No one wants a wedding that looks just like everyone else’s they’ve seen plastered all over Pinterest. But, they still want one that looks as GOOD as the ones on Pinterest. Time and time again, I see couples worry (too much) about how their wedding will look and give in to the “traditional” choice or the “safe” choice. Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to! You can plan a unique wedding that is just as beautiful as your Pinterest dreams and is truly YOU.
You can have just the wedding you want and make it completely your own. For our wedding, we knew we wanted to have people be able to stay the night. And we knew we wanted it somewhere beautiful. So, we decided on renting out a large group campsite along the shore of a beautiful alpine lake! We had the wedding in between some trees with the lake in the background. We also had three different cakes, because we wanted all different flavors! And when I look back on all the things that made this wedding ours, it brings tears to my eyes, because it looks like US.
I always say, if you stick another couple in your wedding attire, at your wedding location, would someone be able to tell that it’s your wedding and not theirs? If not, then this post will help you get there.
And, let me be real for a second. I know it might feel a little nerve-racking going against the grain. When I told my friends I wanted a camp wedding they were a little taken aback, and were asking about all the logistics of feeding everyone and blah blah blah. I also was pretty nervous about sewing my own dress with my mom, and we barely finished it on time! I second-guessed a lot of things in the beginning of planning. But I knew that I wanted something different and a day that felt like us. Bryn and I are not trend-followers, nor are we people who care about all the frills. But it was still really hard not to compare my wedding to other people’s.
Once you let go of that comparison fear, and you just focus on the reason this is all happening (two wonderful souls vowing forever), nothing else matters. So make it your own, and I promise you when you look back on your beautiful photos (if you need a photographer, let’s chat!) you will be able to see how unique your wedding was, and how perfectly “you” it felt. And that’s the feeling you want: Not a perfectly styled, Pinterest-perfect day, but a day that was real and that was yours.
Location can be everything when you are wanting to plan a unique wedding. Instead of a venue, think of a favorite place you’ve both traveled to, or have always wanted to see together. Maybe it’s a National Park, or a place you’ve vacationed together. Maybe it’s where you proposed, or near where you met. Or, maybe it’s in the backyard of your first home together, or on your family’s riverfront property. You could also rent a cute AirBnB (but make sure they allow weddings first!) and have your ceremony there.
By choosing a place other than a venue, you get to a) save money (let’s face it, venues are one of the most expensive categories of any wedding budget!) and b) have a place that is meaningful and that you can visit on anniversaries. It will become such a special place in your heart, so being able to visit it and have all the feelings come back to you is so special.
Yes, you can add some pizzazz to your wedding outfits! Don’t feel like you have to look a certain way at your wedding. For example, my mom and I sewed my wedding dress! It took forever, but it was amazing and so fun to do. We even put one of my grandma’s buttons on the end of my dress so she could be there with me, in spirit.
If hand-sewing your wedding dress isn’t up your alley, some other ways to make your wedding unique is to get your outfits from someplace other than formal attire shops. Etsy is an amazing source for handmade and vintage wedding outfits. You can also try your hand at thrift-shopping if you want a vintage feel to your outfits. Or, simply adding small details to your outfits can make your wedding unique, like cheetah print shoes and bow-tie. Other things like family heirloom earrings and custom-made cufflinks can add that personal touch you want.
Decor is always a fun way to incorporate personal touches. Here are some favorites:
- Custom wedding cake topper
- A photo timeline of your relationship
- If you both enjoy a hobby like rock-climbing or snowboarding, adding decor like carabiners or snowboarding goggles with your date on them is always fun!
- A map of all the places you’ve traveled if you’re avid explorers
- Do you both love to camp? Name your tables after your favorite campgrounds and have tin camp mugs instead of regular glasses!
Want to see more of this farmhouse wedding? Click here!
There are so many things you can do during your ceremony to make your wedding unique! If you read my previous post, you know that I am a huge dog-person and advocate for your fur babies to always be at your wedding. So, one way to make your wedding unique is to have your fur babies there! They could be included in the bridal party, as flower girls or ring bearers, or simply as honored guests standing beside you as you say, “I do.”
Walking down the aisle can also be changed to fit what you both like most. Do you want to both walk out during the processional? Do you want both parents with you, or your grandma or grandpa? Or, do you want to walk out together, arm in arm? There are so many options, so don’t feel like it’s set in stone!
Furthermore, the song choice for your processional is a great way to make your wedding unique! Have fun listening to new songs, or try to think of songs from movies you really like and see if they could work. Or, if you two have a favorite song you love, try to find the acoustic version!
Another way to make your ceremony unique is to have your officiant make their speech personal to you both as a couple. Maybe they tell your guests a quick overview of how you met, who hit on who, or when you both realized you were the one for them. This engages your guests and makes their speech meaningful.
During the ceremony, you can add in a personal touch like a unity ceremony. These are usually where the couple does something together like pouring soil into a planted tree, pouring different colored sand into a glass jar, or tying their hands together with ribbon.
Lastly, I always urge my couples to read their vows to one another. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so during the ceremony, find some time before or after to read them to one another. But having something written down that you meticulously thought out, is so special for your partner to hear on your wedding day. Adding in fun memories to your vows is such a strong way to make your wedding unique.
Want to see more of this forest wedding? Click here!
Food & Drink
Time to eat, drink, and be married! Cocktail hour is always full of happy tears, smiles, and congratulation hugs. A few ways to make cocktail hour unique are:
- Make a custom trivia game or crossword puzzle all about you two and/or your bridal party and have your guests try to guess (and give the correct answers after speeches!)
- Signature drinks are always fun, especially if they are very “you.”
- Have a snack you both love? Serve it as an appetizer!
- Have a backdrop set up with your custom hashtag or a fun saying. Leave a polaroid and an album and have your guests take their photo and stick it in the album as your guestbook!
Also, the reception dinner doesn’t have to be the fanciest meal you’ve ever had. Do you both absolutely LOVE pizza? Then order the best pizza in town! Or is taco tuesday almost a religious thing for you both? Have a taco cart! There are so many fun options to create your favorite meal for your wedding day.
Another way to make your wedding unique is to have a dessert other than a large, three-tier cake. We ended up with a chocolate cake, a coconut cake, and a vanilla caramel cake, and our guests were blown away by all three. It was so fun having options, and it made it a unique experience for our guests!
If one of you is a talented baker, why not whip up your favorite cake or dessert and proudly share it with your guests?!
Or, if you’re not even into cake, think of your favorite dessert. Is it a hot fudge sundae? Or a fancy donut from the local bakery? Don’t think for one second you HAVE to have cake on your wedding day. You do you boo!
Lastly, one other way to make your wedding unique is with your first dances. Want to dance with your mom, too? Go for it. Want to do a fun, up-beat dance? Hell yes. Want to take dancing lessons and learn a pretty ballroom dance to wow your guests? Right on. It’s your time, so do what you want!
Alright my dears, if you’ve gotten this far, I’m sure you have a gazillion ideas racing through your head on ways to make your wedding unique. Trust me, you will thank your stars you went with what you guys want vs. what Pinterest, your mom, or your grandma say. This is your day, and one of the most important days for that matter. This will be the best day ever for you two, and when you plan it on your terms, it’s going to feel so magical you won’t even believe it’s real-life–I promise you that. It will not be just a wedding, but YOUR wedding.