Let’s be real, there are a few wedding traditions that could use some pizazz. In fact, nowadays, couples are finding creative ways to turn just about every wedding tradition in the book right on its head. Because why not? The beautiful thing about weddings is that they’re a display of the uniqueness of your relationship — and what better way to showcase that individuality by doing something memorable?
If I had the time, I could talk forever about the millions of ways couples put creative twists on wedding traditions. But I’m a mom, an entrepreneur, and I have Netflix shows to catch up on, so I’ve decided to narrow it down to some of my current favorites. Check out this blog for 10 thoughtful, unique twists on wedding traditions!
Instead of the cake cutting
If you and your partner feel like you could live without food-related wedding traditions like the cake-cutting ceremony, perhaps you’d want to consider a clever alternative! You could share a sip of a milkshake, make cotton candy together, pop a bottle of champagne, take shots, or (if you’re feeling really wild) do that thing where you put an Oreo on your forehead and try to shimmy it into your mouth. I mean, come on. How many times have you seen that at a wedding?
Level up the outfits
There’s nothing wrong with a white dress or a black tuxedo. But, when couples spice up their outfits, it’s pretty unforgettable. There are so many ways to make your wedding outfit feel more like you, but some of my favorites are as follows …
- Opt for a non-traditional color or material! Who says you have to wear a white dress? I’ve seen it all! Black dresses, velvet dresses, seersucker suits, plaid pants — you name it!
- Sport some unforgettable kicks. Heels and/or dress shoes can be uncomfortable and feel a bit too formal. If traditional footwear doesn’t tickle your fancy, try some cute sneakers, some stylish boots, or something sparkly and bold!
- Accessorize to the nines! Accessories are the cherry on top of every good outfit. Bold accessories like a statement hairpiece, necklace, bracelet, or earrings are a great way to show your personality through your wedding outfit.
- Mismatched bridal party outfits. Okay, this one always gets me. I am so in love with the mismatched bridal party outfit trend. Allowing your bridal party to pick out clothing that feels like them but still works well with your theme is such a simple, elegant way to jazz up your day!
Find sustainable alternatives
It’s no secret that weddings can produce a lot of waste. That’s why sustainability is one of the biggest trends of 2023 (and spoiler alert: it’s here to stay). So many couples are putting imaginative, eco-friendly spins on their weddings and I am so here for it! More often than not, doing the eco-friendly thing requires more money and more effort on your part, but if you ask me, it’s totally worth it. Plus, it’s a total win-win. You have a wedding day packed with unforgettable, unique details, and the planet benefits. How neat is that?
Skip the gifts
Wedding registries are traditionally quite long and extensive. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking this opportunity to request those gifts and home goods you’ve been dreaming about, many couples are choosing to ditch the clutter of a big registry altogether! The alternative? Cash funds. Obviously, cash funds aren’t a part of wedding traditions because back in the day our great-great-great-grandparents didn’t have good ol’ Venmo at their disposal — but alas! Some folks today still feel the need to know exactly what it is they’re giving you, however, and for that, I have a (if I may say so myself) genius solution …
If you don’t want to do a “normal” cash fund (i.e. a honeymoon fund, a home fund, etc.), we recommend offering a number of cash funds with creative labels that help your guests feel like they know exactly what they’re funding. For example, create a cash fund where guests can only donate in $50 increments and call it “Lunch date for two,” a fund that allows $10 increments entitled “Drinks on our honeymoon,” or a fund with larger limitations labeled “Honeymoon plane tickets.” I’m personally a huge fan of this option! Plus, you and your partner could have fun seeing which fund each of your guests contributes to.
Spice up the unity ceremony
Do you know what’s so cool about unity ceremonies? That their sole purpose is to symbolize unity — AKA, there are no rules and you can celebrate the unity between you and your partner however you please. Here are some non-traditional ideas for a unity ceremony
- Seal love letters to one another in a box
- Light a candle
- Create a piece of artwork
- Make and share a PB+J
- Take a shot
- Build a bonfire
- If you both play instruments, play a song
- Plant a tree
Stay all night
This is a trend I never would have predicted, but I’m loving it! More and more couples are choosing to skip the grand exit. The alternative? Partying the night away with guests and sending them off, rather than the other way around. Honestly, it’s such a heartfelt act of love and if you’re not super comfy being in the spotlight, this is a fantastic way to soak up the entire night and let your guests know how much you care!
Choose a creative guest book alternative
While traditional guest books are great, we are living in the 21st century, which means there are sooo many creative ways to collect personal messages from your guests! Why limit yourself to handwritten notes? Here are some of my favorite options …
- Have each guest record a quick video clip once they walk in to the reception. You can set up a tripod in a booth an provide them instructions for how to do it!
- Set out some Polaroid cameras for guests to take photos of themselves and paste into a guestbook
- Have guests record an audio message — I *****love *this company ! They’ll rent you a cute rotary phone that guests pick up and record an audio message into (and no, I promise this blog is not sponsored in any way)
- Have guests add to a piece of artwork
- Typewriter guest book
- Have guests write on a square of fabric that you can turn into a quilt
- Set out your favorite records or albums for guests to sign
- Have guests sign/write on an old surf board, skateboard, or pair of skis
- Ask guests to write down a piece of advice or something they want you to read on your first anniversary. This will get sealed in a box for you to open in a year!
Instead of a traditional open bar
Open bars can be costly. Like … really costly. Offering your guests all of the options in the world, while kind, oftentimes isn’t totally necessary. Honestly, the reality is that 80% of them will end up just drinking wine and beer anyway! But, if you still love the idea of offering cocktails and an open bar, perhaps you’ll love this alternative as much as I do …
Signature drinks! They’re a clever, more affordable way to offer your guests a delicious cocktail that also shows off your personality. Couples will oftentimes pick they’re two favorite mixed drinks, give them a name that’s unique to them and their love story, and offer those as their two cocktails along with beer, wine, and non-alcoholic options. This is also a great way to cut down on waste!
Get your vendors involved
Why stick to the traditional vendors? Hire a performer, an artist, or any other vendor you may want to have as a part of your day to make it totally unique! Here are some wild ideas …
- Tattoo artist
- Live band
- Live painter
- Caricature artist
- Balloon artist
- Elvis impersonator (or any impersonator)
- Table chef
- Bouncy house/carnival ride vendor
- Acapella group
- Quick change performers
- Fire breather
- Face painter
- Petting zoo
- Drum line
- Cotton candy stand
- Pony rides
Traditionally, there are parent-child dances that happen, a first dance, and a group dance. In fact, in some capacity, dancing is a part of nearly every wedding! But how do you put a twist on it? Easy!
- Do partner dances with other loved ones
- Choreograph your first dance
- Have your first dance to an upbeat number
- Turn your reception into a silent disco
- Have a dance battle
- Swing dancing
- Line dancing
- Organize a flash mob
Ready to start planning your big day?
If you’re engaged, about to be engaged, or looking to document your life for any reason, let’s get in touch! Want to talk about all the ideas for twists on wedding traditions you have? I’m all ears! I’m a professional photographer based out of Minnesota, and I’ll travel anywhere in the world to capture the beautiful, meaningful moments in your life. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about my wedding packages, you can follow this link here or contact me by clicking here!