promises to love each other forever, a new family is created. This is greater than any social traditions or expectations.
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