These 50 People Ignored Tradition For Their Weddings And Are Thrilled With How It Turned Out

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I love a good wedding (or even a bad one, because I’m a sucker for drama), and I especially love hearing about how people make their nuptials unique.

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That’s why I asked the BuzzFeed Community to share which wedding traditions they decided to put a spin on — or ignore entirely.

NBC

If you’re in the midst of wedding planning (either for real or on Pinterest for the time being) and don’t want to go the traditional route, here are 50 people who had the right idea:

1.“We got married at 11 a.m. and did a brunch reception. We had charcuterie boards, French toast, bagels, egg soufflé, cinnamon rolls, etc.”

“Our wedding was done by 2, which allowed us to go do our photos, and our out-of-town guests were able to enjoy our darling town of Savannah, Georgia. After photos, my husband and I went out to a nice dinner in our wedding clothes. We had so much fun, and it definitely made it more about our marriage and less about the wedding. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing!” —annis2

2.“My husband was in recovery. We got married on the beach at sunrise and then had a breakfast reception where we toasted with orange juice in crystal glasses and had things like stuffed French toast and Belgian waffles for our fare.”

“Since it was a beach wedding, the bridal party wore white tees and denim bottoms or white bottoms. No need for ugly taffeta dresses that would be worn once.

We timed the ceremony and began it early enough that when we were pronounced married and kissed, the sun was just breaking through the horizon.” —Jabbardasti

3.“Breakfast buffet for dinner. French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, bagels, muffins — the works. $3 a person.”

guldenpfennigm

NBC / Via giphy.com

4.“We had the most non-traditional venue! It was during COVID, so we wanted to make sure we had enough space for everyone to spread out, so we rented the baseball stadium (Coors Field) and got married at home plate!”

“‘NOW AT HOME PLATE, Mr. and Mrs. Maher!'” —laurachristinae

5.“Our venue was non-traditional. We got married in a coffee shop attached to a music venue, where we held the reception. It was a super cool and relaxed space, really represented our interests, and helped tell the story of how we fell in love.”

“I’m so glad we didn’t choose someplace more formal just because it was prettier or was what our parents wanted.” —Afan

6.“Not my wedding, but my friend had her reception at a bowling alley, and the meal was bowling alley food. Honestly, it was the funnest wedding I have ever attended!”

shurak

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7.“Instead of having a stuffy ‘fancy’ rehearsal dinner with family and the bridal party, we invited all of our traveling friends and family to spend an extra day with us having a derby-style party with pizza and beer at a local brewery.”

“We rented the place for the afternoon, had an open bar and never-ending pub food, and watched the Keeneland races all afternoon like we were there! Not one person was trapped entertaining great-aunt Martha at the end of a long dinner table, and we were able to invite so many more folks, who had traveled in from out of state but weren’t standing in the wedding.” —allysonclaire

8.“Everything about our wedding was nontraditional. We wore hockey jerseys, our guests were casual, we got married in our backyard, we had a cupcake cake, the “reception” was food on the grill, we had balloon animal decorations made by a friend, our best friend married us (dressed as a referee, of course)…”

“It was perfect!!!” —FooGirl

9.“We had an awesome barn venue that included so many outdoor activities, including Cornhole, giant Jenga, and fishing. You could also have a bonfire if you paid for the firewood. We had a s’mores bar, and it was amazing.”

andreah4b1ef5c64

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10.“Literature-themed wedding. Our guest book was a dictionary, and we asked guests to circle words they wanted our marriage to embody and sign next to the word.”

“It got guests out of having to come up with a message, and we got something useful.

Our tables were author-themed rather than numbered, and favors were (used) copies of my favorite books by that author. Guests were encouraged to swap if they didn’t like the book they got, or leave the book as a donation for a prison reading program.” —chaicat

11.“I’m a chemist, and my husband is a computer geek. We got married on Pi Day, 3.14.15, and had a science-themed wedding. The biggest hit was that people couldn’t clink their glasses to get us to kiss — they had to grab the mic and say who their favorite scientist was.”

“We were amazed by how many people got into it!” —saraho4a20298d2

12.“We were married by a wizard and cut our cake with a sword we borrowed from said wizard. I designed and made my wedding gown and the wizard costume for our friend who officiated.”

Our wedding guests gasped when the wizard entered because I did my best to keep it a secret, and it totally paid off! And the look of joy on my husband’s face as we cut the cake with a flippin’ sword in all the pics of our special day is priceless.” —tristam412bb7337

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13.“I hate the clinking sound of utensils against glassware, so in order for our guests to get us to kiss, we had them roll a giant inflatable D20. We’re big geeks, and our friends and family loved rolling the giant dice!”

nicolec44da35b2b

14.“We had swords in our formal wedding photos. My husband and I are both huge fantasy nerds, and he had been building a medieval sword collection since childhood — so we had enough swords that everyone in our wedding party could have one!”

“We had everyone pose ‘formally’ with the swords like DnD heroes, and then staged part of the photoshoot like a battle. My parents were super against it, saying we’d find it weird in a few years, but they were dead wrong. I’m so glad we stood up for ourselves and didn’t cave to parental pressure! It was SO much fun, and the sword pictures are my favorite ones from the day — they’re the ones we have framed in our home!” —Elfie

15.“We’re super nerdy, as were the majority of our guests, so the pre-ceremony music was the piano song from Yuri on Ice, and our recessional was the throne room theme from Star Wars, and almost everyone cracked up as soon as they realized what they were hearing.”

DallasDarkLady

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16.“Halloween wedding, we all dressed up. Wife wore an orange and black wedding dress and used a lollipop bouquet (instead of flowers).”

“We also had themed cupcakes instead of a traditional cake. The topper was zombie owls with our names.

There was a ‘cutting cake’ that we used a Master Sword replica to cut with instead of a regular ol’ knife or cake cutter.

BBQ for dinner buffet.

It was a lot of fun.”

habyas

17.“We got married on Halloween. The kids still dressed up and trick-or-treated in between pictures. Best part was we ended up with a cowboy as a ring bearer and a zombie as a flower girl.”

JLRAnders

18.“We did a couple of things nontraditional. First, our rehearsal dinner was basically a pizza party at our ceremony space. This way everyone got a chance to meet and mingle before the big day.”

“Second, the whole bridal party and a few family members went to the midnight premiere of Thor: Ragnarok the night before the wedding; it was a blast! My husband and I are really into Marvel and anything comic book really, so it was a great way for everyone to do something together we really loved.”

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19.“We had pizza and sushi for the reception. I immediately spilled soy sauce on my dress, and the stain is still there, but I love what we chose for our meal.”

“Plus, watching my best friend frantically run around to all the mums at the wedding for a stain removal trick was priceless.” —daisy8

20.“We had a French fry bar at our cocktail hour before the reception. Fries have always been my favorite, so I wanted to incorporate them somewhere. The topping options included nacho cheese, grilled onions, jalapeños, and Peri Peri seasoning.”

“Everyone loved it!” —chandnip4dbe3b052

21.“No kitchen available, but my uncle/caterer was a genius…grilled cheese bar using portable griddles.”

“My husband’s family doesn’t drink alcohol, and we wanted to stay on budget, so we served a wide selection of sodas in glass bottles. The old school feel went perfectly with everything else and kept things low key without being too low key.” —chandnip4dbe3b052

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22.“I despise neckties. I told my then-fiancé that my one big ask for the wedding was that I not have to wear a tie. She was fine with it, as we were going for a less formal vibe already, but some older relatives expressed concern that the groom shouldn’t be ‘out-dressed’ by guests. So on the invite, we included the sentence: ‘This is a necktie-free event. The groom will enforce this with scissors.'”

“I carried a huge pair of shears around before the ceremony, and during the reception, and snipped off neckties. Of course, the people who wore ties had all worn them with the intent of getting them cut off. I collected all the tie pieces and put them in a nice jar on my memories shelf.” —senexbarbatus

23.“We did the dollar dance (which I normally hate), and donated the money collected to my bridesmaid and her family who couldn’t attend because their daughter was going through cancer treatment at a children’s hospital in another state.”

Nnww5588

24.“We eloped during a family vacation. Married on the beach with sea turtles, surrounded by family in t-shirts and shorts, had pizza and champagne at our rental house afterward. No stress, no mess ✨. It was wonderful!”

youknow,forcats

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25.“Just us! Got all dressed up for our wedding ceremony. Eloped in a beautiful cave area with a waterfall. The place was full of tourists who were out for a weekend hike, and they watched us get married. We had tons of applause and ‘congrats’ from people we didn’t even know.”

EmRhodes

26.“We ran away. Not joking. Long story short, we were getting incredibly overwhelmed, and my mother was trying to run the show and make it about her. So we ran away and got married. It was just myself, my (now) husband, a photographer, and an officiant. My dress was $20 from JCPenney. Our reception was just us two, a bottle of wine, a pizza, and a dance in the kitchen to our song. Never regretted it to this day.”

P.

27.“Being a Muslim in my country, you’ll have two people who will recite a verse about marriage from the Quran in Arabic and read the meaning of it before the ceremony. Usually, they’re professionals because reciting the Quran in Arabic nicely can be pretty hard, but we decided to do it ourselves. And the small sermon after the ceremony is usually given by the wedding officiant; I asked my dad to do it instead.”

“I wanted to show that we started this marriage as a team by my husband reciting the Quran verse and I read the meaning, while my dad gave the marriage sermon made it even more personal and really showed how much he loves and cares about us. Our friends and family members loved it so much; some of them said they’ll copy those parts for their own wedding.” —nsoeradi

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28.“Instead of the ‘garter toss,’ my husband had a wash bin, soap, and towels. He washed my feet as a sign to always care for me and serve me as the head of the household — the whole reception was taken aback in awe and will forever be more meaningful than the one person who might have caught a garter.”

Stax

29.“Gave my bouquet to the couple married the longest (my grandparents — 58 years) instead of embarrassing the single women. My grandmother looked so sweet holding the bouquet. When the flowers dried, we made her a shadow box with them.”

“Marriage is about longevity, not landing a man!” —hannahd41c52c3ee

30.“Instead of a unity candle during the ceremony, we did a beer pouring.”

“We picked two beers and poured them together and both took a drink. We ended up picking beers that complemented our personalities, but tasted good together.

We also had an ice cream bar for dessert instead of any cake. Ice cream is my absolute favorite. it was perfect because it ended up being a super hot day.” —kelseykirsch92

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31.“We lit a unity campfire instead of candles (outside wedding).”

“Bought these amazing choc chip cookies and individually wrapped them with a little note of thanks. After we finished our dinner and our guests were still seated, we walked around with a big basket and handed them out. This way, we didn’t have to do a receiving line, and we got to speak to each of our guests.” —Scootertrash

32.“Instead of having the meal after the ceremony, my husband and I had our meal beforehand with everyone!”

“This really cut the tension and formality of the whole thing. We got to take pictures with everyone and hang out inside, and once everyone was done, we had everyone get their seats outside, and then we had the ceremony. Everyone was full and much happier.” —katewalsh87

33.“We had our actual ceremony in a secluded public garden essentially alone — just my matron of honor and my husband’s best man.”

“It took about five minutes, and afterward, our families arrived so we could take photos. About an hour later, we went back to my parents’ house where all our extended family and friends were ready for our ‘wedding’ to begin. After that second (fake) ceremony, we offered to walk up the street to drop the dogs at doggy daycare so we could have another moment alone, just our childhood dogs and a joint before returning to the chaos of the reception.”

Working Title

34.“We read our vows during our first look because we don’t like public speaking. We sat with our dog at our rehearsal.”

“But the most nontraditional thing we did was having all gender-neutral language in our ceremony. Ex: ‘I now pronounce you partners in life, you may now kiss each other.'” —karlyc

35.“We decided to have our ceremony the night before our reception (sort of like a rehearsal dinner except that we got married there with just our closest family and closest friends).”

“It was perfect because at the reception, which was approximately 185 people, all the pressure was off, and we really could just have fun with everyone there. We still did the first dance, speeches, father/daughter and mother/son dances at the reception, but having already had the ceremony behind us allowed more time to party and just enjoy the night. I know this way isn’t for everyone, but I would (and have) recommend to anyone — especially people that are nervous to stand up in front of a couple hundred people during the most intimate moment!” —jess.n.87

36.“We had a temporary tattoo station. I bought a bunch of temporary tattoos from a couple of different Etsy sellers that looked like American traditional style tattoos, and they were a huge hit. Even the elderly guests were doing it, and a couple even gave themselves face tattoos.”

etcotter

“We did this, too, but with glitter tattoos! The word tattoo was right; those things took several showers to come off!” —rhiank2

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37.“Instead of hiring a DJ, we just made a Spotify playlist of songs we and our friends like to dance to, and songs that were meaningful to us, etc.”

“Saved money and also got to control the music we wanted, and avoided some possibly lame cheesy DJ…” —Chris Good

38.“Instead of a DJ, we had our favourite karaoke guy do the music during the meal at the reception. He’s an incredible jazz singer, and we heard a lot of people express surprise and delight when they realized it was live music being sung.”

“Then we all sang karaoke for the rest of the night! It was a total blast, and the more homemade mead people drank, the more hilarious the song choices got. Great evening!!” —samantharosed

39.“Our wedding was a recreation of our first date! For our first date, we met at a Mexican restaurant and then went for drinks and karaoke after.”

“So for our wedding, we rented out the same restaurant. We had a fajita bar, pitchers of margaritas on every table, a mariachi band, and live alpacas for our guests to pet, feed, and take selfies with! After the restaurant, we had an after-party at the hotel we were all staying at for the weekend with a karaoke DJ, late-night snacks, and an open bar!” —egondela

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40.“We had a Mexican food truck to cater the reception, and then we had a 4-tier cake made entirely of cheese, each tier a different type as I’m not a huge fan of wedding cakes.”

“Our guests still rave about how good the food was.” —r49ff02915

41.“No cake. A friend of mine is a pastry chef and made about 150 little hand pies in a few flavors as a gift.”

randocalrissian

42.“Ice cream sandwiches for dessert from a great local spot. They were delicious, WAY cheaper than cake, and a big hit with our guests!”

chaosofthesun

Netflix

43.“Chipwiches!”

“Let’s face it: July is hot. We were having our wedding at a YMCA camp on the water and had already decided to have the ceremony inside the lodge. I was originally thinking of going with ice cream cake, and tried some great cakes, but why not something delicious and portable? Everyone loved them! Plus, our drunk asses forgot about the half dozen or so we had brought back at the end of the night, and when we saw them, we were ecstatic. He said I was a genius, and I agreed lol. Plus, I swear the dairy saved me from the hangover.” —jessiesweetie404

44.“I don’t like cake, and pie seemed played out, but there is a local Dutch pastry shop that my husband and I love, so we ordered a ton of pastries and Dutch letters.”

“It was the best.” —meagank475979b4d

45.“We had a nontraditional marriage simply by both being women. Gay marriage might be legal, but it’s still definitely not ‘traditional.'”

ToriTC198

ABC / Via giphy.com

46.“My husband and his groomsmen and father got the bus to our wedding.”

“We live in Scotland, and he used to get the same bus from outside of his house with all his friends to go into town for nights out, and it so happens the route stopped outside our wedding venue. The photographers got some great photographs of them looking relaxed and enjoying a drink and reminiscing about their younger years on the way.” —sthomson0288

47.“Honestly, having been married twice and having done the whole big white traditional wedding the first time, the thing I liked the most about the second was having no bridal party.”

“No having to pick who was in my ‘top friends,’ no selecting bridesmaid dresses, none of that. Everyone who attended was there to celebrate us; I didn’t need to pick a couple of people out and make them buy a dress and stand and be stared at next to me to know they were my friends.” —raphaelahops

48.“As a fully independent adult female who paid for my part of the wedding myself, I walked myself down the aisle and gave myself away.”

“My father was an alcoholic and refused to attend the wedding anyway. Rather than asking my mother or brother or an uncle to do the honors, I concluded that I was getting married of my own free will and did not need anyone to ‘give me away.'” —pugvox

Hallmark Channel / Via giphy.com

49.“I chose not to walk down the aisle! We timed it so that after hair and makeup were done, we were able to start photos immediately. This let us get pretty much all the photos we wanted out of the way before guests arrived.”

“Once guests started trickling in, my husband and I stood around greeting and chatting with them until it was time for the ceremony to start. After the ceremony, and with pictures out of the way, everyone was able to head straight inside (the ceremony was outdoors at the same venue) and start dinner. It was fabulous, there was no awkward downtime where the guests waited for us to get done with our photos, and I felt like I got to have a conversation with everyone attending, which was more important to me than the classic walk down the aisle.” —SappyDrone

50.“We did a few things that were nontraditional and were very popular! First was that my husband wanted to walk down the aisle like a bride traditionally would. So after the bridal party entered and the guests stood up, he got to come down the aisle all by himself, right before me. I followed after, also alone.”

“During the ceremony itself, we had our parents marry us. We both have parents who are married after many decades and in happy relationships. We wanted to honor that, and asked each of them to do a part of the “do you take…” portion. The moms barely made it through — his mother got to “pronounce us man and wife” and blubbered the whole time. I got messages after from friends who planned to incorporate that into their own weddings later!

Finally, for dessert, we skipped the big wedding cake and made mason jar cakes instead! We have 4 flavors (including a cheesecake) and then a toppings bar. Guests loved it!” —kaitlins4a13ceba5

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