We teamed up with our talented friends at Party of Two Photography to formulate a list of ways to make your wedding day truly unique to YOU. The following list exemplifies some of the sentimental and innovative ideas Jess and Kim have experienced throughout their photography careers. And, Hannah and I cannot express enough excitement over the creativity our clients and vendors, alike, often bring to our attention.
We are the kind of vendors who want the theme of your event to reflect the most important part: YOU. If you like what you’re about to read and want even more creative and fun ideas, don’t hesitate to contact Party of Two for all your picture-worthy moments. And, let us at Queen City Planners worry about all the details!
As wedding photographers, we’ve seen some really cool ideas, from non-traditional timelines and personalized details, to epic dancefloor take overs. Your wedding should ultimately reflect you and your fiancé’s personalities, but we wanted to share some of the awesome things we’ve encountered to help get your creative juices flowing!
1. Ceremony in the Round
Ever been to a wedding ceremony where it can be hard to see the couple, unless you happen to be lucky enough to get an aisle seat? Yeah, us too. But what if everyone had a relatively similar view? One of our couples knew they didn’t care about splitting sides and they wanted to make sure all of their guests could equally enjoy their ceremony. So, they planned a ceremony in the round! If you haven’t heard of this or aren’t able to guess via context clues, chairs at the ceremony are arranged in a circle surrounding the couple! Not only is this great for your guests, but it’s also great for your photographers because it allows us to capture an even greater variety of perspectives of your ceremony. Not so sure about a 360°? Try a semi-circle!
2. Meaningful Desserts That Aren’t Cake
We love it when couples make their first dessert as newlyweds something personal! Maybe one of you hates cake, so you order from your favorite local donut shop. Maybe you have Pittsburg roots and have a cookie table (yep, you heard that right! A whole table of cookies made by the family). Or maybe you have an old family recipe that brings back all of the nostalgia. We’ve seen all of these, but our favorite was when the groom personally baked his grandmother’s chess pie recipe. All the guests were treated to cupcakes, but the couple was able to thoroughly enjoy their own meaningful experience.
3. First Look With Bridesmaids
Everyone is always so excited to see the bride all dressed up on her wedding day, especially those closest to her. We’ve seen more and more brides lately doing a first look with their bridesmaids. How this works is we have either a family member or just one bridesmaid help the bride into her dress while the other ladies wait in another room. As a two-photographer team, one of us stays with the bride and the other gets ready to capture the reactions of her bridesmaids. The reactions to the reveal are always so much fun and sometimes can get a little emotional. It’s a great way to share your experience with those most important to you and have another amazing memory from the day.
4. First Look With Dad/Parents
Even more than your friends, your parents have likely been looking forward to your wedding day since before you got engaged. Their babies are all grown up and starting a new life together! While the tradition of the father “giving away” the bride is antiquated, many Fathers of the Bride still feel a sense of losing their little girl, so a first look with dad/dads/parents can be a wonderful way to have a special intimate moment with them on your wedding day. Sometimes this is done instead of a first look with the groom, but it doesn’t have to be. The groom may choose to have a moment with his parents as well. Sometimes our couples will use this as an opportunity to give gifts to their parents as a thank you for supporting them for the wedding and/or their new relationship. However, you choose to do it, these moments are raw, emotional, authentic, and make for some amazing images with you and your family.
5. A Two-Day Affair
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, so what if you split it up!? Who says you have to legally be married on the same day you dance the night away with your family and friends? More and more, couples are choosing this middle ground (especially with COVID these days) where they have a small intimate ceremony with an officiant, two witnesses, and sometimes family, but then have a big party at another time with all their extended family and friends. This can be a big relief because you get the intimacy of a small ceremony without the stress of a big wedding day timeline. And with two days instead of one, it gives you even more time to take couple’s photos!
6. Unique Cake Toppers
What better way to show off your personality at your wedding than with a personalized cake topper! (Fun fact: The cake is one of the top three things most photographed by your guests.) One of our past couples were big fans of Star Wars. So, they had a lightsaber exit and a cake topper that read, “Together We Can Rule the Galaxy”. Another couple enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons, and the groom hand-painted two character pieces to look like them and their cats to use as toppers. For our own wedding, we had a topper that said, “Mutual Weirdness Forever.” You do you!
7. Drinks Before and During
As much as we try to pretend otherwise, we all know the ceremony is pretty much the most unexciting part of the wedding day. To combat that, one thing we’ve started to see is providing drinks to the guests before the ceremony. It doesn’t have to be an open bar, it could just be one flute of champagne, but it gives guests something to do with their hands and can improve the guest experience overall. At least, we’ve never heard anyone complain!
8. Pranks on the Groom (In Good Taste of Course)
Many people aren’t a big fan of pranks, but in some cultures, it’s actually tradition to prank the groom! In Indian wedding tradition, it is customary for the bride’s family to steal the groom’s shoes, and the groom then must search for his shoes and negotiate to get them back! But don’t worry, the time for this is always built into the day. Other harmless pranks we’ve seen are when a groomsman puts on a wedding dress to prank the groom during the “first look”, or our personal favorite, the bride hiding a Smirnoff Ice in her garter for the groom to find! Whatever you choose to do, just make sure your vendors are in on it, so that we can account for the time and be sure to document every single reaction!
9. Non-Traditional Flower Girls or Ring Bearers
Not everyone chooses to have a flower girl or ring bearer, but even if you don’t know any small children, you can still use these roles to include other family or friends in your ceremony. We’ve seen Petal Patrol (friends of the bride throwing petals), Ring Security (guys of any age dressed like Secret Service), Flower Grandmothers and, a personal favorite, a Flower Gentleman. Not only does something like this allow you to include more people in your special day, but it can also lighten the mood and break the norm. For example, as the bridesmaids walked down the aisle at our very own wedding, it was starting to get emotional. But then a full-grown man came prancing down the aisle throwing flowers and you couldn’t help but smile and laugh.
10. Party/Big Brass Band
We’ve saved the best for last. One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen at a wedding is when a brass band stormed the dancefloor! The groom (as well as many family members and guests) was a member of a Mardi Gras second line jazz group. So, halfway through the reception, the associated members snuck off to gather their instruments and then stormed the dancefloor! It was a sea of brass and people and energy. SO. MUCH. FUN! Later, the band also played during the couple’s send-off and escorted them in New Orleans’ tradition to a nearby bar (this tradition is called “the second line”), which they also took over! So, if you have any musical ties or regional traditions, think about how that may be able to be incorporated into your day!