My Unique Wedding - Ideas for the Non-Traditional
My now-husband and I were engaged for a year and a half, and then we got married in the middle of a global pandemic (September 2020). So that right there is pretty unique in itself and will be a funny story to tell our grandchildren someday, I'm sure.
Although there are a few traditions I hold dear, I love to do change things up and make holidays and events more unique to our family. So our wedding was the perfect chance to stray away from tradition and make our very own.
Here are a few wedding ideas if you're looking to do something a little different.
Time of Day
We decided to have a morning wedding for a lot of different reasons, none of which really mattered all that much at the end of the day, but I still enjoyed the experience. Our ceremony started just after 11 A.M. and the pictures turned out amazing with the lighting at that time of day. We ate at lunch-time instead of dinner-time, and were back to our hotel by 5 P.M. Unless you're a morning person, a definite downside to our morning wedding is that we took pictures at 8 A.M. so keep that in mind.
Well what kind of people would we be if we didn't have BRUNCH for a morning wedding!? Breakfast food is hands down a family favorite of ours, so this was obviously a no-brainer. Most everyone really enjoyed it, too! We were also served mimosas by our DJ as he serenaded our guests to 'Be Our Guest' from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Yes, really.
My husband and I have three children together, so we opted out of having a bridal squad to make the day extra special for our littles. We had a couple of proud kiddos that day (and one that drank a few too many Dr. Pepper's...).
I have never noticed anything about the marriage license at any weddings I have attended, so when I learned that most couples sigh their certificate after the ceremony I thought that was silly! We wanted to actually be married, certificate signed at all, when our officiant announced us as husband and wife. So we signed our marriage license during the ceremony with our witnesses, to make it official official. But whatever you decide to do when it comes to your marriage license, just... don't forget to sign it.
My husband is NOT one to stand, let alone speak, in front of a ton of people with all eyes on him. So we knew from the get go we'd have to be a little bit creative with our vows. We chose to write most of our vows together after talking about the different values, habits, and annoyances we hold dear. We created a template for the rest and used a fill-in-the-blank style to write more personalized vows to each other to break up our joint vows to one another. Our officiant read each of our vows for us, so all that was left to be said was "I do", and my husband didn't faint afterall. Whew!
It has been becoming increasingly popular to have someone in your circle get registered to be an officiant. We asked a really great lifelong friend of mine if she would become a certified officiant to marry us. There was no one else we would have wanted and it was so special having someone who knows us both so well walk us into the next chapter of our lives. It just wouldn't have been the same if it was someone we hardly knew.
We picked an amazing DJ company (Harmon Entertainment, Fargo, ND) who offered up so many great ideas to make our reception fun and unique. Most of the fun things that happened following the ceremony was their idea and part of the package! We recorded a short 'traditional' vow that played over the beginning of our first dance, which was the perfect subtle addition to the most memorable dance!
We had some great friends of mine make me the most special wedding present ever, and created a mashup of the two songs I most wanted for my Father/Daughter dance. It was so special and unique - they produced the whole song, instruments, vocals and all. If you have talented friends, 10/10 recommend!
We sprung a surprise dance-off on our unsuspecting guests in order to win the garter. We pre-picked names that the DJ called up to compete, and each round of the dance off had a different theme. We kicked dancers out until only a winner remained. But the game wasn't over yet! Instead of my husband taking the garter off me, the dance-off winner (who happened to be our brother-in-law) got to take the garter off of my husband. Nobody stopped laughing this entire game - it was so fun! The memories may fade, but the pictures will last a lifetime.
This game required all the single ladies to come to the floor before being surprised with a game of musical chairs. The last woman standing didn't get the bouquet - but she did get an amazon gift card and a drink token, which is obviously better.
Throughout brunch our DJ asked our guests to answer a pre-picked trivia questions about our relationship. If they answered correctly - we kissed. If they answered wrong - they had to find someone to kiss. Needless to say, hilarious.
The Newlywed Game
I have always loved the Newly Wed Game at weddings where the couple holds a shoe up to answer the question about who does what in the relationship. Because we have kids we decided to spice this one up as well. Instead of shoes we made signs that said "Mom" or "Dad", then our two oldest played the game with us! Half the time they didn't know what sign they were holding up and it was so much fun!
An anniversary dance is where the DJ calls all the married couples out to the floor, and then calls each couple off if they haven't been married for a certain amount of years. After awhile only one couple is left standing. For our anniversary dance, we danced with the couple that won (my husband's grandparents - married 54 years), while they shared their advice for a long marriage.
We knew we wanted to try and do something to give back, and one day I came across an idea and knew that was the one for us! We had a card making station in the back on the reception area where our guests could make a holiday card for the children at the St. John Children's Hospital in St. Paul. It was an easy way to use the opportunity to give back, and it gave the kids something to do.
I have also seen couples who raised money during their dollar dances for different charities or organizations. You can really get creative with this one!
I'm so glad we were able to incorporate some fun ideas into our wedding. Our kids had a blast and still talk about it to this day! There were, however, a few ideas we loved but weren't able to follow through with. But I'll still share them with you here, just in case:
Grandmas as Flower Girls
This trend is catching on quick, and that's because it's adorable! I don't have any living grandparents, and only one of my husband's sets of grandparents could make it to the wedding, so we opted out of this one. We still had the most adorable Petal Patrol around though, that consisted of our youngest daughter, our niece, our nephew, and they all sat in a wagon pulled by my youngest sister-in-law.
First Dance at the Alter
I love love LOVED this idea. I saw it on some blog somewhere and fell in love. This couple danced in front of their guests as soon as they were officially married. It was so beautiful! But, we also really liked the idea of playing our intro on our first dance and that could only happen at the reception, so we went that route instead. But somebody please do this, and tag me in your photos!
Last First Kiss at the Alter
I may have seen this on the exact same blog as the unique first dance idea above, and this one is just as cute. Before getting into all the vows and promises that a lifetime will bring you, this officiant instructed the couple to kiss FIRST. What a beautiful way to remember your last single kiss!
We decided last minute not to do this one - but it definitely would have been fun. This one needs your photographers approval. The goal is to get a picture of the bride and groom with each table before the end of the song. Choose something upbeat and do your best to get great photos! It's sure to be funny. Before we changed our mind, we chose Taylor Swift's 'Paper Ring' for this activity!
I hope this was helpful and you were able to find something different or spark your own creativity. At the end of the day, remember your day is for you.