26 Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas for Unique Couples

If you want your wedding to stand out with alternative touches, then we’ve got you covered with our favorite non-traditional wedding ideas. Nowadays, more couples are straying away from conventional nuptials. Instead, they’re opting to think outside the box and embrace contemporary twists. In fact, it’s the best way to make your wedding stand out! After all, no couple is the same! So, a spectacular day surrounded by original details that truly represent you both is the perfect way to celebrate your ‘I dos’.

Find unique inspiration for your special day with our selection of non-traditional wedding ideas below.

1. Spend the Wedding Night Together

Everyone knows the infamous superstition that if you don’t spend your wedding eve apart, then you’ll be faced with bad luck during your marriage. But this custom actually derives from an old age contract. As well as attempts to keep some innocence and mystery before the nuptials. So why not skip this, and go with what you feel more comfortable with. You’ll need a good night’s sleep so having your partner next to you might help calm those nerves!

Photography: Alisha Tova

2. Joint Bachelor and Bachelorette Party

Typically, the bride and groom will have separate celebrations leading up to the wedding day. But it’s becoming more popular to combine these parties. Couples might have the same friendship group, so it makes sense to join them. It’s also a great way to help your wedding party mingle if they don’t know each other.

bachelor bachelorette party
Photography: Stefano Cassaro

3. Bridal Suit

Follow in the footsteps of Bianca Jagger who first stole the show with a bridal suit in 1971. Yves Saint Laurent styled the stunning look, involving a blazer top and tailored pants. It’s the best way to make a statement! Nowadays you can find so many different options. And pants tend to be more comfortable anyway!

bridal suit
Photography: Rob Walker | Bridal suit: Pronovias | Hair: Larry King | Make Up: Nikki Makeup

4. Opposite Colors

For a unique spin on tradition, choose a colored wedding gown for yourself and white dresses for your bridesmaids. You’ll still stand out but not in the traditional way. Your guests won’t expect this simple yet surprising switch.

colored wedding dress
Photography: Alice Mahran

5. Bouquet Alternatives

If you want non-traditional wedding ideas that are subtle, then opt for a bouquet alternative. Instead of colorful blooms go for other options that match your aesthetic. For example, flower crowns, succulents, parasols, floral cuffs, clutches, or even a favourite book.

wedding bouquet alternative
Photography: Kismet Visuals & Co.

6. Mismatched Bridesmaids

Similarly, if you still want to keep bouquets but make them a bit different then go for mismatched arrangements. Or you can have your bridesmaids wear mismatched dresses. Traditionally, bridesmaids will carry the same bouquet and wear the same color. But you can make your nuptials as different as you like!

mismatched bridesmaids
Photography: Heather Waraksa

7. Museum or Gallery Venue

If you love art, science or history why not incorporate this into your wedding day? Choose an unconventional venue, such as a museum or art gallery to wow your guests. It’ll provide a unique backdrop for your big day, and you can even host private art viewings!

non-traditional wedding ideas
Photography: Jill Devries | Event coordination: VLD Events | Venue: Detroit Institute of Arts

8. Rooftop Venue

Another non-traditional venue is a rooftop. Say ‘I do’ from the heights of your favorite or hometown city. Or choose a calming oceanfront location. You’ll also be able to make the most of the outdoor space and sunset views to create a romantic ambience.

Photography: Candida & Max Jan Photography | Design & Planning: Nadia Jung Weddings & Events | Florals: Nosioko By Mari Neuschitzer 

9. Sunday Brunch Wedding

Pancakes, waffles, mimosas… One of the latest wedding trends is a Sunday brunch. Some of the advantages are, that there’s more availability, it’s a budget-friendly option, and it creates a casual setting. This morning theme can still be luxe and elaborate too. For example, lobster omelets, scones, finger food, and upgraded classics.

brunch wedding
Photography: Claire Eyos | Design & Planning: Aurélia Boulenger | Florals: BayaFlor & Design

10. Festival Wedding

Transform your wedding into your favorite festival! This non-traditional wedding idea has become more and more popular recently. It’s perfect for summer nuptials and boho brides that want their guests to enjoy a relaxed, joyful, and comfortable atmosphere. You can include a live band, fun photo booths, tents, glow sticks, and plenty of flower crowns.

festival wedding
Photography: Pink Mango Wedding | Planning: Weddingfever |

11. Surprise Wedding

Try out this exciting alternative for a truly special celebration. If you’re a fan of spontaneity and want to forgo a big event, then invite your guests to an engagement party that will actually end up being your wedding. This secret wedding style has been around for a while amongst celebrities. It’s ideal if you want your nuptials to be low-key and intimate.

surprise wedding
Photography: Erik Ekroth | Wedding Dress: Olia Zavozina | Hair/Make Up: Margie Bresciani | wooden signs: Sawmill Creations

12. Adventure Wedding

Combine your love of adreline-inducing activities with your special day. This unforgettable experience will definitely wow your guests! The new trend involves spending part of the day doing an adventure. For example, hiking in a new country, enjoying a jeep tour, or crossing a glacier. The aim is to connect with the outdoors and celebrate your nuptials surrounded by nature.

non-traditional wedding ideas
Photography: Film and Forest | Venue: Island Lake Lodge | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier

13. Alternative Ceremony Seating

Don’t stick to traditional ways of seating your guests for your wedding ceremony. Instead, put your own spin on it! There are so many more options than the typical straight rows. For instance, create swirls, a semi-circle, or a ring around you and your partner. These circular options create a more inclusive ambiance and make your ceremony extra special.

circular ceremony seating
Photography: Caroline Tran

14. Private Vow Exchange

When it comes to non-traditional wedding ideas, one that really stands out is a private vow exchange. Typically, couples exchange their vows in front of their friends and family. But if you prefer for it to be a private moment with your partner, then consider an intimate vow exchange. You could do this during the first look before your ceremony. It’s the best way to say exactly how your feel, and focus solely on each other.

Photography: Paolo Ceritano | Design & Planning: Emma Events | Florals: Rosalinda Rellino | Venue: Hotel Marincanto

15. Include Your Pets

Your furry friends are probably just as important to you as your relatives, so include them too! There are different ways to honor your pet during your special day. Some couples choose to have them walk down the aisle with a cute bow tie. But if your venue doesn’t allow animals, then you can add them into your decor. For example, pet-inspired napkins, cocktail names, or illustrations around your venue.

wedding dog
Photography: Alyssa Fisher Photography

16. Pool Party

This idea is perfect for a summer or destination wedding. Pool party receptions are a great way to create a fresh, fun, and relaxed vibe. The crisp water and stunning views make the perfect backdrop for stunning photos. You can even make it into a weekend celebration with a poolside brunch the next morning.

pool party reception
Photography: Jessica Bordner

17. Unique Reception Seating

There are so many options when it comes to your reception layout. So, try out something different with a contemporary twist. For instance, you can play with the vibe of your wedding and choose benches and large family tables. Or forget traditional seating altogether, and make a statement with blankets and poufs. You can mix it up for guests that need extra support.

wedding reception seating
Photography: Keil Rucker

18. Reception Games

Table games are usually reserved for Christmas or family get-togethers. But if you’re choosing an informal celebration and want everyone to feel relaxed then place some around your venue. They don’t just have to be for the younger guests. In fact, it’s a perfect way for guests of all ages to break the ice!

wedding games
Photography: Alexa Lena

19. Handwritten Notes for Guests

Your friends and family have probably made an effort to make sure that they can be with you on your special day. So show them how much they mean to you with a dedicated handwritten note for each person. Usually, couples will send out thank you notes after the wedding. But don’t wait until then to show your gratitude, and write down a few sentences to make them feel extra special when they arrive.

handwritten wedding guest notes
Photography: Gayle Brooker

20. Late-Night Entertainment

It’s likely your reception celebration will continue on late into the evening. So, don’t just stick to the traditional music and dancefloor to entertain your guests. Include some alternative surprises as the sun sets, to keep the upbeat atmosphere going. For example, a fireworks show, a tarot card reader, a s’mores bonfire, or even a circus show.

Venue: San Montano Resort & Spa

21. Food Trucks

The meal aspect of your wedding is one of the biggest, so why not go for something non-traditional? Food truck catering is the new trend for informal and sociable weddings. It focuses on the guest experience, allowing them to choose their food and make sure they have the best time. It’s perfect for foodies too! You can even find high-end food trucks for a mix of casual luxe.

wedding food truck
Photography: Matthew Moore Photography

22. Skip the Cake

One of the most classic and iconic wedding traditions is a gorgeous layered cake. But if you want to break the mold, or you just don’t like cake, then choose a delicious alternative. There are a variety of contemporary crowd-pleasers to choose from. For example, croquembouche, cannoli, homemade pies, cupcakes, a candy bar, parfaits, and individual cakes. Or forget sweet and create a cake of cheese.

Photography: Monilynn Images | Cake: Savor Patisserie

23. Unique Guestbook

Aside from your wedding photos, your guestbook will be an important souvenir from your special day. But it doesn’t have to be a traditional book. It can be whatever you like! Be creative with something your guests have never seen before. For example, guests could record a message on a special phone, write out postcards for a beautiful display in your home, have your guests take polaroids, or even have a typewriter for a vintage vibe.

wedding guestbook alternatives
Photography: Alex Ashman

24. No Bridal Party

One of the most non-traditional wedding ideas that might surprise guests is not to have a bridal party. It can help make things simpler on the day and keep costs down. You’ll also have less pressure to decide who will stand next to you, and those you would’ve chosen can enjoy the day as a guest.

non-traditonal wedding ideas
Photography: Halle Morgan | Wedding dress: Odylyne The Ceremony | Hair: Blush and Mane | Make up: Lia Croke

25. Funny Wedding Photos

Weddings are full of emotions, laughter, and excitement. Usually, couples want perfectly posed photos to look back on. But what will really put a smile on your face when you take out your photos in a few years are the funny moments your photographer captured. So, encourage your guests to release nervous energy, and let those moments unfold.

funny wedding photos
Photography: Alexis Mimacho

26. Livestream Wedding

In recent years when guests haven’t been able to attend weddings, couples have embraced technology with a live stream. It’s the best way to include your nearest and dearest that can’t be there in person. Just remember to check the wi-fi connection beforehand!

wedding livestream
Photography: Alex McCullough

Make sure your special day is one-of-a-kind with these non-traditional wedding ideas! For more wedding inspiration head over to WedBoard. You’ll find tips and advice for all aspects of the planning process including, 12 Tips for a Perfect Intimate Destination Wedding, Unexpected Wedding Costs to Look Out For, and How to Choose a Wedding Venue.

Featured image: Kami Olavarria

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