Here’s the deal – your wedding should be fun, it should be you, and it should be all, “this is the best day ever” rather than all, “let’s get through this as fast as possible.” And sometimes, the same old wedding traditions just aren’t going to cut it – you need a little extra spice, a little more fun, and some alternative wedding ideas to make your day feel like it’s your day.
This guide has some alternative wedding ideas you haven’t thought of (maybe a few that you have – we’re not in your brain!), and some things to consider for your wedding day!
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Don’t Be Afraid to Skip Traditions!
Before we dive into some alternative wedding ideas, we want to remind you that you don’t have to follow tradition, and you’re totally allowed to break the rules. If you don’t want to dance on your wedding day, or you want to dance down the aisle instead of walking, or your idea doesn’t have to do with dancing at all, you can do absolutely anything on your wedding day! Throw expectations out the window, and think about how you can make sure your wedding is the best day ever.
14 Alternative Wedding Ideas
Here are some alternative wedding ideas to consider for your day!
1. Choose an Alternative Wedding Venue
Your one-of-a-kind wedding plans can start as soon as you begin planning your day – and since finding the perfect wedding venue is one of the first things you’ll need to do, you can look for some alternatives to the traditional country houses, hotels, and barns! Some alternative wedding venue ideas can include a village hall, renting a houseboat, getting married in a pub, having a wedding on a farm, a brewery/taproom, a small ceremony in your favourite park or garden, or even hosting your wedding in your own back garden.
2. Have Lunch Before the Ceremony
In the Netherlands, they have a small lunch for guests invited to the ceremony, so no one feels hungry during the important bits (which are often taking place at lunchtime!) and also so that people can say hello first and helping them – and you – feel more relaxed too!
3. Wear Something Funky
Who says the white gown and black suit combo has to make an appearance on your wedding day? When you’re shopping for your wedding attire, don’t be afraid to go for something unique!
Your alternative wedding day outfit might be a dress that’s black, pink, yellow, or tie dye, it might be a suit with a cape for extra drama, it might be a suit that’s a subtle shade of maroon or a not-so-subtle neon… the possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid to get creative with different colours and styles, and wear something that makes you feel ah-mazing.
Don’t forget shoes don’t have to be traditional either – you can wear DMs or trainers if you want – especially if you find some funky ones. Heck, you can go barefoot if you’re having a wedding in a field!
4. Play a Game at the Reception
What if, instead of just drinks and canapes, you have a Sports Day wedding reception with an egg and spoon race and a game of rounders? You can even add a round of cornhole, giant connect 4, or go all American teen movie and have a game of beer pong? There are loads of fun alternative wedding ideas for the reception – and you can also include your guests in some games too!
5. Invite a Furry Guest
Dogs, cats, horses, alpacas… your wedding can have a few guests that walk on four legs! Animals make everything more fun, and with pets of your own, you can totally include your dog in your wedding day (unless they’re like my dogs who would nip your guests on the bum and steal the food), kiss an alpaca, or have some furry friends along for the ride. Did you know you can actually hire an alpaca to make an appearance at your wedding? You could even have a whole petting zoo!
6. Do a First Look… With a Twist
First looks have become a bit of an anti-tradition, so doing a first look can be your alternative wedding idea! But, to make it even more fun, you can add a twist. Surprise your partner when they turn around to see you, maybe with a costume (like the iconic T-rex), a funny gag gift (or a sweet sentimental one), or a dramatic entrance.
7. Include an Alternative Unity Ceremony
There are plenty of ways to spice up your ceremony – and one of them is to come up with some alternative wedding ideas for unity ceremonies. Some examples of traditional unity ceremonies include handfasting, tree planting, and candle lighting. All of these can be great, but this is your wedding – which means the unity ceremony should incorporate your personalities!
Some unique ways to signify the two of you coming together can include tying a knot and following it up with a game of tug-of-war, taking a shot, burying a time capsule, making two halves of a sandwich and putting them together… anything you can think of that reflects you! We recently shot a wedding where they had a tea party with doughnuts and tea instead of a traditional ring exchange.
8. Hire Some Performers
A DJ or even a live band is cool… but there are some additional ways to make your reception one to remember! You can hire some performers to entertain you and your guests – and these alternative wedding ideas can include caricature artists, dancers, circus acrobats, or a marching band. You could even just bring some hoops and poi and let people teach themselves – it makes for funny photos too!
9. Have a One of a Kind Celebrant
Another great way to make your ceremony even more special is with a unique celebrant to marry you! This might be a friend or family member who knows some good jokes, or someone who can put on a show – like a drag queen, a comedian, or even a clown. We love celebrants and know some really fab ones who make your ceremony super personal – but it’s also lovely when your friends do it too – they really know you and if they’re confident standing up in front of a crowd, then it can be really fabulous. We know some amazing celebrants – from quiet storytellers to ones that get everyone singing – so just ask for our recommendations!
10. Get Creative With Dinner
Everyone’s gotta eat, and while a fancy sit-down meal will be delicious, some alternative wedding ideas can include some unique options for dinner – and for dessert. You can hire a food truck, have a giant picnic, order pizza, have an afternoon tea party with cakes and sandwiches, or have a taco table where everyone can make their own. For dessert or for some snacks, you can have an ice cream truck or an ice cream bar for DIY sundaes. Or go American and have a fire pit and smores!
11. Keep Your Wedding Small
As you start planning your wedding, there might be some pressure to invite everyone you know and everyone you’ve ever met. But, if a big wedding doesn’t really feel like your jam, keeping it small might be an alternative wedding idea! For you, this might mean a teeny elopement with 5 guests, a small ceremony with 25, or an intimate wedding with 50 – it’s all about what feels right for the two of you!
12. Cut and eat the cake before dinner
Here are 3 reasons why you should cut the cake in the daytime, and not in the evening right before the first dance (as is traditional):
- Drunk people don’t eat cake
- If it’s hot there’s less opportunity for it to melt
- It saves money on canapes
13. Use bubbles instead of confetti
If your venue doesn’t allow confetti, think about bubbles!
14, Consider an alternative first dance
It could be playing your fave song and inviting everyone to dance, or doing a ceilidh or a mosh pit, or simply moving your first dance outside – we’ve seen all of these and they’re all super fun alternatives to the traditional first dance.
Come Up With Your Own Alternative Wedding Ideas
We’re all about fun, colourful wedding photos – and those start with the wedding! We think every couple should have a wedding day they absolutely love, so use these alternative wedding ideas for inspiration, snag a few for your day, or come up with your own new twists on old traditions.