Photo: Julian Kanz Photography
Just because you're throwing a 300-person ballroom wedding doesn't mean you're celebration shouldn't feel intimate. Here are seven ways to personalize your big day — no matter the theme, style or guest count.
1. Personalize Your Musical Notes
Event designer James Abel suggests that personalizing your nuptials may be as simple as honoring your loved ones with meaningful details that recall important milestones in their respective relationships. Abel recommends incorporating the song your parents first danced to as a married couple into your reception playlist for a sentimental surprise.
2. Incorporate a Vintage Touch
Instead of investing in an assortment of impersonal rental furniture, event planner Marina Luri advises brides to include heirloom items as well. "Add family owned items to the décor. For example, a vintage chandelier or family china and mix it in with your rentals," Luri explains. Melding meaningful, vintage items with your other décor will add a more hospitable air to your celebration.
3. Create a Lounge
As lovely as a long table lit with candles and crystal may be, guests will feel more at home with more relaxed seating arrangements scattered throughout your reception location. Luri likes cozy spaces where guests can retreat, urging brides, "Create smaller seated spaces within the venue where people can casually sit and have a conversation and share a drink. For example, lounge seating and side tables."
4. Customize Table Settings and Escort Cards
Nothing reminds guests how much you appreciate their presence like customized table settings and escort cards. One of Luri's favorite ideas is to include photos of each invitee on cards to make guests feel valued.
5. Double Up on Your Wait Staff
Lauren Sozmen of Loli Events suggests hiring more waiters than seems necessary to increase the intimacy of an event. Nothing is more familial than feeling doted–upon, and a full wait staff will improve the experience for your loved ones.
6. Blend In Games And Trivia
Viva Max Kaley of Viva Max events encourages brides to lighten the mood and kick off the festivities with games and personalized trivia. Says Kaley, “One time my couple wrote the story of how they met, one version from the bride and one version from the groom and we printed the two stories and set them on the tables. It felt personal and brought the guests closer to the couple.”
7. Incorporate Soft Lighting with Candles
When in doubt, bring the lighting of your venue down with well-placed candles. Wedding planner José Rolon suggests that an atmospheric and welcoming addition to any reception venue is an array of flickering candles. Florescent or garish overhead lighting is jarring, but Rolon explains that candles are just the opposite, noting, "“You can never have too many! Walking into a space with lit candles for dinner or the reception will have your guests feeling as if they just walked into something intimate.”