Wedding Guide: Make it unique

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— Cookie cutters are for holiday baking, not weddings.

That’s a point Steamboat Springs wedding planner Jill Waldman underscores to all her clients.

“You don’t want a cookie-cutter wedding,” she said. “You want one that exudes who you are, and you want to express that to your guests.”

There are so many components to weddings that it should be easy for brides and grooms to distinguish their special day from the pack. But sometimes it takes advice from experts like Waldman and One Fine Day’s Lindsey Grannis to get the creative juices flowing.

■ A self-described “foodie,” Waldman, of The Main Event, encourages couples to let their wedding cuisine be a vehicle for uniqueness. Setting up food stations and candy tables, and using food as decor, are several ways of accomplishing that.

■ Grannis says a number of her clients are opting for more casual, party-like celebrations instead of traditional sit-down dinners. She suggests creating a variety of seating options — round tables, lounge areas and clusters of tall bar tables — to help encourage mingling.

■ Most folks younger than 40 are familiar with the hit YouTube video of a couple’s choreographed dance entrance to their wedding ceremony. If that’s too extreme, consider a choreographed reception dance with members of your wedding party, as one of Waldman’s recent clients did.

■ Go green during your wedding by serving locally produced food, setting up recycling stations and using recycled paper for your invitations and wedding programs. Waldman and Grannis have worked with clients to use plants and even aspen saplings as table centerpieces instead of flowers. The centerpieces then can be planted in gardens and yards instead of thrown away.

■ Consider letting your wedding day benefit those who are less fortunate. Some brides and grooms are requesting donations to a charity or nonprofit organization instead of having guests purchase gifts.

■ Come up with a theme that is incorporated throughout your wedding. “Casual Western elegant” is a popular theme for Steamboat weddings, Waldman said. Whatever you decide, make sure the theme reflects your interest and background.

■ Rent a photo booth for guests to use during the reception.

■ Place a box of props — boas, hats, wigs and funny glasses — next to the dance floor to encourage reluctant dancers to let loose.

The ideas are endless. Thinking outside the box can ensure a wedding that’s fun and memorable for guests while representing the personalities of the bride and groom.

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