One of the most overwhelming aspects of making wedding decisions is the judgement that comes from others. A common line of reasoning is “do it this way because that’s the way it’s done.” Well, times change and different types of weddings flourish in this age of individuality. Plus, you are unique and should have a wedding that reflects who you are and what you care about! For those reasons, you do not have to follow tradition unless you want to. Here are 25 non-traditional wedding ideas to help you plan a wedding that reflects you (the money-saving ones are from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook, where there are over 300 additional ideas and tips).
1. Have a family wedding–instead of the couple only–by including your children in the vows, with hugs and kisses all around.
2. Buy a wedding gown in your favorite color and put the bridesmaids in white.
3. Toast with a signature drink instead of champagne.
4. Have each set of parents give away their son or daughter to the bride(s) or groom(s).
5. Instead of “giving away” the bride, have each set of parents “take in” the future spouse. (Not literally, of course. They don’t want you living with them! LOL.)
6. Let your bridesmaids wear cocktail dresses with a color or style theme rather than those made specifically as bridesmaid dresses (some of the pins on the Bridesmaids Ideas pinboard can give you inspiration).
7. Let the guys wear suits, or shirts and suspenders with no jacket, instead of renting tuxes.
8. Carry ferns instead of flowers.
9. Make the bouquets from buttons, brooches, or paper instead of flowers.
10. Play music and have everyone dance as you come out of the church instead of guests throwing rice or bird seeds.
11. Go bareheaded instead of wearing a veil or hat.
12. Hold the ceremony someplace besides a church. (See 76 Unexpected Wedding Reception Venues for ideas. The ceremony can be held at all of these as well.)
13. Skip the traditional guest book and opt for a creative way to remember your guests–a thumbprint wishing tree or wishing rocks, for example (more ideas are in the Guest Book Alternatives section).
14. Set up a self-serve drink station instead of a full-service bar.
15. Instead of best man and maid of honor speeches, have those in the wedding party share their best stories.
16. Have groomspeople and bridespeople instead of -maids and -men, mixing genders according to friendships or relationships.
17. See each other and spend quality time together before the wedding.
18. Toss something fun, like bride and groom bears or candy, instead of the bouquet and garter.
19. Feed each other something besides cake–another dessert or favorite entree, for example.
20. Skip the tiered wedding cake altogether and have an ornate cake table with several single layer versions or other desserts.
21. Provide an empty, food-friendly favor box and let guests choose their own treats from a candy or food buffet.
22. If there are no obvious choices for a flower girl and/or ring bearer, omit them from the ceremony.
23. Make your centerpieces mini dessert stations and forego separate desserts and favors.
24. Have son-mother-in-law and daughter-father-in-law dances.
25. Have the wedding party face the guests during the ceremony.
Or come up with your own ideas to create a ceremony and reception that reflect who you truly are as a couple. Any aspect of the wedding, short of the legalities, is optional or open to your own interpretation.