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How We Made Our Wedding Incredibly Personal

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

Planning a wedding made me realise just how sentimental I am, all the way down to the smallest details. We had so much fun brainstorming ways to add personal touches throughout our day and we're so happy with how things turned out in the end. The whole day is about you together as a couple, so I took full advantage to add in things that were special to us throughout the entire day, down to the last details. Today, I wanted to share some of those small details that even some of our guests may have missed!

THE DATE

Most people who know us know about our obsession with the 16th when it comes to our relationship. So when we were choosing a date, we knew it had to be on the 16th of the month. We had considered September, February, and March before finally settling on May, which was actually two years to the day that we met. Almost everything monumental in our relationship--except for our dating anniversary--took place on the 16th. We met 16 May 2016. We started dating (long distance, via phone) on 1 August 2016. We got engaged on 16 February 2017. We got legally married on 16 September 2017. We got wedding on 16 May 2018. I always joke Luke can just play it safe and get me flowers on the 16th and he's sure to hit a special occasion for us. Neither of us were born on the 16th (though I was the 6th and Luke was the 15th...so close), but we're confident that any future children we may have will do the right thing and be born on the 16th.

THE FIRST LOOK

I may have mentioned this before, but I knew right away that I wanted to do a first look, while Luke wasn't completely sure at first. Looking back, I think we absolutely made the right choice. We decided that during our first look, we would read letters that we had written to each other, and later our photographer suggested we do so back-to-back before we had seen each other. We decided on a structure to the letters--something about when we first met, something from when we started dating, when we knew the other was The One, and our hope for our future--so they would be similar, but still personal. I'm really glad at how we chose to do it because we still got to write something to each other on our wedding day, but it didn't take the place of our vows. (Even though the letters were in our Elmo Paperstories vow books.)

THE VOWS

One of the most important things to us during the entire day was that we write our own vows to say during the ceremony and that they be the same vows. Because our friend Tia, who married us, had never done a wedding before, so the three of us worked together to write the ceremony. It was quite freeing since we weren't stuck with anything we didn't want to include because of who was marrying us or where we were getting married, but it was also really stressful and quite daunting. Through our declaration of intent, our vows, and our ring vows, there was only one word that was different. During the declaration of intent, Tia asked Luke if he vowed to love and protect me and Tia asked me if I vowed to love and respect Luke. The difference came from a teaching at my church in Colorado about the difference in callings for husbands and wives. To write both our vows and our ring vows, we did a lot of research of traditional vows from different denominations of the church, and even from other religions and no religion at all. We took what resonated with us and what we connected to in order to craft the words our marriage would be built upon. 

I, take you, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. I will share my joy with you, that it be multiplied. I will share your pain, that it be divided. I will walk by your side as we journey together through life's adventures. I promise to live together in the holy covenant of marriage. I promise to love you, cherish you, comfort you, and keep you. Forsaking all others, I will be yours alone as long as we both shall live.

THE MUSIC

When we were first talking (texting, Snapchatting, etc.), we used to send each other a song almost every day. We called it the Jam du Jour. Music played a big part in the connection we formed at the beginning and still does in our relationship to this day. But it also made it kind of difficult to pick a song to dance to and other key moments of the day. We have a two hour playlist of some of the more special songs to us and we included each and every one on the playlists we made for the cocktail hour and then dinner. Ultimately, we chose two songs for the processional, one for the recessional, one for us to dance to, and one for me to dance to with my dad. 

THE BRIDESMAIDS PROCESSIONAL

We chose the song I would walk in to first, so we wanted to pick something that would complement it well. This was one of the first songs that I got from Luke and I remember listening to it (plus maybe two more) on repeat for an entire flight from Denver to Phoenix and then the entire flight back. 

THE BRIDE'S ENTRANCE

I actually can't remember when Luke sent me this song, but I immediately fell in love with the song. I think the reason it resonated with me so much was because it was back in the days of just dreaming of when we could be together in real life and wake up next to each other, and those days sometimes feeling so far away.

THE RECESSIONAL

We definitely wanted a bit of a jam to walk out to. We had a few options, but chose this one in the end because some of our other choices had weird lines or turned out to be about breaking up. Our original plan was to dance back down the aisle and for the wedding party to follow suit, but like two days before the wedding we realised we had never practised, so we scratched that idea. Our friend Pete who was in charge of the ceremony music timed it perfectly to start the song during our first kiss!

THE FIRST DANCE

This has always been a special song for us. I think we've both always felt like it captures our relationship really well. We always sing it together, except for one line toward the end that Luke always sings to me that says, I will beg and steal and borrow to keep you safe your whole life. It always brings tears to my eyes, no matter how many times we listen to that song together. While we were dancing together, it was like everything else melted away. It was just us and our song. I'll never forget that moment. It was absolutely perfect. (I only wish the line that says Something I've been meaning to tell you, 'bout three years and a day was actually 'bout two years today since we it was two years to the day of knowing each other.)

THE FATHER-DAUGHTER DANCE

I'll be honest that this was the hardest one to choose. My sister had the most epic father-daughter dance at her wedding six years ago and I knew I wouldn't be able to top it. They danced to Somewhere Over the Rainbow--and she even had the ruby slippers--but then it morphed into a Led Zeppelin song and the two of them just rocked out. It was unforgettable! And while there are so many songs and artists that I associate with my dad, none of them seemed to fit. In the end, I chose this song because we both like The Temptations, though I like them more than him, and it was the best one on the many lists of father-daughter dance suggestions that I could find.

THE FLOWERS

The flowers were the biggest undertaking for our entire wedding. I've mentioned before that we made paper flowers and wrote notes, texts, letters, cards, etc. on them that we had written to each other while we were long distance. Later, we also wrote song lyrics for the music that would be a part of our ceremony on some as well. It felt like the perfect way to honour how our relationship started and consider how far we've come. Our florist worked those paper flowers into the bouquets and other decor, as well as making the button holes for the guys out of a paper flower and some fresh greenery. We also wanted her to incorporate alstroemerias, my favourite flower, into the bouquets along with beautiful garden roses. Alstroemerias have been a special flower for my entire life, as my mom kept some by my bed while I was in the hospital as a baby. They've been a part of the decor for every major event in my life and my mom and I still give them to each other for special occasions. Using the paper flowers also made it really easy to save my bouquet and so far it's kept really well. Our florist also suggested we do the guestbook the same way, allowing guests to write on the petals, so we can save them with some of our flowers in a shadow box.

THE TABLE NUMBERS

 

On the back of all the table numbers, I added a map and coordinates of special moments in our relationship. We had nine tables, so I included The Meet Cute, The First Date, The First I Love You, The First Adventure, The Proposal, The Move, The Marriage, The Minimoon, and The Wedding. Looking back now, I wish I had done The First Home instead of The First Adventure. 

THE SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING BORROWED

I had the hardest time coming up with my something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. In the end, I didn't even have a something blue, so I'm claiming Luke's tie as my something blue. Whoops! However, my something old was a necklace that Luke gave me after we got engaged. The stone had belonged to his paternal grandmother and were given to her children and grandchildren. Luke's parents had been saving his for him to give to his future wife. My something borrowed was 14 karat gold studs that my mom let me borrow.

THE CUFF LINKS

I gave Luke cuff links when I visited him the first time after our engagement. The have the coordinates for where we met. Originally, I wanted to have one with the full coordinates for where we met and the other with the full coordinates for where we got engaged, but the shop I found on Etsy only allowed for one location. Still, they turned out perfectly and mark where it all began for us.

CHECK OUT MORE POSTS ABOUT OUR WEDDING:

Bridesmaids' Dresses: Weddington Way (US)
Cake: Amerton Cakes (UK)
Cuff Links: Tesoro Jewelry (US)
DJ: Benny Smyth (UK)
My Dress: Allure Bridals via The Bridal Connection (CO)
Engagement Ring: ROX (UK)
Florist: Penny Johnson Flowers (UK)
Hair + Make Up: Sam Larson Hair (CO)
Paper Flowers: Lia Griffith (US)
Photo Booth: Peter Horrox (UK)
Photographer: Brianne Haagenson Photography (CO)
Ring Box: Amonie (AUS)
Robes: David's Bridal (US + UK)
My Shoes: Hobes (AUS)
Stationary: Minted (US)
Luke's Suit: Next (UK)
Venue (Catering & Alcohol): Shustoke Barn (UK)
Vow Books: Elmo Paperstories (UK)
My Wedding Band: Ernest Jones (UK)
Luke's Wedding Band: LuxuriaJewelers (US)

This post contains affiliate links, so I may make a commission off any purchase you make through the link. Some linked items are similar to what has been shown.

All photos in this post, including the header photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.