Big dress, first dance, sharp tux...certain motifs tend to repeat themselves again and again when it comes to weddings. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going the traditional route, there’s also no rule that says you can’t stray from the norm. In fact, weddings often feel the most special when they’re a unique blend of long-practiced customs and fresh details that are personal to the couple.
So if you’re looking for one—or several!—unique twists to add to your own celebration, continue reading. From disco ball decor to standout ceremony seating, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite nontraditional wedding ideas.
Add Disco Balls to Your Decor
The 1970s are back, baby! Retro aesthetics are still trending hot for 2022 weddings, and a fun way to embrace the style is to incorporate disco ball wedding decor into your big day. Whether they sparkle above the dance floor or add a hit of glitz to your ceremony aisle, disco balls will definitely amplify the party vibe.
Have Your Dog Walk You Down the Aisle
All the most significant figures in your life should be involved in your wedding day, right? Well, if some of those figures happen to have four legs instead of two, there’s nothing wrong with that. From having your dog dress up and escort you to the altar to assigning them the all-important role of ring bearer, there are plenty of ways to include your pet in your wedding.
Don Sheer Gloves
Blame it on Bridgerton: Regency bridal style is seriously having a moment. A key part of the look? Bridal gloves. The accessory is so old school that it’s become new school—and feels especially modern when done in a sheer style. (Just ask Nicola Peltz.)
Divide Across the Aisle
There’s no rule that says all of your ceremony seating has to be exactly the same. For a strikingly asymmetrical look, choose different chairs for each side of the aisle.
Cut Into a Brushstroke Cake
An all-white wedding cake will never go out of style, but a multi-dimensional brushstroke cake feels decidedly more creative. To up the sophistication factor, stick with a neutral palette.
Incorporate Your Favorite Lyrics
Pop music absolutely has a place in your wedding decor! And those lyrics that always make you think of your fiancé will look especially great on your wedding welcome sign.
Add Calligraphy to Your Cocktails
Your wedding is the perfect opportunity to road-test your new last name. And while it will look awesome on something more permanent, like a neon wedding sign, there’s also something very cool about stenciling it on top of your signature cocktail.
Teach ’Em How to Two-Step
Hosting a destination wedding? You’ll want to be thinking about fun pre-wedding activities to plan for your guests. And, in certain locales, learning how to line dance is exactly what the doctor ordered! Make the occasion even more festive by requesting a Western-chic dress code.
Go With a Colorful Wedding Dress
Believe it or not, in the grand scheme of human history, the white wedding dress is a relatively recent phenomenon. So don’t feel limited by the shade! If you’ll feel your best in rich green, for example, then that’s exactly the color gown you should be wearing.
Let Attendants Pick Their Own Looks
Want to really make your wedding party happy? Let them choose their own looks, and don’t limit those who wear dresses to bridesmaid-specific styles.
If you’re worried about visual cohesion in photos, request that they stick to a certain color palette, and choose monochrome bouquets to tie things together.
Serve Champagne Before the Ceremony
You don’t have to wait until cocktail hour for a celebratory toast. Set up a champagne glass station at the entrance to your ceremony, and guests can sip on something to get them into the party mood while they wait for the exchange of vows.
Marry at a Cemetery
You don’t have to be hosting a Halloween wedding to exchange vows in a cemetery. (In Denmark, they’re actually quite a popular spot to hang out.) Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is one of the city's most unique venues, and it hosts weddings year-round.
Swap Salad for Charcuterie
Leafy greens are often the first course of any sit-down wedding meal, but what about going for a more indulgent appetizer of meat and cheese instead? While communal grazing tables were all the rage pre-pandemic, this more individualized approach is now gaining steam.
Have a Sound Healer Officiate
Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day, and the way to make it memorable and authentic is to personalize it. For some couples, that means writing your own vows. For others, that may mean working with an officiant who can incorporate more New Age rituals into the experience, such as sound healing.
Play Ping Pong
At a traditional wedding, the only reception activities are dinner and dancing. For something more unique—and to entertain those who don’t love to boogie down—consider incorporating fun bar games. Cornhole is a go-to at Southern affairs, but a ping pong table will add a touch of unexpected playfulness.
Get Ready Together
On the morning of the wedding, couples traditionally keep apart until the first look or when they meet at the altar. But why not spend the morning hanging out and getting dressed together? This way, you’ll have more one-on-one time to relish the special occasion before seeing all of your guests.
Have an Audio Guest Book
Finally, voicemails you’ll actually want to listen to! Fun audio guest book services such as After The Tone give guests the opportunity to record their well-wishes instead of writing them down. Added bonus: the retro corded telephone will look mighty cute on display at your reception.
Say “I Do” at a Drive-In
Drive-in movie theaters had a resurgence during the pandemic, and they’re also the perfect place to host a laid-back summer wedding. If you’re into the idea, make like film aficionados Samantha and Donald and incorporate your favorite movie quotes into your vows.
Pick a Restaurant as Your Venue
Restaurant wedding venues continue to gain popularity, and for many good reasons: the atmosphere has already been thoughtfully cultivated, there’s no need to rent tables, chairs, or dishware, and most importantly, the food is guaranteed to be delicious. Take your cues from Gabrielle and Raymond and opt for an eatery that has played an important role in your relationship, then seat yourselves right at the bar.
Book Some Unexpected Entertainment
Mark the transition between two different periods of the evening—like cocktail hour and dinner—with a bit of live entertainment. Synchronized swimmers will add a touch of whimsy and theatrics to any wedding with a pool at the venue.
Bring in a Backdrop for Hair & Makeup
A wedding is full of pre-planned photo ops, but they often happen away from the room where you get ready. For a nontraditional approach, add an utterly Instagrammable backdrop into the space, and pose for a few pics while you prep. It’ll help cultivate a festive, all-eyes-on-me energy that you’ll undoubtedly carry with you the rest of the day.
Get guests in on the memory-making by adding fun photography wish lists to your reception tables. It’ll give them a chance to talk with attendees they may not already know, and will also ensure that the most important moments of your day are captured from all angles.
Add in a Gelato Cart
Even if you’re not marrying overseas, there are so many wonderful Italian-inspired wedding ideas to incorporate into your big day. Our personal favorite right now? A self-serve gelato bar, so guests can mix and match flavors exactly as they please.