March 31, 2011

Make your big day memorable: take a leaf out of Ashlee Simpson’s or Simone Harouche’s book

It’s no secret that on your wedding day you want to be in the spotlight. You’ve spent months planning your dress, which blooms will make up your bouquet and penning your heart-felt vows.

But don’t forget that while the day is about you and your partner, it’s also about bringing together friends and family.

Keeping your guests talking about your wedding for years to come should be high priority for couples; here are some novel ideas to ensure it’s a day they’ll never forget.

Theme times

By far, one of the easiest ways to make your big day memorable is by choosing a specific theme.

When Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz tied the knot in 2009 they took their cue from Alice In Wonderland, weaving references of the popular fairytale into almost every detail, from the reception site to the food, drink and decor.

“Weddings generally follow more or less the same format, but a wedding which is really fun or interesting is one with a theme,” says wedding planner Rebecca Marandola. 

“You could go with an autumn theme if you want to symbolise a time of change, or if you want something truly unique try a circus theme, with juggling acts, serve hotdogs and cotton candy and have a kissing booth.”

Say cheese!

Having a photo booth is a sure-fire way to capture memories a photographer might miss. For an extra-special touch, outfit your booth with themed props that match your wedding theme.

Stylist to the stars Simone Harouche provided her guests with top hats and faux moustaches for her photo booth at her 2010 wedding to Marc Bretter, which resulted in some hilarious snaps of guests Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie.

Can’t afford the expense of your own booth? Arrange for your photographer to snap pictures of your guests in front of a customised backdrop.

“Be sure to send your guests a copy of their photo in your thank you note,” says Marandola.

It’s wine time

For the quaffing couple, skip the signature cocktail and host a wine tasting instead. Display your own top picks to make it personal, and hire a sommelier to introduce the wine and teach each guest how to properly cleanse their palate.

Have a laugh

Keep your guests smiling all night and hire a professional jokester to work the room. Whether they’re doing a stand-up routine or just warming up the crowd between meals, the right comedian will know what is and isn’t appropriate material for the occasion.

“A comedian could also serve as MC for the evening,” suggests Marandola.

Luxe lounging

With all the dancing and eating going on, guests can understandably get a little weary. Give them a quiet place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area.

Fill the space with plush couches and plenty of pillows to sink into. It's the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they're resting. Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.

Recent bride Talia Simpson says having a chill out area was great for tired guests and small children who were in need of a quick nap.

“We got married at a country club and our wedding planner helped outfit the lounge area so that it was really inviting for guests,” says Simpson.

“It was a hit! Most of our older guests who didn't dance opted to sit in there as well as guests with babies.”

A (surprise) routine

Take a few dance lessons before your wedding, but instead of the standard waltz, kick it up a notch by learning a sultry tango or a high-energy swing routine, and then surprise everyone during your first dance.

When Megan and Damien Bell married in 2010, they practised for weeks beforehand, getting their Dirty Dancing-style routine just right.

“It was so much fun,” says Megan, “we had our guests in stitches. I even did a big lift at the end!”

The extra touches:

As your guests enter your reception ensure a fleet of waiters are on hand to offer your signature cocktail. Colourful trays will ensure the dapper servers stand out.
Reception coming onto midnight? Liven up the party with late-night nibbles that will satisfy hungry reception-goers.
Holding outdoor nuptials? Create rustic, personalised wooden signs in your wedding colours as pointers for guests, such as “This way to cocktail hour" or "Wedding this way!”
Set up a personalised wedding website to give guests an insight into the preparation leading up to the big day.

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