You spend months (if not years) picking out the perfect venue, choosing the right dress, hiring the best photographer, videographer, DJ… the list goes on and on. With everything you need to check off your to-do list, it’s far too easy to forget about the emotional side of a wedding.
Adding a token from your parents’ wedding, exchanging love letters with your soon-to-be spouse, and creating guest books you’ll want to read over and over are some of the elements that make your wedding feel ultra-personal. Here, some of our favorite sentimental wedding ideas we’ve seen!
For Your Parents
Did your mom preserve her wedding dress? If there’s no chance that you or a sibling would ever wear it, ask if you can add a sentimental touch to your bouquet by wrapping a piece of her gown around the stems. Odds are that if she’s kept it for so long, she’d be honored to have you use it in your wedding, even if you aren’t wearing it.
You can also take a piece of your mother’s wedding dress and turn it into a necklace to wear on your wedding day.
And for a keepsake garter, use a piece of lace from your mom’s gown.
If Mom doesn’t want you to cut up her gown (understandable!), put it on display instead. Gather the gowns of your future mother-in-law and your grandmothers as well, if they saved them, and display them on dress forms along the path to your ceremony.
Snap a photo where you each hold up a photo from your parents’ wedding.
Re-create your favorite photo from your parents’ wedding.
Have a first look with both of your parents.
A sweet “something blue” — using one of your dad’s old shirts, cut out a heart and sew it onto your dress.
Gather your mom and grandma for this sweet shot together.
Embroider your wedding date into the hem of your dress using blue thread — the perfect “something blue.”
Or, take it a step further by adding your monogram as well.
Another fun way to use your monogram — embroider it on your veil!
Before you get dressed, your photographer will likely want to get a few shots of your dress on a hanger. Make sure your hanger is wedding-worthy!
Surprise your groom with an embroidered message on the back of his tie or on his pocket square.
Personalize your wedding-day shoes by stenciling your new married name on the heels.
Grooms can have some shoe fun!
Engrave the title of your first dance song inside your ring.
Honoring Lost Loved Ones
Attach photo charms of your ancestors to your bouquet.
Gather photos of your guests who can’t be with you on your wedding day, and display them inside mason jars for a unique twist on a photo table.
Add a photo charm to the groom’s boutonniere.
Just the Two of You
Exchange love letters in a location where your photographer can capture both of your reactions together, but you won’t see each other.
Spend some time in the weeks leading up to your wedding writing a series of notes for your spouse-to-be, to be opened at particular times (like on your first anniversary, after your first fight, or when your first child is born). It’s a wonderful way to memorialize how you’re feeling at a time when you can’t imagine being more in love with someone.
Re-create your first photo together!
Including Your Guests
Display family photos — past and present — on a special table.
Honor your guests who traveled from far away to be with you on your wedding day with this fun sign.
Pay tribute to the longest-married couple at your wedding with a special dance — play their first dance song with a dedication to the lovebirds.
Snap a precious photo of you and your flower girl, and save it to give to her on her own wedding day!
Put a personal touch on your flower girl’s dress by adding her monogram.
Who says there’s an age limit on flower girls? Ask your grandmas to do the job!
Include your dog in your engagement photos with a cheeky sign.
Your dog is a part of the family — show his important role in your wedding photos!
Snap a photo of the bridesmaids showing how they each met the bride.
Give each of your bridesmaids a clutch with a sewn-in message inside. After the wedding, they’ll think of you every time they use it.
For a one-of-a-kind keepsake, hire an artist to paint your wedding ceremony as it happens.
Craft a custom box for your wedding rings; not only will it look adorable when your ring bearer carries it down the aisle, but you can use it to hold your rings long after you say “I do.”
This incredible DIY aisle runner tells the couple’s story together, from their first date to the proposal.
Display your “love story” at the ceremony entrance.
Display “dating facts” along the way to your ceremony location.
Line your aisle with photos of you two growing up — start with baby photos at the back, getting older as you approach the altar.
We love this fun way to help guests get to know the bride or groom better! Create personalized cards with five fun facts about him for the bride’s guests and five fun facts about her for the groom’s guests.
Create a signature drink that appeals to both of your palates, and name it a portmanteau of your names.
Put the reasons why you love each other on display. After the wedding, hang these in your bedroom for a daily reminder of your love for each other.
Have one of your engagement photos broken up into a puzzle! Each guest can sign a piece of the puzzle, representing that they make you “you.”
Ask each guest to sign a scrap of fabric; compile all of the pieces into a one-of-a-kind quilt that you can proudly display in your new home together.
Place a booklet on each table with a prompt that guests can answer. Encourage them to swap booklets with another table once everyone has filled it out.
Set up a photo area, and provide a chalkboard and chalk for guests to leave you photographed messages.
Or, set up an area with empty bottles where guests can insert messages for you to read on upcoming anniversaries.
Incorporate the lyrics of your first dance song on your cake.
Dress up your wedding cake with edible photos of you two together.
Is your family known for a particular food item? Turn it into your favor.
Send each guest home with a potted plant — it’s a lovely sentiment because it’ll continue to grow as your love grows.
Or, give each guest a packet of seeds that reflect your wedding flowers.
At each place setting, include a special thank-you to your guests.
If you’re having a small wedding, make it even more intimate by writing out a personalized note to each guest. Bonus: The notes double as place cards and give your guests a sweet surprise as they take their seats.