Good-bye Generic…Hello Personal Touch!

Rayne at Ayers Hotel
Rayne at Ayer’s Hotel. (Dress by David’s Bridal and photo by: Bill Devlin).

Does the thought of buying something mass produced and “played-out” make you cringe? Me too! From looking at over 500 wedding dresses to dull banquet halls to the ordinary bride and groom cake topper, planning a non-generic wedding was bit of a challenge. Tradition is important…but so is your personal style. Like putting together a creative outfit, try to create an element of surprise.

For example, you can take a boring little black dress and make it pop with a certain necklace or metallic shoe. For the guys, you can take your black suit and add pizzazz with your choice of pocket square or tie. Your everyday item is now more interesting. Implementing the following tips will help make your gifts, attire and event more memorable.

  1. Decide on a cool location. Everyone loved being on a boat for the ceremony and reception. It was a four hour love and party fest! We were on a budget so boring banquet halls were on the “venue” menu. However, we would have had to over compensate in décor to make it fit for a wedding.  It would’ve been like wearing mom jeans and having to over accessorize to draw attention away from your pants. Matt, my husband, gets all the credit for finding Electra Cruises. It was pocket friendly and created a cool experience for the guests.
  2. Take something ordinary and make it extra-ordinary. Don’t just buy, take home and then use/wear as is. Add something that represents you to the ensemble. For example, to make my wedding dress have a slight edge I added an unexpected black belt. Depending on the dress you could add your favorite color gloves, wear a heel that is a hue from your wedding palette or cool cufflinks or embroidered pocket squares for the guys. For a cake topper, flowers are nice but a customized one is even BETTER. It originally had Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and other high-end retail stores. I had them replace the bags with discount stores…which are way more my style. I also had a goatee and side burns added to make Matt’s figurine more accurate. Why not add a personalized cake topper by  to your next birthday or anniversary cake?
Cake Topper
Personalized cake topper by Mike Graffia on

3. Engrave it. Gifts can be so generic and meaningless unless you put a little thought into it. I found these beautiful necklaces by Redhorses on I had recently been inspired with a quote “the key to happiness is love”. I wrote a nice card saying, “Thanks for being one of my special keys to happiness”. In my opinion, this means more than getting a flask with just their initials on it. It took time to get their names engraved and think of what else I could add to show how much their friendship means to me. When you think of your special someone what comes to mind?

Red Horses from Etsy
Bridesmaids gifts from RedHorses on

4. Add a unique twist. Get Loved Ones Involved. Have your mom, best friend, children or other special someone design something for you. My mom designed these charms years ago for her friends and wanted to give these to the guests. Her long time friend and jewelry designer, Silvana K Designs, made them. I love it when people come together to create something beautiful! Don’t you think these were better than bubbles? At your event what can you give or display that will showcase someone special to you?

Party Favors designed by Sharon Hagstrom
Party favors designed by Sharon Hagstrom and made by Sylvana K Designs.

5. Entertainment should be both heartfelt and ENTERTAINING. My father and his friend, Kevin performed an acoustic song that he wrote for us called Poker Wedding. He also wrote Dancing with My Dad, the father daughter dance(every dad was crying) and our first dance May I Have this Last Romance. If it’s not your dad performing/singing than maybe a comedian that writes personal jokes for your event or children(if they can sing) performing a song could be the “break from the booty-shakin’. The dancing the DJ provided was awesome, but my father’s songs are what we will cherish forever.

Wayne Hagstrom and Rayne Parvis
Wayne and Rayne on Sept. 13,2014 at Electra Cruises. (Photo credit: Bill Devlin).

We are still getting compliments on the evening. Take what we did and make it your own. We even added a few spontaneous jokes to the vows to the set the “FUN and FRIENDLY” tone. Happy planning!

What do you think? Tell me what's on that beautiful mind.