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There Are No Rules! 8 Ways My Daughter is Personalizing Her Wedding



My daughter is getting married this month, and while some traditions are being upheld, we sat down at the beginning of the process and talked about all the ways we could make it personal. “If someone is coming who doesn’t know you- what would you want them to experience? What kind of impression do we want them to have about our family, God, love?”

In response to those questions, here are some of the ways the bride has made the day her own:

  1. Her brothers are involved in performing the ceremony. While still under the supervision of an ordained minister, her college-aged brothers will have memorable roles as they share their insight into marriage and their sister. Value reinforced: Family means everything.
  1. Charcuterie as centerpieces. With COVID, the idea of appetizers being passed around was precarious. Instead, she hired someone to make 25 charcuterie boards as beautiful centerpieces, so guests can eat right away while they are waiting for the wedding party to be announced. It is practical, creative, and beautiful. Value reinforced: Guests needs are a priority.
  1. Ditch the wedding cake. Some brides love a wedding cake, but this bride is not one of those. I told her to pick something sweet she’d love to share with her guests, and as a nod to her years living as a missionary kid in Mexico, a churro bar it is! Value reinforced: We celebrate our history.

  2. Uneven bridesmaids/groomsmen. When the bride and the groom made a list of who they wanted in their wedding party, there wasn’t the same amount. Instead of stretching or cutting to match, they will each have who they want up front and no one will care! Value reinforced: Our people matter.
  1. Napkins with conversation questions. As someone who grew up with “table topics” in the center of her dining table, the idea of facilitating meaningful conversation was important for the bride, so each plate will have a napkin with a question printed on it. Value reinforced: Conversation and exchange is important.

  2. Head table including the plus one. This bride had been to several weddings where her fiancé was in the bridal party and she wasn’t, leaving her to make small talk all night at a table with strangers. She told her bridal party they could have their dates beside them, making the evening more fun for everyone! Value reinforced: People before appearance.

  3. Birkenstocks as her footwear of choice. In the end, even if someone does notice her shoes, it will be for a moment, and give insight into the bride’s personality. The tradeoff is feet who are willing to walk all over the venue greeting guests, and still feel good enough for dancing! Value reinforced: Originality and fun.
  4. The Father’s blessing. As a sign of our love, her father and I will read a blessing to her when asked “Who gives this woman?” It will be full of funny personal insights and the deep affection we have for her. We hope she remembers us standing there, affirming her person and her choices, while crying our eyes out over this new season. Value reinforced: Generational blessing.

The night has been long anticipated and we know will go by quickly. What will remain is an impression of the couple and the faith they profess. Family, fun, people first, blessing, conversation, celebration, and history -- these are what we most hope people remember.

We know they will forget all the other details we are refusing to stress about! Instead, we want to model being a non-anxious presence and a reminder the most important thing on this day is the union of two people God called to become one.



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Beth and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio where they serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. After graduating from Indiana University, the Guckenbergers moved to Monterrey, Mexico where they lived for 15 years. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, they have raised eleven children.


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