38 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding (PART 1)

Close up of the Just Married sign tied onto the trunk of a red car at Brooklake Events in NJ

Photo credit: Studio KSD

You’re engaged! You have a date in mind… or maybe not yet. There can be a lot of excitement and creativity when planning and personalizing your northern New Jersey wedding to reflect your character, shared interests and lifestyle. Creating a singular event to facilitate and commemorate “When two become one” can be a complex vision, even in the culturally rich New York metro area. Some wedding couples find comfort and ease relying on established structures and familiar traditions. Others have found unique ways to celebrate with their personal twists on wedding day planning – out of the box isn’t out of the question for them.

Whether you’re more traditional or more eclectic, there are opportunities to influence tradition and add new ideas. Infusing your wedding with your personal touch can make a big difference in feeling that your day is created with just you and your new spouse in mind. Here are some ideas to jumpstart your brainstorm!

  1. Deck out a special car, motorcycle, bicycle, or childhood snow sled or scooter with flowers and decor elements from your theme. Arrange it near a floral garden or water feature — Brooklake has over 30 acres of lush and lavish landscaping — and prop a welcome sign against it for fabulous photo opps and conversation starters.
  2. If you’re using dinner menu cards to tell guests what to expect, add a little blurb about why you chose a particular dish, “Sea Bass — in honor of Steve’s love of deep-sea fishing,” or “Southwestern Station – because we met while both working at Moe’s!”
  3. Consider using a unique QR code on a placard at each table that brings guests not only to the menu but all sorts of other details about the wedding day – from the name of the band and playlist, to where you’re going for the afterparty. Electronic options can also save printing costs.
  4. Arrange an “In Memory of…” table with photos, collectibles, and other small items that honor loved ones you’ll be missing.
  5. Nearby also have a childhood table to introduce your younger selves and memories to guests who may not have known you back then, or find commonalities in your childhoods, such as when both of you attended your first sports game or sang in school chorus. Some photographers and venues, Brooklake included, can work with state of the art AV systems to project photos in real time at your event.
  6. Include songs that resonate for both of you throughout your day – not just your first dance. Talk with your music provider and have a song for many moments, one during your first look, one you walk down the aisle to, another for your introduction into the reception, another to set a fun mood for bridal party photos, and ambient playlist in the couples suites while everyone’s readying.

My husband and I got married at Brooklake in October 2021 and we could not have had a more perfect day! After looking at many venues, we decided to book Brooklake and work with Peter, their catering director, as we really felt he would help us with every step of the planning process. From starting with our table setting options to finishing with what color lights we wanted in the ballroom, Peter helped us make every decision. He thoughtfully provided a million checklists and ideas so that we were sure to have every aspect covered. Peter and his team did a great job of walking us through the day of as well, making sure that we didn’t miss a single thing. The food was delicious, the venue was beautiful, the waitstaff was wonderful – thank you for the most perfect day!
– Julie J., on The Knot

  1. Either, or both of you, can wear something (or someone) sentimental close to your heart. Secure a charm or pin inside a suit jacket or vest, or embroider a panel of a dress with lyrics, poem, the couple’s initials or monogram and date.
  2. What’s your something borrowed? Whether you’re re-using a special person’s toasting glass, hairpin, veil, or even bring your own meaningful chair for the hora dance – you create an intimate connection to people closest to you.
  3. Personalize your vows. This can be in addition to the religious ceremonial readings, or maybe you share your vows at an intimate moment the night before, or read them aloud to guests as a reception toast to each other.
  4. Showcase elements of your religious or cultural marriage traditions and customs.
  5. Invite guests to toast/roast/quote anecdotes sprinkled throughout your day. Your guests each have stories and memories that are unique, and help everyone get to know you both. Take advantage of them during the little downtime moments to capture your guests attention and to perhaps pass some time, such as when food may be served, or at the cake cutting, before traditional dances.
  6. Incorporate your tastebuds with your culinary team to include and showcase each of your favorites, tribute recipes of beloved family and foods that made memories. Don’t be afraid to jump off the traditional wedding menu (choice of meat, chicken, fish entrees, for example) and mix in flavors and presentation from your ethnic culture, newfound delights. The cutting-edge culinary team at Brooklake is waiting to work with you!
  7. Seating chart creativity – since it’s not something anyone goes home with or uses after they walk in the door, you can go low-budget or you put a spin on it and make your seating chart do double duty. If you’d like to cut costs a simple poster can suffice, or imprint or attach names to a small take-home gift, such as a monogrammed shot glass or keychain fob.
  8. Lighting/decor – Turn your initials or new married monogram into a radiant glow of sculpted lights. The looks are unique and enhance both industrial, rustic as well as more glamorous styles. They easily create instant photo opps and toasting spots. Prices range from mid $200s to $1,500 or more depending on the size, design and complexity, and internet resources are plenty.
  9. Scenery – can you bring elements from your hobbies, careers, how you met, an element reflecting a unique trait about where you grew up or live now? Are you a golfer? Bring in some clubs and a small turf mat for mini-putting.
  10. Signage – reflect your theme! Colors, graphic elements, name/initials, a style. Some couples use a professional wedding stationer to get the best results for personalizing the many sign options that welcome, describe, direct walking flow, set time tables, and explain foods and drinks for your guests. If you’re more of a DIY couple, incorporate photos of yourselves and make the signs memorable, giving guests a glimpse into your friendship and courtship.
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  1. Top your cake with unusual or traditional options. We have seen a tremendous range of cake toppers at Brooklake – our northern New Jersey bakers are amazing! From humorous to elegant… And the selection on line is bigger and more creative than ever. From timeless popular Precious Moments figurines, to extravagant fondant and sugar sculpture trends, to repurposing everyday objects into still lifes that reflect a memory of the newlyweds, mini fireworks candles and exotic foliage and blooms, cake styling and personalization knows no limits. If something special catches your eye, think about incorporating it into your cake (after a good washing, of course!).
  2. There’s so much more than white candy-coated Jordan almonds for couples who choose to give modern favors! Almost anything can be ordered in bulk or wholesale from the Internet. To get more personal think about what you both enjoy, what makes you laugh, perhaps, or maybe a favor can do double duty with your theme and some usefulness. Do you love to travel? Select graphic luggage tags that also have an inscription behind a flap with your wedding date and names. Are you sports fans? Gift coasters with your sports team logo. At Brooklake we often have couples combine gifts with table numbers, or welcome cocktails. Collaborating with your florist and your wedding venue culinary or catering team could also generate great ideas.
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An afternoon reading real wedding stories will bring many special ideas into your possibilities. Making them a reality without a lot of stress comes from an open partnership with your wedding venue event planner. Contact a Brooklake Event Specialist to tap into our years of experience and caring approach and create your most special day.