75 Unique Wedding Ideas

It’s all in the details, baby

Updated 12/10/17

Britt Rene Photography

Here at BRIDES, we’ve seen our fair share of weddings—and with that, just about every wedding trend in the book; the overused (hello, mason jars!), the popular (shout out to the donut bars), the classic (we’re thinking of you, rose petal littered aisles), and the unique (like dedicating your cocktail hour décor to your fur baby). It’s the latter that create a memorable and personalized touch, allowing your wedding to truly to stand out. It’s all in the details, and the more unique, the better!

But how do you decide which unique details to include—and how do you even come up them in the first place? That’s where we come in. We’ve taken a look at the creative, the inventive, and the thoughtful and compiled them all into one place, right here. Behold, 75 distinctive ideas to put your own spin on. You’ll find everything from catering selections (such as food stations offering local cuisine) and personalized décor (like table runners printed with your vows) to bouquet ideas (wreaths instead, anyone?) and entertainment options (one bride and groom opted out of their first dance for a Twister game).

When it comes down to implementing unique touches in your wedding, place weight on two elements. The first? What represents you as a couple. Think back to your engagement, where you met, your first trip together, your mutual hobbies, your home state, or your heritage, and incorporate those details into the big day. The second? Your guests. While your wedding is about celebrating your legal union with your SO, it’s also very much about your guest’s comfort and enjoyment. So get creative with the favors, give them an entertaining cocktail hour, and provide them with a great dining experience.

We promise, though—these ideas do all the thinking for you!

Minimalist bouquets make a chic and classy statement in a way that the average bountiful bouquet can’t—it’s the perfect way for a bride to channel her modern style.

Ben Yew Photography

  1. Ask invitees to jot down their favorite song on the RSVP card—or go modern and have them email it to you instead! Compile all the song requests into a playlist and give it to your DJ; this will ensure all your guests will enjoy some jams.

Sarah Libby Photography

In need of something blue? Forget the traditional blue garter or jewelry ideas—a flower girl in blue is so much cuter!

Kurt Boomer Photography

  1. Add a custom stamp of your and your partner’s first initials throughout the wedding for a personal touch. Brand it on everything from wedding signs to table numbers and favors for consistency.

Jose Villa

Traditional bride and groom cake toppers are so 1980s. Top off your cake with an accent that complements your wedding theme. We love this light bulb one for an industrial style wedding, especially how it tops each tier of the cake to say, “Light of my life.” Swoon.

Monique Serra Photography

  1. Instead of using actual plates for plate chargers, opt for something more befitting to your tablescape; think palm leaves for a tropical setting or antique tiles like the one shown above for a romantic Italian villa inspired look.

Carmen Santorelli Photography

  1. Are you a wanderlusting pair with a travel theme? Go the extra mile and use leather luggage tags to hold the escort or place cards.

Shelly Anderson Photography

  1. For some favors that guests will actually use, set up a “farm stand” of fresh fruit and small baskets that they can fill on their way out the door.

Fondly Forever Photography

  1. There’s no denying the charm of a wooden sign or elegance of a mirrored sign, but everyone uses them. Opt for something creative that reflects your theme, like this fun neon sign with a sweet love-centric slogan.

Photo by Rachel Havel

  1. If your wedding will take place far from where you grew up, offer tasting stations with cuisine from that locale. A few ideas: clam chowder and lobster rolls for New Englanders, chili and tacos for Texans, or oysters for New Orleaners.

Jen Huang

  1. Tell your caterer what you consider a perfect food day (breakfast through dinner, plus snacks); let him combine your choices and your partner's into the ideal wedding meal for a diverse menu.

Bella Wang Photography

Want to create an unusual color scheme? Take cues from the works of a color-happy artist such as Rothko, Van Gogh, or Pollock.

Nikole Ramsay

Stack the dessert table with cookies frosted with your monogram or shaped like the numerals of your wedding date ("6," "20," "17") for a personal touch.

Josh Gruetzmacher

Top a reception entrance table with an object that reinforces the theme. An antique typewriter emits an old world romance vibe.

Carmen Santorelli Photography

Show your florist photos of your mother’s bouquet so he or she can design a similar one, like this white ‘80s-inspired cascading bouquet.

Branco Prata Studios

Where did you two meet? Pay homage to the state you fell in love in by incorporating it into your décor or food. These tropical inspired Florida-shaped cookies add a punch of whimsy.

Tiffani Jones

If you’re having a destination wedding or have a lot of guests coming from out of town, include a map of the area your wedding will be in with your invitations—after all, they’ll be spending the whole weekend there!

Jordan Voth

Order custom labels for wine and water to put your own personal stamp on libations.

Jennifer See Studios

Instead of benches or chairs, select distinctive seating that reflects your wedding style for your ceremony, like floor cushions or these laidback tree stumps painted with tribal print.

Lara Hotz Photography

Tie your groom’s boutonniere into your theme—a seashell brings nautical décor full circle, while a crisp maple leaf celebrates autumn and cacti evokes desert vibes.

CJH Photo

Traditional guest books often end up stashed in a closet. Instead, choose a coffee table book covering a subject you love (like this one about historical Los Angeles) and that you'll want to display at home; guests can write on the photos or in the margins.

Jenna Bechtholt Photography

Give your cocktail napkins some personality by having them printed with fun facts about you and your partner.

Suzuran Photography

Favors are great and all, but there’s nothing like a heartfelt message to thank guests, especially when it’s displayed so beautifully. Show your gratitude by having it expressed in elegant calligraphy on a large sign for all to see.

BAKE Photography

Have your best man emcee a trivia quiz about the two of you—ask each table to work as a team to come up with the answers.

Lillywhite Photography

Design your ceremony seating in a circular fashion so guests can get a 360-degree view.

Jose Villa

Give cocktail hour a whimsical touch—instead of having waiters carry trays of champagne around, have them refill suspended platforms with the bubbly instead.

Julie Paisley

Is the weather forecast for your wedding day blistering? Rent a Sno-Cone machine, popsicle bar, or ice cream stand and chill out!

Cattura Weddings

Give the backstory to any family recipes you're serving. Keep the explanations short and significant, and include them on the printed menu. For example, "Aunt Martine's French Onion Soup/Grandma Betty’s peach pie."

Hazelwood Photo

Make guests find their seat by first locating a funny picture of them on an escort card wall. This couple scoured the Internet for months to find the most amusing photos of their guests for this DIY masterpiece.

Ryan Ray Photo

Give each reception table a name (for example, "China") that relates to your courtship. Have a tent card on the table with a short explanation: "We met sophomore year of college here during a study abroad program!"

Jose Villa

Add unexpected elements into your bouquet to give it your own touch. We love how feathers complement a large king protea in this arrangement!

Lauren Peele

Got a cultural dance that's a favorite at family weddings? From the tarantella (Italian) to the money dance (Cuba), ethnic jigs give a party a distinctive flavor.

Pat Furey

Write your fiancé a heartfelt message on their wedding shoe for a sweet surprise on the big day.

Tim Tab Studios

Serve a wedding cake that celebrates your heritage— think papaya filling (the Philippines), cannoli cream icing (Italy), pomegranate glaze (Middle East). No problem if the groom is from a different country—think multiple tiers!

Lauren Love Photography

Instead of the traditional three-course dinner, have your guests sit down to a family style serving for a more intimate gathering.

Bless Photography

Create one large floral centerpiece out of several mini vases. Invite guests to take one on their way out!

Katie Pritchard Photography

Set up a mini photo studio at the reception for guests to ham it up in front of the camera. Send their photos with your thank-you cards for a fun surprise.

Brianna Venzke

Instead of displaying the menu on standard stationary, get creative and have it sprawled across plates or charcuterie boards in elegant calligraphy.

Cluney Photo

Is there a charity that's dear to you? In lieu of favors, make a donation in your guests' names; leave an explanatory card on each dinner table. (One charity to try: changingthepresent.org).

Zofia & Co.

Toast the woman who has had the greatest impact on your life, then hand her your bouquet as a tribute.

Brumley & Wells

Hosting cocktail hour outside? Set up stations of different lawn games around the cocktail and lounge area to give your guests some entertainment besides mingling.

Saya Photography Wedding Planner: Call Me Madame

Have a ring warming ceremony, in which both wedding bands are passed through guests to send their well wishes and love into before they’re placed on each finger.

Lisa O’Dwyer

Does your groom have a thing for bowties? Create a bow tie bar during cocktail hour where guests can swap their ties for one. This bride’s mom spent months sewing bowties for every male guest at the wedding!

Ryan Ray Photography

Including your pet on your wedding day? We can’t think of anything sweeter! Instead of throwing a tie or bow on them, give them their own flower crown to match your décor—florals for the girls and greenery for the boys.

Chelsea Seekell Photography

Hire an artist to live paint your ceremony or reception. They’ll create a work of art out of the happiest day of your life that you can hang on the walls of your future home and treasure for years.

Kimberley Mitiska Photography

Get personalized forks or spoons to eat your wedding cake. They’ll also be a sweet reminder when you pull out the cake for your one-year anniversary.

Anna Delores Photography

Customize your toasts by asking your oldest friends (his, too) to say something about each of you.

Karina & Maks

Incorporate your birthstone in your décor for a special touch. We’re loving the boho glam of these amethyst napkin rings!

We Three Workshops

Give your bridesmaids something a little more untraditional to carry in lieu of bouquets. These greenery wreaths with statement flowers are absolutely gorgeous and eye-catching. We’re also into balloons and lanterns as bouquet alternatives.

dearheart Photos

Another guest-book idea: leave a glass bowl with cards (or postcards, if you’re a wanderlusting couple!) and pens beside it, with a note asking guests to contribute a favorite memory of you or your partner, a bucket list idea, or a piece of advice for marriage.

Hazelwood Photo

Have the most meaningful phrase from your wedding vows embroidered or needlepointed on the ring pillow. Display in your home—it's the ultimate keepsake.

Jose Villa

Hang a series of photos of both of you as children at the reception. Guests can schmooze and peruse during the cocktail hour.

Alex Carlyle Photography

Whether you're crazy about old-fashioned egg creams, Belgian waffles, or Philly cheese steak, ask your caterer about incorporating your faves into the menu.

Westlund Photography

Display your family's heritage graphically—an Indian print, a clan tartan, an African kente cloth—on vases, ring pillows, stationery, even cummerbunds.

James Moes

If you two have a favorite libation—you're beer lovers or tequila aficionados—set up a tasting bar with different varieties.

Mary Costa Weddings

Stock welcome baskets with a quiz that leads out-of-town guests on a scavenger hunt to your favorite haunts (the best little bakery, a scenic park).

Greer Gattuso

The sweetest ceremony backdrop? An oversized piece of parchment or linen boasting your favorite quote or book passage.

Cluney Photo

Decorate the chair of the person who set you and your SO up with a garland of greenery and sign that reads, “matchmaker.”

Tim Tab Studios

Your engagement can play a starring role in the décor; one bride included blueberries at each place setting because her husband proposed to her on Blueberry Point (a note card at each table explained this).

Christie Graham

Write each guest’s name in pretty calligraphy on the reception table itself in lieu of place cards. Spray paint old wooden tables with chalkboard paint and use chalk, or write it in paint on bare wood.

Adriana Morais Photography

Choose barware that fits your theme. Crystal glasses in shades of blue and wicker baskets complement a southwestern ranch wedding with boho flair.

Katie Pritchard Photography

Love your little fur baby? Let him or her inspire your wedding décor. One couple dedicated their cocktail hour to Charlie the pug, creating an escort card with his silhouette on it and the phrase, “Life with you is like a walk in the park.”

Jasmine Lee Photography Planning/Stylist: Charmed Events Group Florist: Nicole Ha

Wear your grandmother’s wedding dress as a special tribute to one of your favorite people. A few design tweaks will put a modern twist on a vintage look.

Kortney J Photo

Add goofy photo booth strips to table numbers for a playful touch—not only does it show off your personality as a couple, but serves as a fun conversation piece for guests.

Mary Costa Weddings

Forget wedding cars! Pick an exit that best suits your style as a couple or wedding theme—a motorcycle for the edgy duo or a sleek tender jetting off into the blue for the chic and glam pair.

Britt Rene Photography

Having an outdoor wedding? Think about the weather and your guests’ comforts. If it’s cold, offer blankets for them to snuggle up in. Likewise, provide parasols for shade if it’s sunny or umbrellas if rain is in the forecast.

Simply Sarah Photography

Skip the first dance in favor of an activity that is more meaningful to you and your groom. This couple chose do their first Twister game as husband wife instead.

Karina & Maks

If yours is a destination wedding, fill welcome baskets with locally made crafts, food, and drinks.

Lissa Ryan Photography

A mobile bar will delight guests during cocktail hour because they won’t have to wait in line. Give the bubbly some wheels for a whimsical feel.

Greg Finck

Create a cute infographic of your relationship to display as a sign on welcome tables.

Josh Elliott Photography

For personal table runners, forget the linens and use a long piece of parchment with your vows written on it in calligraphy — tres romantique!

Kimberley Mitiska Photography

Are you both art lovers? Let it inspire your big day. This couple had each of their favorite paintings printed on the menus.

Jose Villa

Personalize the bridesmaids' bouquets by selecting flowers that pair with each girl's birth month (see birth-flower.com). Stick to a single color (pink peonies, pink tulips, pink roses) or color scheme (jewel tones) to unify the look.

Beatrici Photography

See more:

Your guests will have worked up an appetite from the dance floor by the time they leave for the night. Send them home with a midnight snack to eat in their hotel for a favor that will actually get used.

Elyse Hall

Give your flowers to the couple married the longest. Ask them to share a few words of wisdom with the crowd.

Michael and Carina Photography

Related Stories