How to Plan an Alternative Wedding

Out with the old, in with the unique! As a team of Celebrants, we’ve noticed that over the past few years you guys have been saying a big ta-ra to tradition! Couples are no longer playing by traditional wedding planning rules. They’re making their own!

More and more couples are confidently saying BEGONE to yawn-worthy traditional ceremonies, instead opting for bespoke and highly personalised Humanist alternatives.  This one-of-a-kind switch hasn’t just stopped at ceremonies either; couples are customising their big days in endless ways.  Personalised cocktails have replaced champagne toasts, flower-grans have kicked flower-girls to the kerb and vegan grazing tables and sharing platters have food-bombed the traditional three-course wedding breakfast right back into 20th Century.  

So, with 2020 weddings set to get even more unique, unconventional and individual than ever before, we thought we would inspire you to feel confident about making your own rules on YOUR wedding day.  Here’s ten great ways to plan an alternative wedding:

Book a Humanist Celebrant

We might be a little bit biased here, but Humanist weddings ROCK!  Gone are the days where couples and guests would simply endure a boring wedding ceremony in order to reach the fun part.  Nowadays, the ceremony gets the party started and with the ethos of Humanist ceremonies being ALL about personality, is there any wonder that there’s been a MASSIVE 1372% increase in couples choosing Humanist ceremonies?  Humanist ceremonies set the tone for a personality-packed big day!

Find an interesting venue

Here in Scotland, couples are incredibly lucky because they are able to tie-the-knot WHEREVER they want, so we recommend that couples dig deep and have a really good think about what, and more importantly, where, truly represents them as a couple.  There are absolutely no rules when it comes to venues.  Why not say “I do” in your favourite bar or if you’re homebodies, how about enjoying a garden wedding in the privacy of your own home?  Keen kayakers?  How about rowing out to your favourite spot and saying your vows on the open water?  The world is your oyster and luckily for you, our Celebrants are a super adventurous bunch!

Forget sticking to set times

In Scotland, not only can you marry WHEREVER you want, you can also wed WHENEVER you want.  Gone are the days where couples had to fight for the popular Saturdays of summer where a 2pm ceremony gave way to canapés & small talk at 2.45pm, a three-course set dinner at 5pm, cake cutting at 6.30pm and so on.  If you both like to get up with the birds, why not enjoy a morning ceremony followed by a luxury brunch with daytime entertainment.  Or if you’re night owls, why not enjoy a sunset ceremony followed by woodfired pizzas and a DJ? 

Pick your photographer carefully

Your wedding photos are something you’re going to keep forever so it’s essential that your choice of photographer compliments your wedding style.  If you’re fully embracing an alternative wedding day, you’re probably not going to want too many staged and posed group shots.  Instead, check out some of the country’s brilliantly alternative wedding photographers who specialise in reportage, documentary and contemporary shoots.  

Silver Photography

Get creative with catering

The prospect of putting together a table plan and deciding on a three-course wedding breakfast to please the taste buds of an entire guest-list is quite frankly, HORRIFYING!  Catering is the perfect way to show off your taste, style and personality and the good news is that the wonderful world of wedding catering has changed dramatically in recent years.  Nowadays, couples can pretty much have anything they want.  Instead of traditional table plans, guests are enjoying the informality of sitting wherever they like (atop straw bales, blankets on the grass, or fur throws on wooden benches) where serve-yourself dishes, hog roasts, BBQs, a family classic, afternoon teas, vegan sharing platters and SO MUCH MORE can be served.  

Wear whatever tickles your fancy

When it comes to wedding attire, brides and grooms-to-be are also saying “I don’t” to tradition.  We’ve seen brides strutting up the aisle in jumpsuits, separates and every colour of the rainbow.  Even the much-loved traditional white gown is being personalised with the addition of colour popping accessories, embellished veils, shimmering capes, personalised leather/denim jackets – you name it!  Grooms aren’t exempt either as we’ve noticed that the traditional black tux has been waved off, with a whole host of fabrics, colour clashes & patterns taking its place. 

Re-think your bridal party

Not only are bride tribes and groomsmen wearing a whole world of personality popping looks, the very nature of who is included in the bridal party is in a state of flux.  The bridal party has more or less been completely reinvented over the past few years with many couples turning their backs on what’s considered the norm.  Best women can now be seen proudly standing next to the groom, flower-grans are becoming more popular and page-meows and chief brides-mutts are a thing!  

To have and to hold, an alternative bouquet

The traditional bridal bouquet has been a wedding ceremony essential forever and no wonder! The sight and smell of a humungous bouquet overflowing with fresh floral blooms is a sensory wonder to behold; however, what if you have a severe pollen allergy? Maybe your budget won’t stretch to accommodate extravagant floral displays? Or what if you just want to break with tradition and walk up the aisle holding something a whole lot more unique?  We’ve seen everything from paper and dried bouquets to bejewelled and candyfloss alternatives! Check out an earlier blog here for further information.  

Wedding entertainment

Your choice of wedding entertainment can be the perfect way to inject your personalities into the big day.  Plus, the right entertainment can be a tonne of fun and act as a great ice breaker for guests who might be meeting for the first time. Whatever your hobbies or interests, there’s something out there for every couple, from hiring in palm readers and glitter face painters to simply providing the necessary mechanics for giant bubbles and karaoke.

Get creative (even if you’re not!)

This might come as a shock to some of you, but even the most uncreative of couples can pull off some seriously cool looks on their big day. If, like the majority of us, your crafting abilities fall a little short, there are loads of ways to create simple, but seriously effective DIY wedding day winners that will really show off your personalities!  The key is to focus on the bits and pieces that can be done WAY in advance in order to minimise stress.  Certain favours (drinks, favourite cookie, home-made soap), drying flowers, putting together a wedding playlist, lighting and invitations are all doable and believe it or not, really enjoyable! 

Feature Photograph:  All About Ewe