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50 Offbeat Wedding Ideas for the Non-Traditional Bride

If you want your day to be a truly signature one, there are plenty of subtle alterations you can make to classic wedding traditions. Here are 50 ideas that will make your wedding anything but ordinary.

By: Lauren Gordon

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  • Invitations

    Invitations

    Forget cardstock and magnets — prepare guests for your quirky wedding by sending out fun signature invites, like these film reels.

    Related: 50 Ideas for Your Wedding Invitations

    Photo Credit: Rigard Janse van Rensburg

  • Wedding Flowers

    Wedding Flowers

    Most weddings are overflowing with flowers — and while traditional bridal bouquets are beautiful, they can also feel overdone. Mix it up by giving your bridal party lovely lanterns to carry, lighting the way for your arrival down the aisle. 

    Related: 25 Ways to Transform Your Wedding With Lighting

  • Quirky Dress

    Quirky Dress

    Who says a bride can’t be colorful? Instead of donning a plain white dress on your wedding day, funk up tradition with a custom dress filled with colorful accents, like dyed tulle and whimsically-placed flowers.

    Related: The Most Daring Wedding Gowns We've Ever Seen

  • Cake Topper

    Cake Topper

    Skip the ceramic figurines and top your cake with a metallic laser-cut banner; it's a perfectly personal way to let your style shine through. 

    Related: 50 Creative Wedding Cake Toppers

    Photo courtesy of BespokeCountryWed/Etsy

  • Ceremony Readings

    Ceremony Readings

    Sometimes, religious prose or those time-honored vows just won’t do. Look to your favorite childhood books, poems, or love letter passages for inspiration.

    Related: 50 Quotes About Love and Marriage

    Photo Credit: Timecut Photography

  • Wedding Venue

    Wedding Venue

    Barns, beaches, and country clubs are all fine spots to say your “I dos,” but finding a truly memorable location is going to make your guests buzz about your wedding for years to come. Get married boho style by checking out alternative venues, like this English Roulotte for a countryside wedding that blows away the average barn. 

    Related: 50 Unexpected Places to Tie the Knot

    Photo Credit: Richard Howden 

  • Ceremony Music

    Ceremony Music

    The right music sets the mood for the ceremony, but classical music or religious hymns don’t always speak to the style of the not-so-average bride. Instead of a DJ or organ player, task a skilled loved one with operating a record player that plays your favorite vinyl tunes.

    Related: Complete Guide to Wedding Music

  • Wedding Programs

    Wedding Programs

    Everyone pretty much gets the gist of of ceremony proceedings, so why not have fun with your programs? There are a ton of funny and quirky pamphlet ideas that will help set a casual tone for your nuptials.

    Related: 15+ Creative Wedding Program Ideas

    Photo Credit: Megan Andrews Photo

  • Unity Ceremony

    Unity Ceremony

    Sure, you could jointly light a candle as a symbol of your forever burning love — or you could take the much more delicious route and sip on each other’s favorite cocktail or share a bite of your favorite sandwich. Your call. 

    Related: 10 New Twists on Old Wedding Traditions

    Photo Credit: Erin Lindsey Images

  • Photographer

    Photographer

    Capture the day intimately by putting your guests to work. Find vintage Polaroid cameras and place them on the tables, and task guests with taking photos and depositing their favorites into your card box. Not only will you get instant photo gratification, but you’ll get to see all of your memorable moments through your guests’ eyes. 

    Related: 50 Ideas for a Vintage-Inspired Wedding

    Photo courtesy of Sopworth Vintage/Etsy

  • Centerpieces

    Centerpieces

    Mason jars are probably flooding your Pinterest boards for centerpiece inspiration, but why not look to other everyday objects instead? With little tea lights and a bit of paint, you can transform something like a common brick into a rustic centerpiece. 

    Related: Beyond Flowers: 50 Unique Ideas for Your Centerpieces

    Photo Credit: Julie Redmond

  • Favors

    Favors

    Let’s face it: Most wedding favors — especially the non-edible ones — will be "forgotten" by your guests at the end of the night. So why not have some fun with them instead? Get hysterical photos by gifting guests with customized temporary tattoos, and have application stations around the reception venue so they can put their fun and funky favor to use. 

    Related: 30 Favor Ideas From Real Weddings

    Photo courtesy of FastTat/Etsy

  • Place Cards

    Place Cards

    Personalize your place cards by skipping the average holders and getting crafty. Check out these painted clothespins that will adorably hold your guests' table assignments.

    Related: 35 Cool Ways to Display Your Escort Cards

    Photo courtesy of DeftPenDesigns/Etsy

  • Veil

    Veil

    Love the idea of a headpiece but can’t bear to think of wearing a classic veil? Try a colorful, quirky accessory that will pop against any white dress. With subtle nods to a traditional birdcage veil, a fun, feathered piece like this feels “bridal” without being too conventional. 

    Photo Credit: Sparkle Malarkey 

  • Groom Suit

    Groom Suit

    Skip the traditional tux and have your groom add some vintage fun to your wedding by unearthing an old-school suit. While checking out thrift stores, be sure to search for a matching vintage bow or neck tie to complete the look.

    Related: Beyond the Black Tux: Stylish Groom Inspiration

    Photo courtesy of JauntyRooster/Etsy

  • Aisle Runner

    Aisle Runner

    Rolling out the red carpet will always make you feel like a star, but picking an aisle runner that speaks to your personality is far more glamorous. You can roll out cuts of astroturf, your favorite patterned textile, or a personalized fabric — all would accent your day in an unexpected way.

    Related: 40 Ways to Decorate Your Ceremony Aisle

    Photo Credit: The Other Sister Photography

  • Shoes

    Shoes

    Are you struggling with the idea of wearing stilettos all day? Make your wedding magical (and more comfortable) by seeking out unique styles. You could try your luck at thrift shops or order specially made footwear, like these fun fairy shoes.

    Related: 30 Wedding-Worthy Flats

    Photo courtesy of Fairy Steps

  • Dinner

    Dinner

    Sure, everyone likes a fancy meal, but how many weddings have you been to where you would have just killed for some comfort food? Give your guests what they really want by curating a unique, casual menu featuring anything from pigs in a blanket to gourmet pizza.

  • Wedding Cake

    Wedding Cake

    Perhaps you want to treat your guests to something less conventional than an ornately decorated cake? Try a tower of your favorite sweet treats, like cookies or brownies. 

    Related: 25 Delicious Wedding Cake Alternatives

    Photo Credit: Piece of Cake

  • Guest Book

    Guest Book

    A guest book is a lovely keepsake — but if it’s just, well, a book, it may just collect dust on the shelf. A DIY frame that matches your motif, however, can be turned into sentimental wall art for your newlywed home.

    Related: 50 Unique Wedding Guest Book Ideas

    Photo Credit: Lauren Gordon

  • Toasting Flutes

    Toasting Flutes

    Cheers to your new life in style with toasting flutes that are anything but traditional. Look for flutes that fit your color scheme or just simply speak to you.

    Photo courtesy of MaryElizabethArts/Etsy

  • First Dance

    First Dance

    Don’t really have the moves when it comes to dancing? Swap the first dance for something more simple, like hula hooping! Provide a few extra hula hoops and ask guests to join in towards the end of your song.

    Related: 15 Ways to Make Your First Dance More Memorable

  • Parent Dances

    Parent Dances

    If both parents are present at your wedding, why just dance with one of them? Ask both parents to participate in a group dance, or skip the sentimental swaying altogether and have your bridal party join you on the floor to get the party started sooner.

  • Men

    Men's Jewelry

    If you find golden bands boring and a tattoo ring too trendy, try hunting around for a ring that has personality. These steampunk bridal bands are the perfect blend of traditional and stylish. 

    Photo courtesy of SwankMetalSmithing/Etsy

  • Bouquet Toss

    Bouquet Toss

    Are all of your single ladies worthy of love? Of course they are! That is why you should toss a multiplying bouquet instead of one solid throw away. Once you toss, the girls will quickly see that there are plenty of flowers up for grabs. 

    Related: Harmless Pranks to Play on Your Wedding Guests

    Photo Credit: Kylene & Ryan Studios

  • Garter Toss

    Garter Toss

    Skip the traditional garter toss and plan a fun surprise for the kids instead; toss plush toys that'll become snuggly wedding keepsakes!

  • Officiant

    Officiant

    If a priest or judge won’t do, there are plenty of routes to find an above-average officiant for your ceremony. Persuade a loved one to be ordained and have them arrive in a unique way, be it in a pop culture costume or by having a puppet parade in tow.

    Related: 10 Meaningful Touches for Your Wedding Ceremony

  • Wedding Rings

    Wedding Rings

    The exchange of wedding rings during the ceremony is a pivotal and symbolic moment, but what maybe rings just aren’t your thing. Instead, exchange other meaningful pieces of jewelry, like these braided leather necklaces adorned with a vow-engraved charm to tell the world you’re taken. 

    Photo courtesy of SPUNKbyCM/Etsy

  • Transportation

    Transportation

    If you or your partner has the riding chops, arrive for your big day on the back of a motorcycle. No one will forget that entrance.

    Related: Arrive in Style: 25 Wedding Transportation Ideas

    Photo Credit: Jill Devries

  • Wedding Card Holder

    Wedding Card Holder

    Think outside the card box and look for ways to upcycle alternative containers that guests can fill with cards or well wishes, like this personalized mini wine barrel. 

    Related: 16 Fun Ideas for Your Wedding Card Box

    Photo courtesy of TheManRegistry/Etsy

  • Bridal Party Gifts

    Bridal Party Gifts

    Brides often thank their bridal party with gifts of themed jewelry, but rather than giving them a generic chain, make it more personal. A locket containing a photo of you and your bridal party member is not only a sentimentally sweet gift, but if your bridesmaids wear them to the festivities, it will give your wedding a unique, rustic touch. 

    Related: The Dos and Don'ts of Bridesmaid Gifts

    Photo coutesy of YugenTribe/Etsy

  • Bridal Party Proposal

    Bridal Party Proposal

    Asking your friends to be a part of your special day is so monumental — so make it unforgettable. Send around puzzles for 'maids to decode, and when they discover your sweet request, they’ll just have to say yes. 

    Related: How to "Propose" to Your Bridesmaids

  • Flower Girls

    Flower Girls

    Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a little lady in your life to pepper the aisle with petals. You can get your best grandma gals to help you out for a fun way to include the young at heart.

    Related: Wedding Roles & Responsibilities: Who Does What?

    Photo Credit: Genevieve Leiper

  • Ring Bearer

    Ring Bearer

    Instead of tasking your favorite little man with the big job of holding your rings, get him to carry a funny or sweet sign that will announce your arrival. 

    Related: 50 Clever Wedding Signs Your Guests Will Love

    Photo Credit: PW Photography

  • Bridesmaid Dresses

    Bridesmaid Dresses

    Give your wedding party a signature look by skipping the full-length satin gowns in favor of a shirt and skirt combo that will flatter all of your best gals.

    Related: 7 Colors That Look Great on Every Bridesmaid

  • Photo Booth

    Photo Booth

    An actual photobooth may be too extravagant for your taste, so why not set up a faux one? Paint up or print out a funny background and let guests have a blast with disposable cameras, or ask your photographer to spend part of their evening snapping those shots.

    Related: 30 Creative Ways to Entertain Your Wedding Guests

  • Lighting

    Lighting

    Ask any wedding planner, and they’ll tell you that adding a lighting plan to your reception venue is an ambiance essential. But skip the gels and floor lights and add your own flare by filling the room with strategically-placed lights to give the room a romantic glow.

    Related: 25 Ways to Transform Your Wedding With Lighting

    Photo Credit: VENDecor

  • Seating Chart

    Seating Chart

    Use a unique seating chart for guests to find their spots instead of traditional place cards. All you’ll need for this stellar seating chart is some string, nails, and a slab of wood. 

    Related: 50 Eye-Catching Seating Charts

  • Sweetheart Table

    Sweetheart Table

    Draw attention to your sweetheart table by decorating it with your bridal party’s bouquets, setting up the area with hooks and fishing line that can allow the bouquets to be easily hung.

    Related: 25 Pretty Head Table Ideas: From Big Traditional to Intimate Sweetheart

    Photo Credit: Rob Mould Photography

  • Dessert-Inspired Bar

    Dessert-Inspired Bar

    If you and your sweetie don’t have a single sweet tooth between you, try setting up a savory snack bar instead. You can turn your favorite dish into a station, with ideas like a themed popcorn stand or mashed potato bar. 

    Related: Stylish Ways to Display Your Food & Drinks

  • Linens

    Linens

    Be bold and let your reception shine. Skip the matte linens and go for a metallic or sequined sheet so that your special day glitters and glistens. 

    Related: 50 Gorgeous Ways to Dress Up Your Reception Tables

    Photo Credit: Jen Kroll Photography

  • Table Numbers

    Table Numbers

    Use your wedding table numbers as a way to reflect your wedding theme — like Legos for a nostalgic wedding or Scrabble tiles for a literary wedding.

    Related: 50 Memorable Ideas for Your Table Numbers

    Photo Credit: Infused Studios

  • Signature Drinks

    Signature Drinks

    Instead of coming up with a signature cocktail, serve delicious alcohol-infused cupcakes that are equally imbibing. 

    Photo Credit: Leslie Haasch of Stress Baking

  • Celebration Rice

    Celebration Rice

    If you don’t want to deal with confetti clean up, have guests wave congratulatory flags in your honor with words of encouragement or funny phrases to make your send off into marriage a lighthearted one. 

    Related: 15 Spectacular Ideas for Your Wedding Sendoff

    Photo Credit: Choco Studio

  • Bouquet

    Bouquet

    A bouquet of flowers is fleeting, but by choosing a bauble-based bouquet, you get to have a keepsake that will last you forever. 

    Related: 25+ Ways to Preserve Your Wedding Memories

    Photo Credit: Kimberly Aurora

  • Wedding Games

    Wedding Games

    For couples who live for game night, having something a little extra for guests to do is a must. But if you’re hoping to skip the typical yard games, like cornhole, you’ll definitely want to check out yard dice. Be sure to write up and post game ideas and rules to inspire and entice guests to play.

    Related: 20+ Ways to Make Your Reception More Fun

    Photo courtesy of SandyKsCustomDesigns/Etsy

  • Whimsical Décor

    Whimsical Décor

    Splurge on a unique décor element your guests can't miss, like this cool butterfly chandelier. Bonus: You can later use as decoration in your new digs as a married couple.

    Related: 50 Over-the-Top Wedding Ideas We Can't Help But Love

    Photo Credit: John Labbe / Event Designer: Preston Bailey

  • Hair

    Hair

    Perhaps jewels, veils, and flowers simply just don’t appeal to you for your wedding day hairstyle, but you do want something to help you stand out. Aside from elaborately constructed braids or quirky hair colors, you can give your do a signature look with accents, like lace bows.

  • Makeup

    Makeup

    A blushing bride doesn’t have to adhere to the “natural” on her big day. Be bold and go for dramatic, nearly ethereal looks with your makeup and hair color. 

    Related: 75 Wedding Hairstyles for Every Length

  • Garter

    Garter

    If you’re a bride who considers herself silly and sexy, your garter can’t just represent the seductive side of you. Add your own quirky charm to it with accents that showcase your silly nature, like this geeky garter.

    Related: 50 Amazing Superhero-Themed Wedding Ideas

    Photo Credit: TablesandTemari/Etsy

50 Offbeat Wedding Ideas for the Non-Traditional Bride

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