Luke and I love to plan and host events and at these events we feel it is important that people are comfortable being themselves. When planning our wedding, it was just as important that our friends and family felt welcomed, like they belonged, they were home. But how do you make a wedding venue feel like home? In the family heirlooms, the personal crafted gifts, or the framed pictures of significant moments. Here’s what we did:
We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. Taking that to heart, we let several frames placed throughout our wedding space tell stories for us. Borrowing mismatched frames from family, we printed pictures highlighting significant moments while we were dating. Moments that display our interests, values, and the type of events that marked our relationship. Such as a picture of us on a morning kayak venture on Yellowstone Lake, or a snapshot from our MA graduation. Pictures as simple as these showed guests our love for being outdoors and time with our families or our how we shared in celebrating and encouraging each other’s personal goals and accomplishments.
For those guests who didn’t know our story well (or knew only one of us) these pictures provided an opportunity to glimpse into our relationship and personalities. Our wedding venue had an outdoor fireplace with a natural stone mantel perfect for placing these snapshots where guests could notice them as they warmed up by the fire.
Heirlooms are valued items or memories passed down from one generation to another. For us this is not confined to physical trinkets. I requested a framed picture from Luke’s parent’s wedding, collected one from my parents as well, then placed both on either side of an engagement photo of Luke and I on the guest book table.
These pictures signified and celebrated a great heirloom passed down to us: strong marriages; a relational heritage we plan on continuing. To guests viewing this memories it was clear: Luke and I valued our wedding day as the celebration of two families permanently becoming one with our marriage.
Memory scraps and well wishes: the guest book
I gave my maid of honor, a talented scrapbooker, creative license to make my guest book. She bought a picture album and filled it with engagement shoot snapshots. When I told Luke about this he came to me with an additional idea. Handing me an old hiking boot box (the contents of which he had been keeping a secret), he told me he thought it (whatever it was) might be helpful for the scrap/guestbook. My mom and I were shocked when we opened it to find concert tickets, our school ID cards, amusement park passes, movie stubs, and metro passes memorabilia present from our first date to the weekend we got engaged.
So while the bridal party was doing their photo shoot, guests wandering the terrace took cards and pens from a mason jar and wrote personal well wishes to Luke and I, which later were fitted into the spare photo sleeve slots. As they wrote, guests flipped through pictures from our engagement shoot and saw glimpses into our dating life.
Framing the Reception:
Since heritage and pictures were central to our wedding, we continued the framed theme throughout the reception space. This included the table numbers, favor dessert bar instructions, and the guest seating chart table, all displayed in an eclectic collection of vintage frames.
Personal crafted gifts:
In other blog posts I have highlighted my families personal talents such as: upholstery see sleep after marriage . . . , woodworking see happy father’s day, and quilting see happy mother’s day . In addition to these hobbies my mother also avidly crochets. So to highlight my mom’s work, like you would in your own home, we made crochet doily runners for the guest book table, the guest seating chart table, and welcome/gift/program table.
The venue also provided us with a few comfy couches facing the dance floor. To personalize the space I asked my mom to bring two of her homemade crocheted afghans to the wedding. She topped this off by making some neutral toned pillows. Between the pillows and blankets these couches were very popular lounging spots for guests to cuddle up on during the crisp fall night reception.
Being surrounded by items familiar to me on such an important yet stressful day provided me with confidence and a peace reminding me I was surrounded by a great collection of family and friends who cared about me and about us as a couple.
If you are wanting to make your wedding venue comfortable and welcoming think about your hobbies, talents, interests, values, personality, or interests. What physical objects or pictures could say better than words these concepts to your friends and family? These small items are usually not expensive and although they may require digging up an old photo, visiting an old candy shop, antique store, or digging a box out of the attic they may help make your venue feel like home on your special day.