For a couple looking to bring their love of books into their wedding day, but who doesn’t see themselves as wanting a rustic or vintage look, the task can seem daunting. Steph came up with the idea for today’s post – a take on a literary-inspired wedding that feels classic and elegant. Read on for her suggestions!
Back to school is upon us! As a teacher, I am knee deep in preparations for the upcoming year – bulletin boards, Target runs, and superhero themes are haunting me in my dreams. For Kim, it’s lesson planning and dreading getting up for her 8:00am class. Either way, we both have books on the mind.
I adore books. As a teacher, they are an integral part of my day. I start and end my day by reading a book to my students. I carry a book with me at all times (currently The Woman in Cabin 10 – thanks, Book of the Month club!) There are Harry Potter novels under my coffee table as well as on shelves over my living room TV. I’ve wept with Elizabeth Bennett, deduced with Sherlock Holmes, and hacked with Lisbeth Salander.
Here at Smartly Wed, we’ve seen many ways to include literature in your wedding. I, personally, am all for a Harry Potter-themed bridal shower (looking at you, Kim!), but striking the balance between theme and classic style is tough. We’re sharing our top suggestions (and an inspiration board!) today to help you bring literary elements into your wedding.
As with anything themed (or “inspired”), moderation is important – for example, paper flowers, book centerpieces, a book cake, and library card table numbers may, together, feel a bit over the top. Individually, however, they’re great ways to personalize your wedding day!
Photo credits, clockwise from top left:
Harry Potter cake topper: The Pink Owl Designs, Etsy
Horner Library: The German Society of Pennsylvania
Gatsby quote sign: Tidewater and Tulle
Book roses: DiddleBug, Etsy
Library reception (The Peabody Library): United With Love
Harry Potter ring book: Jesse Bodas
Rose petal toss cones: The Wedding Chicks
Book centerpiece: The Knot
Centerpieces and décor
Centerpieces are a great way to include books in your day. You can use books as décor on your table, either on their own or as the base for candles or flowers (just be sure your candles are in a glass that won’t get too hot!)
Quotes from favorite books or poems can be displayed throughout your venue, as in the image above. Calligraphy and metallics are easy ways to make this literary element fit with the rest of your décor.
You can use books instead of table numbers, or name the tables after favorite books or characters. To aid your guests in finding their seats, make sure the text is large enough to be easily read, and consider having a map of the tables near the escort cards.
While having your escort cards in old library card catalogs may be Pinterest-worthy, it’s not always very practical. Kim was once very grumpy about having to wait in a long line to pick up her card as guests dug through the boxes – with a small wedding, maybe, but with 300+ guests, it didn’t run very smoothly.
So, instead of using library catalog cards as escort cards, have your guests sign them with well-wishes!
If your favorite book has enough white space, you could use it as a guestbook. Kim attended a wedding where the couple chose their favorite poetry book and asked guests to sign near a poem they particularly liked. If that isn’t feasible, you could type up passages from a book (or books) you love and have it made into a guest book.
Full disclosure: There is nothing that upsets me more than seeing someone destroy a book. Dog ears, ripped pages or “book art” make my heart ache. But, using pages in lieu of flowers can be really beautiful. You could use book pages to make flowers for your bouquet (or, if you’re not that adventurous, buy pre-made book roses on Etsy!), or use pages to make toss cones for confetti or flower petals (a simpler DIY). Find a passage or pages that are meaningful to you to make it more special.
Kim’s note: Or, if you’re like Steph and don’t want to use an actual book, why not make a (hi-res) scan of the pages you want to use, instead?
Have you thought about engraving your favorite quote on the inside of your wedding bands (if it won’t fit, consider starting it on yours and ending it on your fiancé’s, or vice versa)? This also works for cuff links, necklaces, and so on.
Bring your favorite book along on your wedding day, and ask your photographer to take shots of your rings on a particularly meaningful page.
Kim’s note: This one is from me – I’m betting Steph is agonizing over her love of books and her desire for a Harry Potter-themed ring box! I adore this idea, particularly if you have a book cut to show a meaningful page. It’s a subtle nod to a favorite novel.
Books can be an excellent and unexpected favor for your guests. With a smaller guest count, you and your fiancé could pick out specific books you think each person would love. To make that a simpler task, you might pick a handful of books and then decide which of the, say, five books each guest will receive. Unless you’re planning to bulk order new copies of books, give yourselves plenty of time to scour bookstores.
Wedding Crashers showed it best: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson attended so many weddings that they could guess from a few passages that they believed would be read during the ceremony. I think 1 Corinthians (“Love is patient, love is kind…”) is as beautiful a passage as any – however, attending wedding after wedding and hearing it gets old quickly.
Instead, pick a passage that resonates for you as a couple. There are some excellent ideas about love found in modern (and iconic) texts that you can use instead. Personally, I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling (obviously) and Shakespeare when it comes to fresh readings for your ceremony.
Cakes present a ton of options for book lovers: use a cake topper with a favorite quote, have quotes painted on the sides of the cake, or be adventurous and have your cake made to look like a stack of books!
Why not have your wedding at a library? There are lots of gorgeous options in the Philadelphia area, including the Horner Library at the German Society, the Free Library, and the Abele Library at Le Méridien Philadelphia (where Kim is having her ceremony!)
Did you and your fiancé go to the same college? You could ask about taking engagement photos at the campus library!
Fellow bibliophiles, are you planning to bring books into your wedding? Have questions about including books? Let us know in the comments!
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