At Beauty & the Budget Events, we believe the best weddings are deeply personal. We’re not here to create cookie-cutter weddings where just any couple could get married. Instead, we love weddings that are designed with the couple’s love story and personalities as the focus, weddings that are as unique as the couple. If you agree but you’re not sure how to put your personalities into the design, this one’s for you.
When you first start planning your wedding, you and your partner may have a general design in mind, and that’s a perfect place to start. The themes, colors, and styles that you find appealing are a reflection of what you like, and it’s possible to pick an overarching theme that feels personal to you. Our past clients Stephanie & Roscoe love the color blue and studying the stars, so we went with a Celestial theme. Sarah & Ernst wanted to include her bright personality and his cultural traditions, so we designed a Whimsical Norwegian wedding. And Emily & Brad love pottery, rock climbing and gardening, which all came together in their wedding decor!
While some couples choose really specific themes, it’s still absolutely possible to choose a standard theme like rustic romantic or industrial chic, and have the details be personalized to make your wedding reflect your love story! There are so many ways to bring your relationship, interests and family traditions into each part of your wedding design, so we’re gonna break down some of the major areas for you.
Your wedding ceremony is easily the most personal part of your wedding day, so it’s not difficult to make it reflect your relationship. There are two main elements for the ceremony – the ceremony script that your officiant shares, and the decor.
I know a lot of couples want to rush through the ceremony and get to the party, but I really believe you’re missing out if you don’t make your ceremony feel personal. There’s something beautiful about traditions that have been passed down for generations, but if we’re honest, we don’t really relate to a lot of them. Have you taken a look at the standard wedding vows to see if they actually resonate with you? If not, you can tweak the vows so they reflect the marriage commitments you want to make to your partner, or you might choose to write totally custom vows!
Two other areas within the ceremony that can be customized and personalized include the addition of readings and unity ceremonies. Readings can be shared by the officiant or a close friend or family member you want to honor, and they really help you and your guests reflect on what marriage means to y’all. If you choose to have a religious ceremony, you may include readings from your religious text, but the sky is the limit. We’ve seen couples choose passages from novels, children’s books, songs, and movies. Our past couple Katy & Monica included a really beautiful reading from “The Velveteen Rabbit” that had everyone tearing up.
Unity ceremonies, on the other hand, are a way to show your commitment to each other in a tangible way. The most popular choices are the Unity Candle and Unity Sand to represent two becoming one, but we’ve also seen couples make a mixed drink and a PB&J at the altar! The main thing to ask yourself is “Does this represent our relationship.”
Finally, we have ceremony design. While some ceremonies are elaborate, we more often find simple decor and fewer areas to customize. The three main parts of the ceremony decor are the entrance, the aisle, and the backdrop, which can all be personalized to fit your style. At the entrance to the ceremony, you might choose to set up a welcome table with the guest book, space for cards and gifts, and engagement photos! For the aisle and altar space, you’ll want to decide what kind of vibe you’re going for. If you and your partner are total romantics, a ton of floating candles and rose petals is a great way to go. If y’all are Christians, you might want signs lining the aisle with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 written on them. The whole ceremony space should have a cohesive look, and the backdrop or altar is the focus, so an outdoorsy couple might choose to have a large tree draped with fabric. A playful couple might have colorful streamers hanging behind them! Whatever you choose, make sure it feels right for both of you.
Here’s the thing about cocktail hour – most couples don’t get to be a part of it! Cocktail hour is primarily for your guests, while you and your partner (and wedding party) run around having photos taken. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cocktail hour that reflects your relationship!
First things first – the cocktails! Personalized drinks are a great way to share a part of your life with your guests. Maybe you have His and Hers cocktails with each of your favorite drinks, or maybe you name a signature drink after your dog. Love flowers? Edible flowers in drinks are totally a thing if you feel like splurging.
You might also want to keep your guests entertained during cocktail hour, and including some of your favorite games and activities is a great way to keep this personal. Brittany & Keahi enjoyed mini-golf on one of their first dates, and they were able to bring in a traveling mini-golf course for their cocktail hour. Other couples have included live entertainment such as magicians and caricaturists. Really into tailgating? Bring out the cornhole board and bocce ball. Want to get your guests to mingle? Create a “Find someone who…” game and offer a prize for the first person to fill it out.
The reception is where you and your guests will spend most of your time, and it’s where most of the decor lives, so you have a great opportunity to really make your relationship shine through. We often get sucked into thinking that a centerpiece has to be a floral arrangement, but you have the total freedom to get creative here. Love vintage details? Gold frames, candelabras and pearls can come together for a stunning centerpiece. Really into rock music? One of our couples used over-sized martini glasses filled with crystals and purple lights, with 45 records on top, showcasing some of their favorite bands.
While we’re thinking about the dinner tables, let’s leave decor for a moment to chat about FOOD. Y’all know that’s one of my favorite topics. Your menu is a great way to literally showcase your tastes. Want to represent your diverse cultures? Go for fusion food! Are y’all southern through and through? Bring on the barbecue! And this thinking totally translates to your desserts as well. I’m going to let you in on a shocking secret – not everyone enjoys cake (gasp!). Luckily, cake is sooo not your only option for wedding desserts. We’ve seen dessert bars with brownies and cookies and pies. We’ve had couples serve ice cream and Italian-style ices. And you can’t forget about the millions of flavors of cupcakes and donuts (maple bacon donuts, anyone?). Of course you want everyone to be able to eat and enjoy the food, but you definitely want it to represent the foods y’all love.
Next, we have specialty tables, and you know what? If you want a table full of pictures of your cat, you do you boo. Or you might want to opt for a memory table where you show photos of your relationship and family, or a memorial table with photos of loved ones lost. Elise & Tom went an extra step and created a wedding memories table with family heirlooms and wedding photos through the generations.
Your guest book is another fun way to show your style, and yes, you can totally get creative with the guest book. Have one of your engagement photos printed and have guests sign the matte or glass. Get a cute drawing of a couple holding strings and have guests leave their fingerprint as the balloons. Amanda & Aaron opted for a Quaker Marriage License, where all guests signed the “license” as witnesses to their union.
And finally, you have the wedding activities! First things first, you wanna get that dance floor packed out, and including some of your all-time favorite party songs is a great place to start. You’ll also be able to share a piece of your heart with your guests during your first dance to a song packed with good memories. And you’ll want the music to reflect your music tastes, so feel free to tell the DJ to avoid those country love songs if they’re not your jam.
Other options for wedding activities include traditions that you can keep, tweak or remove, such as the bouquet and garter toss. Want to really celebrate marriage? Invite all the married folks onto the dance floor for an Anniversary Dance. Not that into dancing? Have a table full of board games for guests to enjoy. Want to take a moment to share your heart? Grab the mic and give a thank you speech after the toasts.
The bottom line is this is YOUR wedding, and it should represent YOUR relationship. Forget Pinterest and the perfectly curated IG feeds. Show off what makes your love story different, and surround yourself with your favorite things (and people) on your first day as a married couple.