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  • It's YOUR day

    Traditions are great, but don't forget to make the wedding unique to you
  • Creative couples are adding special touches to their weddings to assure that their big day will be memorable for themselves and their guests.
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  • Creative couples are adding special touches to their weddings to assure that their big day will be memorable for themselves and their guests.
    It's all about the details, and some brides and grooms are going over the top to make their weddings remarkable, enjoyable and all about who they really are.
    "In our society, weddings are inevitable," said Veronica Alexandra, owner and lead wedding planner of Blue Ivy with locations in Boston, Los Angeles and Palm Beach, Fla. "People sometimes forget, but the purpose of the wedding is for two people to come together to say 'I do' in front of others. Weddings are not only a celebration; weddings should define the two becoming one."
    As a wedding and event planner, Alexandra "is hired to come up with crazy ideas" to highlight a couple's personalities and history and make those characteristics shine through.
    "If you have the time, guidance and inspiration, why not customize your own wedding to make it more special?" Alexandra asked.
    "There is always something special about every couple that can incorporate their personality into the wedding," said Felicia Gantar of Felicia Events, a Lake Tahoe wedding planner. For example, "I had a couple who were bike racers and loved to travel. So they had old-fashioned bikes at the beginning of the aisleway on each side, with baskets billowing with food as if shopping in Italy."
    Many of Gantar's clients choose to be married at scenic Lake Tahoe, with the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. Often save-the-date cards encourage guests to take a few extra days to enjoy the locale and all it has to offer. Days leading up to the wedding often include activities such as river rafting, horseback riding, hot air balloon rides and paddle-boat cruising on the lake. "The wintertime has just as much to offer for activities, too," she said.
    • If your wedding will include a few hours between ceremony and reception, consider renting transportation and taking guests on a city tour. Alternatively, if your wedding is at location such as a museum, zoo or aquarium, consider giving guests the option of taking a behind-the-scenes tour.
    • Add cultural flair. During a wedding that Alexandra planned between a Jewish bride and her Indian groom, friends and family of the groom surprised the bride and other guests with a Bollywood-style flash mob dance that they learned with moves via YouTube. In another wedding, an Asian bride surprised guests with dancers dressed in full geisha outfits.
    • Musical performances can take place during lulls in the timeline. In addition to a band or DJ to play during the reception, other acts can perform during dinner or during a break in the regular entertainment, such as an a cappella group performing a handful of romantic songs, a mariachi band, a flamenco guitarist or a celebrity entertainer hired for only a few songs, Alexandra said. At her own wedding, Alexandra featured an electric harpist who played Metallica and other heavy metal music.
    • Photobooths are extremely popular now and provide a built-in keepsake for guests, but there are other ways to impress guests. At one recent wedding, Alexandra hired a watercolor artist who worked from the cocktail hour through the reception painting portraits of every couple in attendance.
    • Comedic and innovative introductions featuring dance moves seem to be all the rage right now, but "you can also manipulate the MC," Alexandra said about one remarkable introduction she planned. "The MC announced 'Mr. and Mrs. Bob Smith,' but only the groom came out. He scanned the room looking for the bride. In the awkward pause that followed, one waiter started singing, who was soon joined one-by-one by his fellow serving staff. Everyone was looking around for the bride, and when she finally comes out from another entrance singing 'My Girl' along with everyone else, it was adorable. These things can sound cheesy, but if they work well, they're adorable and funny," Alexandra said.
    • For daytime weddings, there are plenty of ways to keep guests having fun, such as slideshows and customized games. Try and keep things light, Alexandra advised, and forgo the poems. Instead, have each table come up with one piece of amazing advice, which can be read aloud.
    • Alexandra has rounded up participants for a game of musical chairs, except she didn't use chairs — she had the ladies take a seat on a groomsman's knee. "It was funny because they didn't know each other, and the girls were all in dresses but had to move quickly. It was really terrific and very memorable. These activities are perfect for filling gaps" during the timeline of the event, she said.
    Alexandra and Gantar suggest being creative and trying to come up with ideas that reflect who you are.
    "My favorite one is, a couple wanted to have everyone wish them something special for their future, so they had a bucket full of rocks," Gantar said. Each guest wrote a wish on a rock, then threw it in the river so the wish could float on forever.
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