June 15, 2013 3:25:24 PM
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Personal touches in a wedding can take the ceremony from textbook to storybook, and they may even save the new couple some money.
"Sometimes the sentimental things are less expensive than the newest and most fashionable things, and they certainly make the wedding memorable and personal," said Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
While family and the commitment of a marriage are more important than the wedding event, many opportunities exist to make the ceremony personal and special, she said.
"A bride can express her individuality by having her attendants each carry a long-stem rose rather than big flower bouquets," Shaffett said.
Bridesmaids can wear differently styled dresses of the same color. This lets attendants choose a style that is flattering and reflects their personal style. When bridesmaids go less formal, the groom and his attendants can wear black suits rather than rented tuxedoes.
Susan Cosgrove, an Extension family resource management area agent in Newton County, said simplicity in weddings is a good thing.
"You don't have to do things the traditional way. You can use simple decorations and simple flowers," Cosgrove said. "There is a prevalent philosophy of getting back to the basics and paring down the excess."
Beth Bell, child and family development specialist in Tallahatchie County, said every aspect of a wedding is customized these days.
"The possibilities of having a personalized wedding are endless," Bell said. "It is the bride and groom's special day, and the wedding and reception should reflect their personalities and interests."
Some weddings have themes, although these are more commonly seen expressed in the rehearsal dinner, the reception or on a smaller scale at the groom's table with his cake.
"A theme is a great way to personalize part of the wedding celebration," Bell said. "These can highlight a particular activity the bride and groom like to do together, such as outdoor activities or tailgating."
Sometimes, personalizing a wedding ceremony also brings the cost down. Bell encouraged prospective couples to draw on the talents and generosity of friends and family with certain tasks. Artistic friends can help with invitations or decorations, musician friends can perform in the wedding or at the reception, and those with cooking skills can form a catering crew.
"Ask for help and utilize family members and friends with talents and access to items that might be needed for the wedding," Bell said. "Not only can this save some money, but it makes the event so much more personal and memorable."