The Elements of Throwing an Unconventional Wedding: Part One

The Elements of Throwing an Unconventional Wedding: Part One

The guide to celebrating your wedding in a way that’s unconventional to most.

By Gloria Di Felice

 

While there are many of us out there who still love weddings the old-fashioned way, the trend for the new, re-invented wedding is spreading. Even for those of us who are staying true to tradition, the call to add unconventional elements to our wedding day is growing, as the interest in tying the knot amongst millennials shrinks. Statistically, getting married isn’t quite as hyped up as it used to be - times have changed and it’s not taboo anymore to live together before marriage, or even rule out marriage altogether. In fact, common-law living is only growing in popularity and by 2016, accounted for 17.8% of all Canadian families. Compare that to 6.3% in 1981. It’s no wonder though that this is an increasing trend among millennials who yearn to let go of the traditions of the past and embrace their own styles of living, while saving on the ever-increasing costs of a wedding.

Percentage of common-law families in Canada has almost tripled from 1981 to 2016.

Percentage of common-law families in Canada has almost tripled from 1981 to 2016.

However, let’s not forget about us folks who just love weddings, but think they could use a little, you know, improvements or updates. It’s 2018 after all. Conformity is a thing of the past. And some of us just can’t stand to have another Pinterest wedding.

So what’s the middle ground? Can you still get married and celebrate in your own way? Can you hold to tradition but not be bound by it? Yes you can, but depending on just how unconventional you are, it may it be down to a few key details or you might need to think BIG. Hopefully I can help you get the wheels turning with some new ideas, as I target key areas of wedding planning that can be altered to suit a non-traditional, unconventional palette. Let’s start out slow, with the most traditional part of the wedding to get the ball rolling. Then we’ll get into the real meat of the issue!

 

The Ceremony

Why not commemorate your marriage with a lantern of love?

Why not commemorate your marriage with a lantern of love?

Traditionally, wedding ceremonies take place in a religious building or chapel. While the ceremony itself may only be altered so much, a lot can be done with the venue and added touches. Hosting a ceremony in a non-traditional venue can set the mood for the entire wedding. Love art? Get married in the Distillery District, in an artistic space, such as the Thompson Landry Gallery. Love the bustle of the city from above? Get married on a rooftop, like the one found at O&B’s Malaparte. If you prefer cozy and rustic, have a look at one of the many historic sites and museums that are found throughout Toronto. If your budget is tight and you need to throw the ceremony in your parents’ backyard, use it as an excuse to get away with the things you might not be able to (or would have difficulty with) in a conventional ceremony space. Serve mimosas, include the cats, or commemorate your marriage with a swing at a piñata (no one said it had to have candy)! If that’s too childish for you, send off a love balloon lantern. The possibilities are endless. Get creative!  :)

 

The Outfit

Unconventional red tuxedo with bowtie on mannequin

This is an interesting one - even unconventional brides and grooms still tend to get married in a wedding dress or a suit. If that doesn’t speak true to you, mix it up and just be yourself. If it does, have some fun with it. Who says you have to get married in a white wedding dress or a black suit? Here’s a history lesson for you. Did you know that the white wedding dress does not originate with the concept of virginity? (It’s actually the veil that does.) The white dress became popular in Western culture because Queen Victoria wore one at her wedding - in 1840. It’s funny to think that such a tradition still stands, when so much comes to be gained from opting to wear a dress in any other colour of the rainbow (yes, I mean beyond the selection of ivory, champagne, or even blush and pale blue)! If any wedding tradition deserves to be tossed out the window, it’s this boring one that’s been around for close to 200 years. And if you’re having a same-sex marriage, all the more reason to wear different colours.

 

The Wedding Party

Bride laughing and having fun with her bridesmaids

Something needs to be said for the value of the Bridesman and the Groomsmaid, the Man of Honour and the Best Woman (though, let’s face it ladies, there’s a good reason that last one isn’t very common!) Just because you’re used to seeing only women on one side and men on the other, doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit. If you have a member of the opposite sex that you really want involved in your wedding, don’t let tradition stop you. Oh, and don’t worry either about asymmetry (an uneven wedding party). If you don’t want all of your fiance’s groomsmen to hang off the side of the altar because there are more of them than your bridesmaids, have some of the men stand on your side. More and more couples are opting for their guests to sit wherever they want instead of on the traditional side anyways, so how big of a deal is it if there’s a groomsman on your side to balance the look at the altar? If you don’t want to do this, there are other options; but if you’re thinking about it, the world won’t implode - I promise.
 

Keep reading about ideas for your reception, photos, decor and small details, continued here, in The Elements of Throwing an Unconventional Wedding: Part Two.

The Elements of Throwing an Unconventional Wedding: Part Two

The Elements of Throwing an Unconventional Wedding: Part Two