A non-traditional wedding could be perfect for a couple trying to break the norm. In days gone by, of course, marriages were for convenience of connection rather than for love. In fact it is only relatively recently that we see love as a requirement for tying the knot.
There are plenty of couples who are looking to have a more relaxed wedding, save money or simply be a little different. If you’re the alternative couple wishing to break away from expectation and have a wedding that’s a little more untraditional, read on.
Of course, there are some things you have to do legally. At the ceremony, you have to need two witnesses; but these don’t even have to be people you know. Furthermore, there are many places that can host your ceremony outside of churches and registry offices.
Moreover, there are plenty of couples who may have married abroad and would love to hold another ceremony in their home country for the benefit of certain family members. Or, budget could be the chief concern. In this case, the reception is where couples have free reign to do just what they want.
If the principal traditional aspects of the wedding have already been carried out, or if you simply aren’t a traditionalist at heart, there are many steps you can take (or omit) in order to focus on exactly what you want!
Let’s get down to basics and throw tradition out of the window. What are the vital elements of a successful wedding reception?
Remember, your wedding: your rules.
You need somewhere to host an event, even if that is just your own house. Ironically this is where weddings started, as the wedding party would return to the bride’s house following the ceremony. Nowadays far more lavish venues are chosen, from castles to estates.
Of course, we discussed some venues that might be appropriate for your ceremony above and these all still apply. However there are unlimited venues for your reception. If you would rather something grander than your living room, but still low-key, you could talk to your local pub, bar or hotel. In fact, think completely outside the box with a cinema, museum, botanic gardens or ship.
Even if you choose a more standard hotel as the setting for your reception, there are plenty of ways to make the space just yours. In fact, a blank canvas space gives you total free reign!
Kerri from Flipside Bride specialises in making untraditional bouquets and buttonholes, but she has also made centrepieces for tables. She notes, “People are getting a lot more interested in making things personal – to them and to their guests. They look at who is sitting at each table and I make the centrepiece match to them. It’s also something nice for the guests to take home as their own reminder of the day.”
Of course, the tables aren’t the only thing you can decorate, and Kerri mentioned to us that you needn’t necessarily theme your entire wedding as non-traditional. “I have had whole weddings with an unconventional theme, but also sometimes the groom wants to add something different.” If the groom isn’t interested in a traditional floral buttonhole, consider finding him something more unique instead!
Cuisine brings people together – it’s a fact! You can host a sit-down meal, a buffet, provide canapés, or even host a variety of food stalls.
Likewise, the presentation of food is very important. You might consider a more traditional food option like canapés but presenting them in a unique way. For instance, imagine a ‘60s theme wedding where food is served on vinyl records.
On the other hand you could have a table of picnic baskets and guests can eat their food alfresco.
Cocktails, spirits, beer and wine; it’s all important in helping your big day go smoothly. Above all, of course, is champagne. However, never forget the soft drinks for designated drivers, teetotallers and youngsters.
If you want to simplify and make your drinks unconventional, you may consider making something yourself. Everyone expects ice cold bubbly; why not serve hot mulled wine? In the same vein you could serve sparkling apple juice or other drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages. In addition you might find some unusual drinking vessels or straws.
What’s a wedding without a good cake? Well, if you’re trying to break convention, it’s a wedding without a cake! Certainly, it is your prerogative to choose to go without, but there are happy mediums too.
For example, layer cupcakes on a tiered stand to create a cupcake wedding cake. Or, opt for a cheese cake (as in cheddar and stilton rather than New York). Use doughnuts or cookies or whatever else your favourite sweet treat is. In fact, it doesn’t have to be edible; try forming a “cake” made out of succulents.
Saving money on other aspects of your wedding? Then why not splash out on a great live wedding band! A much better alternative to a DJ, an exhilarating performance from good professional wedding musicians will make your night.
Go through to a music agency, or find a friend’s band to save more money. A silent disco is another take on updating tradition, especially if you have different music tastes. Alternatively consider setting up an old fashioned jukebox.
Otherwise you could offer entertainment in other forms. For example, you could turn your venue into a funfair with fairground games and a bouncy castle. Likewise you could bring out some board games or video games and form teams.
Wedding favours are actually more traditional than you may think, having been a staple of weddings for several centuries. They were originally called bonbonieres. Although you could do away with them altogether, it is nice to give something back to your guests and spread the love. Therefore, come up with something different instead.
For instance, if you and your partner are green-fingered you might gift small plants. However, if you are more into music then you could burn a CD with some tracks your DJ played. If you want to bring luck to your party then consider tokens like pennies, horseshoes or clovers.
Nobody said it’s the law to wear white. In fact, alternative colours are becoming more popular nowadays. Whether you’re looking for pastel or gothic, there is something out there for you.
Undoubtedly, your pets are part of the family too. Why do they have to stay at home whilst you have all of the fun? In fact, more couples are now inviting their furry friends to their weddings. Moreover some are even being trained as pageboys and flower girls.
Tradition, if followed slavishly, certainly can be hugely overrated, but beware of removing too many important aspects of your wedding when trying to save money, or when holding a second ‘home’ reception. Take a look at the suppliers above or elsewhere here on the website for more information, and handy helpful hints about holding a truly excellent wedding reception in your local area!