When you spend over a year planning, getting everything ready for a personalized wedding, you want each and every last detail to reflect who you are as a couple. And when it comes to aesthetics, those personal touches should be incorporated into your day in whatever way makes you feel excited and proud. For a little day-of inspo, we're sharing seven enterprising brides' stories about how they succeeded at putting a very personal stamp on their wedding day.
"We used our surprise party tradition to make the event uniquely 'us.' My (then) boyfriend told all our friends he was planning to propose and wanted everyone to be there to celebrate with us. When they turned up to the proposal site, it was a wedding! It was extraordinary to see the rush of emotions as people realized what was happening. It was the perfect way to capture our playful spirit as a couple and create a moment no one will forget! — Katie
"I got married in Atlanta about three and a half years ago. When we exchanged rings during the ceremony, in lieu of saying something to the effect of, 'With this ring, I thee wed,' we exchanged rings and promised to be thunder buddies for life (a reference to the movie Ted). We later recited the proper language in front of a judge in private to make it official." —Leah
"The traditional father daughter dance became a father/mother/daughter dance. My mother was diagnosed with an illness right before our wedding and I felt like she needed to be included in this special moment. There were no dry eyes to say the least." —Sara
"I found out after announcing the wedding date to my family, none of my five aunts had ever been bridesmaids. They were in their 50s and 60s and told me how they had always wanted to be in a wedding but had never been asked to do so. I loved my aunts dearly, so I made them honorary bridesmaids, complete with dresses and flowers. Some of my other close family members and friends asked if they could be honorary bridesmaids, too. I said 'yes,' and the party was on! In all, I had 15 honorary bridesmaids, nine "regular" ones, and some very happy aunts who talked about their experience for years." —Stephanie
"My husband and I had a small and intimate wedding (about 50 guests), and decided to forgo the iconic mother/son, father/daughter, and couple dances. We simply wanted to enjoy the night. Far into our reception, my husband and I realized we had a rare moment alone, walked to an empty corner, and danced for the first time as man and wife. It was such a gift to experience that special moment in a peaceful setting—one that was free from the (wonderful and well-meaning, but at times, overwhelming) attention of all our guests!" —Ashley
"For our wedding we used two Carvel Fudgie the Whale cakes: a bride and a groom." * —Taryn*
"We bought a house in the Pasadena area and were inexplicably gifted with two baby chicks from sellers (I'm from NYC...what the ^&*+% did I know about chickens?). I ended up falling madly in love with them, and our flock soon grew to five. Got engaged. Planned wedding back east but, as a later-in-life bride, felt too mature to wear the poufy standard bridal veil. I also wanted to creatively incorporate my beloved chickens into my wedding the way people incorporate their dogs and cats. Solution? I made an alternative bridal headpiece out of my hens' gorgeous, naturally molted feathers. I combined the plumes with organza petals, pearl sprays, and ostrich feathers for a light-as-air effect. In doing so, I had my 'girls' with me but not in a jokey, silly way. I created an elegant, meaningful and unique hair ornament that was perfect and personal. People went crazy over the non-traditional plumed fascinator and began requesting similar ones. The whole experience prompted me to change careers mid-life and launch my company, The Feathered Head offering online and custom bridal and cocktail party headpieces incorporating feathers, vintage jewelry, crystals, and other interesting embellishments. I still can't believe that my chicken feather headpiece, so personal and memorable to me, literally changed my life 180 degrees!" —Andie
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.