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Pictures speak a thousand words. In the past, wedding magazines were the traditional “go to” resource for wedding ideas with reception decor being one of the most-searched categories. While the method has changed from printed magazines to online searches, today’s bride is still interested in wedding trends.

Today’s soon-to-be brides and grooms search the Internet for inspiration in all aspects of their wedding. They pour over the content on Pinterest wedding boards, The Knot, Etsy and even Amazon, EBay, Kijiji, and Google Images. All of the time and effort can be used to their benefit. Couples can forward their finalized photo collection to vendors so that there is clear communication on the look, feel, and expectations they hold for their wedding day.

But keep one thing in mind: often the images you absolutely adore are photojournalism at its finest. They are shot in staged studios or are images taken at the weddings of the rich and famous where budgets have no limits. Here are some ways to have your wedding stand out and be memorable:

Wedding Theme

You can build your whole wedding story on a wide range of personal anecdotes such as your hobbies, how you met, favorite food or wine, or travel location. All of these ideas will help you create a theme for your special day. For example, a Tuscany theme can blend your favorite Italian menu, wine, and music selections, to an authentic color scheme. Or you can pick your favorite movie and build your invitations with a colour scheme right out of the film. You can design every aspect, from the cake to period clothing – to complete your theme.

Your Wedding Location

Your location can set the tone and be the base of the décor for your wedding. You could choose an art gallery such as Art Evolution; a theatre setting at the Jack Singer, historical buildings such as Fort Calgary and Heritage Village; rustic barn buildings at Wild Wild West; outdoor tents on a rural ranch; a mountain-scape in Banff; or a tropical beach in Hawaii. Each location reveals options for your wedding including food and beverages, décor, lodging, and entertainment.

Focus on Your Wedding Colours

If your colour theme is black and white, you can suggest that guests come in dressed in black or white. This makes your wedding more of an inclusive event. Don’t forget to take a group photo!

Incorporate Your Family and Cultural Heritage

Include your parents and grandparents as part of the wedding experience if they have come from other counties. as your family may still expect the Chinese Tea Ceremony or the breaking of dishes or glasses. Involving your family in some of these decisions will make your wedding that more special. Incorporating the items of deceased friends or family members into your wedding makes the day that much more special. Ask your florist to incorporate your mother’s broach or a grandfather’s medal into your bouquet design or groom’s boutonniere so that you can carry this item down the aisle. Include a small table with flowers and a photo at the ceremony as a source of comfort. Don’t forget to ask the photographer to capture these details.

Have Fun

Your wedding dress can be any colour you want or style. Do not be afraid to wear running shoes underneath if that is what you want. You can choose a Betty Boop wedding cake or the ever popular cupcakes. This is a celebration of your marriage and should speak of who you are in the world.

Framed Photo

Change things up. Use a frame around your photo for guest comments instead of the signing a registry book that will rarely ever be opened after you are married.

Research, Research, Research

If you want an outdoor Calgary ceremony, it usually rains in June, so make sure you book your tent as a back-up. Calgary has a strict fire code so you may not be able to add fireworks to your wedding. Be mindful of the full range of ages and distance guests will travel to attend the wedding, especially if the ceremony and reception are held in locations that are far apart. With period weddings, some guests will leap at the chance to wear a vintage tux, tails and top hat or a roaring 20’s dress, but some won’t. Offer alternatives but be understanding if participation isn’t 100%.

Creating a signature wedding sets your special day apart from all the rest. It is very doable but requires thinking out of the box, preplanning, and a little bit of creativity. Tap into your inner wedding planner and get started planning your dream wedding today!