Our Nontraditional Wedding

On September 24, 2016, I had the wedding of my dreams! It was such an incredible feeling being surrounded by so many friends and family. We put a lot of time and energy into our wedding (as all couples do) and it really paid off. We couldn’t have asked for better. Our wedding was perfect for us; we didn’t succumb to many of your typical wedding traditions. We wanted our guests to be completely comfortable and not feel obligated to do anything they didn’t wan to do. I have never been one that loves the sit down dinner, cake cutting, group dances, receiving line, or any of those typical wedding traditions. There were a few things that Mike and I did that made the wedding feel completely “us”, that said buck tradition!

5 Nontraditional Wedding Ideas

No Bridal Party

We did not have a traditional bridal party. This was a tough decision for me, but it really was perfect for the wedding Mike and I wanted.  We wanted a small and intimate ceremony that was focused on us joining our lives. We wanted to keep it simple and focused on what the day was really about. 

I am very close to my sisters and best friend, so I still asked them to be my “Maids of Honor” and gave each of them a task in the wedding. They could wear whatever they wanted and I provided them with flower crowns, so that everyone knew they were “a part” of the wedding. Mike asked his brother and best friend to be his ushers, his best friend being considered more of the “Best Man.” We gave them the option of giving the toasts, but let them know they didn’t HAVE to.

Even though they didn't stand next to me, these lovely ladies I considered my "Maids of Honor." We got ready together that day; I provided robes, professional hair & makeup, and flower crowns. It was such a relaxing way to spend the day! (My best friend Anna, even fed me sushi while I was getting my hair done! #squadgoals) 

Even though they didn't stand next to me, these lovely ladies I considered my "Maids of Honor." We got ready together that day; I provided robes, professional hair & makeup, and flower crowns. It was such a relaxing way to spend the day! (My best friend Anna, even fed me sushi while I was getting my hair done! #squadgoals) 

We were nervous to have babies attend the ceremony, we didn't want them to cry! Then our fur baby ended up whining during the ceremony! He hadn't seen me all day, and just wanted to be up by us. In hind sight we should have had him off the leash, but he still did a great job as ring bearer! 

We were nervous to have babies attend the ceremony, we didn't want them to cry! Then our fur baby ended up whining during the ceremony! He hadn't seen me all day, and just wanted to be up by us. In hind sight we should have had him off the leash, but he still did a great job as ring bearer! 

Wine/Letter Box

I didn’t want a unity candle or sand. Our ceremony was short, it lasted 20 minutes and I wrote it myself! My best friend officiated and he put his spin on it. It was great! Instead of a unity candle or sand, we wrote each other letters (written beforehand), placed them in a box with a bottle of wine, to be opened on our first anniversary. This was to take the place of a first look or letter on the wedding day. As a guest, I know it’s selfish, but I want to see the grooms face when he sees his bride for the first time!

Tapas!

I DID NOT want a sit down dinner. I wanted trays of hors d’oeuvres being passed around by gloved waiters. I didn’t want it because I wanted it to be super formal, but because I wanted the wedding to feel more like an event than a wedding. I didn’t want your typical sit down dinner with plated meals of meat and potatoes.  This was the only thing that my parents spoke up and put their foot down. We were having an open bar and a whiskey lounge, and they wanted to make sure that our guests were fed. They didn’t think trays of hors d’oeuvres were practical. I wouldn’t bend to not wanting a traditional wedding meal, so we negotiated and we landed on tapas!  M and I love tapas, so this was a great compromise! The guests did sit down, but they were served small plates of our favorite foods: Mini grilled cheese and tomato soup, mini tacos, mini meat loaf and mashed potatoes (they did get their meat and potatoes!) and mini pulled pork sliders with french fries. City Grill really nailed the tapas concept! The tapas were a hit! Everyone especially loved the mini grilled cheese and tomato soup! (This has always been a winter favorite of mine.) 

3D Printed Decorations

Mike is an engineer and I absolutely loved that we were able to incorporate this into our wedding. I really wanted to make large himmeli’s to hang from the ceiling. My sister and I researched how to make them and she came over and helped me start making them! (We used this video .) Mike saw what were doing and figure out a way to make them even better! He designed the corners and printed them on a 3D printer. I spray painted PVC pipe and inserted them into the corners to make the geometric shape. Our florist (Evolutions in Design) then attached flowers to them and hung them from the ceiling. I was a stickler about every detail of the wedding, (sorry Mike!) but it really came together exactly how I wanted it to! Coming up with the concept and styling the wedding was A LOT of work, but it really gave me an opportunity to be creative and make a wedding that completely suited me and Mike.

Separate Day for Pictures

One thing I always knew I didn’t want for my wedding was a long break in between the ceremony and reception.  I know sometimes it’s unavoidable, but as a guest, I never liked this part of the wedding. M and I didn’t want our guests to have to find something to do while we were taking pictures. We took family portraits in between the ceremony and reception, during cocktail hour (and it took less than an hour!) Then a few days after the wedding Mike and I got all dressed up again and headed out with our photographers for our photos. It was such a great experience! I got to get my hair and make up done again, we didn’t feel rushed at all (no one was waiting on us), and it gave me the opportunity to wear my dress again.  There were some additional expenses to doing it this way. I had to pay for make-up again, I got a new bouquet and we had to pay for the portrait session, but the photos we got out of it were completely worth it! (They are some of my all time favorite photos of all time!!) I don't think we would have had the opportunity to get them during the wedding. We were able to pick the location, it didn't have to be dependent on where the wedding was held. I would recommend this to anyone getting married. Having a separate session for photos really allowed us to enjoy our wedding day even more, and made our wedding weekend feel extra special!  A few of our guests had mentioned how they loved the flow of the wedding, and how laid back it was. I think this was a big factor in that! Because the ceremony and reception were in the same, location there weren’t as many moving parts and guests could relax and enjoy some great cocktails!

All these incredible photos are © The McCartney's Photography

All these incredible photos are © The McCartney's Photography

What are some of the more non-traditional things you have seen at weddings? I would love to hear about them!