The cure for the basic wedding

From brunches to weddings on Tuesdays, tips to make your wedding actually unlike the rest.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Wildflowers in mason jars. Photo booths and wacky props. Burlap.

If you've scrolled through Pinterest or attended a wedding in the past five years, you're well acquainted with these wedding trends. Because no matter how hard brides and grooms strive to make their wedding unique, social media often dictates what is on-trend, and couples easily fall prey to the wedding trend du jour. Even those who try to sidestep the overdone and embrace the one-of-a-kind find someone else had the idea before them.  

But a basic wedding isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Not doing something just because other people have done it is as silly as doing something just because your friends did it," said Erin Bishop, owner of Filosophi wedding planning in Vancouver. "A wedding is about expression of yourself, celebrating your own unique love as a couple, and giving your guests a great time; that should mean you are free to include anything you want regardless of trends, overdone-ness and anyone else's opinion."

Still, for those curious about how their wedding stacks up to others in North America, The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings Study, a survey of 13,000 newlyweds, gives us insight into the what the most average U.S. wedding looks like.

The most popular trends from 2016 include: dark blue, gold or light pink colour schemes, photo booths at receptions, engagements in December and ceremonies in the fall. On average, couples invite 141 guests, have five bridesmaids and five groomsmen and rack up costs totalling $46,876 (USD $35,329).

If you're planning a wedding and intent on taking your ceremony down a road less travelled, we've got you. We did a little digging, deep through the trends, and asked wedding planning pros to help us. Here are Erin Bishop of Filosophi in Vancouver, Jaclyn Helle of 6Pence in Cloverdale, B.C., Hana Karimi of Made by Hana in Toronto and Dene McKay and Chelsey Perrella of Best Day Ever Creative Events in Vancouver, with their best tips for pulling off a truly one-of-a-kind day.

Make a memorable entrance/exit

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Why walk when you could drive, boat or fly down the aisle? If you're having an outdoor wedding, consider unconventional forms of transportation for making your entrance, said Dene McKay and Chelsey Perrella. If you'd rather stich to a traditional walk down the aisle, consider a creative exit post-ceremony. Riding off into the sunset in a horse-drawn carriage doesn't sound so bad. Look into rentals from companies that offer specialty services, such as Fairytale Horse and Carriage in Toronto.

Switch up the schedule/day

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Give thought to how you actually want to spend your day with your partner and guests. If you want to sip champagne with guests before the ceremony, do it. If you want to have your first dance before dinner, do it. Heck, if you want to get married at brunch, do it! "There are no rules, and even if there were, rules are meant to be broken," said Jaclyn Helle. And while Saturday remains the most popular day to get married, Friday and Sunday are also becoming appealing options, according to The Knot's wedding survey. Choosing an even more untraditional day, such as Tuesday, to tie the knot can also save you a bundle on vendors, say wedding planners.

Invite your pet

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(Credit: Sonya Khegay)

If you're an animal lover, bring your furry friends to the wedding — and ask your guests to do the same. Erin Bishop once helped a couple plan their wedding around their dogs, booking a dog-friendly venue and asking guests to come with their pets. They even held an animal parade. "The dogs were free to run and play and all of the guests – dog owners or not – got some excellent puppy cuddles," said Bishop. "Needless to say, the photos from this wedding were pretty wonderful too!"

Eschew tradition and embrace your quirky side

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(Credit: weddingbells.ca)

Hate dancing? Play games instead. Love comfort? Replace wooden chairs with loveseats. Want a chocolate fountain and no cake? Go for it. "Try to forget everything you think a wedding should be and come from a free space of thinking what would make up a really fun experience for you, and sharing that with your guests," said Bishop. One of her more memorable events included a gaming-themed wedding reception. The couple brought in classic arcade games, an air hockey table and a beer pong table – complete with gold-painted plastic cups.


Katrina Clarke is a Vancouver- and Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. You can find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.