15 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

Saying "I do" is the most important part of your wedding day, so shouldn't your ceremony should be as unique as your reception?
by Simone Hill
  1. Customize Your Ceremony Backdrop

    Neon tassel ceremony backdrop
    photo by Lauren Fair Photography

    The altar will be the focal point for your ceremony, so it makes sense you'd make it a statement piece of your ceremony décor. The options for dressing up your wedding arch are pretty endless, from paper flowers or streamers to vintage doors or a wall of succulents or paper chains. You can even reuse it as a pretty backdrop for your photo booth or behind your cake table at your reception.

  2. Design Your Aisle

    Ombre petal aisle runner
    photo by Justin and Mary

    Flower petals and a white runner are classics, but you don't have to stop there when it comes to getting creative with your aisle. Instead of just white flower petals, you could create a pretty ombre gradient or use a rug from your favorite design store for an at-home feel. We've seen everything from place mats, paper airplanes and arrows used to create jaw-dropping designs for a creative ceremony look. You can even include your surroundings in your aisle design, such as existing paths and boardwalks.

  3. Play Unexpected Music

    Gospel choir ceremony musicians
    photo by Liz Banfield Photography

    String quartets, harps and organs are all traditional choices for your wedding ceremony music, but just because the instruments are classical doesn't mean the songs have to be. Ask your musicians about playing instrumental versions of your favorite popular songs for a creative touch, like a piano solo of John Legend's "All of Me" or a classical rendition of a rock ballad like "Wonderwall" by Oasis. You can also incorporate a nod to your cultural background or your wedding theme through music with a steel-drum band, bagpiper or a gospel choir to serenade your guests before your arrival, or have a surprise musical act start off your processional.

  4. Swap Out the Ring Pillow

    Moss ring pillow for ring bearer
    photo by Virgil Bunao

    Think of alternative ideas to a ring pillow, like placing your rings in a faux bird's nest for an added a touch of nature at a garden ceremony. If you love books, you might use a favorite vintage novel or, for a sentimental touch, try a piece of pottery with a quote from a love poem. These days, ring bearers are taking on a more symbolic role, and many couples choose to have children in their bridal party carry signs, wave ribbon banners or even just hold hands, while the best man hangs on to the ring for safe keeping.

  5. Accessorize Your Bouquet With an Heirloom

    Heirloom brooch bridal bouquet accessory
    photo by Emilie Inc.

    Looking for your "something borrowed?" Use a family heirloom, like your grandmother's handkerchief or brooch, to accessorize your bouquet wrap.

  6. Think Scent Too

    Lavender aisle marker
    photo by Cassidy Carson Photography

    Evoke all the senses at your ceremony by choosing an herb, like rosemary, thyme or sage, for your bouquet or for ceremony aisle markers. We know one couple who even burned lavender incense for their outdoor ceremony.

  7. Hand Out Tissues

    Embroidered handkerchiefs for happy wedding tears
    photo by L Photographie

    Add a pocket for tissues to your programs so guests are prepared for those happy tears. Or pass out monogrammed packs of travel-size tissues or embroidered handkerchiefs with a sweet note.

  8. Soup Up Your Programs

    Confetti envelope ceremony program
    photo by Michelle Edgemont

    Have your programs do double-duty. Beyond listing the order of events, add a fun interactive element to them. If it's an outdoor wedding, make the programs fans to keep guests cool. If your wedding vibe is more playful, add a Mad Lib or crossword using fun facts. We've even seen caricature illustrations of the bridal party and packets of glitter to toss during the exit!

  9. Show Off Family Photos

    Displaying family photos at guest book table
    photo by Pure 7 Studios

    There's nothing like childhood photos to stir up nostalgic feelings in your guests (and maybe a few chuckles). Photos from your parents or grandparents' weddings or of deceased family members are also great ways to honor your loved ones. Hang some of your favorite memories above your guest book or find a table near the entrance of the ceremony space.

  10. Give the Kids Something Extra

    Kids activity book for wedding ceremony
    photo by Amanda Kohler Photography

    Provide your youngest guests with quiet toys or coloring books. Not only will it keep them occupied throughout the ceremony, but it may also make for a cute photo op!

  11. Accessorize Your Guests

    Blanket favor for wedding guests
    photo by Tec Petaja

    Small tokens can go a long way in making your guests feel comfortable and taken care of. No one likes to squint, so if it's a sunny outdoor ceremony, give out colorful parasols or sunglasses. If the weather is crisp, opt for shawls.

  12. Set Up a Drink Station

    Hot chocolate drink station for fall and winter weddings
    photo by Robin Proctor Photography

    Serve up lemonade in big glass jars or water in pretty crystal glasses to quench guests' thirst. Offer steaming cups of hot cocoa in the winter.

  13. Invite Your Pup

    Wedding dog attendant
    photo by Yvette Roman Photography

    This will only work in an outdoor setting or an indoor venue that allows it, but if you couldn't imagine this important moment without your dog, have your dog take part in the ceremony. Have him walk down the aisle or simply greet guests at the door. With a few fresh flowers around the collar or even a preppy bow tie, your pet makes a cute and cuddly non-human attendant.

  14. Set the Mood With Lighting

    Candlelit indoor ceremony
    photo by Nakai Photography

    Even if your ceremony isn't in the evening, you can still use candles and creative lighting to brighten your ceremony. Chandeliers, votives, colorful paper lanterns or even strung bistro lights can add a romantic touch.

  15. Reinvent the Traditional Ceremony Exit

    "Just Married" sign and streamers on ceremony transportation
    photo by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

    Once you're officially married, it's time to make your way to the reception. While you could easily just hop into a limo with your bridal party, why not try a more exciting mode of transportation? Your guests will never expect you and your new spouse to hop on a tandem bike! Or hire a driver and a vintage car of your choice, like a Rolls-Royce Phantom, to take you to the reception.

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