Lacey Wedding Photographer

35 Ideas to Make Your Wedding Day Unique | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Customize your day, make it fun! Here are some ideas to make your wedding day unique!


1. Pay homage to the important details of your relationship… state you met, restaurant from your first date, favorite activity to do together etc by decorating your reception or cocktail hour space with details of these places.

2. Avoid some of the pre-ceremony jitters by getting ready together. Laugh and spend the morning with your love, then help each other get dressed. More fun, less stress.

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3. Go paperless! Send out electronic invites or use embroidered hankies or cloth for napkins, menus and invites.

4. Choose a colorful dress and have your bridesmaids wear white.

5. Select mixed gender bridal parties. Man of Honor and Groomsmaid have a nice ring to them!

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6. Opt for a non-traditional bouquet. Feather, greens, pine cones and dried flowers are all beautiful and unique. See some ideas for epic and non-traditional bouquets HERE.

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7. Instead of the traditional unity ceremony with sand or candles build or buy a clock and start the time on it during your ceremony. This idea is different and you can display the clock in your home.

8. Don’t let mom feel left out! Have both your parents walk you down the aisle. You can also have someone very special like Grandma or your bestie do this!

9. Skip the bridal party introductions and go right to dinner! This gives you more time with your guests and everyone is ready to eat by then anyway.

10. Instead of a head table for the wedding party, set up round or square tables in the middle of your guests. Head tables put the wedding party on display while they eat!

11. Decorate your tables with small custom items rather than large floral arrangements. Tall vases block views of the other side of the table and limit conversation between table mates.

12. Instead of having everyone line up for posed family photos, schedule 20 or so minutes to socialize with them. Laugh, tell stories, hug, pray… and have your photographer capture these interactions without the pressure of posed photos.

13. During cocktail hour support local businesses and show off your city by setting up tasting stations with local cuisine. Seafood if you live near the water, appetizers with fresh veggies if you live in farm country etc.

14. Toss out the idea of doing a garter and bouquet toss and replace them with a fun game that includes all your guests, instead of just the single ones.

15. Who says the flower girl has to be a young girl? Anyone can be a flower girl, so designate your granny, bestie or even your college roomie!

16. Set up a confetti bar and let your guests custom make little bags of confetti to throw. Dried or fresh flowers, flower petals, herbs, leaves, leaf confetti are just some ideas of what to include. Think biodegradable for easy cleanup!

17. Guest books usually end up in a box in storage, never to be seen again. Instead of a traditional book choose a more useful item like a wall hanging, picture or wooden puzzle to be signed.

18. Instead of offering your guests small trinkets for coming to your wedding, make a donation to your favorite charity in their name.

19. Create a scavenger hunt of items that can be found at the wedding. This allows your guests to interact more on your big day and have some fun!

20. Send a map and a list of “must do’s” for your city to your guests that are coming from out of town. This extra step will make your guests feel welcome and help them see your city.

21. Custom wine bottle labels are a great way to add a unique touch to your big day and the bottles can be saved as souvenirs by guests.

22. Have your best friends or parents create a trivia quiz about you two. This can be light and fun and get guests laughing.

23. Create a circular ceremony location with curved rows of chairs that go nearly all around except for a path to get to and from the center.. This way guests can view the ceremony better and you will be surrounded by your loved ones, literally. LOL.

24. Instead of a traditional cake or cupcakes, have a ice cream or sno-cone bar for guests to indulge in.

25. Another idea for dessert is to have a “family recipes” theme and serve desserts that are important and familiar to you. Display the story and importance of each dish and set out copies of the recipes for your guests.

26. Write a sweet message to groom on the bottom of his dress shoe. This will be a cute little surprise for him when he is getting ready!

27. Skip the buffet and go for a family style meal. It’s more personable an intimate.

28. Stack piles of cheese, olives, crackers, jam and other finger foods on large wood slabs as a unique way to display your hors d'oeuvres rather than on separate plates.

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29. Instead of tossing your bouquet to a crowd of single women call on one woman that has made a positive impact on your life and celebrate her with a few words and giving her your bouquet.

30. Serve featured cocktails! Each of you can choose your favorite drink and those will be featured as the special cocktails of the night.

31. Make each of your guests feel special with a DIY flower bar. Provide flowers, pins, ribbons and basic instructions to make corsages and boutonniere and let your guests make their own custom pieces to wear.

32 Set up a table full of items to entertain your smallest of guests. Games, puzzles, bubbles, coloring sheets and kid-friendly snacks are all ideas you can stock your kids table with.

33. People love options! A fully stocked champagne, bloody mary or sangria bar can be an amazing and fun addition to your wedding! For champagne you can include berries, flavored syrups and cotton candy. For bloody mary’s stock it with olives, celery, A1, shrimp, pickled beans and hot sauce. For sangria you can have cut fruit such as apples, oranges or limes.

34. Surprise your guests with and end of night food truck. Offer a few of your favorite foods to fill their belly’s and soak up any of the… uh..um, … liquid … sloshing around in their stomachs.

35. On a smaller scale, as the night is winding down offer a ‘midnight snack’ to your guests. Cookies and milk or hot cocoa are great ideas!

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Becky + Stu's Ocean Shores Wedding | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Getting married on a Washington beach in October when it will surely rain?? Sure, let’s do this!

The grey, cloud-filled skies formed the perfect stormy yet serene backdrop for Becky + Stu’s Ocean Shores nuptials. Cold and wind aside I loved every minute! I did however decide that I need an umbrella hat since I can’t carry an umbrella and both cameras at the same time!! That’s probably super nerdy but it’s totally going on my Christmas list!

Becky + Stu are a super laid-back, fun couple and I seriously spent the entire day smiling and laughing. Becky has this raw and authentic smile that just reveals what a genuine person she is. You can’t help but smile back, no matter you mood. Stu is witty and laughs with his whole being. It is easy to see why these two are drawn to each other and such a perfect match! Side note, Becky + Stu work with Oysters, check out the handmade Oyster cake topper, so unique!

After the ceremony the wedding party popped a few bottles of Champagne and toasted to the lovers! Soaked from head to toe we all headed back to the Inn to change clothes and then kick off cocktail hour. The Reception was held in a room in the Inn and was decorated in a beach theme with blue lights lighting up the walls, driftwood decorations and pictures of their travels on each table. Becky + Stu handmade candles, coated in sand as their wedding guest gifts! So thoughtful and different!

This was one of the most unique and fun weddings of my 2018 season and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. Such a lovely couple, so many smiles and a fabulous, moody beach ceremony!

Congrats Becky + Stu!

Ocean Shores, I can’t wait to see you again!


Venue: Shilo Inns Ocean Shores

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Wedding Traditions: Take them or leave them? | Olympia Wedding Photographer

Most wedding traditions date back to different eras and honestly, most people don’t know how or why they started. As times have changed and we as people have evolved many of these traditions have hung around and are greatly outdated. Whether you are a traditional person or not I encourage you to explore your options. Research the history behind wedding traditions and make your decisions based on that and what is best for you and your fiance NOT solely because it’s tradition. Some traditions are important and some are outdated, be bold and creative and maybe you’ll be the one to start the next epic wedding tradition. I think we are quite due for some fresh ones!

White dress - White wedding dresses became a thing in 1840 when Queen Victoria chose an ivory dress for her wedding day. Since then white wedding dresses have become tradition and are chosen for the majority of weddings. White also symbolizes purity and innocence which for many decades was expected from brides.

  • Alternative Idea: Colorful dresses - Who says you can’t get married in red? Queen Victoria? White wedding dresses are beautiful but for those who love to push the envelope and don’t see the need for archaic traditions then find a dress that suits YOUR style and not Queen Victoria’s.

Veil covering bride’s face - There are several reasons why brides started wearing a veil to cover their faces while walking down the aisle. The first is as a sign of ownership. The father was to lower the veil over her face and the new husband would lift it when the bride became “his.” The other origin to this tradition was to keep the brides face covered until after the nuptials so that the groom couldn’t change his mind if he found her unattractive.

  • Alternative Idea: No veil! Opt for flowers in your hair, a cool head piece or a tiara, ‘cause why the heck not! It’s your day, be a princess.

Diamond Ring - According to the American Gem Society diamond rings date back to Roman times when wives wore rings attached to small keys that showed ownership by their husbands.

  • Alternative Idea: Choose a colored gem instead of a diamond. How about your birthstone? Or your favorite color? My personal favorite is moonstone, I’ve worn a moonstone pendant for over a decade! I keep telling my husband I want to sell my diamond ring and get a non-traditional one cause I love this idea so much!

Large wedding party - Large wedding parties can be fun, but being in a wedding party can also put a financial burden on your closest friends. Some may even be nervous or embarrassed about walking or standing up in front of large crowds. Many times brides and grooms end up with large wedding parties because they have so many close friends and don’t want to hurt feelings by not including them. This can quickly get out of hand and end in HUGE wedding parties. Do you feel like you are in this situation?? See solution below!

  • Alternative Idea: Designate your set of closest friends and involve them in planning, getting ready, bachelor/ bachelorette party etc just like you normally would but instead of having them buy dresses and suits they’ll never wear again have them dress how they like and sit comfortably in rows close to the alter. You closest friends are still involved and there to support you sans the pressure of purchasing unnecessary items and standing up in front of a crowd. Personally I love this idea! I photographed a few weddings this past year that chose this route and it was low-key and fun. One couple called this set of friends their “dudes” which I thought was great!

First Look at the ceremony - Traditionally, a groom gets to see his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle to marry him. The idea of your groom welling up with emotion when he sees you is definitely appealing but lets visit how this tradition started. Many years ago when marriages were still commonly arranged the groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride before she walked down the aisle in fear that he would find her unattractive and back out of the marriage.

  • Alternative Idea: Do a first look! A first look happens before the ceremony. You and your love are all dressed up and ready to get married. Yet before you go walking down the aisle you get to see each other for the first time in a private little setting. We will arrange a quiet area for you to turn and see each other for the first time and capture those first emotional moments. Then we sneak away and give you a moment to breathe and just be together. BONUS: If you do a first look we can do most if not all of your posed family / wedding party portraits before the ceremony, leaving more time to spend with your guests!

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  • Alternative Idea: Forego the first look and get ready together! This leads to a more relaxed and fun morning and you get to spend every minute of your special day with your love. This is a growing trend the last few years and I’m digging it!

Newlyweds showered with rice - Rice is said to symbolize rain which is supposed to bring prosperity, fertility and good fortune…. but it’s also bad for birds. Below are a few ideas to symbolize good fortune in a bit more earth friendly way…. of course if you are getting married in Washington it’s likely to rain on your wedding day anyway, and nothing beats the real deal! HAHA.

  • Alternative Idea: Toss Bar - Set up a fun little table and let your guest create their own bags of items to throw. Eco friendly confetti, leaves, flower petals, flowers and herbs are just some ideas to add to your toss bar.

  • Alternate Idea: Leaf confetti, it’s just what it sounds! Use a hole punch to make confetti out of leaves. It’s biodegradable!

Bouquet Toss - The tradition to toss the bouquet and garter started when the bride and groom were trying to leave to go to the bridal chambers. They would toss them and it would distract the crowd enough for them to leave. This evolved into whoever caught them was supposed to be the next to be married.

  • Alternative Idea: Skip ditching your guests who some have flown across the country to see you and hang out!! People get married on their own terms today not to mention some guests may find it awkward to stand up declaring their singleness in front of the entire wedding.

Taking the husband’s name - This one began in medieval England when women were said to “become one” with their husbands upon marriage. This is another tradition that started when wives were considered property of their husbands.

  • Alternative Idea: Keep your name….. why not, it’s 2019. If you own your own business or are well established under your maiden name, there is no reason to switch your name.

  • Alternative Idea: For those anti-traditioners (I’m pretty sure I just made that word up) why not take the bride’s last name??? Never thought of it?? Hey, it’s an option.

  • Alternative Idea: Hyphenate! If you both want to keep your names but want the same last name then why not hyphenate them. I have some friends that are now the Scibelli-Jones family and before them I hadn’t considered this but I love the idea.

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XOXO,

Sarah

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Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful

Veronica + Joseph Tumwater Engagement Session | Olympia Wedding Photographer

XOXO,

Sarah

Like what you see? To see more please like Sarah Gonia Photography's Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest page!

Contact me today and lets document all those little moments that make life beautiful