How to plan a wedding that celebrates your unique qualities
There are a handful of incredibly special folks in weddings right now who inspire me to be better, and whose every word has me hooked. Essex wedding photographer Ross Willsher Photography is one of them. Grab a cuppa and take your time to read this heartwarming and heartfelt advice from lovely Ross.
Have you ever planned or attended a themed party?
For my 25th birthday my friend and I threw a joint party on the theme of ‘What I wanted to be when I was younger’. I donned my mask and cape and danced the night away dressed as Zorro. It went down so well we followed it up a year later with ‘My celebrity look-alike’ (big hair and mascara a-la-Russell Brand). No, I don’t still have the cape, yes I do miss the mascara sometimes!
I’ve been to decade-themed parties, sports-themed celebrations, black tie events and wonderfully informal gatherings.
Buy ‘Celebrated’ by Ross Willsher on Amazon – it’s beautifully written and filled with empathy, empowering and inclusive: highly recommended by English Wedding!
When it comes to parties, the options are endless.
So why, when a celebration is centred on getting married, do so many rules and restrictions still seem to dictate how we party and express ourselves? From the order of the day, to what we wear; call it a wedding and there’s a pressure to uphold long-held traditions that may not even resonate or relate to the love we are celebrating.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-tradition. I’m just passionate about your wedding truly reflecting all the traits and values that make you wonderful.
I work with lots of couples who aren’t necessarily rebellious in nature or have the confidence to stick two fingers up to society’s expectations, but who do feel like the weddings they see on blogs and at wedding fairs don’t quite represent who they are.
If you’re sat there thinking ‘That’s me!’, let’s explore how you can have a truly unique wedding without having to conform to norms or bend away from what makes you wonderful.
Start with You
Brainstorm what is you want from your wedding. How you want to feel, what elements will bring you the most joy, which traditions actually mean something to you. Do you have any specific needs that your suppliers need to understand and cater for? This could be accessibility-related, or needing time and space for quiet periods if you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It also needs to be said, that no element of wedding planning should come at the cost of your own mental health.
Never start by looking too closely at what others have done. Unique weddings are centred on your own personal tastes and preferences whereas ‘alternative’ or ‘unconventional’ weddings are often based on being different simply to make a statement and stand out.
Look outside of the industry for inspiration
I think that one of the reasons why other celebrations can vary so much compared to weddings, is that the wedding industry tends to be a little insular when it comes to inspiration. Wedding suppliers often to look to other weddings for ideas and trends, so we don’t see huge variations in the look and feel of the day. There is also a sense of ‘Well it’s always been done this way’, and a fear of change and trying something new. If you are someone that looks at weddings online and feels frustrated and ignored, look towards popular culture for ideas. Music, art, literature, films, and interior design can all be amazing sources of inspiration for your day. Pinterest hasn’t really shown me any outfit ideas I love for my upcoming big day, but the BAFTA red carpet really got my creativity whirling.
Hire a Celebrant
Whilst (at the time of writing) you will still need to have short separate legal ceremony with a registrar at some point, hiring a celebrant for your main wedding ceremony enables you to incorporate so many personal elements to your public vows. Celebrant-led wedding ceremonies can be absolutely anything you want them to be and with so many celebrants to choose from, you are guaranteed to find one who really understands what makes you unique.
It’s wonderful to keep an open mind and approach the day with curiosity. There are lots of services, products, and suppliers available that you haven’t even considered possible before. However, every time you are tempted to dip into your wedding budget, ask the question ‘Will this make our day more fun or meaningful?’ If the answer is yes, then go for it, but if you don’t really feel it will add to the joy of the day, maybe you need to step away and make sure you’re not getting swept up in wedding shopping or caught in a supplier’s sales-web.
Don’t be afraid to try new things
Whilst you should prioritise your comfort and stay true to who you are, it is OK to do something a little bit different on your wedding day. It might be the one day you wear bolder colours or brighter make-up. There is a difference between doing something because you feel you should and doing something because you’re excited to express yourself in a different way.
I hope that these tips give you permission to plan your unique wedding without fear of upsetting others or regretting decisions in years to come. Always remember that this is your day and that you are allowed to make decisions that speak to your true selves.
I’m proud to say Ross Willsher Photography is a member of English Wedding.
I recommend reading Ross’s blog for heartfelt wedding advice