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How to Add Non-Traditional Elements to Your Wedding

12 Ways to Shake up the Norm and Put your Own Spin your Big Day!

Planning a wedding comes with somewhat of a script - a layout of how the day should proceed, so to speak.

Brides and grooms wake up and get ready separately, arrive at the ceremony separately and first see each other when the bride walks down the aisle on the arm of her father. Brides wear white, bridesmaids in matching gowns and the groom and groomsmen all wear tuxedos. Following the ceremony the wedding party greets each guest in a receiving line and then take a variety of pictures while the guests head to the reception for cocktail hour.

At the reception, toasts are given by the maid of honor and best man. After dinner, the bride and groom have a first dance followed by the bride with her father and the groom with his mother. Cake is cut and served. The bride's garter and bouquet are thrown to the single guests. Favors are given out and the bride and groom get a big send off.

Sound about right?

Maybe a few details are missing, but this is the general timeline for a traditional wedding.

And if you like this - great! Wonderful! If having a wedding full of all the traditions you have grown up with and love is what you want on your big day, do it! It is your day after all! You have it how you want it.

BUT, if you want to step outside the traditional line and do something a bit different for your wedding, here are a few ideas to change up the traditional, or turn tradition right on its ear when comes to #planning your wedding!

We’ll start with some tamer changes you can make and work our way up to the more eccentric.

Get your pet involved - If you and your soon-to-be spouse have adopted a pet together or if one of you has a pet that has become like a family member, include them in the day! A well-trained dog or cat can be an adorable ring bearer.

Dog in a tuxedo

Can the candle - Unity candles are beautiful because they signify two becoming one, but a candle does not have to be the only way to show this. Create a beautiful keepsake with sand or plant a tree or flowers together as a way to show the two of you coming together.

Accentuate their best - Instead of matching bridesmaids dresses, allow bridesmaids to pick their own dress. You choose the color and let them pick a style that makes them feel the most comfortable. After all, dresses are not made for every body type.

And speaking of dresses ...

Worn out white - Who says you have to wear white on your wedding day? Many wedding dresses now have pops of color or have very little white at all. Not someone who likes dresses? Go for a completely non-traditional wedding dress, and find a suit or romper instead. There is no rule that you have to wear a dress!

Tired of tiered - Instead of a three-tiered (or five-tiered) wedding cake, try something different. Have a tiered cupcake tower, or make a tower of your favorite cookies. Scratch the tiered look altogether and have a variety of desserts for your guests to choose from. You can always have a small cake of your favorite flavor made to cut and feed to each other (or smash in each other’s faces).

Wedding cake on a raised platter surrounded by chocolate cupcakes with white frosting

Break free from the tux - There are probably very few grooms out there who are excited about putting on a tuxedo - but they do it because they love their bride. So let them loose from the monkey suit! A nice three-piece suit is a perfect alternative, but for the more relaxed groom, you can get even more creative. Suspenders and bow ties are a great way to show off a groom's personality. If you are having an outdoor wedding you can also choose matching Hawaiian or Cuban shirts allowing the groom and groomsmen to be cool and comfortable.

And the bride should be comfortable, too! So …

Nix the heels - Stay comfortable and ready to dance at a moment's notice with comfortable footwear. If you are not a fan of heels, why get married in them? A pair of white Converse, or some dressy flats work just as well as three inch heels (just make sure your dress is tailored to the proper length so it’s not dragging). Getting married outside? Find a nice pair of sandals or even go barefoot if you are going to be on a beach.

Someone wearing a white wedding dress with purple tennis shoes with orange laces

Grands are great - If you are lucky enough to still have your grandparents with you, incorporate them into your big day in a special way. Oftentimes they are mentioned in the program, but if you have a special relationship with them, make their contribution in the ceremony bigger. Have them act as flower ladies or ring bears, read a special reading or poem, sing or even officiate the wedding.

Change the name - Don’t feel that you have to stick to the traditional bridesmaids and groomsmen when it comes to choosing your wedding party. Brides who have a best male bud can absolutely have them stand up with her and if the groom has a close female friend, they can stand on his side. Grooms people and Brides people may be a bit of a mouthful, but come up with your own unique way to have the people you care about stand up with you as you say “I do” to your love.

Memorable invites - There are several non-traditional routes to take with invitations. Go green with evites (which can save some green as well AND make it easy to track RSVPs), or use recycled materials for the #invitations. Get creative and turn your invitation into a jigsaw puzzle guests can put together or a fun coloring page to bring out their creative side.

Not just a day - If you are thinking of having a small ceremony but a big reception why not spread the joy over a couple of days! Have a small wedding and then take some time to enjoy the bliss of being married with your close family and friends. Then in a day or two (or week or two) have a big blow out party with everyone you love. It can take the stress of the day and break it up so you can truly enjoy every moment.

Switch it up - Who says you have to get married first and then have the party? If you especially like the cool of the evening or always wanted to get married with a sunset backdrop, flip your day around. Have an afternoon reception (maybe be careful with the amount of alcohol served) and then say your vows during the magic of twilight or under a blanket of stars.

A couple dressed in wedding attire about to kiss under the stars

Whatever tradition you decide to keep or change up a bit to meet your style, just remember this day is about celebrating you and your spouse to be. If your ideas seem eccentric to others, it does not matter. It is your day (and your spouse’s day) and you get to do things your way. Create a wedding and reception that symbolizes who you are as a couple and then go and enjoy every single moment!



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