4 Non-Traditional Ideas For Your Dream Wedding

by Caitlin Frauton

Are you on the lookout for non-traditional wedding ideas? If so, you are not alone as many independent-minded couples are spending much less time during the wedding-planning process researching traditions that they “must” do, and are instead spending much more time dreaming up alternative ways to celebrate their love. From flash mob proposals to getting married at a unique wedding venue like the inside of a cave, weddings have never looked more non-traditional. As a result, the weddings these days totally rock.

If you're including certain customs at your wedding even though they don't mean a thing to you or your partner, then it's best to skip wedding traditions in favor of something that is a better reflection of your relationship. Whenever I'm helping a couple to plan a wedding, I always tell them anything is possible no matter how outlandish it sounds to family, friends, or co-workers. If it's important to them (and it's within their budget), we will find a way to make it work. Even if it's not in their budget, we'll incorporate some creative, less expensive aspect of what they want to do. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Don’t worry though — you don’t need to orchestrate a flash mob proposal or get married in one of nature's caverns to end up with a meaningful, awesomely alternative wedding. So before you start racking your brain for some unique wedding planning ideas, here are a few ways to veer off the beaten path.

1. Use a new type of wedding registry

Today, there are so many options when it comes to wedding registries, you can let people know that your wedding is non-traditional well before they arrive on the big day. For instance, SoKind Registry lets you register for traditional household items, plus experiences like cooking classes, music lessons, and even day-of event help from family and friends on your wedding day. Meanwhile, KnotProfit allows couples to accept charitable donations for their favorite causes in lieu of traditional gifts. From registries for honeymoons to registries for down payments on a home, nothing says "non-traditional wedding" right off the bat like a non-traditional wedding registry.

2. Incorporate shared experiences

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The best way to show your guests what makes your relationship special is by sharing the experiences the two of you enjoy most together. Do you spend Sundays together sipping on cups of coffee at your local coffee shop? Consider having your rehearsal dinner at the coffee shop, or having a barista serving coffee at your reception. Are you avid hikers? Think about having your wedding at a nature center with some easy trails for guests to walk along while having your ceremony take place in a few different spots along the trail. Big fans of Superman? Go on, throw on Superman t-shirt under that tux! Whatever your shared interests are, they can be incorporated into your wedding to make it a true reflection of the both of you.

3. Get super creative with your food

Plated dinners have long been a staple of traditional weddings, but now with mobile caterers and food trucks, the food possibilities are practically endless. Family-style dinners and buffets are great dinner choices while cocktail receptions and brunches are other, more casual and less expensive options. From cheese wheel wedding cakes to pancake wedding cakes, there are a million different ways to reflect your personalities with your food choices. Whatever it is that you choose to serve, make sure that the food is a reflection of what you and your partner enjoy eating most. If you both have very unique tastes, just make sure to include a couple of traditional options for the less adventurous guests in your group.

4. Help your wedding party out

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Let's be honest, as the engagement period has morphed into a time of awesome celebrating made up of a bunch of various wedding festivities (think engagement party, shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, hair, nails, and makeup... oh my!), wedding parties are contributing more of their time and money than ever before. They are organizing weekend-long bachelor and bachelorette parties, assembling DIY projects, throwing Pinterest-worthy showers, and doing so much more. As a thank you for the additional work they are doing, consider covering part or all of the cost for their wedding attire and other wedding-related expenses. They will be so happy not to have the normal onslaught of wedding-related expenses, and word is bound to get out about your thoughtful, “non-traditional” approach to your wedding.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to having a wedding that’s totally unique to you and your partner — and one that guests will love. As your wedding-planning focus shifts from working through checklists of things that “must” be done to finding special ways to share the unique qualities of your relationship, your wedding becomes a one-of-a-kind celebration of marriage. And that is what the very best weddings are all about.

Images: The CheeseWorks; Getty (2); AForestFrolic/Flickr