If you fell like you want a non-traditional wedding, something special, we prepared for you a long list of ideas you can implement. Our ideas are sorted into several categories, stating with “Wedding Preparation” and ending with the “Non Traditional Wedding Reception”. If you are having hard time coming up with ideas, we strongly recommend that you check Etsy, which is flooded with creative solutions to all your problems
Wedding preparation ideas for Non Traditional wedding
1. Non traditional wedding invitations
Do something crazy with the invitations. You can use non traditional shape, or attach an item to the invitation. If you are having hard time coming with ideas, check Etsy.com which always have a lot of unique and excellent choices. For example these non traditional wedding invitations shaped like coasters with “free drinks” on them
2. Wedding rings
Forget the standard gold/silver rings which everyone buys. Also forget spending thousands of dollars on a wedding ring. From ocean inspired rings, to steampunk pieces, you have so many other non traditional choices. Just match it with your theme and pick what’s closest to your heart
3. Wedding transportation
Do you want to arrive in a very non traditional way to your wedding? Then don’t use limos and luxury cars. Everyone is using those, everyone has seen them being used for wedding. It is time for a chopper or a trike arrival. There is a large selection of trikes to rent from on Turo, for example this beautiful blue Solaris Trike in Los Angeles.
Non Traditional Wedding Ceremony Ideas
4. Get Rid of the flowers
Don’t carry flowers, but something less traditional. For example ferns. Or something your kids made for you, like paper bouquets. Or you can carry something completely else, something which describes you better. Are you into music? Carry electric guitar. Be unconventional.
5.Don’t wear a veil, just go the way you feel the most comfortable and show your beauty
6. Don’t use altar for your wedding ceremony
Altars has been historically a symbol of a traditional wedding. So if you really want to go non-traditional, get rid of it. Don’t have your ceremony under the altar. Be creative. We have seen weddings on the beach just under the blue sky, without altar. Forest weddings under trees are also possible. Another option is to pick something symbolic – like blossom cherry. In many European countries, a kiss under blossom cherry means that you will love each other forever.
7. Don’t have a ring bearer or a flower girl
If you don’t have anyone who would fit the role, it is ok to skip this tradition. It is not necessary to force it, if it’s just not meant to me.
8 Have your grandmas be your flower girls
Do you want to make your grandma the happiest person in her life? Ask her to be your flower girl. Gradmas don’t like anything more than when grandchildren ask them to do something so touching.
9. Use your dog as a ring bearer
There is nothing cuter than a dog walking down the aisle and having your ring tied to his collar. Warning: Only try with well trained dog.
10. Include more/all family members in the actual ceremony
Invite more family members to the altar to stand next to you during the ceremony. This is a perfect thing to do if you already have kids. Seeing the whole family being part of the non-traditional wedding ceremony will melt everyone’s heart. You can also do the vows all together, as one happy family.
11 Ceremony dancing
Pick some good energetic music and have people dance during/after your ceremony. Pick a good music that will fire up everyone and have everyone enjoy themselves.
12 Mix bridesmaids and groomsmen together
Why separate bridesmaids and groomsmen on each side of the altar? Mix them together and have them mixed on both sides of the altar. This will definitely bring some non traditional feeling to your ceremony.
13. 360 degrees seating around the wedding altar
Have the altar surrounded by chairs from both sides, or from 360 degree, not just one side. This way, everyone will have a better view of the ceremony. And some guests will be actually be facing each other, which makes for a unique experience
14. Have a non-traditional standing wedding ceremony
Don’t have chairs for quests during the ceremony. Just the altar and everyone else is standing. The ceremony usually lasts just few minutes. Especially if you have a small wedding, everyone standing will make for an amazing experience. You are standing as well, so the guests can take it too.
15. Non traditional wedding vows
Have unusual vows. Like the for example the Corpse Bride vows. If you do not have a strict religious wedding, then your options and possibilities are endless. Your vows can be full of insider jokes, double meanings, your hobbies or your pets. Anything that comes to your mind, and is out of the ordinary.
16. Ceremony readings and vows printed for the guests
Print the ceremony readings and vows and place them on the chairs for the guests. Quite often there are guests who can’t hear the ceremony properly – especially if you are having a large wedding. Or if you are having a lot of elderly guests. Having the ceremony printed out, in some funny form, will make everyone’s mood better and easier to follow the most important part of the wedding.
17. Non Traditional wedding ceremony music
Everyone has heard the traditional Bridal March song, or any other popular ceremony song, many many times. If you share a specific taste for music with your partner, or just want to stand out of the crows, then avoid these always repeated pieces and choose something less traditional Be special and have your own song selection. Play heavy metal if you are both heavy metal fans, why not? There are electric guitar versions of almost any songs out there.
18. Print out the wedding program
Many times after the ceremony, the guests are confused and are not sure what to do and when the next official program starts. Are they supposed to stand around until someone calls them? How much time do they have? To avoid this confusion, print out the programs and have them available in the cocktail hour are. So the guests are not lost and confused as to what they are supposed to do. But not just a traditional program, try something like this.
19. End you wedding ceremony with a drink
Have a drink at the end of the ceremony to unify your marriage. Doesn’t have to be champagne, really anything you want. Even a beer. Nothing speaks louder to your commitment and how great of a couple you are than a cheers at the end of the ceremony.
20. Non-traditional wedding Aisle Runner
Most weddings don’t have any aisle runner, some have a fancy carpet. But a customized creative aisle runner, full of pictures of the newlyweds and their friends can be a game changer. You can even have your guests sign it, and write a wish on it. This will create a life time memory which will remind you of your amazing wedding day.
21. Unusual Wedding Bouquet Toss
Instead of tossing the whole bouquet together, the bride can toss the bouquet with flowers separated. Then they will separate even more in the air, and more single ladies will be able to catch one of herself. Unique experience for all those who wish to grab a piece of the bouquet.
Non Traditional Wedding Officiant ideas
Before doing anything non traditional with your wedding officiant, make sure you are going to fulfil all the legal requirements of your state/country. Often couples decide to do the legally binding ceremony in the city hall with a city officiant for a small fee. And then on their actual wedding they can decide to do literally anything at all, since their marriage will be already legal by that time.
22. Have one of your best friends do the ceremony.
The friends are unique in a way that they usually know both groom and bride pretty well. And they know a lot about their history and how they started dating. Ceremonies conducted by best friends are usually one of the most romantic and funny.
23. Have the officiant wear a non traditional wedding costume.
If your whole wedding is non-traditional, and themed, make sure the officiant clothing is matching the team. Be it a colorful outfit or a fairy-tale character.
Non traditional Wedding Wear
24. Creative gown/veil
Why settle for a standard white veil? Who said that the veil cannot stand out, be of a different color and have some interesting pattern? Having the veil in a bright color contrasting your wedding dress will get you a lot of looks, if that is what you are going for.
25. Unusual wedding dress
99% brides go for a long white wedding dress. So if you are really looking for that non-traditional look, wear something else. Don’t wear a white wedding dress, pick something more edgy like red. Or wear a black wedding dress and combine it with the Corpse Bride vows
26. Colorful and funky Groom’s suit.
The same goes for the groom’s suit. Why wear a black tux with bow-tie? Get more creative. Shorts are a perfect selection for a beach wedding. Colorful suit matching the bright color of brides veil can also do magic.
27. Bride’s wedding pants suite
You don’t have to wear a wedding dress at all. Wedding pants can be beautiful and sexy as well. This is very practical for wedding in unusual location like beach or a forest.
28. Wedding wear for guests
Have your guests wear whatever they want. Let them wear shorts if the wedding is on the beach or in hot weather. Your guests will appreciate that. Let them wear flip flops or sneakers if they want to. Everyone should be as comfortable as possible, and by not being strict on the dress code, you can achieve that feeling.
29. Different colored dresses for your bridesmaids and groomsmen
Let your bridesmaids have different color dresses and match those colors with different colors for groomsmen clothing. This will create a unique and colorful ceremony. Just imagine each couple (bridesmaid and groomsmen) walking down the aisle in matching colored outfits. First couple blue, second red, third purple, etc…
Non Traditional Wedding Cocktail hour ideas
30. Serve popcorn during cocktail hour
Forget traditional finger food. No crab-cakes and skewers for your wedding. Get a popcorn machine, and serve delicious fresh warm popcorn.
31. Play a movie in the background during cocktail hour
Playing a movie in a combination with the popcorn idea will get your cocktail hour very unique atmosphere and all your guests are going to enjoy it. As a movie we recommend a video of the newlyweds – their pictures, videos, videos of their pets, etc. You can prepare this video by yourself before the wedding, or have a professional do it for you. Few months before the wedding, ask your friends to send you some videos of them they have with you. And then watch their faces when they see their video being shown during the cocktail hour.
32. Customized temporary tattoos
During the cocktail hour, give the guests the opportunity to get a tattoo. Of course, this is just going to be temporary tattoo, and it can have the newlywed faces and the date of the wedding
33. Add games to your cocktail hour
While your guests are waiting for the reception, let them entertain themselves with games like corn hole or giant jenga tower. These games can be play in groups of few people. They are a perfect ice-breaker in case your wedding has many guests who don’t know each other. Instead of standing around quietly, playing games will get them interact with each other and socialize faster.
34. Hammocks and Cabanas
If your wedding is outdoors and you have space and budget to spare, add hammocks and cabanas to your cocktail hour area. This will make the guests more comfortable and will spice things up.
35. Beer and wine tasting
Beer and wine tasting is an excellent idea if you know your guests are beer and wine lovers. It is also pretty affordable addition to the cocktail hour, especially if the venue allows you to bring your own wines and beers.
36. S’mores making on an open fire
Another great ice-breaker and socializing activity to do during your cocktail hour. If your wedding is outdoors, you can do s’mores on open fire. Add some Bailey’s on the side and everyone will be happy.
37. Wall for signing and messaging
Place a wall with a large white sheet in the cocktail hour area and have your guests sign it and draw pictures on it. Have colorful pens and markers ready, plenty of them, so you don’t run out.
38 Signature cocktail
If you have an open bar, add a signature cocktail to the options. This is a cocktail which has a special name which you come up with. It can be named after you, the newlyweds, or after your pet or anything else. And it can be based on some popular drink, but with a little twist. For example Moscow mule with a spicy jalapeno.
Non Traditional Wedding Reception ideas
Skip the best man and maid of honor speeches, or replace them with something more non-traditional and funny. What about the best man karaoke, how does that sound?
39. Do a build your own drink buffet station
40. Set up an activity for the parents from both parties to do something together
Have the parents of both parties do something together. This can be for example singing a song, dancing, or drinking a shot of liquor together. Often times the parents get forgotten on this special day, and they deserve more attention. This is a nice way to get them more involved.
41. Order cheap catering like Taco Stand
Are you on budget? Don’t do a traditional reception. In many places you can now order fairly cheap catering, like Taco stand. These Taco stands are able to host tens of guests and the quality is amazing. Great alternative if you are on budget.
42. Do a buffet dinner instead of serving individual orders
Taco stand sounds too cheap but regular dinner too expensive? Make a dinner buffet with affordable but high quality meals. Most of the time buffet ends up cheaper than actual served food, and everyone has many food choices
43. Non Traditional Wedding reception decoration
This is pretty self explanatory. If you are both huge fans of Star Wars, have a giant Millennium Falcon hanging above your head table. Be creative and use your imagination. The days of white/gold/red only decorations are over.
44. Don’t have a head table, eat with the other guests
Based on the size of the wedding, you can just skip the head table, and have everyone eating at one table together. This is very non-traditional wedding reception idea, but it will make you closer to your guests and more involved. Easier to do on small weddings rather than large.
45. Use a GoPro to create a time-lapse of the reception
Get a GoPro just for few hundreds dollars, set it up somewhere with a great view of the whole reception area, and set it to take a picture every few seconds. Once put together, you will get a time-lapse of your non-traditional wedding reception which you can be part of your wedding video.
46. Non traditional Wedding cake
There are so many things you can do with a cake to be non-traditional. Let’s make it funny and sexy, and outrageous if you want. You can even replace cake with a cupcake tower
47. Funny and non-traditional wedding cake topper
Wedding Cake topper is another item you can have a lot of fun with. It can be something subtle and gentle, but also something like this sexy wedding cake topper. Etsy is again a great source of inspiration, like this sexy topper if you want to show how much you love each other to the world. You can try to recreate this pose on the wedding night, which will make for a very nice picture memory.
48. Toasting flutes for wedding reception
Forget the boring plain seen-through glasses and pick something more colorful for your wedding There are now plenty options for flutes, with all kinds of colors. The disadvantage would be that you would probably have to buy these, since your venue will not be able to provide them.
49. Non Traditional Wedding Reception Table numbers
Incorporate your wedding theme into the table numbers. Don’t do just a boring number on a paper. Or do you want a number in a shape of the yacht, with a sea-lion nearby? What about seashells on a plate, and ocean themed picture with a number on it? If you have a themed wedding, non-traditional wedding reception table numbers are a must.
50. Buy some Polaroid cameras
Get few Polaroid cameras and have your guests take random pictures throughout the day. This will create some of the best memories and really unique non-traditional wedding pictures.