Planning Your Wedding

Do your own thing

Do your own thing

It's all about you

A perfectly personal wedding is every couple's dream, but how do you sidestep tradition and expectations to bring the ‘you' to your day?


Hannah May
Hannah May - Chief Features Writer

Here’s how to be bold and choose the wedding that will make you both happy
 
The term ‘do you’ – and the sentiment behind it – underpins everything that wedding world is unashamedly all about. Rather than adhering to conventions or being a stickler for tradition, couples are increasingly moving away from expectations toward achieving their aspirations in an entirely personalised way.
 
Bold choices and a strong sense of individualism are being woven into the planning process as couples ask themselves who they are and what they really want, to make their vision a personality-packed reality that will induce a smile long after the final thank you note has been dispatched. For what good is a day of love if the emotion that later accosts you is one of remorse at having not freely celebrated your day, your way?
 
Small adaptations and additions are an easy way to treat your guests, pacify your parents (if needs be) and please yourselves, while grander gestures work wonders in ensuring a wedding as unique and true-to-form as it is unforgettable for both you and your guests. After all, when will you ever have another opportunity to stage a celebration that is by its very definition all about you, while being surrounded by the people you hold dearest in the world? Here are some ideas for starters...
 
Beth John 11
Nick Bailey
 
Pick what you love
The way you style your day and its individual components need not fit a specific mould or recognisable theme. Is there a specific book, film, decade, hobby, country or colour you adore? Use this (or a combination) as the creative starting point and look at how it can filter into each element. For example, if you’re a fan of the ’50s, you might want to don a rockabilly tea-length gown paired with a leather jacket, choose an American diner-style menu or kick-start the party with a dance routine or some floor-fillers from the musical ‘Grease’. Meanwhile, Jane Austen or ‘Bridgerton’ fans might opt for a garden party with high tea, string quartet, and vintage empire-cut gowns. Or you could just pick your favourite everything and design the best mash-up of a day possible, be it a supper of fish and chips, tower of macarons, Beatles cover band, singing waiters, live art or surprise circus performance. Tie them together through the décor, colour scheme or a single motif, or embrace the quirky differences in your eclectic choices.
 
Danni April 371
Arianna Fenton
 
Stand on ceremony
There’s no ‘right’ way to actually get married. The type of ceremony you choose will depend on your belief system and whether you wish to legally tie the knot; otherwise, it’s however you want to wed. Some couples prefer to do the formal proceedings ahead of W-day, leaving them free to host a celebrant-led ceremony in the woods or pagan handfasting on the beach. You might have your heart set on a traditional church or other religious ceremony, or an elopement wedding with just a pair of witnesses. The venue, itinerary and type of wedding are all your choice as a couple, whether you envision a sunset ceremony under a tree, a private civil partnership, or a spiritual day of rituals led by a handpicked officiant. 
 
There is a plethora of ways to write your own rulebook and personalise your wedding, from waking up and preparing for the day together to staging a first look, scattering the choir amongst the congregation, and selecting someone special to walk you down the aisle. Bridal speeches, readings from children, dog ring bearers, and post-ceremony activities such as surfing can provide personal highlights for you and your guests. Have some fun in finding new and reimagined ways to incorporate and honour the people, places and things that you love.
 
Thomas Frost Photography 241
Thomas Frost
 
A matter of taste
The menu provides the perfect way to infuse extra flavour, character and meaning into your wedding. The easiest and most sure-fire way to achieve this is simply by picking your favourite dishes and drinks. If you can’t stand bubbly, then don’t proffer it to your guests. Toast with a signature cocktail, shot of tequila or vodka jelly – whatever tipple you fancy most. So long as your bar is stocked with a bit of variety, guests will be able to find a drink they like. 
 
For the food, weave your personal preferences into a crowd-pleasing menu or present your guests with a culinary journey of your love affair, starting with the tapas you ate in Spain just after you became engaged followed by a main course of the curry you devoured while travelling around India before finishing with the croquembouche you couldn’t get enough of at your best friend’s wedding. Not keen on a sit-down three-course dinner? Consider mixing up the format, presentation and flavours with food vans, street food, sharing platters, al fresco banquets, tasting menus, drinks stations, a mixologist, or a buffet crammed with fresh local foodstuffs that looks, tastes and smells sensational.
 
IMG 7112 2
Josh Harkon
 
Dress to impress
The dress code for the couple, bridal party, groomsmen and guests can be customised to match your vision, from the timeless elegance of black tie and cocktail gowns to eye-catching brights, florals or even themed attire. You can use the wedding dress as the primary focal point from which to build the day’s overarching design – a bohemian botanical lace frock for a woodland, world-inspired wedding, perhaps, or a jumpsuit that oozes modern minimalist style – or let the leading man steal the sartorial spotlight with tailoring that sets the entire tone. The key is to use your own fashion personalities as cue to ensure that you still look like you – albeit a glammed-up, wedified version of you. Nothing is more timeless and tasteful than being yourself.
 
AlexandSamYarnerHouse 320
Enchanted Brides
 
Role play
There’s absolutely no done thing when it comes to selecting the bridal party, groomsmen and guest list – and the tasks you assign to them. Both brides and grooms can have a maid of honour or best man in addition to a bevy of bridesmaids and flower girls – or none at all. And there’s no need to reciprocate roles either. You might have been her maid back then, but if your friendship has changed and there’s someone else you’d prefer, then don’t hesitate in sticking to your gut. For more help with choosing your bridesmaids, see p.74 for our guide to bridal party bliss.
 
Also, don’t feel the need to invite distant relatives you haven’t seen for a decade or plus-ones you’ve never met – especially if you’re planning a small or intimate wedding. Chances are, they’ll feel as awkward being there as you are having them there, so save everyone the unnecessary bother and don’t fret over it.
 
ZoeandDanielConrishTipisSept2020 162
Toby Lowe
 
All that matters
Remember to pour your energy into what matters to you the most. If you’re a foodie, focus on the menu. Are you musically minded? Design a soundtrack to suit, from the aisle walks and choir performance to the drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening party, blending band sets with special playlists and live performances from friends and family to reflect each stage and emotion of your day. Don’t care much for cake? Ditch it, or have a doughnut wall, champagne fountain or ice cream trike instead. 
 
From those first months of planning to the day itself, you’ll no doubt need the opinions of a few trusted confidantes when things get too much or you lose direction, but otherwise don’t be too heavily swayed by the opinions of others. Come wedding day, your future self will heartily thank you.
 
Words Hannah May
Main image: Matt Austin Images
 
 
 


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