Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It celebrates your love for your future spouse and is the start of the rest of your lives together.
It’s also a day that is full of traditions that have evolved over hundreds of years and sometimes finding the balance between tradition and individuality can be tricky.
If you’re looking to bring some of your personality into your wedding ceremony and try some non-traditional ideas, you may be struggling with how to do this.
Luckily, there are so many ideas out there and ways that you can bring non-traditional ideas into your wedding ceremony.
In this article, we have 32 non-traditional and amazing wedding ceremony ideas that you can choose from.
We have ideas for your outfits, ceremony entrances, guests, locations, and setups so there is sure to be something here for you.
Whether you’re aiming for a bohemian vibe or a modern twist, incorporating non-traditional wedding ceremony ideas can make your big day more memorable and reflect your unique personalities.
Ideas For Wedding Outfits
Let’s begin by technically going to the period before the wedding ceremony.
One of the easiest ways to make your wedding ceremony non-traditional is by picking outfits that aren’t your usual white dress for the bride or classy suit for the groom.
Non-traditional wedding outfits are becoming more popular so you may have been to a wedding as a guest and seen non-traditional outfits before.
Even if you have, you can still make your wedding stand out in the minds of your guests by choosing something unique and different.
You can incorporate so many ideas into your outfit choices, but we’ve made a list of some of the more common and broader ideas.
1. Swap The Bride And Bridesmaid Color Schemes
It’s typical for the bride to wear a white dress while the bridesmaids wear dresses in another color.
If you don’t want to wear a white dress, you can make your color choice stand out more by putting your bridesmaids in white instead!
2. Wear Pants Instead Of A Dress
Another way for the bride to make her choice of outfit non-traditional is to forgo the dress altogether!
There are many other options you can choose from that will look just as stylish and are more modern choices for a wedding outfit.
Smart suits aren’t just for bridegrooms and best men and you could also opt for a snazzy jumpsuit.
3. Leave The Tuxes At Home
It’s not just brides that can change their outfits! Although it’s traditional for the bridegroom and groomsmen to wear smart tuxes, that doesn’t mean they have to.
You can still keep the shirt and tie look but make it more fun by choosing colors other than black or gray and teaming your pants with some colorful suspenders or a vest.
If it’s warm enough, leave the jacket at home to show off your different choice.
4. Go For A Theme
If you’re really looking for something non-traditional then you can go all the way and opt for a themed wedding.
There are a variety of different types of themes you can choose from and you should choose one that represents you and your future spouse.
For example, why not go with a historical theme?
If you and your future spouse love to attend Renaissance Faires, you can choose outfits that wouldn’t look out of place there. Another fun theme would be choosing outfits from the 1920s or 1930s.
You can also think outside of the box a little and pay homage to your favorite media series.
Choose a wedding dress based on Princess Leia’s, wizard robes from Harry Potter, or fantasy costumes from a series such as Lord of the Rings.
Ideas For Wedding Ceremony Entrances
The traditional wedding ceremony entrance sees all of the guests seated as the bride enters on the arm of whoever is giving her away.
An organist, band, or speaker system plays “Here Comes The Bride” as the bride slowly approaches the altar with her bridesmaids behind her.
This is a sweet way to enter the wedding ceremony, ensures the bride makes an impactful entrance and gives all of the guests a good view of the wedding dress.
However, for many brides, this might be too simple, traditional, and even boring! The groom doesn’t get to make an impactful entrance and the slow walk down the aisle can be very nerve-wracking.
This is why changing your wedding ceremony entrance to something less traditional is such a great idea.
You can make an entrance that is just as impactful but is more fun and incorporates the groom. Or you can opt for something that is a little less attention-grabbing and more relaxed.
Here are our ideas for non-traditional wedding ceremony entrances.
5. Take A Shot
If the bride is feeling nervous before she walks down the aisle then a little bit of Dutch courage might be needed.
The bride and her father can take a couple of moments before beginning the walk to share a couple of shots of their favorite drink.
We wouldn’t recommend doing this in a church setting but for a more relaxed or outdoor ceremony, it will be an amusing way to make your entrance.
6. Enter On Horseback
This may not be practical for a wedding ceremony that is held indoors of course, but if your ceremony is happening outdoors and you have the space, why not ride up to the ceremony on horseback?
This is ideal for any bride that loves horses and nature and is sure to stick in the mind of all of your guests.
7. Arrive In A Horse And Carriage
If you like the idea of horses but aren’t a rider or don’t want to ride in your wedding dress, then arriving in a horse-drawn carriage is a good compromise.
You’ll feel like a Disney princess about to marry Prince Charming if you arrive at the location in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage.
Why hire a flashy car for the day when you can hire a carriage?
8. Choose A Different Song
“Here Comes the Bride” is the traditional entrance song and everyone knows it. It’s a classic for a reason and really sets the scene for the beginning of the wedding ceremony.
However, you can instantly make your wedding ceremony more unique and fun by changing the entry song,
There are so many options that you can choose from as well. If you and your future spouse have a romantic song that you consider to be yours, why not play this instead?
Choose a song that has more of a personal meaning to the pair of you.
We especially love the idea of using a more upbeat song, though. Weddings are joyous occasions so consider picking an equally joyous song.
Why walk down the aisle when you can dance the aisle inside? You don’t need to plan and rehearse a dance although you can if you wish!
9. Scooters For Kids In The Wedding Party
Many ceremonies have flower girls, page boys, and ring bearers that walk down the aisle before the bride does.
They might scatter petals along the aisle or simply take their places ready for the bride to arrive.
You can make this more fun for kids in the wedding party by giving them scooters to ride down the aisle.
Add some ribbons and flowers to the handlebars of the scooters so that they match your wedding color scheme and the kids will not only look cute, but they’ll enjoy their part more as well.
10. Involve Your Children
If you and your spouse have children together or children from previous relationships, you can involve them in your wedding ceremony.
Kids can sometimes feel overlooked when all of the attention is on their parents, especially if their parent is marrying someone new, so try to get them as involved as possible.
Younger children make for adorable flower girls and ring-bearers.
Giving them a role and purpose in the ceremony will make them feel included and you can ensure that they’re by your side throughout the day.
Older children can give readings during the ceremony or act as ushers to greet and seat guests.
11. Involve Some Animals
Instead of picking some young relatives to be your ring bearers or flower girls, you can really ramp up the cute factor by bringing in some animals instead.
Look for any petting zoos in your area as they will have a group of safe and friendly animals that may be available for hire for occasions like this.
Miniature horses, goats, or llamas will be great choices and are sure to wow your guests.
The other option is to involve your pets! Our pets are as much part of our families as any human members are so why not involve them in your wedding ceremony?
There are many ways you can incorporate your pets, especially cats and dogs, into your ceremony.
Walk down the aisle with your dogs, use them as your ring bearers, or just have them present for your photos.
Make sure you have some guests that will look after your pets, however, as you’ll probably be too busy to make sure they’re comfortable throughout the ceremony and won’t need to worry about them.
12. Make It A Surprise
One amazing way to have a non-traditional wedding ceremony is to not tell anyone that it is a wedding ceremony!
Invite everyone for an engagement party or under a different pretense and then surprise them by entering the room in your wedding clothes and with a wedding officiant.
None of your guests will be expecting to attend a wedding ceremony and the surprise aspect is a great way of keeping your ceremony small, manageable, and relaxed.
Your guests won’t need to worry about buying gifts or wearing their best clothes and you can keep your planning and budget to the bare minimum while also having a wedding ceremony that everyone in attendance is sure to never forget.
Ideas For Guests At The Wedding Ceremony
Another important factor in your wedding ceremony is your guests. It’s the future newlyweds that get to pick and choose who the guests will be so you can ensure that you’re surrounded by all of the people you love the most.
At most wedding ceremonies, the guests are simply there to watch the proceedings and share in the couple’s joy in a passive manner.
They might applaud and cry at the ceremony, but their traditional role is to watch and enjoy the event.
Most wedding ceremonies don’t do much to get their guests directly involved in the ceremony itself so this is an easy way to make your ceremony non-traditional and unique.
There are many ways to make your guests part of the proceedings and it can help show your guests how much it means to you that they are there to share your special day.
13. Host A Pre-Ceremony Cocktail Hour
While the bride, groom, and the rest of the bridal party are making their final preparations for the ceremony itself, why not invite your guests to share a drink together?
Tell everyone to gather at the venue 30-60 minutes before the ceremony is about to begin and have some champagne on ice so that all of your guests can have a drink, mingle, and start the long day in a fun way.
14. Have A Ring Warming Ceremony
These ceremonies are a great way to get all of your guests involved and to have them bless your marriage. It’s very simple to do but can be very meaningful.
Before the time to exchange rings occurs, get your guests to pass the rings around from one to another.
If guests want to, they can say a prayer or a few words of blessing as they hold the rings or they can simply pass them to the next person.
If you have too many guests or are worried that your rings might get lost along the way, you can just restrict it to the first couple of rows where your family and closest friends are seated.
When it comes time to exchange your rings, they will have been blessed by all of your guests and you can carry those blessings with you into your married life.
15. Get Your Guests To Make The Bride’s Bouquet
Usually, the bride will have a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her hands as she walks down the aisle.
These bouquets can cost a lot of money if arranged professionally and are often not something the bride has much control over beyond picking which flowers to include.
However, you can make your bouquet more unique and meaningful by getting your guests to make it for you!
As your guests enter the location of your wedding ceremony, ask them to pick a flower from an offered selection.
When the bride enters, each guest should pass their flower to the end of their seating row to the person sitting at the aisle. The bride can then take each group of flowers to make her bouquet!
Of course, this bouquet won’t look as professional and well put together as one arranged by a professional flower arranger but it will be more meaningful due to it being created by her family and friends.
16. Tree Planting Ceremony
This is a wonderful non-traditional way to create a lasting monument to your marriage.
It will take some preplanning and will only be possible in a few wedding ceremony locations, but if you can, planting a tree on your wedding day is a wonderful way to celebrate the day.
If you’re getting married at your home or that of a family member or have a connection to the location, you should consider this.
Choose somewhere you can visit your tree and keep an eye on it.
We would advise digging the hole for the tree before the ceremony and having the tree prepped for planting.
Then you and your spouse can plant the tree in the hole, fill in the dirt, and water the tree.
To make the ceremony a little more special, you can have a friend or your officiant do a reading or play a song.
If you like the idea of this but don’t have a suitable location that you can use as part of the wedding ceremony, you can alter it a little by replanting a tree or plant into a container.
The container can then be taken with you to plant in your yard later.
17. Time Capsule Ceremony
As part of the ceremony, you can have a time capsule ceremony.
Time capsules are boxes or tins that are filled with items and then kept sealed for several years until they are reopened.
These are great for weddings as you can capture the feelings of everyone on the day of your wedding ceremony and then revisit them on an anniversary several years later.
The couple getting married should write their own love letters to each other and you can leave the capsule open for guests to add their own notes and well wishes as well.
Simply provide some paper and pens and ask your guests to leave notes for the married couple.
Once the ceremony is over, seal the capsule and leave it sealed for a later date. The married couple shouldn’t read each other’s letters before the capsule is sealed either!
18. Blowing Bubbles
This is a great exit that will get your guests involved as well.
Hand out bottles of bubbles to all of your guests (especially the kids!) when they arrive at the venue of the wedding ceremony.
When it comes time to make your exit, get all of the guests to blow some bubbles as you walk past as this will make for some amazing photos.
Your guests are sure to have fun with this as well as it’s probably many years since any of the adult guests have blown bubbles!
You can also add some bubble machines to the mix.
Place a few of these around the place where you will exit and they will make sure that you have a steady flow of bubbles in your photos.
The ones blown by humans can’t always be relied on unfortunately as it depends on where people are standing and in which direction the wind is blowing.
Ideas For Unique Locations
Wedding ceremonies are commonly held in places of worship or other spaces such as hotels or family homes.
These locations are popular because of how easy it is to arrange weddings there and they have become the traditional choices.
However, you don’t need to stick with these traditional choices just because they’re easy and are commonly used!
Non-traditional locations might take more planning to turn into your dream wedding ceremony location, but we think the additional effort is worth it.
They can, however, sometimes be cheaper than hiring a hotel so they’re worth considering if you’re working on a budget.
Make your wedding ceremony unique and tailor-made for you by picking the right non-traditional location. Here is a list of some of our favorite locations.
19. Locations That Are Special To The Couple
Did you have your first date in a beautiful restaurant? Maybe you met at an event or attraction.
These special “first” places are wonderful ideas for wedding ceremony locations. You can revisit your first days together while you pledge your future lives to each other.
20. Rustic Locations
Places such as farms, barns, and meadows, are perfect backdrops for wedding ceremonies for couples who love nature.
The environments can be more simple, but imagine getting photos surrounded by fields of lavender or corn as the sun is setting! You will get some stunning photos and can arrange the space to your liking.
21. On The Water
Houseboats and yachts make for very unique wedding ceremony locations that your guests are sure to remember.
These are best for ceremonies that have a smaller number of guests as space can be at a premium and are not a good idea for anyone who suffers from seasickness!
However, being surrounded by open water may appeal to many.
22. On A Rooftop
Take your love to the skies by having your wedding ceremony on the rooftop of a tall building.
There are many tall buildings, especially in big cities, that have rooftop bars or gardens but you can also find an emptier rooftop and decorate it to your needs.
You will get some stunning views and photographs, especially as the sun begins to set.
23. Hobby Locations
If the engaged couple is lucky enough to share some common interests, then why not choose a location that reflects these?
Artists and art lovers can get married in an art gallery, writers and readers could choose a library, and people that love the great outdoors can choose a campground or forested space.
Many professional sports teams allow weddings to happen at their stadiums, as do bowling alleys, golf courses, fairgrounds, and many more places you may have never considered!
24. Outdoor Locations
Outdoor wedding ceremonies have become more popular over the years and they offer some of the widest range of options for non-traditional weddings.
Beaches have become so popular for wedding locations that they’ve almost become traditional themselves!
We’ve already covered locations such as meadows and forests, but that’s only scratching the surface of the possible outdoor locations.
Canyons and valleys will ensure that you’re surrounded by beautiful views on all sides, as will a wedding ceremony held in a cave.
If you like the idea of getting married by the water but aren’t near a beach, you can instead hold your wedding at the side of a lake or river.
You can also consider holding your wedding near any natural landmarks.
Every state in the country has natural landmarks, whether they’re big or small, and these can be a great place for your wedding.
Mountains and rock formations are especially excellent locations.
Ideas For Unique Ceremony Setups And Arrangements
There are many different ways that the ceremony itself can be set up and proceed.
The traditional and typical setup is to have an aisle down the middle and to have the guests seated on either side.
Brides usually include only women in their bridal party whereas grooms exclusively have men.
Some of these traditions have been dialed back in recent years, largely due to the rise in same-sex weddings, but for many couples the traditions still hold.
When it comes to arranging and setting up your wedding ceremony, however, there’s no reason why you should stick with the traditional approach unless you want to.
It’s your wedding ceremony so you can arrange it however you like!
Here are our suggestions for non-traditional wedding arrangements.
25. Mix Up The Wedding Parties
Just because it’s tradition for a bride to be surrounded by her female friends and a groom to be surrounded by his male friends doesn’t mean that you need to follow this structure.
So many of us have friends of both sexes that it no longer makes sense to exclude people we care about from our special day.
Build your wedding parties out of the people that mean the most to you. Have a female best man or male attendants to the bride.
It’s your day and you should be surrounded by those that care the most about you.
Many same-sex weddings already take this approach and some opposite-sex weddings are beginning to do as well.
26. Use School Buses To Transport Your Guests
If the location of your wedding ceremony and the location of your wedding reception are far away from each other, some guests might not be able to easily make the journey.
Many couples decide to offer transportation to their guests as it makes the journey easier, ensures nobody gets lost and can help keep track of timings better.
Using school buses can be a fun and unique way to transport your guests from one place to another.
Invite everyone to arrive at the reception location and then take them to the ceremony location and back again.
If many of your guests are staying in the same hotel, you can offer them transportation to and from the hotel, which will also mean that they can drink alcohol without worrying about driving afterward.
27. Seat Your Guests In A Circle
Your guests don’t need to sit in neat and straight rows with an altar in front of them.
You can make your wedding ceremony feel more like a communal gathering by arranging it in a circle.
The altar where the ceremony takes place should be in the center and then the seating is arranged in several circles around the altar.
As well as neat and closed circles, you can choose to arrange the seats in a spiral.
This works well with smaller parties. As the bride enters, she walks around the spiral and walks past every single guest!
28. Have A Friend Or Family Member Officiate
Most wedding ceremonies are officiated by someone who is a stranger to the couple getting married.
This is usually the case regardless of whether it is a church wedding or being held elsewhere but it needn’t be the case.
Different states have different rules when it comes to legally being able to officiate a wedding ceremony so you will need to do some research if you want to follow this route.
However, there are many online sites and churches that offer certifications that allow anyone to become ordained as a wedding minister so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get family and friends to officiate.
You can choose one person to perform the whole ceremony or spread out the duties between several people.
This is a great way to get family members and friends directly involved with the ceremony and will make your special day even more special.
29. Have Adult Ring Bearers/Flower Girls
Although it’s traditional for ring bearers and flower girls to be young children this doesn’t need to be the case.
Young children are undeniably cute in these roles as they walk the aisle and are dressed in their best clothes, many people may not have children in their life that they’re close enough to for the roles.
If you want to find a special place in your wedding party for an adult that means a lot to you, then these roles are ideal.
Parents, siblings, and best friends are often included in the wedding parties as bridesmaids or groomsmen but other relatives can be left out.
Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can make amazing and unique ring bearers and flower girls.
Plus, if the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen is becoming too large, why not switch a couple to these roles as a way of making it more manageable?
30. Don’t Have A Wedding Party At All
All a wedding ceremony needs to be successful is the couple getting married, the officiant that is marrying them, and a couple of witnesses.
Including bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers, and flower girls are unnecessary and just additional extras. You don’t need to have anyone in these roles at all if you don’t want to.
This is especially the case if you’re having a small wedding or are working to a budget.
You can still include your friends and family and have them help you get ready and be there as emotional support, but without the predefined roles and the formal clothes that come with it.
31. Write Your Own Vows
This is one of the most common ways to personalize your wedding ceremony and make it a little less traditional.
During the ceremony, the married couple will exchange some vows with each other and although there are traditional vows that you can choose to use, you can also write your own.
Writing your own vows is a perfect way to get your own voices into your wedding ceremony.
You can say all of the things that you feel in your heart about your spouse and the right words will make your spouse and your guests cry happy tears and laugh.
There are many books and websites out there that can help you write your own wedding vows if you struggle with finding the right words yourself.
Use these examples as your starting point and alter them to fit what you want to say.
32. Tell Stories Instead Of Having Readings
Many wedding ceremonies include friends, family, or the wedding officiant doing readings from the bible or other important books and poems.
These readings can be very significant and poignant but they are always words that have been written about other people.
Instead, why not invite your family and friends to tell their own stories about you and make this part of the ceremony more personal and unique?
You may want to pre-approve any stories before they are told to ensure that they don’t take a tone that you don’t like!
Having these stories told is a great way to involve more people in your ceremony and hear their good wishes. They can also tell more of your love story to any guests that aren’t as aware of all of the details.
Check out these other wedding ideas for a memorable big day:
- Rustic Wedding Ideas on a Budget
- Ultimate Guide to Mexican Weddings
- Essential Cuban Wedding Traditions We Love
Final Thoughts on Non-Traditional And Amazing Wedding Ceremony Ideas
In this article, we listed 32 non-traditional and amazing wedding ceremony ideas for you to choose from.
We introduced ideas for your outfits, ceremony entrances, guests, locations, and setups so whatever you’re looking for, there is sure to be something here for you.
There are so many different ways that you can customize your wedding ceremony to make it less traditional and we hope that these ideas will help you to organize the wedding ceremony of your dreams.