1. Choose barware that fits your theme: Serving hard lemonade in Mason jars at an outdoor country wedding adds charm to the cocktail hour. Jars, Candle Soylutions; candlesoylutions.com. Straws, Party City; partycity.com. Coastres, Wallies; wallies.com
2. Collect photos of family and friends (easier with small weddings), and place them in frames with each guest’s table assignment.
3. Give a custom flourish to all your printed material with your own logo—an image that’s meaningful to you and your spouse, like a hobby or place. See loveletterslogos.com for ideas.
4. Surprise guests with a handwritten note in each place card (“Tom, thanks for flying in from Colorado!”). Got a giant guest list? Try a lipstick-smooch mark and a “Glad you’re here today!”
5. Depending on your style, tie the napkins with satin ribbons, metallic cording, braided leather laces, even pieces of twine.
6. At informal receptions, top cocktail tables with white butcher paper; supply markers and glitter pens. Tell guests to have a go at it!
7. Give each reception table a name (for example, “Richmond Avenue”) that relates to your courtship. Have a tent card on the table with a short explanation: “We had our first apartment here—a 6th-floor, 300-square-foot walk-up!”
8. Got a travel theme? Go the extra mile and use leather luggage tags (baekgaardltd.com) to hold the escort or place cards.
9. Traditional guest books often end up stashed in a closet; instead, choose a coffee-table book (rizzoliusa.com) covering a subject you love and that you’ll want to display at home; guests can write on the photos or in the margins.
10. Another guest-book idea: Leave a glass bowl with cards and pens beside it, with a note asking guests to contribute a favorite memory of you or your husband.
11. Invite your musically gifted friends to bring their instruments to the reception and hit the stage when your band takes five.
12. And if there’s a talented singer in your crowd, ask him or her to perform a song at the reception. (Limit your request to one song; it’s a wedding, not a concert!)