If it wasn’t already obvious, you’re just as likely to find wedding inspo scrolling through social media than flipping through a wedding magazine. We’ll admit, there’s a magical element to pouring over the spreads of a thick, glossy bridal mag, but as easy as it is to get lost in the pages, it’s hard to keep track of what catches your eye. TikTok has pro tips (and we have the screen time to prove it) plus plenty of inspiration to boot. Though it hasn’t quite dethroned Pinterest as the ultimate wedding planning platform, it’s the ideal companion for brides and grooms on the hunt for fresh ways to give their “I dos” a unique edge.
Consider how many times you’ve heard someone say, “I found it on TikTok”—couples are clearly finding everything from recipe ideas to styling hacks. And at 2021 weddings, you’re now bound to hear that tenfold. The micro-streaming app has a dedicated community for all your nuptial needs, aptly named #WeddingTikTok. Since TikTok is a breeding ground for pretty much every new trend these days, we browsed the app for the most exciting, buzzy, non-traditional deets that brides and grooms can apply on their big day.
A Twist on the Last Dance
Let’s face it: unless you’re eloping, one-on-one time will likely be in short supply on the big day. A sweet way to carve out time for a memorable moment between you and your new spouse is to opt for a private final dance. After the party wraps up and guests are preparing to send you off, you can use the cleared-out reception hall to steal one last private moment, away from the excitement, before the big day comes to a close.
If quiet and private don’t really align with the vibe of your wedding, you can also take things in the other direction and make the last dance of the night extra special by giving your guests sparklers or confetti to set off as the final song plays. This way, you can end the night with a bang surrounded by your guests.
Uninterrupted First Kiss
One thing that #WeddingTikTok has made abundantly clear is that officiants should not be in the background of first kiss photos. Video after video has advised against letting them linger after pronouncing you married, and TBH, they have a point. For a clean, clear shot of your first kiss, be sure to give your officiant a heads-up—or a very gentle nudge—to move aside when it’s time to lock lips.
Rethinking the First Look
It’s common to like the first look in theory, but not in practice. If you want a first look, but don’t want to come face-to-face with your spouse until it’s time to walk down the aisle, you can do one with your parents instead. In most cases, the grand reveal will be just as emotional with your parents, grandparents, or parent figures as it would be with your spouse-to-be. Plus, it’s a special opportunity to have a private, quiet moment with your family figures, sans prying eyes to watch you ugly-cry.
Whether or not they’ve tagged along to fittings and have already seen the gown, your bridal party’s reactions to the complete wedding day look is a special moment that’s often overlooked. As an alternative to the popular first look between spouses, you can always just do special first-look photos with your bride squad, instead! Just keep tissues and touch-up makeup on hand—there's sure to be waterworks.
Also, why not include his crew in the first look? Though they’d traditionally get a first glimpse of the bride’s gown while she’s coming down the aisle, it can be fun and inclusive to give them a preview. It’s also an opportunity to break away from gender norms while having a special bonding moment with some of your guys who made it onto his side (maybe a brother or a male bestie) and laying the foundation for an extra special bond with his nearest and dearest.
A lot of archaic gendered traditions tend to rear their heads at weddings—and not just for the couple getting hitched, but for the guests as well. This TikTok user got over a million likes for bringing this tip to the table: On invitations addressed to couples, name the woman first (think Mrs. Jane and John Smith instead of Mr. John and Jane Smith.) It’s semantics, but it says a lot.
Make an Entrance
Over-the-top bridal party entrances have been popular at receptions long before TikTok was a thing. But now that TikTok trends and challenges have brought them to the next level (we’ll get to that later) it’s unfortunate that the newlyweds miss out on the excitement. To give the new spouses a chance to see their bridal party’s extravagant entrances, why not swap the traditional order around and enter the reception ahead of the bridal party?
If you’re stumped on how to make a splash with your wedding party’s entrances into the reception, TikTok is full of ideas. Instead of choreographing their own arrivals, this couple’s group just performed different dances and challenges that went viral on the app. It's a great way to create a party atmosphere before the reception really even starts. Because when someone in your vicinity is doing a TikTok dance, it’s nearly impossible not to join in and show off your moves.
Toss the Traditional Bouquet Toss
The bouquet toss is a divisive wedding tradition. If the idea of a toss elicits an eye roll instead of excitement, there are tons of alternatives to try. A cute trend that’s been picking up steam on TikTok is to call up married couples to the dance floor instead. One by one, your emcee will ask couples married a certain amount of years to stay on the floor until the couple married the longest is the only one that remains. They’ll then get the mic to share one piece of marriage advice with the newlyweds. You get to keep your bouquet and walk away with some solid advice. It’s a win/win.
Also, who says men can’t be part of the bouquet toss? Instead of only throwing your bouquet to single ladies, you can switch things up by inviting everyone to catch it, regardless of gender or marital status.
Cozy Guest Book
How often do you actually crack open the guest book after the wedding has passed? A unique way to keep your guests top-of-mind after the big day is to swap out a guest book for a guest quilt! Instead of a traditional book, this TikTok user got her guests to sign fabric squares, and then her grandmother knit them all together. On top of being way cozier than a guest book, it’s also a more sustainable option if you use scrap fabric.
Not All Rise
To keep things inclusive and ensure that everyone can see everything, this bride is forgoing the traditional “all rise” part of the ceremony. “It prevents the people in the front, who are usually the most important, from seeing the entire walk,” explains @marzyjay. As an alternative, her guests will be instructed to stay seated while she walks down the aisle and to stand after she passes them. It sets an inclusive tone for the ceremony and creates a beautiful succession effect.
Shout Out the Matchmaker
While you’re celebrating your love, why not give a shout-out to the friend or loved one who made that initial connection? A new trend is to honor the matchmaker with a sign that hangs from their chair at the reception. It’s a subtle homage to the friend who technically made the day possible.
All the feels! Though dads get a lot of love on the dance floor at wedding receptions, mothers of the bride should have a moment, too. After her father-daughter dance with her stepdad, this bride pulled her mom onto the floor for a mother-daughter dance to “Slipping Through My Fingers” by ABBA. I’m not crying, you're crying.
Social Media Minute
This is a trend we’ve been seeing a lot—like a lot, a lot. To keep ceremonies intimate and prevent people from spending the entire ceremony scrolling on their phones, couples are opting for unplugged ceremonies where guests are asked to keep their devices tucked away. But before powering down, they're given a minute to take photos of the couple and post them to their social feeds.
Couples writing each other letters on the morning of their nuptials will never not be adorable. But to turn the volume up on the cuteness, some couples are writing each other love notes on the soles of their shoes. While they’re each getting ready, someone from the wedding party will perform the shoe swap so that they can be signed and ready by the time the ceremony begins.
A "Guest" Photographer
Sometimes the best wedding photos are the ones that are completely unstaged. To get those offbeat moments on film, it can be as easy and affordable as placing a disposable camera at each of your reception tables and encouraging your guests to capture the night through their own lens. Post-wedding, it’ll be fun to develop the film from each camera and add some candid pics to your wedding album.
Unity candles can be a fire hazard and sand ceremonies can get messy. But taking a unity shot at the altar is a harmless way to ease wedding day jitters and kick off the party atmosphere. Plus, if you get your guests to sign the bottle, it can also be a cute wedding day keepsake!
No Cake, No Problem
There’s a lot to consider when you select your wedding cake. You have to be conscious of your guest’s dietary restrictions and sometimes even their flavor preferences. If you’d rather forgo cake altogether (and avoid the wedding cake smash), you can always replace it with a champagne tower. It’ll set the tone for the party to follow and can even be a good lead-in to reception toasts.