What Wedding Traditions?

11 Ways to Go “Rogue” for Your Wedding

Scratch all preconceived notions of what your wedding should entail. Your big day is all about you (ok, and your significant other), so don’t be afraid to ditch traditions that feel irrelevant or unnecessary.

Ultimately, my husband and I wanted to throw a big party for our guests, who traveled near and far to celebrate with us in Boston; live music, open bar, great food and an easily accessible location were the priorities. We wanted the weekend to be a true reflection of us: no religion or politics (after all, we were less than one month out from the anxiety-inducing 2016 elections!), and no formalities that felt overly stuffy, too personal or unconnected to us. We basically wrote some of our own rules.

If you’re also looking to “go rogue” and have some fun, here are 11 suggestions.Wedding

1) Get digital, digital

I don’t know about you all, but I feel RSVP-ing via snail mail is so incredibly tedious. Perhaps, it’s the notion of walking all the way to the mailbox, when you can ultimately accomplish the task in a few clicks from your phone or computer (and thus, from your couch). And from a planning standpoint, response cards are extra collateral, additional postage and more work to keep track of incoming responses!

We opted to use RSVPify on our website, which was extremely user-friendly and cost-effective. This tool not only drove traffic to our detailed website, but it also organized all attendee responses, food preferences and guest names in one spreadsheet, and managed the daunting table seating process with ease. Plus, its limitation capabilities prevented guests without plus ones from writing them in 😊.

Of course, we recommend that thank you notes are personalized, handwritten and sent via snail mail. These are absolutely worth the trip to the mailbox!

2) Rehearse with the full crew

Let’s face it: The purpose of the rehearsal dinner has shifted. No one actually takes a full evening to practice walking down the aisle in appropriate order. And, this exclusive affair ultimately leaves out many other guests who are in town solely to celebrate you!

Instead, we decided to invite everyone to join us the evening before our wedding to “rehearse” his/her drinking capabilities at an open bar. It was a wonderful way to maximize our time with guests throughout the weekend while squashing the you can’t sit with us attitude.

3) Get the party started right away

We served champagne upon guest arrival. That is, pre-wedding, the second they walked through the doors. Why wait? After all, we considered our ceremony to be highly entertaining, so why not have a drink in-hand throughout the performance?

4) Ask your cousin to marry you

Yes, you read that right. You can read the full background and story here of how my cousin married me. Err, us.

In Massachusetts, it’s very easy and cost-effective to obtain a one-day pass for a friend or family member to legally perform the ceremony. Consider personalizing the event by inviting someone special to host the ‘show’ and orchestrate the magical moment.

Alyssa, Ryan, Dan

5) Ditch the formal vows

After dating for more than eight years, we’d already promised one another the necessities: trust, kindness, dependability, honesty, respect and so on. Our guests didn’t need to hear us reiterate the obvious qualities that had kept us together for so long.

Instead, we dug through our archives and hit the absolute jackpot: emails written to one another in our first summer of dating, at the immature age of 19. Although only five months into a relationship and halfway through college, we apparently had big plans to be together “forever and ever.” These are the lighthearted promises we felt our guests needed to hear.

We concluded with forward-looking, personalized vows to one another. For example, I promised to not fall asleep on our future road trips when I am in charge of navigation. My husband noted that he wouldn’t micromanage my recipe-following skills (or lack thereof) in the kitchen.

Get creative! There are no rules!

Alyssa & Dan Vows

6) Give your parties a break

I don’t know about you, but my thoughts while standing on stage as a bridesmaid typically are: My feet are killing me. Please don’t faint. I don’t know how much longer I can stand. Are we close? Am I ugly crying in front of everyone? Are my eyelashes coming off? Is it time to drink yet? Are they looking at me or the bride? I can’t see the bride; is she crying or laughing?

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen have likely been working their asses off (and shelling out big bucks) to appease you since the day you got engaged. Give them a break by letting them sit and enjoy the ceremony! We opted to have our parties walk down the aisle, directly to their seats in the very front rows.

7) Wear whatever you want

It’s my party, and I’ll…wear pink. My dress wasn’t white. Nor was it off-white. In fact, it was very faintly blush. White just wasn’t my color, so hey, I decided not to wear it!

I also chose not to wear a veil. They’re pretty, fine, but 1. my husband already knows what I look like under there, and 2. I couldn’t stomach paying hundreds of dollars for an extra piece of straightforward fabric that increases my chances of tripping.

Alyssa & Bridesmaids

8) Find your face to take your place

I tend to get extremely frustrated with the process of finding my table card at weddings. Several people are hovering over a small table simultaneously, and we’re all looking at nearly identical cards for our names to jump out. Like any creative, I found a fun solution to this for our wedding; a bit time-consuming for a large guest list, but well worth it.

Instead of name cards, we custom created homemade coasters with each guest’s picture and table number. When guests arrived to cocktail hour, they then had to find their ‘face,’ and they could also easily identify who was sitting at their respective tables. This was a huge hit and ultimately a keepsake for guests. The only downside was the intense Facebook stalking that came along with retrieving pictures on our own.

Contact me if you need some help with these!

Wedding Coasters

9) Create custom cocktails

If you decide on a bar, be sure to maximize consumption and have some fun by creating custom cocktails! Even if the drinks are simple, guests are more likely to select beverages that have appealing names and special call-outs (Hello, Marketing 101!).

Since our wedding was in the fall, we wanted one cocktail that represented seasonal flavors. We elected an apple bourbon cider and titled it the “Apple-y Ever After.” For the non-bourbon drinkers, we concocted a tequila-infused pink lemonade, aptly naming it the “Patron of Honor.”

Oh, and, friendly tip to keep in mind: You don’t have to stand in line at the bar at your own wedding! Take advantage.

10) Invite your dog

Ace is basically our three-legged child, so why leave him out of the occasion? Not only did our little man steal the spotlight at our engagement shoot, but also on the wedding day, bowtie and all.

Engagement Shoot

Dan, Alyssa & Ace!

11) Postpone your honeymoon

Real talk: Planning a wedding is already a full-time job. Adding honeymoon planning on top can send you into overload, unless you’re opting to sit in one, all-inclusive location the entire trip. Give yourself some time to plan the vacation of a lifetime. This way, you also don’t need to worry about packing the same week leading up to your wedding or nursing a severe hangover on the airplane the next day!

We waited a few months after our wedding to embark on an epic, methodically planned, three-week trip to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and we didn’t miss a beat. Read about our adventures here.

Overall, my number one tip for your wedding weekend is to let it go (let it gooooo). You must roll with the punches. The calmer and more excited you are, the calmer and more excited those surrounding you will be!

What do you think of the suggestions? Did you do anything out-of-the-ordinary? Please share!

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