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When Anthony and I started the exciting, fun process of planning our wedding, we thankfully, had the same ideas and goals in mind for our big day.

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This was going to be the most special & memorable day of our lives together. One that we would look back on forever & tell our Grandchildren about. We wanted it to be perfect, full of love and and reflect US.

While our wedding day was OUR big day, it was also about so much more. It was also about bringing two families together. It was a big day for all of the loved ones in our lives that had been looking forward to this day for so long…our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts & uncles, and friends. Our friends and families mean so much to us. After all, we wouldn’t be who we are today if it was not how they had influenced our choices and personalities growing up.

We’re SO thankful for everyone in our lives, so we wanted to make “our” big day a special day for all of these special people and show them our appreciation. And let’s be real, we also wanted everyone to have FUN!! One thing I kept reminding myself over and over throughout the planning process was no one else will care about your wedding day as much as you. There is a big possibility that no one will notice the tiny details that you spent so many hours and stressed about so much. They are important to you, but in the grand scheme of things, they are not really all that important.

Here are a few personal touches and ideas from our wedding that helped to make it personal and enjoyable for all of our guests. I made a genuine effort to make our loved ones feel a part of it, and hopefully I was successful! We got (and still get) a lot of really good feedback from our wedding. Everyone had a great time and it was one to go down in the books.

 

Have guests sign in with their print and name on a fingerprint tree

My bridesmaid, Courtney, painted this tree for me on a canvas (another personal touch!) and we had guests sign in with their finger print and name. It now hangs on the wall in our living room and is a daily reminder of all who attended. We have friends and family at our house that still point out their finger print each time they pass the tree while walking through our home.

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Display pictures of family members throughout the reception

There were old pictures of my mother,

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my maternal grandfather,

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my maternal grandmother,

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my paternal grandmother, Anthony’s grandparents’ wedding photo,

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my grandparents’ wedding photo,

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and others scattered throughout the dinner and accent tables at the reception. It was special to see the surprise on my grandmothers’ faces when they saw their own pictures scattered throughout for everyone to see!

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Display a Family Heirloom

I displayed my grandma’s wedding gown on the entrance table for everyone to view upon their entrance. She was so surprised! Next to the dress I displayed a shadow box that my Aunt had made with a photo from my grandparents’ wedding, pearls and a wedding dress angel. {A few of my aunts cut a section of lace from the bottom of the dress and made angels to give to each of my grandma’s 8 kids} We also put one of these angels in an empty seat in the front row at the ceremony as a symbol of my mother’s presence (who passed away).

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Borrow Special Pieces from Family Members for Your Something Borrowed

For my something{s} borrowed I wore my mother’s diamond tennis bracelet,

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my grandmother’s “K” broach (her name is Kay) and diamond necklace charm that says “Mom” on it, which was my mom’s too (hanging from the clasp on the braoch).

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And then I had my sister help me pin them to the inside of my dress right over my heart!

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Have the Most Special Man in Your Life Give You Away

My Dad walked me down the aisle and after a handshake and hug, he gave me away to a (very emotional) groom!

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Bring Your Dogs!

If you’ve been reading HNH for long, you know our dogs are like our children. It only made sense to have our Kemah girl as our ring bearer! Plus, only one of my nieces was (arguably) young enough to be a flower girl!

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Take a Family Time Out During the Madness

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness that is a wedding reception. Everyone wants to say hi and talk, which is great! But make some time to have a moment with your immediate family. My Dad, Sister, Brother and I had a “family meeting” and talked for a bit and then Dad said a prayer. It was a nice moment!

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Make Enough Time at the Reception for the Guests to Have FUN!!!

One of the most important things to us when we planned our wedding was for everyone to have a great time. We wanted the reception to be like a big celebration where everyone could mingle, dance, eat, drink and have a blast instead of being condemned to their chairs for the night with their attention focused on us.

I am definitely not putting down the traditional structure of a reception (introduction, first dance, dad dance, mom dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, cake, chicken dance, wobble, exit), but it just wasn’t what we wanted our reception to be about. It could be because we have been together since high school and have had LOTS of “us time”, but it just wasn’t that important to us. Annnnnd I am super shy (you’d never guess it!) and hate being in front of people.

We definitely did end up doing all of these, but we made it less formal. I danced with my dad, Anthony danced with his Mom, we just did it WITH everyone else. Anthony and I danced our first dance, but 30 seconds into the song, our bridal party joined in. We did the bouquet and garter toss, but it was quick and we didn’t schedule an exact time when it HAD to happen. We cut the cake and toasted champagne, but again, it wasn’t scheduled. We did it when we were ready for dessert! We also had Anthony’s best man and my sister (I didn’t have a Maid of Honor – how do you choose a favorite out of the 8 most favorite girls in your life?!) propose a toast…but we told them if they wanted to give one just go up to the DJ whenever they were ready (read: had had enough boos!)

My point is…leave a little breathing room! You will be less stressed and your guests will appreciate it. By doing it this way, we ended up with hours upon hours of free time for guests to hang out and dance their booties off. A lot of later weddings don’t have time for this!

I’m fairly certain everyone had a blast….

the bride, the groom,

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the bridal party,

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the friends,

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the silly boys,

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the girls,

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the parents,

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the kids,

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and even the Grandparents!

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This was our BIG special day, but we made it even better by making OUR day a day for everyone else to remember too.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed a few of my “tips” and may your wedding be as memorable to you as mine was to me!

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