9 Tips for Planning a Non-Traditional WeddingJanuary 3, 2023
Wedding planning can be stressful as it is. When planning a traditional wedding, you have tons of reference points and downloadable checklists and Instagram gurus to get you going. If you venture off the beaten path for your wedding, you may be charting a new course, blazing your own trail and other cliché phrases. Point is, it’s super exciting, but it may well take extra work.
Although this might seem intimidating, fear not! Below we have some helpful tips to help you plan your offbeat wedding:
Tips for Planning a Non-Traditional Wedding
1. Define What You Mean by Non-Traditional
Okay, this should be obvious, but we need to talk about it. Non-traditional can basically mean anything. You’re both on board for a non-traditional wedding? Awesome. Make sure you both know exactly what the other means when you say non-traditional.
Look, it seems stupidly obvious, but making sure you’re on the same page will save a lot of headaches later. If one of you is thinking non-traditional, as in “wedding in the forest officiated by a minor deity,” and the other thinks “let’s have cool tungsten wedding bands,” you’re gonna clash at some point. Overcommunicate this one.
2. Dream Big
To borrow a corporatism, you’re in the ideation phase at the beginning. Office jargon aside, this is one of the most exciting parts of the whole thing. Throw ideas out there and see what sticks. No ideas are bad ideas. Except the bad ideas, of course — those are terrible.
Now, to be clear, dreaming big doesn’t mean stacking money in a pile and throwing it at every vendor you can. In fact, non-traditional could be just DIYing everything you can and trading wedding debt for a down payment on a house. Dream big in whatever fashion interests you.
3. Enlist Help
This could be a really artsy friend or even a professional wedding planner. While wedding planners don’t come cheap (at least the good ones don’t), couples tend to stand by the decision to hire one once the dust settles. Weddings can be stressful endeavors, and non-traditional weddings don’t have a playbook to follow. If you’re on the fence about a wedding planner, we strongly suggest hiring one.
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4. Plan Ahead
Yes, you should plan ahead for your wedding. We aren’t exactly saying anything new here. Just keep in mind that if you want to go custom and/or non-traditional, there may be extra work involved and longer lead times on the things you want. Even shooting to be a few weeks ahead of a more traditional schedule can be really useful when crunch time hits.
A long engagement isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite, but it may be required to pull off a non-traditional wedding. This, of course, depends on what you want for your wedding specifically but is a likely reality for many couples going the non-traditional route.
5. Lead with the Venue
If one of the traditions you want to skip is a classic wedding venue, you’ll want to start your planning by venue shopping. If you have something specific in mind, start by locking that place down as soon as you can. Securing a venue can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding, so lock that thing down ASAP.
6. Define a Theme
If there’s one thing that could come before the venue, it’s the theme. If you aren’t set on a theme, securing a venue you love could help define the theme for you. If you know the theme you want, that should help you search for a venue that’ll suit it.
7. Prepare for Costs
Like we mentioned before, you can definitely save money going the non-traditional route. It is more than possible that you could save thousands of dollars going this way. Is your future spouse super active? Opt for silicone wedding rings for men versus an expensive wedding band. Not a fan of desserts? Skip the pricey wedding cake and choose a wedding cake alternative like a giant charcuterie board or coffee and biscotti. If you step away from the status quo, you might actually end up saving more than you’d think.
If you want to go custom with a lot of your pieces and your vendors and all, that’s awesome. Just keep in mind the price tag that custom comes with. The average wedding is already a five-digit cost, so start saving your pennies now if you want everything custom.
8. Let Your Photographer Know Your Plans
Wedding photographers are professionals, and they can adapt. However, if your ceremony and receptions are going to look significantly different than usual, you want to give your photographer a heads-up. If your photographer has an itinerary ahead of time, it’ll be much easier to plan out where to go and when to get the best angles for photos.
9. Keep It Honest
The point of a non-traditional wedding is to do something meaningful to you. It is painfully traditional to overspend on a wedding to impress people from your past who you don’t actually like that much. So, as you go forward with your non-traditional wedding, keep in mind what really matters. As long as you love what you’re doing, you’re good. Once you start trying to impress people you went to high school with, you’re probably missing the point.
And there you have it! We hope these tips help ease your stress during the wedding planning process. Whether you’re eloping, doing a DIY wedding or just breaking all the traditional rules, just make sure you have fun and treasure this special time.