Who says weddings have to fit into a set mold or idea? You and your partner are not like every other couple out there so why should your wedding feel like everyone else’s? If you are looking for some non-traditional wedding ideas to spice up your wedding, you’re in the right place.
As a New York Wedding photographer, I have captured hundreds of weddings all over the city and have seen my fair share of unique touches that couples have added. These are the weddings that people remember and the ones that are more special for the couple.
Whether you are trying to plan a night that your guests won’t stop talking about or create a wedding that truly feels like you, here are some non-traditional wedding ideas that will help create just that.
Unique Wedding Venues in NYC
One of the best ways to create a unique wedding in NYC is to choose a venue that isn’t just like everyone else. Now, this doesn’t mean it has to be one that no one has ever been to before (because let’s be honest, does that even exist in the city?), but some venues stand out from the traditional NYC vibe.
Instead of saying “I do” in Central Park or a luxurious hotel, check out a few of these more non-traditional wedding venues in New York City.
Who would expect a winery in the middle of Brooklyn? Not only does this venue hold up to 175 people, but it also has the perfect combination of New York chic and industrial.
You get all of the amazing vibes of a city venue without it feeling like every other venue in Brooklyn. What is even more unique about this venue is that you can actually get married in a space that overlooks their barrel room!
The Foundry is located right in Queens but makes you feel like you are in your own little world. Brick walls with vines growing along it, a rooftop terrace with views of the city, a courtyard with string lights, and so much more.
This venue is the perfect escape from the urban feel of the city without you (and your guests) having to travel for your wedding!
The Bronx Zoo
What’s more non-traditional than getting married at the zoo? While you may think that this would feel like a kid’s birthday party, the Bronx Zoo is actually an amazing place to get married.
The area can be transformed into an upscale venue that not only creates the perfect atmosphere for you but also gives your guests an experience they will never forget!
While rooftop venues are definitely a popular option, especially in New York, Brooklyn Grange is not your average rooftop. This is actually a rooftop farm with two separate farms that you can choose from for your wedding.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Farm is a beautiful, all-outdoor space with a covered reception area. This is the perfect option for a summer or fall wedding with views of the skyline in the distance.
The Sunset Park Farm offers year-round weddings with an outdoor area ideal for the warmer months and an indoor option for when it gets a bit colder!
Finally, we have Gotham Hall. If you are a theater lover or have just always dreamed of being under the lights, this is the perfect non-traditional wedding venue for you.
With a Grand Ballroom, massive ceilings, huge stained glass windows, and so much more, this venue creates the perfect luxurious atmosphere while also standing out from all the other luxury wedding venues in the city!
Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas for Your Ceremony and Reception
Besides your venue, there are a ton of other things you can do during your wedding and your reception that will make it unique and memorable for you and your guests.
Opt Out of Wearing White
Who says you have to wear white? If you are really looking for a way to stand out and wow your guests, opt for a colored outfit instead of the traditional white one.
You could even flip the script and have your wedding parties where white while you and your partner wear colors!
Choose a Theme That Feels Like You
When you think of a themed wedding, your mind may instantly go to a cheesy wedding theme that just doesn’t give off the elegant or luxurious vibe you are going for. However, themes don’t have to feel kitschy.
For example, if you and your partner bonded over Broadway, you can get married in a theater and have your seating charts printed out on “playbills” and create themed cocktails based on your favorite plays.
Themes don’t have to be over-the-top or in your face. Sometimes simple touches that tie everything together are what make your wedding truly memorable.
Create a Unique Guest Book (polaroids, disposable images, videos, audio messages)
One of my favorite non-traditional wedding ideas is to create a unique guest book. We have all been to weddings and signed our name in the guest book and sometimes it just doesn’t feel personal or special.
A great alternative to the traditional guest book is doing a more interactive one. Instead of having your guests sign their names, have them take a picture with a Polaroid or disposable camera or leave a short audio or video recording with a message for you both.
Not only will this give you memories to hold onto forever, but your guests will also have fun doing it!
Pick a Non-Traditional Color Scheme
Your colors can really make your wedding stand out and one of the best ways to break from tradition is to pick colors that you wouldn’t normally see at a wedding. Oftentimes, couples tend to stick to lighter colors or colors that we traditionally associate with love.
However, maybe light and airy just isn’t you and your partner’s vibe. Instead, why not pick a more moody color palette with dark and dramatic colors that instantly stand out?
You can even let your guests in on it so that everyone at your wedding wears similar colors and you create an overarching vibe that makes your wedding feel unique!
Spend the Day Getting Ready Together
As a wedding photographer, I am seeing more and more couples break with tradition and do a first look before their ceremony. While these are amazing and first looks are so special to capture, why not just spend the whole day together?
Instead of waking up alone and getting ready for this huge day in your life by yourself, take on this day hand-in-hand. Not only will it allow you to spend more quality time with each other (which, trust me, is a hard thing to do on your wedding day), but it can also help calm some of your nerves and make your wedding day even more fun!
Have a Surprise Wedding
If you are looking for one of the biggest non-traditional wedding ideas, don’t even tell your guests that they are coming to your wedding.
Instead, invite your guests to an engagement party that is actually your surprise wedding. Nothing will be more shocking and unique for your guests than when you stand up in front of them and announce that you are getting married right now.
Ditch the Traditional Outfits
There are no rules saying that you have to wear a suit or a dress at your wedding so why not ditch those for something else? You can instead opt for something like a jumper or even take things a bit more casual.
If a full 3 piece suit or formal gown isn’t your vibe, you can opt for a dressed down suit or a cocktail dress that still looks upscale without making you feel stiff or uncomfortable!
Give Your Guests a Unique or Personalized Gift
Finally, you can give your guests a unique or personalized gift. Step away from the traditional goodie bags of small candies or little trinkets. Instead, you can print out a photo of one or both of you with each of your guests.
Or, you could even write a small note for each of your guests thanking them for being there or reminiscing on a memory you have shared together. Not only will this make your wedding feel more unique, but it will also make it more special for you and all of your guests!
Final Thoughts on Unconventional Wedding Ideas
If you are looking to create a wedding that is not only special for you, but unique for all of your guests, these non-traditional wedding ideas are a great place to start. Plus, you will be able to infuse more of your personality into the wedding, making it truly feel like a celebration of you.
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