Before the wedding
1. Did your fiancé shower you with flowers during your courtship? If this is so, hopefully you will have dried and kept them. The dried petals and buds of these flowers can lend a great sentimental touch to your wedding. The dried petals can be used to make small pot pouri sachets as gifts for your guests. You could also add a small note to the sachets, explaining why these petals are so precious, and how you got them. The buds can be used to make lovely centerpieces for the tables at the reception, or, if you don’t have quite this many, an arrangement for the bridal table.
2. Consider ordering hand tied bouquets for your bridesmaids. This type of arrangement is growing in popularity for two reasons. Firstly, hand tied bouquets are less intricate, and look fresh and natural – perfect for garden and outdoor weddings. Secondly, this style of bouquet takes less time to make up, and because of this, is less expensive.
3. Collect some photographs to add to your reception area. These photographs could include baby pictures of you and the groom, or pictures of both of you through your courtship. For a timeless, romantic touch, you could ask guests to bring a photograph of themselves on their wedding day, or use photographs of your parents and grandparents. These can be displayed around the reception room.
4. Put some serious thought into choosing gifts for your bridesmaids. Many brides are finding it more appropriate to match the gift to the bridesmaid, rather than give all the bridesmaids the same present. Choose gifts for each individual person, according to their different personalities and tastes.
5. Likewise, many brides are finding it is not just their bridesmaid’s personalities that are different. If your bridesmaids are all different shapes and sizes, a new idea is to buy them all matching material, and let them choose their own pattern to have made up. (Make sure to draw up some guidelines!)
6. If this is not your first marriage, or you have been living with your fiancé and have already set up a house, ask that people don’t send you gifts. Instead, request that donations be made to your favorite charity. This is a great way to make somebody else happy on your wedding day.
During the ceremony:
7. Will you be given away by your father? If not, a new trend is to be escorted down the aisle by your mother, to go by yourself, or to meet the groom halfway.
8. A sentimental trend in the USA at the moment is to place two special flowers in your bouquet. On your way down the aisle you pause, and offer one flower to your own mother. On the way back up, you offer the other flower to your mother-in-law.
9. Environmentally aware brides are now choosing not to throw confetti and rice, for the sake of nearby birds. Instead, throw bird seed, or follow a brand new trend – blow bubbles!
10. If you would like to add some symbolism to your wedding, you could think about releasing some white doves. This could be done at an outdoor wedding, or instead of throwing confetti at a church wedding.
11. Consider the new trend of adding some color to your ceremony. You could do this inexpensively by lining the walkway, or steps, to your ceremony venue with potted daisies, or any other flowers that are pretty and cheerful.
12. Have a keepsake program of your ceremony printed. The program could include: the order of service, prayers or hymns and the names of the wedding party and officiant. It can be handed out by an attendant at the entrance to your ceremony venue.
At the reception:
13. Have a personalized wedding banner hanging at your reception venue. For example, “Congratulations Anne and John”. You can get your guests to sign the banner and write a few words. This will make a nice keepsake, and can be used as a decoration at anniversary parties.
14. Follow the trend of making a toast or speech at your wedding. Traditionally, the bride does not speak publicly at her wedding, but this is changing. Now, many brides like to thank their family and friends for helping to make their wedding day so special.
15. The trend of placing disposable cameras on each table, and then processing them, is an expensive job. A new idea is to give guests who arrive with cameras a roll of film each. You should mark on the film a specific hour of your reception, for example, RECEPTION 8pm – 9pm. Then, the guests can have a great time documenting their hour of the day, and you don’t end up with such a huge processing bill, and a lot of photographs of the same thing.
16. If there will be a break of 45 minutes to an hour while you are having your photographs taken, arrange for someone to make a presentation about you and the groom. This could be a video or a slide show, and will entertain the guests while you have your photographs taken.
17. Think about moving with the times, and leave your guests less traditional gifts on their reception tables. New trends include: personalized wedding chocolates, tiny photo frames, seedlings or packets of seeds, and engraved wine glasses.
18. Have your band or DJ play your parents’ song, and get them to dance.
After the wedding:
19. Keep a recording of the music played at your wedding reception. This can then be played at anniversary celebrations in years to come.
20. Some couples advise following the trend of renewing your vows. This could be done once every five years, supposedly the time when lulls occur in long term relationships.