It’s one of the most exciting times of your life: planning your wedding. But somewhere between deciding on the ceremony location and the number of guests, you soon find that you and your fiancé have some pretty different ideas of how you want your wedding to be. One of you wants to elope to Bermuda, and the other wants an elaborate church wedding. While these extreme views may seem like a road leading to disaster, I’m here to tell you that with just a little compromising from both sides can leave you with one of the most memorable weddings ever. The perfect mix of the untraditional with the traditional will have you and your new spouse off to a great start. The key is compromise.

I know from experience what it is like to try planning a wedding with someone who has different ideas than you. When M and I were planning our wedding, less than two years ago, we both had different visions for it. I had more of a “I don’t care if I break the rules” attitude, while M was more traditionally minded. However, the main thing we held common ground in was we both agreed we wanted our wedding to be fun. We were able to compromise and add some untraditional spice to a beautifully traditional wedding.

First of all, find out how involved your partner is going to be in planning the wedding. Do they want to be right by your side picking out everything, or is there just one specific aspect they are interested in? Sometimes guys may not want to be involved in planning because it is looked upon as being the woman’s day. But the more you are able to plan together, the more you can make the day enjoyable for both sides, as it should be! I was lucky enough to have a man that did care about our wedding, sometimes more than I did. Planning the wedding day together is a way to make sure both your personalities are able to shine through.

Planning the Untraditional, Traditional Ceremony

Deciding on location may be one of the hardest choices to make if you ideas are on opposite ends of the spectrum. But unfortunately its one of the first decisions you need to make in planning. If one of you wants to get married outside, or even in a different country, and the other wants to get married in their hometown church, big compromise is needed. For M and I, the choice came pretty easily. Although I liked the idea of eloping, our church and families are important to us, so we opted for a church wedding. If you run across the problem that one of you is set on a church wedding and one on getting married outside, how about getting married outside of a church? Just remember to take into account the time of year you’ll be getting married, as to if the weather will be decent for such an affair. Just remember when choosing your location to take into account the importance, or unimportance, or family and friends, and even your faith.

Though M and I chose a very traditional place to get married, we threw our own untraditional flair to the ceremony itself. Much of the ceremony itself was traditional. We had candles, flowers, an arbor, and a piano player. Our pastor married us. At the beginning of the ceremony as my dad walked me down the aisle to the wedding march, which M wanted, and gave me away. M and I walked up on the stage and M turned around and pulled a camera out of his pocket. He told everyone to smile and wave and he proceeded to take two pictures of our guests in the audience. It was one of the greatest things we could have done at our wedding. We now have pictures of every single guest we had at our wedding, and the looks on the individual faces are priceless. Some are shocked, some are laughing hysterically. I would recommend it to anyone getting married who wants to do something fun and unexpected during their ceremony.

The rest of our ceremony continued very traditionally, because we wanted it to be taken seriously also. There is a fine line between having a fun wedding and making a joke of it. We definitely didn’t want to do the latter. Another great time to add something fun and different to your wedding is during the recession. It is a great time to add music that is non-traditional recessional music. My four brothers and brother-in-law played the recessional at our wedding. I had them jam out the tune “Hug You, Squeeze You” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, which is an upbeat, blues song that they added harmonica to. They continued to play as all the wedding party exited and M and I returned to greet the guests from their seats instead of having the traditional receiving line. Having happy, upbeat music at the end of your wedding is a must in my eyes! It’s just not the same when walk out to something slow like Kenny G. Make it a happy time! You are in your first minutes of marriage!

Planning the Untraditional, Traditional Reception

Now you are past the hardest part: planning the untraditional, traditional ceremony and still keeping it classy and sincere. The reception is the perfect time where really anything can go. If your favorite food is macaroni and cheese and you want to serve it at your reception, go for it! You don’t have to have chicken and mashed potatoes. You don’t even have to have cake! The reception is the time to kick back and celebrate. Now it’s time for the untraditional rule, and you can get by with it!

My favorite food has always been tacos. I grew up on them. For much of the wedding, I didn’t care how we did things, but the one thing I had to have and was not willing to negotiate was having tacos at my reception. Luckily, the great guy I married was up for it as well. We wanted the reception as fun as possible. We decorated with a Mexican theme, with bright colored plates and napkins on the tables, Mexican hat straws and a bright colored table cloth from Mexico on the head table, and even piñatas hanging from the chandeliers. Chips in chile pepper-shaped baskets and salsa in bright colored salsa pots were waiting on the tables as guests went to the reception. To mix the theme with a little traditional, we had vases of roses and candles on the tables. Our drink of choice was Pepsi, my personal favorite, from a dispenser.

For dessert, we had cake. What made it different is that not only was it our wedding day, but it was M’s birthday as well. M had his very own cake and a candle to blow out on top as our 200+ guests all sang happy birthday. Me being M’s birthday present, had a red bow placed on top of my head during the song.

Another common practice at receptions is getting the bride and groom to kiss by tapping a fork on your glass. Of course, we had to do this different as well. Being that M enjoys golf, we had an area in front of our table in which someone would have to sink a putt from a predetermined distance in order for us to kiss. It was a good way to get the guests involved and having a good time.

So have fun in planning your reception. M and I have gotten so many comments about how our wedding was the most fun of any wedding they’d been to. Don’t feel like you have to have a proper and stale reception. It’s the time to celebrate, and to celebrate your way!

Choosing the Wedding Attire

Other things to keep in mind are choosing the bride’s and groom’s wedding attire, as well as the wedding party’s. If you’re the bride, try to stay true to your own personal style, as well as trying to please what you think the groom will like. With as many different styles and colors of wedding dresses there are these days, you need to make sure you are sensitive to what your future husband will find you the most beautiful in. This doesn’t mean he has to come with you to choose your dress. Just get an idea what he definitely likes, and does not like. Would he be thrilled or appalled if you came walking down the aisle in a black and white dress? Would he love to see a veil in your hair or not? M and I discussed this before I went dress shopping. He told me he definitely wanted me in a white dress and a veil, which that is what I wanted for myself anyways. I would stress that when you do go dress shopping, try on all different styles, even what you think you wouldn’t like. I told myself I would never get a strapless dress, but the one I decided to try one on, I absolutely loved it. It looked beautiful. So be flexible.

The groom should be able to choose what he wants to wear. Don’t tell him he has to wear a pink tie and vest, even if your wedding colors are pink. He needs to feel good too. M and I both liked the idea of having light gray tuxes, and they looked great for our summer wedding. They are also more casual looking than black. The guys also decided that instead of renting shoes, they would wear flip flops with their tuxes. And they did, and it was great! It really added to the fun atmosphere of the wedding.

Capturing Your Untraditional, Traditional Wedding

Your selection of photographer is key. You are about ready to have the biggest day of your life, and probably one of the most unique weddings ever. Make sure when selecting photographers that they are going to capture the uniqueness of your wedding. If you don’t want formal pictures with your family inside a church, take them outside. Take pictures of the wedding party jumping. Have them take lots of candids to capture the genuine side of your wedding, rather than posing with forced smiles.

Spend a lot of time scoping out photographers. It is essential to look through their past works. Photographers mostly have a style that is unique to them. Are there pictures more structured or do they have an eye for the unique? Do they seem flexible to work with your requests?

The photographer M and I selected is actually a member of our church, and did an incredible job. M and I had lists of fun and different ideas for pictures, and captured every single one. What made the pictures even greater was the fact that he had two cameras going at all times. Not only was he taking pictures, but his wife was shooting with her own camera. Their tag-team approach landed us with some beautiful pictures, many from unique angles. Having more than one professional photographer taking pictures at once makes a huge difference.

Planning your wedding so it is fun and sacred at the same time is achievable. If M and I pulled it off, anyone can. Be willing to compromise with your partner and enjoy the exciting time of your life as your get to plan your wedding. It doesn’t have to be a stressful time, especially if you both put your heads together. Please feel free to contact us with questions or leave a comment below.