How to Make Your Wedding an Extra Memorable Experience
74% of people in America prioritize experiences over things, according to a report from Experian and the Center for Generational Kinetics in 2018, so when you are planning the perfect wedding that you want all of your friends and family to remember fondly and reminisce about over the years, creating an experience at your wedding would be a perfect way to make that happen.
When it comes to delighting your guests at your wedding, we've seen a few things over the years and we've come up with a few things on our own that surprise the guests while making really great memories for everyone involved. Everyone expects you to toast the bride and groom or write a really emotional letter, but do they expect a surprise group photo when everyone is having the best time of their lives on your special day? Do they expect you to take the time to line out a hot air balloon to take them from your ceremony to the reception? No, but man does it make for a really great memory. So without further ado, let's go over a few of the ways you can make your wedding an extra memorable experience for your friends and family.
The Surprise Group Photo
A DJC original, the Surprise Group Photo is a pretty fun experience where we get everyone on the dance floor for a line dance. Everyone gets out there, starts dancing, and has a lot of fun doing the dance that everyone can get into. Everyone is relaxed and just worried about enjoying themselves with other guests and then bam! We stop the song and get everyone in a group photo. So rather than the staunch, forced smiles you might get when you ask everyone to get into a group for a picture, you get a lot of laughter and silliness that comes with being surprised with a random group photo. We love the surprise group photo because it gives your guests an unexpected memory that you can share with them for years to come.
Secret Last Dance
Have you ever heard of the Secret Last Dance? DJC has been doing this for a while now and it never fails to really add a sense of wonder, awe, and beauty to the wedding album. The secret last dance is when we wait until everyone has left the wedding venue to prepare for the couples' grand exit, and then ask the bride and groom to enjoy a dance, their last dance of the wedding, in an empty room, with no one watching. There are no expectations, there are no people to impress. This is a time for just the bride and groom to be together and enjoy a moment of their big day where they don't have to do anything else except being in each other's arms and soak in their love for each other. It's memorable maybe only for the bride and groom, but that's what makes it so special. No one else gets to be a part of this part of the wedding. It's just a wonderful time for them to imagine their future together and reflect on the whole day they've had together.
Have you ever had a group of your family and friends join arms and sing their hearts out to some really amazing song that pretty much everyone knows the words to? No? Not even Bohemian Rhapsody? Gasp! Allow us to change that for you! In this memorable event, everyone gathers in a circle with the bride and groom -- or while the bride and groom are in the middle of their friends and family -- and everyone sings Don't Stop Believin' by Journey! We can see your smile already! This one is always a great way to get people laughing and together and having an amazing time, while providing a once in a lifetime memory they won't soon be able to forget! Can you imagine your Aunt Ida and Uncle Joe singing with your best friends Kevin and Sarah from college? It'll be great!
Use a Personalized Wedding Hashtag
Many wedding couples are doing this and we think it's a good idea because it's a way to capture, in real-time, the images from the wedding that you can't see while you're elsewhere. By using a wedding hashtag, you get to capture the memories of others, as well, which is not something we were able to do even 20 years ago. We would have to wait for friends to show us their prints from the cameras they brought. Now, we can create our personal hashtags and collect all of those digital memories in one place, for everyone to see and relive.
Out-of-Town Guest Welcome Basket
(image from: The Knot)
For all of your out of town guests that may know nothing about the area, it's a really nice and memorable touch to give them a welcome basket filled with lists of places to eat or see while they are in town, along with things they can use while they are in town, such as a nice soap made from a niche soap maker with scents that match the wedding flowers, a postcard featuring the area, or local food/drinks from craft breweries or bakeries. Even better, why not list different places that you and your new spouse-to-be like to visit or places that mean something during the course of your relationship, adding little stories for each place. Not only will this surprise them, but it's a meaningful way to show that you really care that they made the trip to join you in your celebrations.
Have a Signature Cocktail or Tasting of Your Favorite Libations
If you're going to have cocktails, why not have a little fun with them and give your friends and family something to talk about. One way to really make your wedding an extra memorable experience is to wow them with libations that you and your sweetie have hand-picked because it's something you both really like. Developing a cocktail with a bartender based on the spirits you and your significant other really enjoy and naming it can be an experience in and of itself, but when you get to showcase that to your guests, it really adds a wow factor and something to talk/snap about (remember that custom wedding hashtag!). Don't enjoy cocktails that much? Create a tasting of a few of your favorite beers or wines that everyone can enjoy.
Have a Photo or Video Booth to Make Your Wedding Extra Memorable
Photo booths are definitely trendy, and for good reason: They create a really fun and memorable experience for your friends and guests while capturing those memories for later. Give them props that match your theme, or let them make up some photos of their own to share with you. You can give them small dry erase boards and colorful markers to write with and share quick messages in their photos, or better yet, set up a video camera in a booth so they can record and share a special message just for you two, that you can then ask your videographer to use in your wedding video. Having a few of these will certainly bring back the emotions and memories of the day while also giving your guests something to do during a little bit of downtime.
Make a Grand Exit
At every wedding, the entrances of each critical member of the family are taken into account and carefully captured "on film", but have you thought about how the two of you will exit your venue? We've seen a lot of Sparkler Exits, with guests all holding up sparklers in a line as the bride and groom run down the center. We've seen themed weddings where the guests hold out lightsabers for the couple to walk through and others have chosen bubbles. Think about how to make a grand exit at your wedding to make it a memorable moment for everyone, whether it's on horseback, or on a boat across the lake at sunset, make it special and make it grand and everyone will remember it for sure.
Have an Emcee Lead a Trivia Quiz for You
We think this is a really great example of how to make your wedding an extra memorable experience. Have you ever heard of the shoe game? This one is a little like that. While some couples are definitely into trivia and some aren't, this is a great way to get all of your guests involved in a game that -- working together -- they can learn more about you and your newly wedded bride or groom! Ask each table to become a team to come up with the answers, and depending on if you've already given your tables names (instead of traditional numbers), ask them to come up with a name for their table, just like a real Trivia event at your local bar. You can keep this short and/or even hand out prizes if you really wanted, or create mini "trophies" to give to each person at the table that wins.
Sit Down for a Family-Style Dinner
Instead of having the traditional three-course dinner where everyone sits and waits to be served, invite your guests to enjoy a family-style dinner for a more intimate and memorable experience. In this manner, all the food is served out of large dishes sitting in the middle of the table and it is either passed around, or guests ask other guests to help get a serving of what isn't in their reach. While still being a formal dinner (if you'd like), it adds a little more of a homely feeling by getting everyone together like one big family. With this style of passing food and talking to others, you're sure to have a conversation with everyone and memories for later!
Memorable Mass Transportation
Everyone uses limos. If shuttling guests from the ceremony to the reception or from a hotel is on your to-do list, one way to make the experience more noteworthy to your guests is to rent or borrow some unique and extra memorable mass transportation. Is your ceremony in a field? Can you get everyone to the reception by horse-drawn carriage? What about hot air balloons? If you can find something in your price range that will not only knock their socks off while getting them to the wedding hall, the reception, or back to their hotel, but will also tie into the theme of your wedding, they will probably never stop talking about it. Here are a few more ideas for you:
- Tractor Hay Rides for rustic or western themed weddings
- Party Bus for those that are ready to Parrrttaaayy
- Trolley for a little bit of elegance and old-timey class
- Helicopter rides over the city or landscape
- Ferry across the lake or water
But be sure that you also have something for people to do while they wait their turn. You don't want anyone to get bored while they wait for the extra special experience you have in store for them!\
The Flash Mob
Ah, an oldie, but a goodie. The good ol' flash mob. While these mobs get a bad name, they still grab people's attention, and it's even better when the people in the flash mob are people you know and love. A trend around the world has been to have the father of the bride and his daughter to dance their traditional father/daughter dance to a choreographed song that no one is expecting but think about if you were to get a small group of people to have fun with you during a specific song, out of nowhere. Family and friends will enjoy seeing the show you put on and you'll have an experience you won't be able to forget. And neither will they.
So, that's it! Those are 12 ways to make your wedding an extra memorable experience for both you and your guests! You can have a beautiful and extraordinary traditional wedding, but when you bump up just a few things to a new level, you can really leave lasting impressions on your guests, leaving them thinking your wedding was the best they've ever been to and give them something they'll be talking about for years to come.
Ready for your Secret Last Dance? Let us give you a quote for your upcoming wedding!