I am not saying that we had a radically unusual wedding. But we did have a wedding that was 100% us and as a result, was not the usual traditional wedding. I am making no judgements on other weddings because I think that whatever you choose to do for yours is awesome because it represents you. For Josh and I, we like things a little different and our wedding showcased just that.
Get Married on a Weekday
Why not? What is holding you back? For us, it was never a strange thing to get married on a Wednesday. At the time, both of us regularly worked on weekends so anytime that we were invited to be guests at a friend’s wedding, we would have to take that day off of work. So asking friends to do the same for us, didn’t seem like a huge deal. We chose to have our ceremony begin at 4pm so people could even get away with taking just a half-day off of work. Historically Wednesdays were the thought to be the best/luckiest day to get married so we also did well there. Often you can get deals from vendors for getting married on a weekday. There is less traffic for getting around. And, you can likely squeak by without having to buy that pesky park permit to do your wedding portraits at. 🙂
Fun Wedding Invitations & Colours
We had my studio-mate Jim design our wedding invitations. The initial draft was super wedding-like with subtle pastel colours. We quickly got them changed. We wanted colour and fun! We wanted the invitation to be a hint for our guests to understand just what they had to look forward to. For our decor, we had custom paper banners made in Mexico. Instead of sticking with a specific colour theme, we got them made in all colours. I loved the end result. Muted colours? Go for the bright ones!
First Look & Portraits
We opted to do all of our formal portraits, including family photos, before the wedding ceremony. The reason for this was to get them done and over with and to then maximise our time spent with guests. In my opinion there is nothing worse than experiencing an awesome ceremony to then have the bride and groom slip away for hours afterwards for their picture taking. Guests are then left to mingle on their own. I think that it breaks up the flow of the day. I prefer it when everyone heads to the reception together. When the bride and groom are there to interact with their people. It’s also a great time to get candids of everyone moving around, especially when you are doing a formal dinner. I also wanted to do a “first look” because I loved the idea of having that private moment between us (and the photographer!) before the chaos of the rest of the day. It was a fun time for us to actually see one another and to have a little chat (“Man! We are really doing this!).
We chose to make some fun wedding programs to be handed out before the wedding ceremony. The purpose of these was solely to give shout outs to all of our friends and family at the wedding. We wanted to give thanks to everyone who had helped with the wedding and we wanted to mention the main players of the day. We had said it all along, but we are the people we are today because of the people in our lives and we wanted to emphasize that importance.
My personal opinion of weddings is that they should be fun and that they should also resemble the couple. We chose to get married on April 1st and as a result we knew that we had to pull off a good April Fool’s joke. I blogged about the joke here but the summary of it is that we had a fake bride and groom walk down the aisle in place of us. It was fun and awkward and was totally us to do something like that on our wedding. And while we are there, Josh and I chose to walk down the aisle together for our ceremony. It took the pressure off of me doing it alone and it just felt better for us to do this together as one.
No Need for Cake
While I am a big fan of cake, it is a bit of a pain at weddings. Some venues charge a cake cutting fee. Since we were having a cocktail reception, we wanted to keep the food stations as easy as possible. As a result, instead of having a cake, we opted to have doughnuts. Why? Well, who doesn’t love a good doughnut? We also chose to have the doughnuts out and ready for guests from the moment the reception began. There is no need to hold back dessert when you have having a cocktail reception – have the sweet treats out and ready for anyone who is craving them.
No Kissing Game
I am not a huge fan of games at weddings to get the couple to kiss. Sometimes they are a lot of fun, if you have the right crowd. Other times they are quite awkward. Instead of having a kissing game at our wedding, we asked people to make a donation. We had a vase on the DJ table for this purpose. Want to get us to kiss? Put some money into the vase and we happily did it. The money then went to one of our favourite Toronto organisations – Renascent which facilitates recovery and rehab services relating to alcohol and drug addictions for individuals and families.
No Wedding Favours
Unless your wedding favour is something consumable, it is often left behind. Lots of money is spent on these things and it always makes me sad when I see the leftovers at a wedding. As well, at cocktail receptions where there is not a set seat for each guest, it is hard to make sure that everyone picks up their favour at the end of the night. Because of this, we didn’t really invest in doing favours for our guests. Instead, we had custom 1″ buttons that I had made of our favourite things (if you know me, you know that I am slightly obsessed with my button maker!). We put this vase of buttons on the guestbook table and they were just there for the taking, should you choose. It was fun to see the buttons on everyone’s lapels throughout the night.
We have all attended a wedding, I am sure where the speeches went on for maybe a little too much time. I love hearing wedding speeches. I love learning about the couples and hearing about the bride and groom from other’s perspectives. I have been known to be tear up behind my camera while documenting these moments at the weddings of others. However, sometimes these speeches run a little long and therefore, they take away from the party vibe. We opted to have the very minimal amount of speeches at our wedding. About an hour into the reception, my maid of honour spoke, followed by the Best Man and finished with a shared speech by Josh and I. They were short and sweet, went right to the point and once they were wrapped up, it was all about the party with no other interruptions. (Well, after our awkward first dance that followed our speech, that is.)
Photos in the Thank You Cards
We sent out our thank you cards exactly two months after our wedding. It was a simple card with a photo of us on the front. Inside the card, we included 4×6 prints from our wedding. The prints were nice candids that had been taken of each guest at the wedding and we thought that it would be a fun surprise. In our card, we also included a link to a full gallery of our wedding photos. I know that I have been a guest at many weddings where afterwards, I barely get to see a photo from it. I thought that it was important to share our photos should people want to see them (and let’s be honest, I know that everyone is secretly just looking for photos of themselves which is 100% fair!). (Sidenote, if you are reading this and want to creep our wedding photos, shoot me an email and I will happily share the link.) Everyone has loved receiving the cards and I was told that “only a photographer would think of that”.
My best wedding advice is to do what suits you as a couple for your wedding. Make it your own and do what feels right. If you do that, and follow your heart, you will have no regrets in your choices. Make it one of the best days of your life and have a blast along the way!
Photos by Rebecca Wood & Jennifer Rowsom.