I use the word unconventional a lot around here. But what exactly does that mean when it comes to weddings? Well, simply put, it just means you throw tradition to the wind and do whatever the heck you want!! Getting outside the norm isn't really a new idea, but lately it's gone above and beyond just first looks and handwritten vows. A lot of couples are now opting for unique locations, eccentric clothes, offbeat timelines, and much more. I often get asked for suggestions for non-traditional weddings, so here are some ideas and tips for planning your own!
*Just to clarify, I have nothing against traditional weddings! I firmly believe the beauty of a wedding comes from the two people saying "I do" to each other for life, regardless of location, decor, or budget. Whether unconventional or traditional, both are beautiful celebrations of love and should be equally treasured. This post is simply to provide some ideas and inspiration!*
HAVE IT IN YOUR BACKYARD
The days of country church weddings seem to be long gone, with gorgeous wedding venues springing up to take their place. But as many options as there are out there, sometimes it's still difficult to find a venue that suits your particular style. The solution? Have a backyard wedding and then you can decorate literally any style you want, along with having a cozy, home-y feel to your day. Backyard weddings can often require jumping through some logistical hoops (such as ample parking), but with some help from family and friends and maybe even a wedding planner, you are sure to create your ideal, unique setting. Annnnd if all else fails, just put string lights everywhere and it will look perfect. :)
COLORFUL WEDDING DRESSES
Just as church weddings have gone by the wayside, more and more brides are choosing non-white gowns. Blush, soft blue, gray, gold, and even black wedding dresses are gaining popularity, and they are equally as breathtaking as white. I understand the traditional significance of wearing white, but if white just isn't your color (especially if you're like me and tend to be ghostly pale), why feel pressured to wear it? Pick a color and style that are totally you and fit your personality, so you'll feel confident and awesome on your wedding day. And same goes for the groom: if a black tux isn't your thing, opt for a colored jacket, or even just a shirt and suspenders with no jacket at all!
FOREGO A BRIDAL PARTY
Now, this one is a bit controversial, because to so many brides and grooms, a bridal party is essential to their day. And I totally get it! Who wouldn't want to be surrounded and supported by their squad on the most important day of their life? But for the sake of simplicity or budget (all those dresses/suits/flowers can add up!) or not wanting to be forced to rank your friends, it's totally an option to skip having a designated bridal party that walks down the aisle with you. Instead, just invite your closest friends to hang out with you before the wedding and help you get ready.
"One of the sweetest non-traditional things I’ve seen at a wedding was when the bride had her only sibling, which was her brother, be her man of honor instead of having a maid of honor." - Wendy Bobarikin
LET THEM *NOT* EAT CAKE
Confession: I love wedding cake, but cake in general isn't my favorite dessert. If this is true for you, you don't have to have a wedding cake! Pick a dessert that is your actual favorite or has some significance to you as a couple (i.e., the dessert you had on your first date), such as pies, ice cream, or s'mores. Or if you're intent on having a "cake" of some sort, then perhaps consider a crepe cake? Or a pancake/waffle cake?! OR HOW ABOUT A DONUT WALL HECK YES.
BRUNCH INSTEAD OF DINNER
While we're on the subject of unconventional foods, let's talk brunch. Brunch is wonderful. Brunch is the best idea since I don't know what. Why not incorporate it into your wedding? You could either have a spectacular morning ceremony and serve brunch afterwards, or you could serve brunch for dinner at your evening wedding. No one ever said you must have a steak dinner or brisket at your wedding. Instead, fill your food tables with pancakes and coffee and croissants and berries and donuts and even chicken + waffles!
GET READY TOGETHER
I didn't put "doing a first look" on this list since those are quickly becoming the norm. But a similar idea is for you and your fiance to get ready together the morning of the wedding. This is certainly a far cry from the usual practice of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony, but let's think about it... So often the day of the wedding is full of stress, nerves, and anxiety. Think of how much of that could be relieved by spending the hours before your ceremony relaxing together, praying, drinking mimosas, taking cute selfies, and even helping each other get ready. You could still separate just in time to put your wedding clothes on, in order to maintain the special moment of reveal.
Most couples I talk to would rather skip traditional reception events, such as the bouquet/garter toss, line dances, and cake cutting, but end up keeping them out of pressure. And more often than not when that's the case, those events end up feeling awkward or rushed. So I say, it's YOUR wedding! Do what you want and enjoy the heck out of your reception. Skip those elements altogether and spend the evening dancing it out with your people, or come up with new traditions of your own! Also, don't feel like you always have to include all the usual reception dance songs, like The Wobble or Bruno Mars. Fill your reception playlist with songs you really love and songs you want to dance to!
There are still times when I have to explain to people what I mean by elopements, because there's still that old-fashioned idea that eloping is synonymous with scandal. But these days, eloping isn't typically done out of rebellion, but rather as a beautiful way for couples to keep their wedding wonderfully simple and deeply intimate. Many couples are choosing elopements over traditional weddings, and I couldn't be more in support of this idea. You can pick any destination, either your dream honeymoon spot or a local place that means something special to you, and have an intimate ceremony between the two of you. When there's no guests around, you can take as much time as you want, say all the words you want to say, and celebrate your first moments as husband and wife by simply being together. Then instead of going straight into the craziness of your reception, you can just go straight into your honeymoon. Can I get a hollaaaaa? And you always have the option of having a party/reception with your family and friends when you return home!
Really the most important thing to keep in mind when planning your wedding is this: it's YOUR wedding! If you want traditional, do it. If you want unconventional, do it. It's your day to celebrate your love, so make it a day you'll love to remember.
*For more ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest board Unique Wedding Ideas!!
Payton Marie Photography is run by Payton Wilson, a local and destination wedding photographer based in Oklahoma City. She specializes in working with adventurous couples in stunning locations, showcasing the beauty of this world alongside the wild love shared between two people. No destination is too far, but whether at home or abroad, she focuses on creating photos that are real, emotional, and unforgettable.