Wedding Planning Tips From Lynda Barness

What makes one wedding different from the next?  They all have so many of the same elements… bride and groom, ceremony, band, flowers, photography,  food.  What makes it personal?  Yours alone?  And how do you do this without hiring a sky-writer and spending a fortune? Here are 12 ideas…

1.  Start with something simple.  Like a napkin.  And then fold it.  No, not in the regular way.  Try some OTHER ways.  If you google “napkin folds,”  you will find 568,000 entries!  There must be something there that will strike your fancy and dress up your table without spending anything extra at all!  And where you place it…  on the left side of your plate, across your plate, in a glass, on the back of the chair… will make this a personal, stunning addition to the whole look of your reception room.

2.  And you can dress up the napkin.  Add a flower, or a piece of candy, or a menu in one of the folds.  Add a napkin ring, herb sprig, or ribbon.  Again, you are keeping costs down and adding elegance and individuality to your table.

3.  Try an alternative to a sign-in book for your guests. Have them type a message on a laptop computer.  Or use a fishbowl and small pieces of paper.  Use a coffee table book of your favorite subject and let your guests write in the margins; and then USE IT as a decoration on your coffee table!  Or write on the mat of a photo of the two of you, the wedding venue, or your honeymoon spot.  Use a sports ball (are you basketball lovers, for example?) or a champagne bottle.  Or use postcards from your honeymoon destination.

4.  Write your own vows.  Start by privately writing a letter to your spouse-to-be.  Then the two of you can sit down together and decide what to include in your vows.  They can be serious, emotional, whimsical, humorous, or a combination of these.  Most of all, they come from you.

5.  Add something to the flowers you carry or wear.  Add your mother’s brooch or even a bracelet to your hand-held bouquet.  Add your dad’s old tie-tack to your boutonniere.  Or add a small photo on a string of a grandparent or other loved one.

6.  Use the new photo stamps for your save-the-dates, invitations, or thank you notes.   Although they cost more than regular stamps, they are fun and new and so very individual.  Go to to get an idea of how all of this works.

7.  Make your wedding programs personal.  Add the names of your wedding party and their relationship to you.  Include your new address.  Describe elements of the service for your guests.  Give your guests fans for a hot day and print your programs on them.  Or print the programs on scrolls, folders, or something else of your choosing.

8.  Monogram something!  It can be a gobo (lighting on the dance floor), your shoes (try Swarovski crystals), your embroidered initials inside your wedding gown, your wedding cake, a hankie (something blue), the ribbon on your flowers, napkin rings, shot glasses, cocktail napkins…  be creative!

9.  Readings.  Do you have a favorite poem?  Saying?  Bible quote? Words from a favorite song?   Let someone you care about be included in your wedding ceremony.  This will be meaningful for all of you.

10.  Choose music that is personal to you…  “your” song…  the song you heard during your first holiday together… the song your parents danced to at their wedding…  the song that makes you think of your spouse…  the song that you ALWAYS dance to…

11.  Photos.  You can pair up your baby pictures so you have his/her photos together at different stages of your lives…  or you can display wedding photos of your parents, grandparents, or other generations…  These can be displayed on the guest book table, the gift table, a special table, a mantle, or other convenient spot.

12.  Do something to remember the ones you loved who have passed away.  Honor their memories with a memory candle during the ceremony, a flower placed on an empty chair, a note in the wedding program, a moment of silence during the ceremony, photos or other personal items as mentioned above.

Remember, YOUR day is about YOU.  Making it personal makes it special.

Lynda Barness

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