The Unconventional Bride’s Guide to a Special Wedding

bride and groom

It used to be that people married when they were young, just out of high school or college. These days, many couples are taking their time figuring out their own lives before sharing their journey with a significant other. Instead of their parents taking out a second mortgage on the family home to throw a lavish wedding for a few hundred people, more and more couples are opting for small affairs that they pay for themselves.

No longer tethered to the traditional ideas and guest lists of Mom and Dad, they’re coming up with unconventional wedding ideas that suit their lifestyles, budgets, and personalities. If you’re one of those couples choosing to do things your own way, here are some ideas to spur you on.

The Invitations

Modern couples who choose unconventional weddings often prefer outdoor venues that are simple and intimate. Hence the rise of the rustic wedding. It’s a versatile theme that can be expressed through backyard, barn, farm, lakeside, mountain, Western, Southern, vintage, and other sub-themes. Couples often use rustic, vintage, or nature themed invitations for these unique weddings.

Another unconventional invitation is popular for destination weddings. What better way to invite your guests than with invitations that look like airline tickets? Print the wedding details on faux boarding passes and send them out in folio ticket pockets in your wedding color.  You could carry out the same idea with printed faux passport invitations. A variation for a stay-at-home wedding is a faux gala event ticket.

The Ceremony

The unconventional bride almost always has a sense of humor. After all, it’s hard to be unconventional and straight-laced at the same time. Fun-filled wedding programs cater to these witty brides. One of the favorites is So You’re Going to Sit through a Wedding program. It’s a humorous guidebook that lets guests in on all the details of the ceremony and reception. There are, in fact, about as many entertaining wedding programs as there are fun brides. The Offbeat Bride showcases some of the best ones. If you come up with something new and different, let them know!

Destination weddings, by nature, usually have a smaller guest list. Take the opportunity to engage every wedding guest in the ceremony with paper flowers. Begin with personalized stationery; printing colorful maps of your wedding location makes a good choice. Make one or two flowers for each guest, depending on how many will be attending. As the guests come to the wedding, have someone hand out flowers to each guest with instructions to hand them to the bride as she walks up the aisle! Voila! Instant bouquet.

The Reception

Guest book advice cards are a fun way to let the guests weigh in on the happy couple’s life together. Were they made for each other, or did opposites attract? What should we name our dog? Love is never having to … and Date of our first child’s birth. Print out cards for guests to sign in and leave their advice at the same time. Another take on the idea is for guests to write their own personal note to the couple and put their messages in a bottle that sits on each reception table.

An anniversary piñata is the wedding idea that keeps on giving! Have guests write jokes, notes, messages, predictions, or encouragement on small, preprinted cards at the guestbook table. Display or hang a wedding bouquet piñata over the table with a small cutout and a paper arrow pointing to it. Guests put their cards in the piñata. Let them know the two of you will be breaking open the piñata on your one-year anniversary. This and 20 other “insanely fun wedding ideas” for the unconventional wedding can be viewed at My Wedding Reception Ideas.

The Gratitude

Plan for this detail before your wedding day, and you’re all set to get out those wedding thank you notes after the honeymoon. Take a look at these wedding day thank you photos, a cool idea for the unconventional bride. Having a rustic wedding? You and your groom can hold a wooden sign that reads, Thank You.

Chalkboards are popular with invitations, signs at the reception, and thank you notes. Have your photographer take a picture of you and the groom holding a chalkboard Thank You on your wedding day. Extend your wedding’s theme with something special from the day like thank you spelled out in scrabble tiles, as shown on the Wedding Party blog. Don’t forget to send thank you notes to your vendors!

If you’re a fun-loving couple planning and paying for your own wedding, why not consider doing something unconventional? A simple Google search of unconventional wedding ideas will return more ideas than you can handle. Offbeat Bride is a great starting point.

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