Planning Tips: Nice Things to Do At Your Wedding

It’s May! The busy season! Not only does this mean I have lots of weddings coming up, it also means 2016’s couples are kicking their planning into high gear.

When I was planning my wedding, I was on the lookout for really creative, different ideas I could make my own. I wanted my wedding to feel authentic to who my husband and I are, and for us, that meant thinking about my guests’ comfort and inclusion. Over the years, I’ve been to more than 150 weddings. Here are 5 ideas for things you can do at your wedding that are just really NICE. Some of them are variations on Olde Timey Wedding Traditions; some are trends you might see a lot, and some are things you’ve never thought of. These are all examples from real weddings. (I have the NICEST clients. Seriously.)

Here we go!

Number 1: Wrap your niece in your veil.


If you are having a flower girl, (or even if you aren’t and your niece is simply attending), take a moment when you’re getting ready to invite your favorite little person into the getting ready room. Drape your veil over her and take lots of pictures. Be sure to get a hard copy printed and put it somewhere safe. Twenty-five years from now, surprise your niece on HER wedding day with the picture. (Yes, my client bride Terra totally did this.)


Number 2: Give your dad (and your mom?) a First Look.

Couples have been eschewing the “don’t see each other; it’s bad luck” warnings for years, in part because they want emotional photos like this one..


You should consider giving your dad (and maybe your mom) a “first look” at you, too. There’s a good chance they’ve been dreaming of the day you grow up and get married since you were a child, too. You might find yourself tearing up and/or treasuring the look on your parent’s face just as much as your partner’s.


Number 3: Wear your mom’s dress.

“What if your daughter wants to wear it someday?” I can’t be the only person who had a bridal salon employee pull on my heartstrings that way, can I? But what if you actually did it?

Behold, Alison with her mom, wearing her wedding dress… It didn’t even need much alteration.


Emily’s grandmother made this dress for her mom to wear on her wedding day, so it was really meaningful when they both helped her get dressed. Although long sleeves were all the rage in the 70s, Emily did change into a fabulous, lightweight dress that showed off her gorgeous body art for the reception. Plus, she could really move around easily on the dance floor at her outdoor summer wedding, which was nice.


Number 3: Save a dance for your mom.

Another thing Emily did was make sure her mom got a special dance with just her (see the bottom photo in the above collage.) Although the father/daughter dance happens at almost every event and you typically think of the special “mom dance” looking like this…


Although I completely understand the desire to get all the “things you have to do” at the reception done so you can just relax and enjoy yourself, find time to dance with your mom. My mom and I have a special connection to the song “Child of Mine” by Carole King, so I asked the DJ to play that and made sure to find her. We didn’t have a DJ announcement or call special attention to it, but I’m so glad I did it. (That’s us in black and white; I’m making my happy squinty face. Photo by Anne Ruthmann) LZ and her mom, on top, busted a move to’s “I Got It From My Mama.”


Number 4: Include your pets in your wedding!


My dog Bella, above, was in my wedding, and we promised to “mutually care for Bella, our cats, and any other animals who bless our lives in the future” during our vows.

We included our cats by putting their photos in tiny frames and tying them to the flower dog’s leash. If you can’t include your dog on the actual day, like amazing flower puppy Jolene, below, here are a few other nice ways to include them…. My client brides Katie and Lisa had a buffet of pet treats as favors (instead of a candy buffet) with a special invitation to their guests to take home something for their animals, courtesy of their cat Stinkerson (Best. Name. Ever.) and dog Ripley. Bethany and Darrin donated to the ASPCA in their guests’ honor in lieu of favors.


Number 5: Honor your dearly departed as you gather your dearly beloved.


Common ways to honor loved ones who have passed away at weddings include lighting a memorial candle with a special message, displaying their wedding photos on a heritage table, pinning portraits on your bouquet or boutonnière, or laying a special bunch of flowers with rosemary tied up in them “for remembrance,” a Shakespeare reference. All of these are wonderful; however, one of my couples did something really touching.


They set a special table aside with two seats, a candle, flowers and plates of food where all who were joining in spirit were invited to gather. They wanted to make it very clear that those of whom who could only be there in spirit were joyfully welcomed and fully embraced. Because the groom was a Marine who served several tours of duty and also had bereavement in the immediate family, this was especially moving.

Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

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