Great Real Wedding Ideas from 2012
The Year in Review
To celebrate the great nuptials we’ve published in 2012, here's a round-up of some of the most unique elements and details from this year's real weddings. And 2013 won’t disappoint: We’ve got weddings tons of weddings—from all over the globe with different styles and tons of ideas—waiting in the wings!
Many of the DIY touches at this California wedding were hand-sewn, including the ceremony programs, which were also rubber-stamped.
An All White Delight
Strips of fancy fabric adorned the huppa, and trompe l’oeil slipcovers transformed the venue’s chairs.
A Handsome Suite
Letterpress invitations were bundled in onionskin paper and twine, then slipped into hand-stitched leather envelopes for mailing—calligraphy and stamps went right onto the material. Coasters branded with the couple’s initials carried the look through to the reception.
For this couple, a wedding in the English countryside meant that lush landscapes and fanciful touches were a must.
This bride created the star motif on her ceremony programs and also used it on cocktail napkins and matchbook favors.
Bridesmaids wore feather fascinators with their custom-made sherbet-colored gowns.
A Special Surprise
Usually grooms surprise brides with gifts like jewelry, sweet sentiments, or small keepsakes. But this groom opted for a pair of dancing white horses, which flanked the ceremony entryway as guests arrived.
Invitations used calligraphy to evoke an Old World feel.
This bride’s friend had the flowergirl dresses embroidered with each girl’s first initial on the bodice.
Nautical met natural at this New Hampshire fete. Succulents, ranunculus, zinnia, air plants, rose hips, lemon basil, Andromeda, and snapdragon were used in the bride’s bouquet.
A Bold Bridal Party
These bridesmaids shined in sunny dresses, while the flower girls' frocks picked up the color scheme's every last shade.
A Special Location
Elizabeth and Matt returned to the idyllic orange groves surrounding their alma mater in Ojai to exchange vows. They wanted to be reminded of the time they spent riding horses and snacking on fresh fruit in this very location, so they included a life-size horse-shaped topiary frame filled with hay.
An Authentic Display
At this Martha’s Vineyard cocktail hour, the raw bar was set up in an old fishing boat. It was later repurposed as a cooler to house the beers during the afterparty.
A Pretty Cake
This cake’s exterior was modeled after the bride’s dress, but inside it was all about flavor: chai batter with hazelnut filling, and chocolate with Baileys liqueur.
True to Form
Honoring the venue (an 1930s concert hall), the couple’s friend handed out escort-card tickets from the box office.
A Gilded Bouquet
The bride's bouquet of white hydrangeas, ranunculus, rosebuds, and silk velvet poppy pods was accented with gold millinery leaves and tied with a blue jacquard ribbon.
The Perfect Shot
Instead of clapping or tossing confetti, guests were asked to fire off toy guns when the newlyweds kissed and as they walked up the aisle.
A Display of Cakes
Simple white cakes, some with ribbons and fresh figs, were displayed on a bookshelf.
A Special Charm
To showcase the groom’s love of fly-fishing, a decorative lure adorned his buttonhole.
The bride took many of the photos that became escort cards; the locations had special meaning for the couple, like Third and Long, a neighborhood bar the two used to frequent, and West 4th Street, where the groom proposed.
Take Home Treats
This bride and groom potted small succulents for each guest at their vow renewal.
A Symbolic Tradition
The happy couple sat by the "agni," a fire that symbolizes God's presence. It was lit before the couple joined hands for the first time.
Long tables and a hodgepodge of chairs were set up on the manicured lawn and patio covered with rugs for this wedding at the bride’s childhood home.
The path of the ceremony at this New York wedding was lined with river rocks, moss, and roses.
A Pre-Wedding Gift
This couple planned a hike with friends and family for the day before the wedding and doled out baggies of trail mix as an energy-packed snack. Each one was finished with baker's twine and a customized label.
A Ceremony Backdrop
An altar constructed of hanging white sweet peas and birch-wood poles was amid the towering trees of this California venue’s picturesque grounds.
A Festive Cake
Sugar peonies and the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” decorated the carrot, lemon-blackberry, and chocolate-raspberry cake at this New Year’s Eve wedding.
A Hand to Hold
This couple wanted to save their first glimpse of each other for the ceremony, so they held hands around a corner before the day began.
Scoring the Kiss
The couples' attendees wanted to do something special to surprise them, so a pal rounded up a dozen people to "score" the first kiss. When the newlyweds turned to face the crowd, signs proclaiming "10" or "9.5" shot up.
Art at the Heart
Rodin’s famous sculpture, "The Thinker," anchored the reception at this wedding in the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. Tables were covered with a mix of natural linen runners and silk cloths, and low centerpieces of air plants, succulents, cymbidium orchids, hydrangea, and olive branches.
Faux Flower Fantasy
Paper flowers climbed the sprawling oak that marked the ceremony spot.
For this Jackson Hole wedding, the groom’s dad branded oak rounds with the couple's initials for centerpieces.
Quite the Party
In addition to her bridal party, Lauren had what southerners refer to as a "house party"—close friends who help greet guests and get the party going. She asked each female to wear a jewel-toned frock, and gave them a large fabric flower pin. The bride made the blooms on her morning subway commute and sent them to the girls accompanied by heartfelt notes of thanks.
A Ceremony Sign
The couple said "I do" in front of road-sign letters with the reflectors removed, which left behind "cool circular cutouts," says the bride. So that the decor wouldn’t outshine the vows, only the ampersand in the center was illuminated.
Comfy Custom Decor
Pillows plumped up lounge chairs near the pool of this Miami fete and doubled as favors for guests to tote home.
This loose bouquet featured peonies, dusty miller, anemones, and honeysuckle.
A Novel Idea
Instead of bouquets, the bride collected books for each of her bridesmaids. Assisted by her mother and a friend, she decorated them with flowers and ribbon handles.
A Bespoke Banner
Rather than tossing petals, the flowergirls twirled beribboned batons and carried a banner bearing the couple's monogram.
Long tables, covered with linen runners, were adorned with small centerpieces of roses and peonies, and mercury glass votive candleholders at this Florida fete.
Stenciled wooden boards let friends and family know they'd come to the right spot. Other signs between the ceremony and cocktail-hour locations encouraged, "Keep Going" and "Almost There."
Crystal favors, in kraft-paper boxes stamped with positive affirmations, awaited guests at each place setting.
A Trio of Drinks
Servers presented cleverly named cocktails—Big Apple Bromance, Just Married Julep, and Marry Me Margarita—on lacquered trays.
An Above-Average Aisle
A bolt of fabric from the 1960s, found at a fabric store for just $1 a yard, was rolled out and fashioned into an aisle runner for the ceremony.
A Southern Tradition
Bridesmaids tugged cake pulls out of the wedding cake before it was cut—a Southern tradition that brings good fortune to single ladies.
A Seating Chart
At this destination wedding, guests located their reception seats by finding their names on the "key" to this vintage map reproduction.
An Italian Affair
For their destination wedding, this couple incorporated traditional Positano elements and bright colors in their stationery suite. Blue-and-white baker's twine bound all the letterpressed pieces together.
A stuffed teal parrot added pizazz to the communal dinner table at the villa where the reception took place.
This bride wore a head wreath of gardenia leaves, rosemary, and seeded eucalyptus, with a few white ranunculus and garden-snow spray roses added in here and there.
A Serene Setting
This couple wed under a structure covered with white roses and greenery.
Wine and Dine
Tagged with illustrated numbers, bottles of Chianti Classico acted as table markers for this Tuscan wedding. And, putting the fun in functionality, every last one was finished off by the end of the night.
A Draped Doorway
The venue's distressed silo provided a photo-worthy backdrop for this Wisconsin ceremony, and an arch made of old farm machinery and covered in colorful flowers served as an altar.
A light rain didn’t stop the pre-wedding photographs, which included some shots of the couple with their two children.
Something Old, Something Blue
This bride wrapped her bouquet handle with a dangling glass-bird pendant that had belonged to her late grandmother, as well as a vintage mustard-seed necklace that her mom had given her years ago.
Grapevines, twisted into wreaths and accented with burlap, were hung for a rustic touch at this Kentucky celebration.
A Unique Ring Bearer
The groom's "little" cousin (he's 21!) served as the ring bearer. The quirky twist on tradition was a fun way to lighten up the ceremony.
A square-tiered coconut cake was piped and decorated with leaves and diamond appliques to mimic the church’s facade.
This service took place on the grand staircase of a Chicago art museum, with the bridal party and immediate family witnessing from the landings and guests from the balcony. Because the venue was quite grand, decor was kept minimal—just two large floral arrangements.
Multicolored streamers added a festive touch to the celebration.
The sister of the bride carried a bouquet of thistle, delphinium, seeded eucalyptus, yarrow, and Queen Anne's lace. The bold colors of the flowers popped against the muted tone of her dress.
Wooden stands held glass bottles of scabiosa pods, astilbe, and hydrangea at this Colorado reception.
A 1950s bus transported guests to and from the church.
A Cute Announcement
The bride's nephew carried a banner proclaiming his aunt's imminent arrival.