In an industry bent on recycling the same tired pieces of advice and information, unearthing something fresh and undiscovered in the world of weddings can prove as difficult as predicting the weather for an outdoor spring ceremony. This list of non-traditional or unexpected wedding ideas to incorporate into every wedding detail are guaranteed to set your event apart from the rest.
1) Location -
If you don't host your ceremony in a house of worship or in the same location as your reception, you can get creative with your ceremony location and exchange vows at sunrise on the beach or at sunset from the rooftop of the tallest building in your metropolitan area. Get more ideas for unique ceremony sites.
2) Refreshments -
Use the season or your location as an opportunity to greet guests with a refreshing drink. Lemonade and sweet tea will quench your guests’ thirst while gathering in the blazing sun, or serve hot apple cider to warm your guests during chiller months.
3) Grand Entrance -
Make your entrance especially grand by being escorted by your pet dog or by arriving on a white horse.
4) Vows and Readings -
Not a new concept, but speaking from the heart by writing your own wedding vows or incorporating personalized poems and weddings readings into your ceremony will surely grab the attention of your guests.
Flowers & Decor Ideas
5) Color Scheme -
Try pairing a few uncommon colors together or featuring varying shades of the same color throughout your space.
6) The Food Pyramid -
Fill cylindrical glass vases with fruits and vegetables reflecting your colors. Oranges, lemons, and limes have been done so try a unique, more contemporary look with mangos or coconuts or tie it to the season with texture-rich earthy vegetables like husked corn, acorn squash, or artichokes.
7) Au Natural -
Consult Mother Nature for inspiration, and bring the outdoors in. Natural objects like stones, leaves, pinecones, even twigs can add an organic aesthetic to your reception décor. Place in rustic containers or scatter amongst pillar candles for added ambiance.
8) Lighten Up -
Floating candles in a shallow bowl adds lighting and elegance to your tabletops. Or arrange multi-level candles on a mosaic of mirrors or tiles and surround them with seashells or flower petals. Placing coffee beans or red hot candies at the bottom of a vase or bowl to hold the candles steady also adds an aromatic effect.
9) Consult your Inner Child -
For the kid at heart, fill decorative bowls with your favorite candies - such as jellybeans and M&M's - in your wedding colors.
10) Ceremony Music -
If “Here Comes the Bride" doesn't suit your style or personality, choose a song that does. There is no written rule that states you can't make your grand entrance to a rendition of your favorite Beastie Boys’ song.
11) Non-traditional Instruments -
If you desire live music over a DJ, consider tying your musician selection to the theme or location of your event. A beachside bash naturally lends itself to the sound of steel drums, while a trumpet quartet will sound impressive in an elaborate cathedral.
12) Themed Music -
Take it one step further and zone in on the music that is indigenous to your wedding location. Guests attending a Mardi Gras-themed event in New Orleans will bask in a cocktail hour of Dixieland jazz.
13) DJ and a Band -
Can't decide which you would rather have? Have both to ensure that all types of music are represented throughout your day to please both your 85-year-old grandmother and your 21-year-old cousin.
More and more brides are leaning toward hiring a photographer who specialized in a photojournalistic style. These photographers shy away from posed shots and aim to capture all of the candid moments that you'll always want to remember or may have never seen.
15) Creative Shots
Hire your photographer to follow you throughout your entire day (leading up to the “Do Not Disturb" sign, of course). While it may make you feel anxious to have someone photograph you as you get ready, these shots will help you to remember the joy and anticipation of every part of your big day. Read more ideas for creative wedding pictures
16) Minimal Adornments -
Some brides believe in the “less is more" adage. A simple cake minimally ornamented can make a bold statement.
17) Square Tiers -
Looking for a subtle way to break away from the ordinary? Square tiers make a modern presentation. Whoever said “it's hip to be square" must have been in the cake business.
18) Cake-free -
If cake isn't your favorite dessert, then don't feel the need to serve it to your guests. Apple crisp, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, cupcakes, or even glazed doughnuts are a hit at the dessert table.
19) Sugar-free -
The end-of-meal offering doesn't have to be made of flour and frosting. Think savory instead, and visit your local cheese shop to have them construct wheels of cheese in tiers and stacked to look like traditional wedding cake.
You can browse hundreds of unique and unusual wedding cakes in this cake photo gallery.
20) Wardrobe Change -
Today's brides are opting to wear not one dress, but two! Wear an elegant gown while you exchange vows, then slip into something a little more comfortable to round out the evening.
21) Anything but White -
A white wedding dress symbolizes innocence and purity, but if that's not your style, feel free to bring out your colorful personality by adding a splash of color to your attire. You can be as subtle as a colored sash and jewels or as bold as a fuchsia-colored dress.
22) Something Borrowed -
Anything retro screams chic these days. So why not consider donning your mother's vintage gown as a tribute to a family legacy. A few alterations can make it your own.
Stationery Ideas -
23) Ethnicity -
If your heritage is important for you to represent on your big day, do some research and find a stationer who offers multi-cultural invitations and announcements.
24) Creative Touch -
For more intimate, casual gatherings, request the honor of your guests’ presence in an innovative and entertaining way. Here's an idea - have your invite printed on a balloon so guests have to blow them up to receive the message.
25) Programs -
Do something a little different with your programs by including personal photos or by printing them on something that serves a dual purpose - like a fan.
26) Storybook -
Get the most bang for your program buck by including stories of how the two of you met, who introduced you, and your relationship to everyone in the bridal party. Think of all the time you'll save by not having to explain all of this to your husband's childhood neighbor during the reception!
27) Grand Entrance -
If the size of your bridal party doesn't warrant a stretch limousine, consider arriving on horseback, on the back of your husband's motorcycle, or in the passenger's seat of your dad's antique car.
Cori Russell is editor for Elegala.com and Gala Weddings Magazine. Elegala.com is a comprehensive wedding planning resource with a national directory of wedding venues and services, along with articles, expert advice, checklists and photo galleries to lead brides through every step of the planning process.