bride and groom about to kiss in background, bouquet in foreground

Wedding Alternatives for the Modern Couple

While tradition still holds a near-and-dear place in our hearts, it’s 2019! It’s okay to want something different than the fairy tale weddings depicted by the Brother’s Grimm.

Heed our warning though, just because we’re ditching lavish traditions doesn’t mean wedding planning will be any easier. In fact, planning a wedding for the modern couple is challenging! They may have a long list of ideas you’ve never heard of before, expecting you to make each one a reality. Or, they may have no idea what they want, but know all about what they don’t want. The point is, as their wedding planner, it’s your job to make sure that it’s the best day of their lives!

Transforming a tradition as old as time into something fresh and new can be tricky. Especially for offbeat clients who are open to trying something new, even on their wedding day. Here’s a list of ideas to help you plan a wedding just as modern as your client!

The Modern Wedding Dress

unique wedding dress with embroidery

While some girls dream about lace and sequins, others cringe at the thought of wearing a dress at all. Still, others just want to make a statement. They want that added wow factor, something that guests will be talking about for a long time.

For guests, the bride’s dress is one of the most anticipated aspects of the wedding. For the bride, it’s one of the most traditional. Some believe that it can’t really be called a wedding dress unless it’s white. However, you may be surprised to learn that brides wear red on their wedding day in Chinese and Indian cultures. So, for that bride who’s looking for something different, help her choose a  wedding dress in her favorite color. We’ve even seen a bride wear black for a Halloween-themed wedding!

For something even more different, suggest an all-white bridal suit or romper. There are even 2-piece dress designs hitting stores lately. These alternatives are becoming increasingly popular as more and more brides decide that being uncomfortable on one of the biggest days of their lives isn’t worth it. Not enough? Maybe the groom can wear white too. Ask guests to wear black to really make the couple pop!

Instead of a traditional floor-length gown, the bride may also want a mid- or short-length dress. When it comes to the modern couple, anything goes. They may decide that a dress and tux is too formal. Ditch the black-tie dress code altogether. A comfortable bride is a happy bride!

The Wedding Vows

Maybe the drone of “till death do us part” isn’t exactly what this young couple has in mind when they think of expressing their love for each other. You can always suggest they write their own vows, but that takes work. Also, baring their personal feelings in front of all their friends can be nerve-racking. Luckily, the internet is full of alternative wedding vow ideas!

One of the most popular alternatives these days is the unity candle. In this ceremony, the parents of the newly-weds-to-be each light one candle, then the couple takes the candles and uses them to light one larger candle. This represents the bringing together of two families. If this doesn’t float their boat, there are so many other options!

Alternatives to traditional wedding vows:

  • Tree planting unity ceremony
  • Handmade basket exchange
  • Family puzzle unity ceremony
  • Painted canvas unity ceremony
  • Unity tea ceremony
  • Blending white wine and rosé
  • Blanket unity ceremony
  • Sealing away love letters
  • Gin box unity ceremony
  • Whiskey pouring unity ceremony
  • Anniversary box
  • Family unity candle

The list goes on and on! Still too traditional for your clients? Why not suggest that they create their own unity ceremony? Like we said, anything goes!

The Reception Dinner

Sitting through a 7, or even 10-course meal can be a drag. Waiting for your food is never fun, especially when you likely just sat through what feels like a billion hours of speeches. The modern couple probably doesn’t consider food catered by a hall their favorite. And, if they’re really modern, the wedding probably won’t be at a hall anyways.

What’s an alternative to dinner, you ask? How about no dinner? That’s right! Replace a formal dinner with a never-ending cocktail hour that’s overflowing with delicious finger foods. It might seem crazy to you, but the newlyweds just might dig it. This can also create a more casual atmosphere and encourage guests to mingle, which may be exactly the kind of atmosphere your clients are looking for.

For the more sophisticated modern couple try a mix of antipasti, charcuterie, crostini bar, sushi platters, shots of bisque, or whatever else you can come up with! For a more carefree, fun-loving couple opt for a carnival theme. Include food cones filled with fries and chicken fingers, chicken and waffles, and popcorn. And for dessert, try donuts and snow cones!

Still need something even more different? Why not turn the wedding into a pizza night? Order from some fancy Italian restaurant with a wood burning stove and hand-tossed crust. Or, simply get the couple’s favorite fast food joint to cater to their special day. How epic would it be to have a wedding catered by McDonald’s? This is definitely not for everyone, but it will sure give the guests something to talk about!

The Registry

Traditional registries can be great if the bride and groom have a big house waiting for them after they tie the knot. But for many couples, once all the wedding hype is over they’ll return to their small one-bedroom condo. Traditional registry items like dishes, kitchen appliances, and embroidered hand towels are great. Unfortunately, they can also be cumbersome for the couple who has nowhere to put them or no use for them.

Many couples decide not to have a registry at all and instead hope for cards filled with money that can help pay for the extravagant night. But, today there are many more creative ideas out there. The modern couple might like the idea of asking guests to make a donation to a charity in their name. The couple can choose a charity that has a particularly important meaning for them.

If the couple doesn’t want a registry, but would still like gifts, there are options out there for that too. Request that, instead of bringing gifts or money, guests contribute to their GoFundMe account and help raise money for their honeymoon or down payment on their first home. If the couple is into wine, they can request special reserve bottles that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Encourage the couple to put items on the registry that they’ll actually use and enjoy!

Do you have any ideas not listed here? Let us know in a comment!

Are you a modern couple looking to organize your own alternative wedding? Enroll in a Wedding Planning Course to turn your dreams into a reality!

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