As a wedding photographer, I've seen some really clever ideas at receptions and ceremonies.
I love when couples do first-look photos with different people or have phone-free ceremonies.
Unconventional desserts and suggested dress codes are also super cool.
As a wedding photographer, I've witnessed countless celebrations and I'm always amazed by the new ideas and creativity that make each event so unique.
Here are some of the best ideas I've seen.
Couples won't regret having a private moment immediately following the ceremony
Wedding days can be so busy that there's often no time for couples to take in the fact that they just got married.
Because of this, one of the best things I've seen a couple do is sit down in a private area in their venue together immediately after saying "I do" and celebrating down the aisle. They just took a few minutes to reflect and soak it in before taking on the rest of the evening.
Live music with a meaningful twist is so special
I recommend couples have live music at their wedding, especially if the performer is a close friend or the selected songs are meaningful.
I've seen couples hire a singer to perform their favorite song while they walked down the aisle and have talented friends belt out a song during the first dance. It's a great way to make the music feel more special and unique.
You don't have to have cake at your wedding — there are so many unique options
Your wedding "cake" can be anything you want — what's the fun if you don't like what's for dessert?
I've seen couples serve chocolate-covered strawberries, ice cream, waffles, cookies, chocolate-dipped bananas, candy, and so on.
For my own wedding, we did a stack of cinnamon rolls in the shape of a cake.
I've seen a lot of clever ways to incorporate guests into the ceremony
There are endless ways you can involve your friends and family in the ceremony and I think it's a beautiful way of showing them that they're not just there to be witnesses — they are a part of your story on that special day.
Some fun ways of incorporating guests that I've seen include singing songs together, reading poems, or filling baskets with well wishes.
Having a suggested dress code can make for stunning photos
This one's for the couple who wants the ultimate aesthetically pleasing wedding photos.
I've seen couples put a suggested dress code with specific colors on their invitations, and it was the perfect way to create the most color-coordinated wedding pictures ever.
I've seen the happiest couples get married at a venue that represents them
If you love a big ballroom wedding venue, then please get married there. If you love hiking and that's a big part of who you are, then head to the top of a mountain and exchange your vows in the great outdoors.
I've seen couples get married under waterfalls, on the beach with water coming up to their ceremony arch, on the cliffsides of national parks, in backyards, at campgrounds, in temples, in churches, and other remarkable places.
The most important part is that the venue is exactly what the couple wants.
Cell-phone-free ceremonies are always a win for photographers
There is nothing worse than when a beautiful ceremony photo is ruined by someone with a phone in hand.
I highly recommend the couple has the officiant announce beforehand that there are no cellphones to be used or taken out during the ceremony. I've also seen some cool signs you can hang up that say the same things.
A lot of people don't realize this is a problem, so a gentle reminder is always a great idea.
I love when couples do multiple first-look photos with family and friends
Typically, a first look is when the couple sees each other for the first time in their wedding attire. I've also seen couples do first looks with other people and it results in the most beautiful photos.
I also love when my couples do a solo first look with their parents and the wedding party.
Video can level up the traditional guest book
A fun guest book idea I've seen is leaving out a self-service recording device or hiring a videographer to film your guests saying kind messages.
Video messages can be rewatched forever. And, believe me, put guests in front of a video recording and they will say the most beautiful, funny, and memorable things.
Disposable cameras should make a comeback
For my wedding, I gave disposable cameras to certain guests and had them snap photos throughout the day.
It was the best decision because I got back photos that represented the guests' experience.
I'd also suggest that you give the cameras to certain guests you trust so they won't all get into the little kids' hands too much (even though I still loved the handful of images from my 6-year-old cousin's perspective).
It's a great way to give your guests something fun to do throughout the night, plus you get even more pictures of your day.
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