Unique Wedding Ideas Guests Will Never Forget

Shannon Quinn - November 4, 2019
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Your wedding should be one of the greatest days of your life. Some people want a classic and traditional ceremony that is like something out of a storybook. Those are beautiful, but they can also get boring, especially if your friends are all getting married around the same time. People do not want to feel bored to tears going through the same ceremony over and over again. If you want to make your wedding memorable, you have to think outside of the box. There are so many different themes you can go with, and you can be as creative as you want to be. Here are 30 unique ideas that you guests are guaranteed to remember for years to come.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

50. Busy Bags for Kids

Some people have a strict no-children policy at their wedding, especially if it is going to be an elegant affair. However, this means that it forces all of your friends to hire a babysitter if they want to see you get married. If you are allowing your guests to bring their kids to your wedding, they will eventually get bored. It is important for you to take this into consideration, especially since you don’t want whining or crying happening during your ceremony. Sure, the parents are most likely bringing an iPad or a Nintendo Switch, but that will eventually get old.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

The kids will probably need more entertainment than video games, considering that weddings take nearly an entire day.  While you cannot control how bored kids get, you can help parents and provide kits filled with entertainment for kids. The kids will immediately feel like they got a present, and they will be happy to have something else to do. Every kid gets a party favor when they go to a birthday celebration. Once they get home, they will have something to remember your wedding by.

Photo Credit: Hitched

49. Give Everyone a Disposable or Polaroid Cameras

Most couples hire a professional photographer to take professional quality images of their wedding. We still highly recommend doing this no matter what. When you have a professional capturing the event, your guests can be present and fully pay attention to your wedding ceremony without worrying about taking pictures on their phone. But if you want to do something fun and different, you can provide your guests with disposable cameras. The images that come out on film look very different than digital images on a DSLR. Once the ceremony is over, they can be dropped into a box or basket, and the bride and groom can develop those images later.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Some couples also choose to have polaroid cameras at their wedding. It is possible to buy vintage cameras and film on eBay, but it would actually make more sense to buy something like the FujiFilm Instax Instant Camera. Considering that these cameras can be expensive, most people only buy or two of these cameras so that guests can take turns taking selfies. Either way, it can be good fun, and a great thing for the bride and groom to take home with them.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

48. Beer Flight Centerpieces

There are some couples who travel across the country visiting breweries on the weekends. If this is your favorite pass time with your husband or wife-to-be, why not incorporate that into your wedding? These DIY craft beer centerpieces are easy to make, and you can add a few candles instead of real beer. Of course, you can also provide real beer flights so that everyone can sample the drinks, too.

Photo Credit: Brides

This idea works best if you are trying to incorporate beer from your local breweries. The happy couple can work together to choose their favorite samples of beer that they would want their guests to try. Of course, this works best if the majority of your guests are over the age of 21. Consider providing samples of root beer for the guests who are too young to drink.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

47. A Self-Serve Pizza Buffet

Who doesn’t love pizza? Instead of paying for fancy catering, consider picking your favorite pizza joint and buying pizzas with every topping under the sun. This is also an easy way to get a vegan pizza option for your plant based friends. If you are worried that this might not be “fancy enough” for a wedding, your worries will almost immediately get squashed when you see how excited people get to eat pizza.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

According to Wedding Wire, the average cost of catering for a wedding is $4,000. Imagine how much money you would save by buying pizza instead. Of course, you should buy something that is better quality than Dominos or Pizza Hut. If you are not hiring a catering company to serve the food, you also need to keep in mind that someone will have to clean up after the reception.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

46. Glow Sticks

Planning to have a night time wedding? Then you may want to consider buying glow sticks. These are very affordable, and are available at Dollar Tree. You can also buy them wholesale from Oriental Trading. Glow sticks can be great to wear as bracelets or necklaces during your reception. Kids will have a blast playing with these, too.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

One fun idea is to take a photograph using the glow sticks at night. The bride and groom can pose with everyone holding the glow sticks around them, or people can do light writing in the darkness. It looks like a lot of fun, and it’s a complete different type of send-off compared to a day time wedding when you may see bubbles or confetti instead.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

45. Flip Flops For Your Guest’s Tired Feet

Anyone who has worn a pair of heels for a day can testify to the fact that they are incredibly painful. Men’s dress shoes are not exactly comfortable, either, especially if they are wearing a brand new pair. If you are having a summer time wedding, you may want to consider giving your guest the option to take their shoes off and wear flip flops during the reception. This is perfect for anyone who is having a beach wedding, too.

Photo Credit: Sdwerwer

Flip Flops are available at Dollar Tree in every color. If you want a certain color in bulk, check out the Dollar Tree website and order ahead of time. Not everyone will want to take you up on the offer, so you won’t have to buy a hundred pairs. Maybe a dozen will do. But for the people who desperately want to take their heels off, they will truly appreciate it.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

44. S’Mores For The Guests

Having a wedding in the fall is a great way to save money on a venue. Not only is it significantly cheaper compared to the spring and summer, but it also opens up a lot of opportunities for you to do things that are unique. Some outdoor venues will have a fire pit and outdoor heat lamps for your guests. If this is the case, you should consider taking advantage of the fire by providing s’mores to your guests.

Photo Credit: The Knot

Will it get messy? Maybe. But will everyone love it? Absolutely. Everyone will be talking about the wedding where they got to sit around and make s’mores with their friends. This is especially great if there are kids coming to the wedding, because it gives them a fun activity to do during the reception.

Photo Credit: The Knot

43. Hangover Recovery Kits

Let’s be honest. Almost everyone is going to have a hangover the day after your wedding, especially of there is an open bar. This is why you may want to offer hangover recovery kits. They could be an entire goodie bag filled with items to help your guests feel better, or it could be as simple as giving them a bottle of water with a couple Advil.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

Your guests are likely to get a good laugh from this, and they will see it as a gesture of good will. You may want to offer some other type of wedding favor as well, especially when there will be people who are not going to drink at your wedding. The sober guests deserve some sort of treat, too! Luckily, this should be an affordable project, so it should be possible to give away two types of favors.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

42. Balloon Dart Wedding Art

If you are having an outdoor wedding in the spring and summer, this may be a great opportunity to create a unique piece of art that doubles as a game for your guests. Just like a dart-throwing game at a carnival, guests must throw darts at balloons from a safe distance. But instead of simply popping, the balloons will be filled with paint. So every time someone pops a balloon, paint will spill out and drip onto the canvas.

Photo Credit: The Spruce

Drip artwork looks amazing, especially since every piece is one-of-a-kind. Just keep in mind that you should have some balloons that are only filled with air, and others they have paint. If you have too many balloons that are filled with paint, the colors begin to run together in an ugly brown mess.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

41. Custom Beer Cozies

If you are planning to have a casual backyard wedding reception, you may be giving out cans of beer and soda to your friends in coolers. One way to make those cans look a little bit classier is to give your guests custom beer cozies with your names, and the date of your wedding. By wearing these cozies, drinks stay cooler for longer, and your guests can avoid getting their hands wet with condensation.

Photo Credit: Beau Coup

As an added bonus, these also conceals what they may be drinking. (It could be Diet Coke instead of beer, right?) You can find several different Etsy sellers who are willing to make these beer cozies to suit your needs. Even if you have a more upscale wedding event, you could still consider giving these to your guests as a favor when they are getting ready to leave.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

40. Cellphone Charging Station

Nowadays, everyone is glued to their cellphones, even at a wedding. This has gotten so bad that some couples decide to have a “cellphone free” ceremony. Either way, your guests are eventually going to need to check their texts and phone calls at some point. And so many people forget to bring their chargers with them to the event. Everyone will be so happy if you provide them with a cellphone charging station.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Dollar Tree offers charging cables for every type of popular cellphone, so this project does not have to be expensive to buy multiple cables. Remember to accommodate both Apple and Android phones, as well as a couple older models in the mix. If you are curious how to make this charging station, check out Oriental Trading’s blog for their full step-by-step instructions.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

39. Caramel Apple Dipping Station

If you are having a wedding in the fall, it gives you a lot of opportunity to think outside of the box. From the decorations to the food, everything can be totally different from what you normally see in a spring and summer wedding. When the air gets crisp outside and people are thinking about Halloween, caramel pumpkins are a popular treat. This DIY apple dipping station idea is adorable, especially if there are going to be kids at the wedding.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

Both young and old will have fun dipping and decorating their caramel apples. The best part about it is that they are portable, so your guests can carry their apples around at the reception. Just be sure to provide some napkins to your guests, and instructions on how to make caramel apples without making too much of a mess.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

38. Witchy Spells For a Halloween Wedding

Thinking of having a wedding close to Halloween? There are some people out there who have had a magic-themed wedding to get in touch with their inner witch. If you choose to do this, there are so many elegant and spooky options to choose from. Some people choose to go the route of having a Harry Potter themed wedding, while others are more traditional in their idea of magic.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

One idea found on Oriental Trading was to create a DIY cocktail station called “Mix a love potion”. Another is to give your guests a little box of sage, crystals, candles, and other Wiccan inspired items as a present when they leave. There is an endless list of options of how you can use a magic theme. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.

Photo Credit: In The House Of David

37. Custom Newspaper

An incredibly fun idea for a wedding is to have a custom newspaper printed up for the married couple. This way, the guests can get the scoop on the schedule, see the names of the wedding party, and any other important details. Of course, it is obligatory to have some photographs of the engagement. Depending on how large the newspaper is, you may even want to write an article telling the story about how you met. In the example seen above, there is also a crossword puzzle that can only be solved if the guest knows the couple well enough.

Photo Credit: Make My Newspaper

This is a great wedding favor that your friends and family can easily keep in a scrapbook. It is possible to make something like this at home, or hire a company to do this for you. There is a wedding newspaper program available for just $8 on Etsy where you can make your own layout at home beforehand. Walmart offers prints in various sizes, so this should be affordable to get the project done on your own.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

36. A Lemonade Stand

Having a lemonade stand in the summertime is a happy childhood memory that many people share. Even if you never had your own little business trying to sell the sugary treat, pretty much everyone can appreciate a cool glass on a hot summer day. If you are planning to have an outdoor wedding, it may be a good idea to have a self-serve lemonade stand. Instead of sticking to just the one flavor of traditional lemon, consider other flavors like lavender lemonade. This idea also works really well with a variety of iced tea flavors, too.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

One of the best glasses to use in these lemonade stands are mason jars. You can buy them in bulk from Walmart for $1 or less per jar. This way, you have glasses that are all uniform, it’s not a tragedy if they break, and they are reusable. Maybe even encourage your friends to take them home.

Photo Credit: Brides

35. Balloon Chandeliers

Not everyone can afford a vintage chandelier hanging from the ceiling of their wedding venue. An amazing idea for an alternative is a balloon chandelier. There are several different sizes and colors of balloons available from places like Party City and Oriental Trading. Wedding planners have gotten very creative adding other decorations into the mix that match the theme of your wedding.

Photo Credit: Brides

This decoration is affordable to make on almost any budget. You could even make a balloon chandelier to go over top of every table. Best of all, you’re not stuck taking a prop home with you after the wedding is over. If there are kids at the wedding, it may be fun to divvy up the balloons at the end of the night. Check out Pinterest for more ideas on what you can do with balloon chandeliers.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

34. Wine Crate Centerpiece

Every wedding table needs a centerpiece. If you and your husband or wife-to-be both love drinking wine, you may want to consider having a wine create centerpiece. (Bonus points if you are getting married at a vineyard or winery!) They should be filled with faux flowers, grapes, and of course, a bottle of wine.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

These centerpieces should be easy to make on your own. You can find authentic vintage wine crates at a large liquor store, or online. The only problem with using vintage crates is that not every centerpiece will be perfectly uniform. You could make your own from scratch, complete with a custom logo. Instructions for this DIY project can be found on Oriental Trading’s blog.

Photo Credit: Brides

33. Pies Instead of Cake

Nearly everyone serves a massive cake at their wedding, and it can easily cost a small fortune. According to Wedding Wire, the average cost of a wedding cake is between $300 to $700, and some couples spend well over $1,000. If you are having a fall wedding to save on the cost of your venue, you can save even more on the dessert. In the fall and winter, everyone likes to eat pie, especially around the holidays. So why not have pie instead of cake?

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you choose to have pie, you can recruit your friends and family make these at home. Or you can order them from your local bakery to have everything finished ahead of time. With so many variations of pie, it should satisfy everyone’s taste. You can even find some vegan and gluten free options for your friends and family members who have dietary restrictions. Bakery pies typically cost between $10 to $25 each.

Photo Credit: Brides

32. Photo Seating Charts and Placeholders

Most wedding seating charts and placeholders have the names of the guests on them. One way to have a more creative twist to the tradition is to use people’s photographs instead. In the age of Facebook, everyone has access to photographs of their family and friends. So it should be easy to find a flattering photo of everyone coming to your wedding.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

This project should be easy and cheap to make on your own soon after receiving the RSVP’s. You can buy photo paper and print these at home, or go somewhere like CVS or Walmart and get prints made for you. Some people choose to buy small picture frames from Dollar Tree, or you can buy or make your own wooden placeholders. You could encourage your guests to take their placeholders home with them, which will help a lot with the cleanup.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

31. Photo Booth Bus

Nowadays, everyone is all about “van life”, which is a trend of overhauling and living out of a vintage van. Volkswagon vans from the 1960’s are back in style, and many van lovers are working on rebuilding them to their former glory. Some independent business owners are now offering to rent a “booth bus”. Your guests can pose for photos in front of the cute vintage van, or go inside to have a fun and comfortable photo booth experience.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

The one and only downside to renting a photo booth bus is that it will easily set you back almost $1,000. But then again, nearly everything at a wedding is expensive, right? And as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Your friends will truly treasure having these photographs. For prices, search online to see if there is anyone in your local area offering a photo booth van.

Photo Credit: Brides

30. Hire an Artist

Years ago, before their era of photography, people had portraits painted of their family. The royal families also had portraits painted of their wedding day so that the event could live forever in museums and history books. The chances that your wedding painting will end up in a museum are slim-to-none. But it could still be passed down to your grandchildren some day. If you want to commemorate your wedding day the same way, you can hire a painter, too.

Photo Credit: Brides

The cost will vary depending on who you hire, but expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the size of the painting. Or, if you know someone who is a professional artist, you might want to ask them if they would be willing to do this at a discount as their wedding present to you. Always do your research to see if you like the style of the artist beforehand. Yes, this may be expensive, but some people think that it is worth it to commission an original piece that will hang in their home forever.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

29. A Self-Serve Beer Bar

Everyone loves having an open bar at a wedding. After all, weddings are one of the events where people can let loose and have a great time. Normally, there is a bartender helping the guests refill their drinks. But it could be a lot of fun if you had a self-serve beer bar at your event. After all, beer tastes so much better when it’s on tap. And this is a great way to pick your favorite beers to share with your guests. Buy mason jars in bulk for a cheap, uniform glass option. Encourage your guests to hold on to their same glass for every refill, and it will cut down on cleaning significantly.

Photo Credit: Weddings Only

If you know someone who is good with their hands, they may be able to make their own wood pallet beer tap. There is a video on YouTube that gives you all of the instructions on how to make this at home. The best part? You can take this home with you and keep it for future parties. If this is not going to be possible, you may need to rent one of these bar taps from a local vendor.

Photo Credit: Brides

28. Have a “Matchmaker” Seat

Every happy couple has their own “meet cute” story of how they found one another and fell in love. Nowadays, a lot of people meet online through dating apps. But for some people, they met because they were introduced the old-fashioned of meeting face-to-face. Sometimes, a friend played cupid to set two people up. If this is the case, you just might want to say “thank you” to your matchmaker! After all, if it was not for them, the wedding may have never happened.

Photo Credit: Fete Nashville

The matchmaker’s seat can be decorated with garland or balloons, and you should definitely have a sign to let everyone know that it is reserved. If you are great at arts and crafts, you can make your own sign using supplies from your local craft store. Or, you can buy a matchmaker sign on Etsy.

Photo Credit: Brides

27. Blankets For an Autumn Wedding

If you are planning to have an outdoor wedding in the fall, your guests might get a tad bit chilly. This could be a perfect opportunity to give everyone a fleece blanket that doubles as their wedding party favor. It is functional both during and after the ceremony. Many companies will even customize blankets for you with embroidery if you want to have the name of the happy couple included on the blanket.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

These blankets are very affordable, and can be found at places like Walmart if you are only picking up a handful to make a basket full of blankets that are there if guests want them. (Similar to the optional flip flop idea we already mentioned on this list.) If you want to buy them in bulk so that there is enough for every single guest, it is best to order them online, to make sure you have enough for everyone.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

26. Set Up A Game Of Outdoor Twister

Remember the kid’s game Twister? You spin a little arrow, and it tells you to put your hands and feet on a specific color. Eventually, the players get tangled all up in each other’s business. For adults, playing the game is actually very scandalous, because you get almost too close to the person you are playing with. But as a newly married couple and all of their other friends, this is actually a great way to celebrate a union between two people.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you think that the traditional Twister game for kids is too small, they make a version called Twister Ultimate, which has double the amount of spots as the traditional game. This is great for adults who will want to play the game, and you may be able to fit more people on at the same time. Of course, if your guests are drinking during the reception, this game can get very silly very quickly! Hopefully no one would rip their dress.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

25. Umbrella Chandelier

Having a crystal chandelier hanging in your wedding venue is very fancy, elegant and romantic. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a venue that includes a chandelier. So there is a creative alternative idea to make paper parasol chandeliers. This would be perfect for a spring wedding, because of the famous phrase “April Showers Bring May Flowers”.

Photo Credit: Fun 365

If you want to see all of the steps to this DIY project, check out the blog post on Oriental Trading. All you really need to get the project done are paper parasols, a hot glue gun, ribbons, and flower garland. Of course, these paper parasols have an Asian flare, so it may not match everyone’s decor. If you do not want to use paper parasols for these chandeliers, could always use regular white umbrellas instead.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

24. Surf Board Guest Book

Most couples like to have a guest book at their wedding to remember the people who came to their special day. Sometimes, it is an actual book where people can write their messages, much like a yearbook. This is a great opportunity to think outside of the box for alternative guest book ideas. One example is if you are having a beach or nautical themed wedding. Why not get a surf board instead?

Photo Credit: Marker Six

This is perfect for anyone who already loves to surf. Of course, you cannot get the surfboard wet once it has been written on. You wouldn’t want to lose all of the beautiful messages! This is great to have on display in the corner of your home, or hanging on the wall of your garage.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

23. Light Up Your Wedding Party With Neon Signs

Neon signs are traditionally hung in shop windows, and everyone seems to love a good one in their “man cave”. Creating a real neon sign is expensive, but nowadays, there are LED light neon signs that can be created for a fraction of the cost. Traditional neon signs got very hot, you would not be able to touch them. But LED runs cold, so it’s totally safe, even hanging next to curtains or fabric flowers.

Photo Credit: Shopee

Neon Demonn on Etsy offers both ready-made and custom signs that you can buy for your wedding. There are several other creators out there who offer similar services, as well. They typically range from $150 to $300, depending on the size of the neon sign. So be sure to browse through some of your options online to see what fits in your budget.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

22. iPad Video Guest Book

It is traditional to have a guest book at your wedding so that you can look back and remember who showed up. For years, people had an actual paper book for people to write down their names, but it can be rather clunky, and take up too much space. There are so many ways to create a guest book that are much easier to hold on to. Consider having an iPad sitting on a table with an invitation for your guests to record a message for the happy couple.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you are planning to pay a videographer to film a wedding video, this can be a perfect way to capture some extra footage. You (or your pro editor) can find some of the best messages, and blend them into the movie of your wedding. Then, if you post the wedding video on YouTube later, your friends and family can see themselves.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

21. After-Wedding Snacks

When the wedding is over and it’s time for guests to go home for the night, they may get the munchies after a long night of drinking and dancing. This may be especially true if everyone had a single portion in a sit-down dinner. If they are staying in a nearby hotel, it will be even harder for them to avoid temptation and grab hold of the expensive items in the mini bar. You can help them out by giving them snacks to-go.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Try to think about the theme of your wedding, and what snacks might go well with it. For example, if you have a movie theme, you probably want to give away popcorn and boxes of candy. You could also try to give away food leftovers from the catering table, and buy snacks to compliment what food you already had at the event. Considering that some of these people may have hangovers, try to give them snacks that might help them recover.

Photo Credit: Inside Weddings

20. Framed Photos of Your Relative’s Weddings

When you get married, both families come together as one. Your children will extend your existing family tree, and each side of the family will be equally as cherished in the memories of your next generation. So it only makes sense to pay homage to your relatives that came before you. I love this literal family tree that was made including photographs of the wedding from the parents, grandparents, and siblings from both sides of the family. This is perfect for an outdoor or backyard wedding, and your guests are guaranteed to remember it for years to come.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

Obviously, not everyone is going to have a literal tree on hand to do their family tree! Another option to do this for an indoor wedding would be to keep your family photos on the table near your guest book. Others place photos inside of the seating chart, or hang on a string as a decoration. There are a lot of different ideas out there on Pinterest on how to incorporate family pictures. No matter what you choose, just remember to incorporate it into your existing theme. 

Photo Credit: Brides

19. Flower Chandeliers

Chandeliers are expensive, and yet there are so many people who insist on having them at their wedding. This can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase if you’re trying to hang on the ceiling of a tent and incorporate this into a backyard wedding. It can be expensive to rent as well. Instead of having real chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, consider creating a flower chandelier instead. There are a lot of ways to go about this. Some can be made out of hula hoops, or strings of flowers can simply draped over some kind of rack that’s suspended from the ceiling.

Photo Credit: Wedding Chicks

If you’re working with a professional florist, show them some photos of your ideas that you found online, or sketches of designs you made in your imagination, and see what they can come up with. But if you’re trying to make some kind of flower chandelier on your own, make sure that the flowers are fresh the day of the wedding or the day before. You don’t want wilted flowers hanging over your guests and dropping petals in their food during the reception. 

When it’s time to dance, your guests will be happy to hear their favorite songs. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Take Song Requests From Your Guests

If you are having a backyard wedding and you’re saving money by skipping the DJ and creating a playlist, it only makes sense to ask your guests if they have any song requests. This is a very fun way to get your guests involved with the ceremony. Include this as a line on your invitations, and they can let you know when they RSVP. Also give everyone a cutoff date so you’re not updating the music for a very long time. Asking beforehand means that you can also filter out whatever music you don’t like. 

If you have a wedding DJ, you could give them the guest playlist. Credit: Shutterstock

It’s best not to let any of your guests take control of the iPod on your actual wedding day, or allow them to request songs from a professional DJ. You want to either set aside a trusted person to act as the DJ by making sure the music is hooked up to the speakers, or let the playlist play after it has been compiled by you beforehand. There are some jokesters out there who think it would be hilarious to play something raunchy or inappropriate. However, you don’t want anyone to ruin your day. 

Encourage your guests not to be divided. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Don’t Separate Sides For Seating

A wonderful new wedding tradition I’ve seen floating around the internet is that people are deciding not to separate their families on two different sides of the aisle. This immediately fosters a sense of camaraderie, instead of division. In a lot of situations, you might have known your significant other for years, and your family and friends may already know one another. The point in starting a new family is that they love both of you equally. It doesn’t make sense to divide them up on two sides of the aisle. 

This rustic wooden sign is perfect for a country wedding. Credit: Shutterstock

When you get married, it’s a celebration of love and blending all of these people together and both of your lives. All it takes to do this during the wedding ceremony is having a nice sign letting people know that they don’t have to choose a side. People will remember this, and most likely bring it to their own wedding someday. As for the reception dinner, you might still want a seating chart, especially if you’re trying to ensure everyone is sitting near someone they know, or their family. 

This backyard wedding uses the pool as a centerpiece for seating. Credit: Shutterstock

16. For a Backyard Wedding, Use The Swimming Pool as Part of the Scenery

If you are having your wedding in your own backyard or renting a large house to have a more intimate ceremony, there’s a chance that there might be a backyard swimming pool. Instead of trying to hide the swimming pool or pretend like it’s not there, you should try to embrace it. A pool can actually be a lot of fun to use it as part of the outdoor decor. If your ceremony goes into the night, you can use lights to eliminate the pool, a bridge to walk over the pool, floating decorations, and so much more. 

This gazebo over an infinity pool is amazing for a wedding. Credit: Shutterstock

Some people even go one step further by making the pool a centerpiece for their wedding ceremony. One of the best uses of a pool I’ve seen is when a couple has their ceremony with the pool in the background, and it makes a very cool reflection for the photographers to take a few photos while you say your vows. Others will take advantage of the paved backyard space to place the tables for the reception around the pool. Just keep in mind that if some people get drunk and crazy, someone might end up in the pool. Always take safety precautions, or consider inviting a lifeguard certified in CPR.

Vintage cars can give a lot of style to a wedding. Credit: Pexels

15. Rent a Vintage Vehicle (Or Two) 

Traditionally, people have been renting limousines for their wedding party to arrive in style. This was seen as something so standard, nearly everyone did it, because it was one of the few times in life where you could ride in a limo. However, with people trying to keep their distance from one another, most bridesmaids and groomsmen are going to arrive at the wedding ceremony in their own car. As a couple, you could choose to save the money you would have spent on a limo, and use it towards something else. But this could also be a great opportunity for you to rent or borrow a vintage vehicle, instead. 

Your guests will remember a vintage car more than a limo. Credit: Shutterstock

If someone in your family collects vintage cars, you may already have something in mind. Some of you might get lucky and be able to borrow the car from a family member for free. Using a vintage car instead of a limousine also works especially well if you are incorporating any kind of vintage theme into your wedding day. If you just so happen to be decorating in a certain time period, consider purchasing or renting a car from that same era. This is much more unique and memorable, and it’s most likely going to be something your guests will want to take photos of for Instagram. 

Having your wedding on the beach? Consider putting seafood on the menu. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Put the Local Specialty on the Menu

Whether you’re staying local or traveling to a specific location for your wedding, you should consider celebrating whatever that area is famous for, and include those items on your menu. This will guarantee that the food and drink is fresh, which means it will taste the best. Some places are blatantly obvious what their specialty is, like lobsters in Maine. But others aren’t as easy to figure out. You might not even realize what your local specialty is if you haven’t paid close attention, but chances are that you do have one. Once you do a bit of research, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find. 

Peach cobbler with ice cream. Credit: Shutterstock

For example, I live in New Jersey. When most people think about my state, they imagine crowded cities, bad traffic, and pollution. But here in the southern part of the state, we have a lot of farmland, including beautiful wine country. Blueberries and peaches are also our top summer crops. So if I wanted to incorporate the state on my wedding day, I would have peach cobbler on the dessert table and wine from the local vineyard. If your partner is from somewhere else, you could incorporate the specialties of both places on the same day, so long as you figure out a menu that fits well together. 

Photo Credit: Calluna Events

13. Use a Coffee Table Book As Your Guest Book

Wedding guest books are sort of like a yearbook without pictures. Most people simply write their name, or say “congratulations” without saying much else. The happy couple looks at it after the ceremony is over, and then puts it in the closet or attic. This defeats the purpose of the guest book, which is supposed to be a place where you can remember the people who were there to celebrate the happiest day of your life. A great idea that I’ve seen online is to find a coffee table book and put it out as the guest book, instead. 

A cute sign hanging above a wedding guest book. Credit: Shutterstock

Pick a book that has something to do with you personally as a couple, or with the theme of the wedding. For example, if you’re doing a Star Trek themed wedding, find a coffee table book with photos and information from the TV series. Your guests can flip through the photos before they decide to sign something on the edge of the page, or in a blank space. This way, you can leave the coffee table book out in the open in your home and have something to look at along with the beautiful messages wishing you joy in your marriage. 

This bride is carrying on the Indian tradition of wearing henna on your hands. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Incorporate Family Traditions and Heritage 

When some people dream of having an extravagant wedding, they’re more focused on whatever the newest trend may be, or having a big ceremony to impress their guests. But instead of focusing on how over the top the wedding could be, ask yourself if you are representing your family traditions or heritage in any way. Here in the United States, we tend to Americanize weddings to the point where almost all ceremonies are the same, no matter where your family came from. When you “keep up with the Jones’s”, it usually just puts you in a lot of debt. 

At a Jewish wedding, the groom breaks glass with his foot. Credit: Shutterstock

Your parents or grandparents probably have some ideas of what you can do to incorporate your heritage into the special day. By honoring the generations that came before you, you are likely to have a closer family unit of your own someday. And it’s far more likely that these older wedding traditions are affordable, since people haven’t been spending tens of thousands of dollars on weddings until recently. If your parents all had Americanized weddings too, do some research to see what your ancestors did during their wedding ceremonies. You may want to incorporate one or two traditions from both you and your partner’s families. 

Photo Credit: Hgtv

11. Wooden Pallet Menu

There are a lot of creative dinner menu ideas out there on the internet that you can DIY. But one that caught my eye recently was this wooden pallet menu. Pallets are easy to get for free on Craigslist, so this just might be one of the most cost effective ideas. Just make sure that it hasn’t been sitting around outside for too long, because I could have termites with other bugs inside of it. You want a pallet that has been recently disposed of from the back of a truck. One of your local business districts may be giving them away for free.

Photo Credit: My Wedding

This idea works really well if you are already having a rustic or country themed wedding. Just sand the pallet to make sure it has a smooth surface, because you don’t want to accidentally get a splinter. You might also want to use a wood stain to make it a darker shade. Once that is done, all it takes is someone with great handwriting to paint on the letters. You could also use a Cricut printer to create vinyl decals in a fancy font, too. This same idea could be used for a welcome sign, or anything else where you need to give information to your guests. 

Credit: Oriental Trading

10. Create a Kid’s Table

Earlier on this list, we already suggested make goodie bags for kids to keep them busy. Sure, kids could bring their phone or Nintendo Switch, but it might not last for the entire wedding. It would still be a good idea for you to give them something to do during the reception or even the ceremony. Some couples decide to have a table filled with arts and crafts for the kids to do when they get bored. Outdoor games are also a good way to pass the time, and it keeps kids busy, rather than bored.

This wedding used a pink tablecloth and teddy bear to distinguish the kid’s table. Credit: Shutterstock

Having a designated kid’s table might also work during the dinner, where cousins and siblings can sit together and have a conversation while the adults have time to themselves. If at all possible, give the kids a more simple version of the menu, which may be a more affordable way to feed picky eaters that might not finish their plate, anyway. Remember that kids are going to now be part of the same family, and the kid’s table is a great opportunity for them to get to know one another.

The Beer Barrow. Credit: The Huffington Post

9. Beer in a Wheelbarrow

Yet another casual and rustic wedding idea is to have bottles of beer in a wheelbarrow near the outdoor bar. This might seem ridiculous to some people, and many would never want this for their wedding. But it’s actually hilarious if you already plan to keep it casual. (After all, we suggested pizza earlier on this list, so this would actually fit well with that.) If you are already having a backyard, country farmhouse, or barbecue themed wedding, you might as well lean in to the rustic side of the event.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

At most weddings, it would be unheard of to have a beer wheelbarrow, but with those casual themes, it would be completely appropriate to have something out of the box.  Your guests would most likely laugh, take photos, and remember the beer wheelbarrow for a long time. On top of that, it’s simply practical to fill up the wheelbarrow with ice and beer. If you and your partner recently purchased a house, this will obviously come in handy to do your landscaping. 

Do you really want to have phones in your face on your wedding day? Credit: Shutterstock

8. Encourage Guests to Put Their Phones Away

In today’s world, people are glued to their phones all the time. And since they are happy to be at an event and dressed up nicely, or they might want to take pictures hanging out with friends and family they haven’t seen in a while. During cocktail hour or the reception, this is fine. But you may want to ban cellphones during your ceremony as you walk down the aisle. If you allow people to use their phones at all times, this can be distracting and actually make you more nervous. Do you really want to have so many tiny cameras pointing at you from all angles as you try to say your vows? 

This couple decided to have an “unplugged wedding”. Credit: Shutterstock

Whether your guests realize it or not, it’s much better for everyone at your wedding to be present in the moment. It’s much easier to create lasting memories if you’re actually watching with your eyes, rather than a screen. If you are already hiring a professional photographer to capture your special day, your friends and family can see all of those photographs later on your Instagram or wedding website. These will be a far better quality than what your friends could ever take on their phone, so this becomes a win-win situation. 

These chairs have multiple pieces of fabric on the back. Credit: Pexels

7. Tie Scarves Around The Backs of Chairs

One way to add some pizzazz to your wedding decor is by decorating the back of chairs. This might seem like an expensive undertaking, but a very simple and affordable style you pick the right decorations. Some people will simply go for a few signs to the maid of honor or best man. But if you want to decorate multiple chairs, they best thing you can do is to tie fabric or scarves to the back of the chair. When you buy fabric from a craft store like Jo-Ann’s or Hobby Lobby, it’s actually very affordable to have this look. You could also find sheer curtains at Walmart and cut them into the sizes that you need. 

This is a simple lace scarf with flowers. Credit: Shutterstock

With weddings being restricted to a small number of people in 2021 and possibly beyond, there won’t be many chairs at your ceremony. So you might be able to afford to decorate all of the chairs with scarves on a small budget. But if you have a wedding with a few hundred people, you should probably stick to only decorating the chairs in the first aisle. These chairs are usually reserved for the immediate family, so it can be a way to designate the special seats. It also looks great in pictures! 

This little flower girl and rewear her dress later. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Make the Flower Girl Wear Blue

There is an old English rhyme about brides getting ready for their special day that goes like this; “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe.” Most brides choose a blue piece of jewelry, ribbon, or small accessory to incorporate into their wedding day. The color blue is supposed to symbolize purity, love, and fidelity. However, some people struggle to figure out how to incorporate blue, or skip it all together. Since it symbolizes purity, what could be more pure than your little flower girl? 

The color blue is supposed to symbolize purity on your wedding. Credit: Shutterstock

I love this idea of finding a blue dress for your flower girl to wear. On top of that, a blue dress is more convenient for the family who is purchasing the dress for their daughter, because it can be worn again on other special occasions, or passed down to younger siblings and cousins. I was a flower girl when I was a young, but the dress was very obviously meant for a wedding. It was white, frilly, and had literal flowers sewn into it. I could never wear it again, and it just sits in my parent’s attic. 

This whisky barrel table holds the guest book and family photos. Credit: Rustic Events

5. Transform Wine or Whisky Barrels Into Tables

Renting tables for your wedding is not cheap. Even your basic picnic table is expensive, but it’s not nice enough to use for a wedding. If you’re trying to create a backyard wedding, you might realise very quickly that renting all of these pieces will add up. A beautiful and creative solution to that problem that I’ve seen online is taking two large whiskey barrels and placing wood across them to create a table. This works perfectly if you are trying to have a new table for the bar or snacks. 

This table was rented, but you could potentially make your own. Credit: 5 Star Rental

Barrels aren’t something you see every day, and it’s likely to be something that all of your guests admire. This idea works even better if you are already having your wedding at a winery or brewery. It fits in perfectly with the theme, and you should be able to ask the venue if they have left over barrels on hand. However, these venues typically have plenty of tables on hand, so it might not be necessary to create a makeshift table at all. 

Photo Credit: The Knot

4. Social Distance Supplies, and a Button to Remember

We are now living in an era where most weddings are going to be capped at 25 to 50 guests, and everyone needs to keep their distance from one another. However, you might live in an area where some people are taking precautions less seriously than others. On top of that, the joy and excitement of a wedding is often enough to make you accidentally forget that you’re supposed to be careful. Everyone wants to hug you, shake hands, or celebrate the happy occasion. So make sure you have signs or some kind of reminder to let your guests know that they still need to follow protocol.

Photo Credit: Etsy

I like this idea that I found online where someone provided a basket of masks, and sanitizer, and buttons. They can’t win their all to remind others to keep their distance. Some of your guests might opt to skip picking up a button, and that’s okay. The ones who care will take one and wear it proudly. This also doubles as a Memento of today. Instead of it being an unhappy memory, look at it going through with your marriage despite all odds. And a smaller more intimate ceremony is romantic in a lot of ways. It shows that you truly care more about marrying the other person than having a flashy and fancy wedding day. 

These cocktail napkins contain facts about the happy couple. Credit: Brides Magazine

3. Print Fun Facts About the Couple 

Nearly every bridal shower has some sort of quiz about the happy couple used as a game. Obviously, not every guest will be present at the bridal shower, since it’s usually just women who are close friends with the bride. These quizzes are usually fun facts like where the couple met, their first trip, or their astrological signs would be great to use. It could be a really fun thing to incorporate these factions into the wedding day.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

One idea on implementing facts into your wedding day is by printing them out on paper napkins. Another is to print them inside of custom fortune cookies. The sky is the limit as to what you could do. Get creative, and have fun! Your guests will leave knowing more about you and your partner than they did before. It could spark a conversation or help your side of the family get to know the other. 

Small dogs can wear tiny tuxedos. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Get Your Pet Involved With The Ceremony 

If you have fur babies, they are very much a part of the family. This is especially true if you or you partner doesn’t have kids yet. Depending on where you have your wedding, it may not be possible for you to bring your dogs to a professional venue. And cats are not going to behave, especially in front of a crowd.  However, if you choose to have a backyard wedding, it’s totally possible for you to bring your dogs and cats to the ceremony. 

It’s easy to bring your dog to a backyard wedding. Credit: Shutterstock

Some people have even chosen to have their dogs be the ring bearer, or put them in a tiny tuxedo. Dogs usually love to be around people, so they will most likely love to be a part of the fun, instead of putting them away in a crate the entire time. However, you may need to ask a family member to keep an eye on them in case they need to go for a walk or eat a snack. You’ll be so busy during your wedding, that you won’t be able to look after your dog the entire time.

Flower petal confetti is fully biodegradable. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Flower Petal Confetti For the Send Off

Traditionally, wedding guests toss some kind of confetti at the bride and groom as they leave the reception, get in the car, and drive away to go on their honeymoon. In the past, people threw rice, but it has since become common knowledge that you should never do that. Birds will eat the dry grains of rice, and it can expand in their stomachs, leading to their death. So, over the years, people have tried to figure out alternative forms of confetti from glitter to blowing bubbles.

These paper cones are filled with rose petals. Credit: Shutterstock

A beautiful idea is to use flower petals for the confetti. At first, you might assume that this could be an expensive undertaking. However, if you’re already paying to have flowers at your wedding, these centerpieces are eventually going to wilt, anyway. Ask your wedding planner or a friend to break apart the flowers at the end of the ceremony or reception and divide them up into baskets. Guests can each take some petals, and toss them as you leave. In a way, this is a form of recycling. And if this is done outdoors, it’s also fully biodegradable.

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