20 Ideas for a Unique and Memorable Nontraditional Wedding

Thanks to my awesome vendor friends & partner sites and featured cool couples, this blog has managed to serve funky wedding ideas for more than a year already! It’s also about time I organized some of the notable posts into a handy list for your convenience.

I know you don’t want a cookie cutter event — good for you 🙂 — so please allow me to share

bride in dreadlocks
Holga pic courtesy of Maile Lani Photography

Poptastic Bride’s 20 Nontraditional Wedding Ideas to Make Your Event Unique and Memorable

1. Having a nontraditional wedding is all about shying away from old customs — the ones that don’t mean anything to you anyway — or giving expected traditions a new twist that’s more in sync with your style. It’s all about making your celebration mirror the real you so whether you’re into steampunk, rock and roll, indie rock, goth, or geeky stuff, go right ahead and plan your wedding around the theme and make it truly yours.

alternative weddings
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2. Incorporate elements of your heritage into your wedding. Each family has their own way of celebrating customs so this will make your nuptials extra special — even more so if you and your fiance/e have different cultural backgrounds.  Sumanta and Stuart wore a traditional sari and kilt respectively to celebrate their Indian-Scottish union. Gillian’s Scottish groom Andrew had the same idea.

multicultural weddings
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3. Not crazy about wearing a big, puffy all-white gown? Consider donning edgy handmade wedding dresses in different lengths, layers, and hues, or take inspiration from these alternative and fashion forward wedding gowns or these unique colorful gowns with unexpected details. Take inspiration from real brides Shana, Martine, Mery, Jeni, and Kitty who were adventurous enough to wear dresses that had pops of color.
bridal gowns with color
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4.  If you’re working on a tight budget, get an inexpensive white dress off the rack and simply accessorize it with Krissy’s bold statement bridal belt and sashes. Alternatively you can take a cue from these modern Japanese-inspired gowns and embellish your plain dress with colorful cultural textiles like kimono silk, batik, ethnic weaves, sari fabrics, etc as a nod to your heritage.

bridal belts and sashes
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5.  Don’t compromise your fashion style. Wear bright colored shoesfloral footwearboots, or patterned tights and give your groom and guests an unexpected under-the-gown treat. If you have tattoos, wear them loud and proud.

inked brides
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6. Make a statement by accessorizing yourself according to your theme. Take your pick from these handmade alternative bridal finds from Wed Eclectic, peacock feather hair clips origami-inspired jewelry, Japanese-style kanzashi accessoriessteampunk ornaments, fabric floral necklaces and bibspunky, bright Neo-Vicotrian and Gothic accessories, fabric yo-yo barrettes and fascinators, and shabby chic headbands.

alternative bridal accessories
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7. If you want to keep the “something blue” tradition, here are creative ways for incorporating it into your wedding attire.
something blue
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8. Do away with tight chignons. Let your hair cascade naturally around your face or wear them in dreads (if that’s your style like the bride in the pic at the top of this page),  or clip on fun hair extensions and custom hairpieces.

bridal hairpieces and hair extensions
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9. These days, a bridal party isn’t entirely necessary but if you really must have your girls close by, get them to choose their own dresses (we don’t want them resenting you forever for picking a dress that makes them look fat now, do we?). Several online boutiques offer super-cute party dresses, retro bridesmaid dresses, and adorable Bohemian style outfits so there’s a lot to choose from. There’s no need to be matchy-matchy too, just give them color swatches and let them have a ball choosing what to wear. These dresses will also look great in your vintage e-sessions.

retro style dresses
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10.  Don’t care much for real blooms? I myself love flowers but we can’t deny that they’re really expensive and impractical. Non-floral bouquets and centerpieces  consisting of brooches, felt and fabric rosettes, paper and seed balls, kanzashi, and ribbons, are now widely accepted because, aside from being eco-friendly, the “flowerless flowers” can double as precious keepsakes of your big day.
non flower bouquets
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11. There’s nothing more personal than making your wedding accessories by hand, be it your invitation, jewelry, reception signage, hair accessories and bouquet, favors, table centerpieces, or your own gown. Real groom Jim is a production designer so naturally, his steampunk wedding was chock-full of handmade details, from their invites to the 12 working table lamps at their reception. There’s Jeni & Travis’ 50s DIY wedding which had a lot of homemade details too. Your guests will appreciate your efforts and you and your husband will be rewarded with souvenirs that you can treasure and even decorate your home with.

handmade wooden wedding accessories
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12.  Have your cake designed according to your theme. Take a look at these funky wedding cakes with themes ranging from the classic Pac-Man game to Back to the Future, these cute robot cakes, retro tattoo cakes, the Dia de los Muertos cake,  and the famous katamari wedding cake.

funky wedding cakes
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13. Ditch the old-fashioned ceramic bride and groom figurines and adorn your cake with a standout handmade wedding topper that’s guaranteed to catch attention.

non traditional cake toppers
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14. If you want to push the envelope further, ditch the traditional wedding cake as well! You can go for something that can double as favors like creampuffs arranged in a croquembouche, cupcakes in tiered stands, or fun individually wrapped stacked cookie wedding cakes.

tiered cookie wedding cakes
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15. Give “Here Comes the Bride” a rest (apologies to Richard Wagner). March down the aisle to your favorite song and dance to our indie rock reception music selections to your hearts’ content. If you’re musically inclined, make like my friend Annette and play your own wedding music (watch her rocking out to Metallica on the drums).

indie rock weddings
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16.  If you want a truly retro or vintage look, opt for analog photos as opposed to digital ones. Check out this selection of polaroid wedding photos and lomographs and instant photography prints. You can also distribute disposable instant cameras to your guests and have them take photos of your wedding. Later on, you can have fun seeing your wedding unfold through your friends’ eyes.

lomo and polaroid weddings
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17. Wedding guestbooks are now a thing of the past. Say hello to fingerprint trees. You can have them custom-made, or you can order one of our ready-to-use fingerprint tree posters.

fingerprint tree posters
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18.  Who says wedding invitations  always have to be made of paper? There are non-paper invitation alternatives out there made of fabric, glass, wood, and even chocolate! Also worth checking out is Jim and Martine’s steampunked USB stick invitation.

non-paper wedding invitations
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19. If you’re going for paper invitations, make them stand out like the ingenious paper record player or these invites printed with awesome photography. (My own invite was a pop-up which was pretty nontrad… back in 2003 LOL).

unconventional wedding invitations
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20. If you’re in a hurry to get your invites, Poptastic Bride’s modern invitation sets can be customized online. Our designs feature unconventional graphics such as owlsrobotsboomboxes and mixtapesand more which go with alternative wedding themes. Shipment is fulfilled by Zazzle and depending on where you are, you will get the invites in as early as 2 days. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our wedding printables page for free DIY templates and more!

funky wedding invitations

Whew! If you’re still here,  thanks for reading all the way to the end of the page.  I hope the tips I shared will inspire you in your wedding planning — just remember not to get caught up with the details too much so you won’t lose sight of the reason you are getting married in the first place. 😉

UPDATE: For more non-cookie-cutter wedding ideas (like alternatives to the usual venues, escort cards or even guest books — and more –, please see my newer lists:

* 30 Fun & Unique DIY Wedding Project Ideas
* 25 Playful, Interesting, and Memorable E-session Examples
12 Wedding Limo Alternatives & Fun Bridal Transportation Ideas
10 Kid Lit-Inspired Weddings + A Few More Theme Ideas 
25 Creative & Unique DIY Wedding Project Ideas
20 Creative, Fun & Unique Engagement Session Ideas!
* Pop Culture Wedding Ideas
Alternative Wedding Readings From Indie Rock Love Songs

Even more [ here ]!

How about you, how did you make your non-traditional wedding personal and memorable? If you had a wedding that veered away from convention, send me a note so I can feature it here!

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One Comment

  1. Idea Number 21: Create a non traditional personal wedding website.


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