38 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

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

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  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.
brooklake vista hair accessory

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.

Bride and Groom standing outside behind a heart sparkler

Photo credit: Abella Studios

You probably already know the easiest way of personalizing your wedding is to comb the internet for details and ideas that capture your attention.. Maybe you’d rather visit a local wedding center store in person in Morris County or anywhere in northern New Jersey and see what’s out there that feels like, you. On the other hand, many Brooklake brides and grooms have found if you start thinking early, and are open to the details of your life around you, the ideas will present themselves often simply and easily and actually be the most personal of all.

Here are 20 more special ideas how you can personalize your wedding – in both indoor and outdoor wedding venues. From flowers and favors to music and signs that highlight who you are – these suggestions will help you create lasting memories without complicating your already challenging load of details, with ideas for both indoor and outdoor wedding venues.

  1. Create a wedding arch for your ceremony and move it to the reception later for even more photo backdrops of you the couple as well as your guests! Flowers, balloons, natural leaves and vines, even sparklers, can all frame a rustic to a glamorous look.
  2. If you find a “mom and pop” shop with personal attention, you can tap their knowledge how to source more unique favors. Gift boutiques abound in the New York metro area, especially in the many quaint towns surrounding Brooklake, such as Florham Park, Madison, Morristown, Chatham, and Livingston.
  3. Have you found something ultra special and fun on Goldbelly, or is your hometown or reception venue town famous for something that will add great vibes for your guests? Coffee, craft brews, donuts, ice cream, cheese, pork roll (“Taylor Ham” in New Jersey!)… All can be incorporated into even the most elegant wedding… Bring in a surprise for your guests and have them share your hometown experience!
  4. Reuse your flowers. Contact a local hospital, senior citizen center, place of worship, the local school, rehab center… what’s special where you live or work, or special to someone you care about that could use a visual uplift?
  5. If your venue allows pets – Brooklake is a pet-friendly wedding venue – include your pet in your wedding day. You may want to designate someone other than the bridal couple to be the pet sitter for the days’ events. Consider a custom collar or leash for your dog, with wedding congratulations and your names and date, or a bandana or a hat that coincides with your wedding day wardrobes.

Thank you Brooklake for making our 12/11/21 wedding such a success! My family has belonged to Brooklake for many years, and as a kid, I used to watch all of the summer weddings from the pool. Little did I know all of the thoughtful work that went into each of those events. Peter and his team do not miss a beat. Our guests could not stop raving about how gorgeous the event space is and how delicious the food was. Deciding to have our wedding at Brooklake was the best decision we made!
– Victoria G., on The Knot

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  1. Bring your “get ready” time into a new level with bridal party gifts such as matching pajamas or fleece pant suits, robes and slippers or toasting glasses. Having some uniformity creates a simpler backdrop for these “behind the scenes” photos, while also giving your closest friends something reusable to remember the day. Pops of decor that feature your name, or married name, keep reminding you that this day celebrates the day two of you joined together into one new life!
  2. Step out of the ordinary and change up the music throughout your wedding events. You may want to be sure your officiant is comfortable with the music selections at a religious ceremony before going off standards. Discover new moments for music, too — such as a lullaby version of a popular song as you walk down the aisle, or preview your first dance by softly playing the song in the background during your first look. You can put a twist on a favorite song by playing several different artists’ versions of it, such as various covers of a Beatles love song.
  3. You can’t be everywhere on your wedding day. If you want to try and catch some of the action and emotion that happens away from you, put out disposable cameras for guests to shoot spontaneous moments. If you’d rather not wait to develop film after the big day, ask a few guests if they’ll bring their instant cameras to your wedding and let others snap some photos. All you have to provide is the instant print paper cartridges.
  4. Ask your photographer or AV vendor if they have the ability to project photos from the events as a slide show during the day. Many guests will get to see closeups that they may have missed from their seats, and seeing each other on the big screen will help show different perspectives and people in all their wedding day emotions.
  5. Are you having a ring bearer in your wedding party? How will he or she carry a ring, even if only symbolically? You can grab a little box or pillow off the internet for sure. Why not bring something from your family into the tradition? Do you have some special fabric that can be made into a pillow, then embroidered with your names and date? Does someone in your family have a special keepsake box that could be borrowed to carry the ring? Or a vintage platter that is a family heirloom? You can think creatively in even the smallest details.
  6. By using technology and social media for some of your wedding information you may be able to save costs and do things not feasible with printing, such as creating the dance playlist. Invite your guests to respond to an online survey with their song requests for your music vendor. Then, read the nominated songs on the dance floor and try to guess who submitted which song for a little added fun and games. Use a custom hash tag for your wedding and have guests use it when sharing photos on social media: #thefuturemrandmrsjones #mikeandbenswedding #preschoolsweethearts #celebrateryanandamber
  7. Create a QR code that brings your guests directly to your wedding web site or blog for all the pertinent details they need to know. You can share more on your digital invitations and post messages in real time and have a repository for all your information for guests reference and convenience.
    Tap into the talents of each other and your family and friends and incorporate something unusual into your wedding. Does the groom play saxophone?
  8. Have him serenade the bride as they enter the reception. Does one of the brides tap dance? A little improv to the tune of the first dance will make a personal statement and create a lasting memory for everyone. Maybe a relative is a whiz at Photoshop and has made a photo of the two of you into a watercolor and framed it as gift to your parents?
  9. Incorporate some party activities into the day’s flow, depending on your reception. At Brooklake, many couples have S’mores fun around the fireplaces in our outdoor wedding space. You can have a friend who loves trivia write a short quiz about the newlyweds for the crowd and play game show host with the microphone.
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  1. Give new life to old family jewelry, or a piece from your childhoods. With some love and hands-on craftsmanship, an old pin, a single earring, loose beads or crystals, or even a broken watch can be turned into a charm on someone’s shoes, used as a dangler for hand-held flowers, converted into cufflinks, or designed as the focal point of a headpiece or hair accessory.
  2. Keep something, or someone, special close to your hearts. Have your dressmaker or a seamstress embroider lyrics or your special phrase on the inside panel of your wedding dress, along with your names and date or your new monogram. Or, pin a small photo charm of a missing relative inside a suit pocket.
  3. As the mood of your day changes you may feel like showing your different fashion styles as well by changing into a reception gown or a “get-away” outfits. Clothes that are more dance friendly could free you up to move around and relax as you party.
  4. Write each other short love letters, and share them at your first look. From stone bridges, to rolling green hills, to beautiful autumn palettes, Brooklake boasts endless intimate locations on our property right here in Florham Park, New Jersey, where you can share your sentiments together and remember them with beautiful photos.
  5. Have your bartender create a “signature drink” for your wedding guests to enjoy. See our blog for inspiration.
  6. Invite a music-loving family or friend to curate a custom playlist for your wedding and move away from the traditional songs list. Share the playlist electronically in popular music apps, and maybe try to burn a few audio CDs for guests who aren’t quite digital yet

Bonus Tip! Have a favorite celebrity wedding, or enjoy reading about them? Find just one aspect of a real wedding story and make it your own.

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.

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