Let's talk about how you can make your wedding day unique from the traditional wedding that has been done over a million times over. When thinking about my wedding I always wanted to do things different from traditional brides. Now I am more than different from your average bride because I did not want a big wedding. Actually all I wanted was the two us on a mountain or on a beach with a photographer and that was it. Yes, I did want my close family there but there isn't a lot of them. I have a smaller family than my husband so most of the people that were going to be invited were his family. I love his family as my own but I loved the idea of having a very private ceremony. But it was very important to my husband to have those people there so we compromised and had a wedding with the family that we talk to and see on a regular basis. Our wedding ended up being around 50 guests.
Since I was going to be combining my dream wedding and my husband dream wedding together I decided I needed to shake things up and be true to our personalities. So I thought I would share some of the things that we did to make our wedding unique.
This first one is not an original idea, it is something that has become popular with brides over the last decade. My husband and I are kind of shy people so to take some of the pressure off him to have this perfect reaction when he saw me for the first time we chose to do a first look. My photographer found a spot for us to have a first look and got my husband ready for me to come down. I did the little tap on the shoulder and he turned around to see me in my full attire. He was able to have a genuine reaction to our first look without feeling like he had to put on a show for our guests.
It was a sweet and intimate moment for us and we forgot that our photographer was even there. A bonus to doing a first look with your partner is you can get the wedding party photos done before the ceremony so that afterwards was our extended families time for photos. It helps break up the day and keeps it moving smoothly. It gave us time to enjoy ourselves with our wedding party before we did our entrance to the reception.
First looks are not just for the couple though. I chose to do a first look with my dad as well. My dad is my best friend and I knew this day wasn't just about me. I wanted to make it special for our parents as well and thats why I did a first look with my dad. But I understand that not all families look alike and you may not have a dad to do a first look with and thats okay. If a first look is something you want to do with someone else then I encourage you to do that. You could do a first look with your mom, siblings, grandparents, or even a best friend. Don't let the norm stop you from doing what you want on your wedding day.
My second unique idea kind of ties into the first one. Reading your hand written bows to your partner after your first look and in private. We had our photographer there but you could do it with or without. I got his and hers vow books off Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/IvoryandSageCo) and we wrote our vows in there. Not doing our written vows during the ceremony is something I had planned on doing for a long time. As I mentioned above, my husband and I are kind of shy, we like our privacy and we weren't going to change that for our wedding day.
After our first look we took a few moments to just be with each other and then we read our vows to each other and it was the most perfect part of the day. The photos I have from this is my favorite out of all of them and they are so special to me. During our ceremony neither of us cried or choked up because we had done all of that before hand. I know that this is some peoples favorite part about the wedding so when I wrote the script for my officiant I personalized those vows as well. They were still pretty traditional but we took out any parts that referenced religion and things that we just didn't like. This made our vows during the ceremony still special to us even though we had down our hand written ones earlier. When making the timeline for the day just consider doing this and I bet you won't regret it.
Marriage Certificate Signing
I can not take credit for this idea because I saw it on Tik Tok a few months before our wedding. I can not find the Original Poster but I am still looking and will update this when I do. Please send me a message if you know who the OP was.
During our ceremony after our ring exchange and before our kiss we signed out marriage certificate. Not only did we sign it during the wedding but we signed it on each others backs. When I saw this idea I instantly fell in love with it. As a wedding photographer a lot of times I photograph the couple signing it after the ceremony but I just felt like it wasn't as special to do it this way for us. Not that this moment can't be special any other way but this is what felt right for us. I mentioned this to our counselor when we were doing Pre Marital Counseling and she said "I love this idea because it shows you are have each others backs for life." And on the day of it truly felt like the gesture of signing this on our backs was signifying our unification as a married couple.
The great thing about planning a wedding now a days is that you get to cherry pick what you want it to be like. My husband and I opted out of quite a few traditional things and came up with our own. Because at the end of the day, it isn't the party that matters its you and your partner that matter. The day is about you and you get only one shot to make this the day what you want it to be. Your day will never be perfect and that was something I came to terms long before we got engaged but you can make the day special even when there are bumps in your plan. Just be true to yourself and partner and remember what truly matters to you. If having a big wedding is what is important to you, do it. If having a small intimate wedding is important to you, do it. Make the day special. You deserve it.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer,
Owner of Nikki Alexis Photography
Photo Credit for all photos in this blog post goes to: Rachel B Photography (Located in West Michigan)