Once upon a time, I owned a clothing boutique. I have always been a lover of fashion and prided myself in being relatively fashionable. But once I got into the business side of fashion with all it's rules and advise, I learned very quickly that I marched to the beat of my own drum and didn't quite fit into the status quo of haute couture.
For a small moment of time (we're talking about 2 weeks is all), I thought that I needed to pattern my business and my style after what was "popular" vs. what my unique self was telling me to do. Those were 2 miserable weeks where I wanted to give up on my boutique all together and throw in the towel!
But then I had a light bulb moment! I was at my son's basketball game and from across the court I saw a woman walk in with a larger than life tan hat on. We're talking the floppiest, roundest, can't-be-missed-even-if-you-tried kind of hat. And I loved it! I loved that the rest of her outfit consisted of a plain simple worn out tee and jeans. I loved that she wore it into the middle of a gymnasium where obviously that thing was on her head purely for the fashion of it and not to shield her face/body from the non-existent sun. And I loved the pure joy and happiness that was announcing it's self loud and proud throughout her whole being.
Seeing her and her confidence with who she uniquely was, made me realize that I was going about my clothing boutique all wrong. Pure happiness and success comes when you let your uniqueness shine! My whole outlook and enjoyment with my boutique did a 180 after that point. In fact, I even started a campaign where I would pull someone off the street that had a unique and different style and I would feature them and give them free stuff from my website! That was the best part of my whole boutique experience!
Why did I bring up this story? Because your wedding should be no different. Your wedding should be unique in it's own way. We host multiple weddings every month and it is a breath of fresh air when somebody is game for doing something unique.
But you only know what you know, right? Back in the day when I got married, the internet wasn't used like it is today. There was a copy, cut and paste system when it came to weddings. But now, with Pinterest, Instagram and Wedding Blogs galore, there is not lack of inspiration and ideas. So while you don't need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to planning your wedding, my advise to you is to use these amazing tools to your advantage to get the creative juices flowing and construct your own unique version of your wedding.
I've scoured the internet, took major notes at the Vegas Wedding Expo, and have been paying close attention to what all my couples have done or would like to do, and have come up with a fun list of unique ideas that aren't the norm.
If something speaks to you, use it and put your own twist on it!
1. Photo Ops
The world of "photo booths" has completely evolved. They have turned into something way beyond the world of stepping inside a cramped booth that only 2 people can fit into. Photo buses, fun backdrops, photo mirrors, polaroid camera stations, and real life photo shoots by professional photographers are just a few unique ideas if you want to put a fun twist on the photo booth idea. Anyway you choose to do it, deciding to have some sort of a photo op for your guests ensures laughter and tangible memories of your unforgettable wedding!
Want your guests to feel welcome and to stay awhile at your wedding? Lounge areas are the way to go then! All you need do is add some soft cushioned chairs and couches, a place for your guests to put their food and drinks, and a few ottomans to rest their feet on. This is a surefire way to ensure that your guests will feel like they are being taken care of and that they are welcomed and wanted! Plus, after a long day of events, even your guests need a little TLC with the ability to kick up their feet. (Fun side note: Oak Hills is currently renovating an entire area just to accommodate a lounge for our valued guests! Stay tuned for pics).
3. Bar Extraordinaire
When you say the word Bar, alcohol is probably one of the first words that pops in your head. But why not take your bar to the next level?! Soda Bar's are ideal for the non-drinker. Kombucha Bar's are great for all those health nuts. Coffee Bars are perfect after that long day you all just had, yet the night is still young. Hot Chocolate Bars are so much fun during those cold winter months. Smoothie Bars are the perfect touch to cool your guests down during those hot summer months. And the list goes on....
4. Portrait Artist
How unforgettably amazing would it be to have a portrait artist at your wedding creating works of art for each of your guests?! You could do abstract portraits, caricature portraits, realistic sketches, cartoon creations.... This is definitely a unique idea that would be a huge crowd pleaser!
Any way you put your own twist on it, whether it's simple or extravagant, a Themed Wedding is sure to be unforgettably unique. If you think that there's no particular theme that fits you, then it's time to think outside the box... where did you first meet, have your first date, or accept the proposal? Where are you from, what culture or religion do you belong to? What's your favorite movie, season, food, book, hobby, vacation destination, etc? Take any one of those topics and think about how you can incorporate it into your wedding. Need some ideas? Check out my blog post that I did on themed weddings.
6. No Phone Zone
It's crazy town that mentioning a "no phone zone" policy would be considered a unique idea. But in all reality, it is. The moment all eyes are up and away from the world inside their phones, it creates a personal, memorable, and fun wedding. It's so tempting for guests to whip out their phones to take pictures, to document the day on social media and to pass away down time playing games or surfing the net. But this day should be different than any other day. Leave the picture taking to your photographer. Maybe designate a certain time for selfies to be taken, documented on social media, and then after that, put those phones away to truly submerse yourselves in the moment. And then instead of a view of faces looking into their phones, you might see faces interacting with other, laughing, and truly enjoying the moment! Give it a try!
7. Live Music
You've all seen The Wedding Singer, right?! My vote is we bring live entertainment back! Don't get me wrong, I love a good DJ, but there's something to be said about live music. In fact nuerosciencenews.com said:
When individuals attend a live concert and listen to music as a group, their brains waves synchronize – a bond that indicates each individual is having a better time as part of a collective. The new findings, reported last month at a Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting, are a reminder that humans are social creatures, said neuroscientist Jessica Grahn, a Western Psychology professor in the Brain and Mind Institute who co-led the study.
I'm all in favor of synchronizing our brain waves and having a good time! So let's bring on the wedding singer, the live band, the string quartet or the live pianist!
8. Food Experiences
People love experiences. So why not bring experiences to our food. Maybe have a chef right on site at the buffet table doing meat carvings, cooking up crepes, or cooking up your food tepanyaki style! Or how about your guests do the work and have a s'mores bar where they cook their mallows over a gas fire pit or burning station. Anyway you do it, where there's food, there's fun!
9. Decor Outside the Box
This is my personal favorite! And the sky is the limit when it comes to decorations. Recently we met up with Cozy Valley Events that rent out tee-pees like the one pictured above by .... how fun is that?!! You could use something like that to have your ceremony in, provide shade, a quiet place for the bride and groom, or a play area for kids. Other unique decor ideas are decorating with giant balloon arches, hanging decor from the ceilings, using unconventional backdrops, flower bouquets made out of antique brooches & pearls (Have you seen those?!! They're gorgeous!), and using unique materials and fabrics such as Lucite, macrame, galvanized steel, or moss! I could go on and on!
10. Service as Entertainment
Remember when I said that people love experiences? This goes right along with that. Imagine arriving at a wedding where a butler opens your car door, shades you with an umbrella and escorts you to your personal seat just like they would at a Royal Wedding! Or imagine being at a reception where the servers are walking around wearing top hats and tuxedos with long tailcoats serving you hors d'ouevres, appetizers or drinks. Or if you're more casual, the servers could walk around like a vendor at a baseball ballgame serving popcorn, drinks, candy other other fun food!
Unless you plan on putting on your invitations, "no children allowed," my recommendation is to plan for kids. It can be a long day for them! Some unique and fun ideas might include hiring a service to entertain children at the wedding venue. Put up a bounce house on the venue lawn. Bring lawn games to play. Set out coloring books, trivia games or puzzles at each kid's place setting. The last thing you want is bored kids running around playing tag and then "accidentally" running into the cake knocking it over! Ugh! Or more reasonably the scenario would be parent's having to chase their kids around to make sure they're not getting into trouble which then causes them to miss out on all the fun. We wouldn't want that! So don't forget to plan for the kids. It will be a much appreciated and unique touch to your wedding day!
Did you see something you liked? Good! Do it. Don't be afraid to do something out of the norm. Doing things a little bit differently that fits your style and personality will lend to an unforgettable and special day.