How to Plan a Non-Traditional Wedding

Because we’re us and just so quirky, our wedding is going to be anything but traditional. We’re definitely not eloping, but we also aren’t going to have a large wedding either. Instead, we’re doing things a little different and planning a non-traditional wedding. And thankfully, we have an incredible wedding planner helping us along the way! So today I am sharing a few tips from Juliet, our wedding planner from Everly, and some that I’ve picked up along the way to inspire your big day.

Planning a non-traditional wedding? This is what you need to know! Tips for wedding planning. #wedding #weddingplanning #nontraditionalwedding #modernwedding

Planning a non-traditional wedding? This is what you need to know:

Decide What is Important to You

Juliet: This goes for any and all weddings, but the best advice we can share is that you should pick what is most important to you and double down on that, then let go of everything else. Weddings (and the planning that goes into them) are so much more fun if there are a few standout points. You and your guests will remember dancing to an incredible band, but no one will remember that you skipped elaborate floral decor in order to pay for that band. Or guests will remember the delicious dinner at your reception and won’t remember that you skipped printed invitations to save on stationery costs. Weddings with one or two standout aspects are more fun and more memorable than weddings with mediocre everything.

Joanna: I couldn’t agree with Juliet more! Sean and I placed the highest priority on great photography to preserve our memories and location. We want our wedding to be in our happy place, the North Cascades. After that… the rest feels like details.

Skip the Rest

Juliet: A little secret, you can skip anything. Really. We have worked with couples who have had no flowers, didn’t have a DJ or only had a photographer for a small portion of the day. There really isn’t a single part of a wedding that is not up for interpretation — except feeding your guests, you should do that. Just because something seems standard doesn’t mean you have to have it. For example, photo booths have become very popular; these can add a fun element to a reception but if you are not dying to have a photo booth, you are entirely allowed to skip it. Don’t spend money or energy on anything you are not completely delighted to include in your big day.

Joanna: The first time Juliet gave me this advice, it blew my mind. But now we’re really embracing it. Something we’re skipping are having a traditional wedding party, all the first dance things, and getting married somewhere expected (hello, mountaintop wedding, please!). We’re also skipping a rehearsal dinner and instead doing a bbq with our guests.

A few other things we’re skipping:

  • a seating chart
  • RSVP cards that need to be mailed back
  • a giant cake (we’re doing cupcakes instead!)
  • activities like the bouquet toss, garter belt, etc.
Planning a non-traditional wedding? This is what you need to know! Tips for wedding planning. #wedding #weddingplanning #nontraditionalwedding #modernwedding

Pick Your Battles 

Juliet: We are big proponents of the ‘you do you’ philosophy and anything that qualifies as non-traditional. But when it comes to families sometimes resistance is futile. If your families have strong opinions about the who, what, where of your wedding, see if there are areas you do not have strong opinions on in which you can compromise. You may be able to have a totally personalized, non-traditional wedding day, but still appease family members by including a few traditions. For example: you could feel strongly about walking down the aisle alone versus the traditional ‘giving away of the bride,’ but you may still be open to honoring your parents by having them give a toast. Stick to the parts that matter to you, but be flexible about anything for which you do not have a strong opinion. 

Joanna: In pretty much all things, I suck at picking my battles. But for wedding planning… I had to. And thankfully Everly was really instrumental in helping me with that. We’ve been really lucky that no outside forces have really dictated what we need to do for our wedding. Instead, I have this compulsion to think of the wedding as the most important photoshoot I have ever planned… meaning that my attention to detail is really getting out of hand. Juliet has really helped me prioritize where I need to put my energy. That means I’m learning to be ok with the white chairs that are 1/4 of the cost, a more intimate guest list, and a buffet-style dinner.

Thank you SO much to Juliet from Everly for helping me with this post. By no means is this post sponsored by Everly, but I have to say… if you’re a bride local to Seattle and trying to plan a wedding, they have been nothing but incredible. I highly recommend!

Have you planned a non-traditional wedding? I’d love to know what else has helped you!

photography by Danfredo Photos + Films, used with permission.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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