Don't be afraid to bend the rules and reinvent tradition by putting your special mark on your wedding day. Here are some ideas to inspire you to get creative. If you're still stuck, start with the basics – where you met, where the marriage proposal took place, common interests you share and activities you do together, and your family heritage.

  1. Cover unsightly windows and doorways with organza panels to create an ethereal finish.
  2. If your reception is going to run all night, serve a light breakfast in the early hours of the morning. It'll be completely unexpected and greatly appreciated!
  3. Fairy lights aren't just for Christmas! Attach artificial fabric flowers close to each bulb to create a colourful and funky effect.
  4. Get creative with your wedding transport by matching it to your personality. Sporty: a sportscar or motorbike complete with a sidecar. Formal: a black stretch limousine. A double decker bus for all. Or be whisked away in a hot air balloon.
  5. If you can't decide on just one cake, consider having several different single-layered cakes rather than the traditional tiered wedding cake – serve this instead of dessert.
  6. Attach a personalized thank you note to each of your guests' wedding favours.
  7. If you have a sweet tooth, consider serving a buffet style table full of delectable sweets and treats. Fill glass bowls, jars and platters with lollies in your colour theme.
  8. Create a sentimental gift for your bridesmaids by handmaking the jewellery they wear at your wedding. Personalise it to suit each one's taste.
  9. If you are holding your ceremony in a garden during the hot summer months, have your bridesmaids carry Asian-style parasols down the aisle instead of flowers.
  10. Dispense with tradition by opting to walk down the aisle together.
  11. Exchange a red rose during the ceremony and vow to continue the tradition at each anniversary.
  12. Personalise your wedding bands by having the inside of your rings laser-engraved with your wedding vows.
  13. Turn the plainest of name cards into something special by attaching them to toothpicks and sticking them into foil-wrapped, heart-shaped chocolates; or cut out the name card in an interesting shape, put a hole at one end and make a bow with beautiful organza ribbon.
  14. If your reception venue is within walking distance from the church, have a bagpiper or flutist escort you and your guests.
  15. Put together a photo board to display at the reception venue so that guests can get to know you both a little better. Include pictures of each of you as children, teenagers and young adults, together with photos of the two of you during your courtship.
  16. Instead of the traditional wedding favour, give each of your guests an Instant Kiwi ticket… who knows how much they'll win!
  17. Arrange for a reliable friend to circulate at the reception and collect video messages from your guests. When you return from your honeymoon, you can view the tape and bask in their warm wishes.
  18. If you are wanting a small and intimate reception, but lots of people at your ceremony, you can make everyone feel included by serving champagne after the ceremony followed by the cake cutting.
  19. Ask a trusted friend or family member to take polaroids of your guests, and have them write a personal message to you on their photo, as a memory keepsake.
  20. Not only list your wedding party on the Order of Service, but include a short paragraph about their importance to you or a funny tidbit about them.