Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

Wedding Love : Diana Ma on Making Your Wedding Personal



Today marks the beginning of a week long series of valuable wedding related information, tips and tricks from some amazing New England wedding vendors. As I am away this week at WPPI in Las Vegas, attending the world's largest photography convention, several friends have graciously agreed to help man the blog for me! And in an effort to provide brides more knowledge and tools to help plan their wedding, I thought who better than to ask to guest blog than some amazing local vendors! To kick off this series, wedding planner Diana Ma of Diana Ma Weddings & Events will be sharing some tips and tricks on how to make your wedding day personal. It's all in the details folks, and Diana shares how:). So without further adieu, I'm pleased to introduce Diana! Enjoy!

Make Your Wedding Personal. Make it about You.

Your wedding is a celebration of your commitment and love for one another! It's a day brimming with love from all of your nearest and dearest. It's about joy and laughter and family and friends. Your wedding is one of the rare times when it’s perfectly acceptable to have every aspect of the day be all about you!

So, go nuts and infuse your personality as much as you can!

Don’t allow the details to daunt you though. Personalization is fun… I promise! You and your fiancé will have a ball brainstorming silly and fond memories of yourselves as children, calling to mind significant milestones and the people who've shaped you. This personalization can also carry over to young adulthood and re-tell the story of how you met, your favorite pastimes as a couple, foods you love to eat, places you've enjoyed visiting and silly phrases and anecdotes the two of you share. Do you have children? Find ways to include them and make their roles significant. Have a son or a daughter escort mom down the aisle, light the unity candle together, sit together at dinner. For more inspiration on involving your kids on the big day, please read my own personal account here. Your wedding day is not a time to shy away from expressing yourselves. Celebrate your life as it is! Celebrate your life for what it will become!

On a sheet of paper list all the categories that you can think of where personality can be injected. Start from the top and don't skimp on anything in-between. My approach to creative thinking is writing down everything that comes to mind, without consideration to the constraints, blocks or how-to’s. Sky’s the limit, folks! A whiteboard also works great for this.

I’ve provided a few suggestions to get the creative juices flowing. By all means, please don't stop at just these! Remember, we’re thinking big!

The Wedding Web Site. A wedding web site is a practical tool many couples use to communicate details that do not fit (or are inappropriate) on the invitation. If you have not set one up already, I highly suggest creating one (my personal favorite is from: Besides information about hotel blocks, directions, shuttle buses, etc., why not include a little backgrounder on how you met, the proposal story, something funny/goofy about the two of you. Don’t be afraid to pack it with personality…. Just keep it on the briefer side. (And don't forget, I offer personal wedding websites to all my bride and grooms! -- Deborah)

Engagement Shoot. If you have not booked your engagement shoot early on, I suggest you get the ball rolling! What a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera (I'm talking to you, grooms!). Use the images on your wedding web site, include your most flattering shots as part of your save the date. Don't be afraid to visit your favorite spots and hang-outs. Having an engagement shoot helps you relax in front of the camera and by the time the wedding rolls around, being photographed will feel like second nature! Plus you'll have beautiful images to incorporate into your wedding!

Ceremony. Are you going non-traditional here? Take your time selecting readings and songs that are meaningful to both of you. Do you have a favorite author or poet? For my wedding, I selected passages with content very personal to who my husband and I are as a couple. We chose passages that reflected our personal beliefs and values. Our wedding party was small - just our two boys, so we made sure to assign readings to siblings and parents. This way, important people in our lives felt included and loved. A beautiful way to honor special family members or friends that have passed is to keep a lit candle in their honor. When the ceremony completes, you can have your planner move the lit candle to a special table in your reception room. That way, your beloved is with you all night.

Reception. Go crazy here, as there is an immeasurable amount of things that could be taken into consideration when personalizing your reception! Below are just a few suggestions.

  • Signature cocktail: Do you have a favorite drink? A cocktail shared during your favorite trip? Serve it as a passed during cocktail hour! And don't forget to create a sign to describe and display at the bar. Your guests will get a kick out of your sense of humor and silly story as they wait in line.
  • Favorite childhood snacks: Have your caterer prepare a few of your beloved childhood snacks (sweet, savory or salty) and offer them during the wee-hours of dancing! Or, have the caterer prepare bite-sized versions of your home-style favs to be passed during cocktail hour. Or, do both!
  • Music: Don't forget to consider sentimental or funny songs- from childhood or otherwise during the dances (father/daughter, mother/son), cake cutting or bouquet toss.

Other Details.

  • Candids: Don't be afraid to display candids of yourselves as children, as young adults and as a couple throughout the reception. Throw in some photos of your family members too! Don't forget pets- especially pets that could not be with you on the wedding day. A cute idea – why not hang uniformly treated photos from the escort card display as like a family tree?
  • Table numbers: Get creative with your table naming as well. Include your favorite activity/pastime/shared moment on the table number cards. It's a fun way to infuse even more personality! Just a word of advice here, if you pick names too obscure or hard to pronounce, include an actual number with the signs. Your waitstaff will thank you and perform a much more seamless job at serving your guests.
  • Bouquet: Incorporate antique jewelry or an heirloom handkerchief into your bouquet handle. It's a beautiful and very personal way to honor grandma.
  • Rethink the guest book: Why not make the “guest book” a fun way for guests to share advice! One of my past couples created two message in a bottle set-ups. One bottle requested guests to write messages or advice that the couple could read that night. Another requested that guests write messages to be read in 5 years time. Don’t be afraid to remix this tradition!

The care and attention you place in your wedding details becomes hugely apparent when you look through your wedding album. Witnessing your uniqueness as it leaps off the pages make personalization well-worth your time and effort. Besides your memories, the photos are really the only keepsake that will be kept with you forever. The actual day will be one of the most incredible, yet fast-moving of your life... seeing personalized details will help you savor the moments long after the day is over.

Best wishes and happy planning always! XO