Many couples say they have a great story; they were high school sweethearts, met online, born on the same day, reconnected after 25 years. Does the most important day of your life reflect your unique story, or will it look a lot like all the other weddings trending this year?
Consider branding. It may seem strange, but think about what advertisers do. They identify what’s different about their product compared to all the others on the market. In the same way, your wedding is an opportunity to share your unique story, to paint a picture of who you are as a couple.
1. Who are you?
It’s true that you are, and will remain, individuals. But who you are as a couple is different. It’s defined by the combination of your personalities, the dynamics that manifest when you’re together, and the experiences you share. How do your friends describe you together? “They are such a fun couple,” “I can’t believe he found someone as nerdy as he is!” Do people associate you with a momentous event, something you both feel passionate about, or an unusual characteristic that each of you has? If you’re not sure, ask. Soon you’ll start to see common themes emerging. Choose one and run with it.
2. Identify a Theme
I don’t mean rustic, beach, classic, or modern. Think more about slogans, taglines, memorable lines from a movie. They are clever, to the point, unique, and unforgettable; “Wine is a little like love; when the right one comes along, you know it” or “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
What theme tells your story?
With the last wedding I
officiated, the couple was crazy about travel, specifically sailing. They had booked a sail in the Caribbean and decided to make it a destination wedding. Since the groom had proposed oceanfront at sunrise, the bride wanted to marry oceanfront at sunset (a watery alpha and omega). The theme was born. Everything from sunset colors, (orange, coral, yellow, and periwinkle-violet), to tropical music, (Where the Boat Leaves From), to ceremonial words (I now pronounce you co-captains in life) pulled the sailing theme through to make a cohesive wedding day, unlike any other, that very clearly defined them.
“In a magical place where the forest meets the sea” Another couple chose this phrase because the groom was an Eagle Scout, a huge accomplishment that shaped his identity. Camping was in his DNA. The bride lived on the seacoast and described the ocean as her sanctuary. The home they bought together was on a wooded lot near the ocean, and there they had their ceremony.
So the theme was geographically literal, but also romantically symbolic, as their two lives joined as one that day.
Save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, guest poster, thank-you notes, and couple cards (like business cards only more fun), emphasized the fairy-tale theme. Quality stock photos are almost free on the internet. But if you have the resources, consider designing a custom brand for your stationery.
Since invitations set the tone for any party, this bride decided they were an integral feature for their brand. Her maid-of-honor, an artist by training, painted a water color of a beach emerging from a clearing of birch trees. Two birds in the heart-shaped branches represented the couple and the sandcastle was a symbol for building their home together. Spraying glitter on the final product and choosing shimmery envelopes to mail them in further enhanced the magical theme. The sandcastle became a logo of sorts, and was repeated in the décor, accompanied by birch branches used in various ways throughout the tables.
If you don’t know any artists or your budget doesn’t allow, reach out to a local college art department to inquire about a student who may need a class project, or wants the exposure.
Words are powerful. The ceremony itself is the one place where the opportunities to use words to support your brand are endless. The key is to choose the officiant who connects with you as a couple, who appreciates your theme, and is able to translate your feelings and concepts into beautiful words that can quickly move a heart to both tears and laughter.
A customized ceremony is an easy and effective way to capture who you are and what this momentous union means to you, your family, and your friends. It most directly tells your story, and makes your wedding unlike any other. If you have requested a customized ceremony from your officiant, you should be able to review an early draft and suggest changes to make it feel like you.
So choose your officiant carefully. If needed, contact a few before making your final choice, initial consultations are usually free. Or ask a trusted friend, someone who knows you well, to make a recommendation.
As you watch television tonight, pay attention to the music that’s playing in the background. It’s amazing how strong an influence it has on emotions. If you don’t believe it, mute the sound and then watch. Nothing, right? Now, think of the music at your wedding as a score to a movie. How do you want your guests to feel? How do you want to feel? How does that music support your brand?
In one case, the bride was trying to select a song for her processional, but nothing was resonating. In fact, thinking of the traditional wedding marches was making uncomfortable butterflies flutter in her tummy.
So a friend of hers suggested having a custom song written just for them. They approached a local songwriter they were big fans of and he was happy to do it. He asked her to write down how they met, what their relationship meant to them, how they would describe their love. In a few weeks, he returned to play it for them. The deep connection she had to the music made her cry; she described it as profoundly moving down to her soul. This custom song branded their wedding, and their love, and would be theirs alone forever.
To make your wedding uniquely yours, start by getting your creative juices flowing. Think of who you are as a couple. What words come to mind? How can you translate them into a concept, theme, or brand that can be pulled through your wedding? Keep focused on this theme to keep your wedding from feeling disjointed, haphazard, or just like all the others.
Honor who you are as a couple and you’re guaranteed to have the wedding of your dreams.