How to have a non-traditional wedding that still feels like a wedding

May 24, 2023

"All the shots were much more natural and organic than other wedding photos I've seen and we have had nothing but praise from all our guests that have seen our photos. Thanks Jordanna, you made our day even more special and we just love scrolling through our pictures, reminding us of our perfectly crazy day!"

Planning a Non Traditional Wedding // The chances are, you’re not particularly well practiced in getting married, or throwing a wedding (and if you do have experience of either, you’re probably not looking at recreating a carbon copy of the one you did before). One of the things I love about the industry the most is the plethora of options couples have now – whatever you want for your wedding, you can probably get it. And if it doesn’t yet exist, you can find a bunch of suppliers who will be willing to make it happen for you!

Alternative wedding in Winchester for Gemma and Paul. Bride wears super colourful two piece wedding dress.

With that, however, can come a level of worry. A lot of my couples have some wonderful alternative non-traditional wedding plans, but worry that, come the day itself, it won’t actually feel like a wedding at all – and there’s no way of knowing til you get to the day itself, which feels like quite a high risk strategy! As someone who’s been to a fair few of them, I can categorically say that your wedding will still feel like a wedding. There’s a huge difference between a non-traditional wedding and a non-weddingy wedding – and here’s how to make sure it’s the former and not the latter:

Firstly, you need to work out what ‘a wedding’ means to you. Legally, of course, it’s a ceremony that enters you into a marriage, but we all know it’s so much more than that! It’s a celebration of the two of you as a couple, and for lots of people a chance to party hard with your loved ones (and for some, it’s more of a private, intimate affair – that’s okay too.) Once you nail what the significance of a wedding is to you, you can then work out what will make it for you.

Bride and groom meet at the end of the aisle during their non traditional wedding day at Winchester Town Hall

The next step is to work out what the most important part of a wedding is for you both. Is it the dress, or your family and friends, or the first dance, or having a paid bar? Whatever it is, make sure you hold it in the reverence it deserves on the day. Having this key ‘weddingy’ element there – and that’s weddingy in feels, rather than in looks – will help it feel sufficiently like a wedding for you.

Groom greets Bride at the end of the aisle with a cheeky tongue waggle. Bride in super colourful homemade wedding dress and bright pink earrings.

Another key part of having a personalised wedding is scrutinising traditions and what they actually mean. You can use this to then work out whether they feel like a good fit for you and, if they don’t, how you can make your own new tradition instead.

Portrait of the bride in Winchester town centre.

For example, brides are traditionally given away by their father as the legal ownership was literally being transferred from father to groom (sorry, could you just grab that for me? It’s just my eye that’s rolled past you – they rolled back so far into my skull that they popped out.) If that doesn’t feel like something you’re comfortable doing – because you ain’t nobody’s property but your own – but you still want to thank your parents for everything they’ve done, why not have them both walk down the aisle before you, or thank them during the ceremony? The opposite of this is also true. If there’s a tradition that really does resonate with you – don’t feel pressured to get rid of it for any reason.

Bride groom and rest of the family cross the road heading to ceremony together. Ditching tradition of staying apart on the wedding morning and choosing to get ready together.

Finally, it’s worth focusing on the ceremony for a hot sec. Please rest assured that your non-traditional wedding will always feel like a wedding, purely due to the fact that it is – newsflash – a wedding. I can totally understand why you might be worried, but weddings are so wonderful because of what they represent and how they feel, not what they look like or, to a certain extent, what you do. Regardless of whether you have a Humanist ceremony, a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony, and whether you even have it in front of your guests or separate from a bigger party, everyone is there with one goal: to celebrate and honour and congratulate you two as a union. It sounds so cheesy but it’s true – even the biggest ravers you know aren’t as emotionally invested in big parties as they are you two on your wedding day! The unique mix of people you’ll have brought together – with only one thing in common, that they know and love you – and the unique combination of your influences and personalities will result in a day that’s got you written all over it. That’s the beauty of weddings!

Bride and Groom share a kiss under UV light wearing UV Mickey Mouse Ears and Flouro evening wear for their non traditional wedding party

I’ve chosen to use images from Gemma and Paul’s offbeat wedding day to illustrate this post. It was the most unique day with so many fingers up to tradition that I lost count. They strolled together to their ceremony at Winchester Town Hall and then went on to a local Japanese restaurant for the meal which was delicious. They then had their wedding party at Winchester Science Museum. The couple and their guests were able to interact with the exhibits; party in a space themed room and watch a show within the planetarium. Yoda even made an appearance which was fitting what with it being May 4th an all.

I hope you enjoy looking at a handful of their images. If you like the look of my work and would like to read more about what you can expect from working with me then have a read of this. If you are planning a non traditional wedding or in fact any kind of wedding – so long as the two of you are in love and up for a good time then I’ll be there with bells on.

Bride and groom stroll through streets of Winchester for to their wedding ceremony. Bride struggles to get ring on Grooms finger she literally had to screw it on. Guests look on laughing. Bride and groom take a seat during ceremony to listen to a reading taken from a Philip Pullman novel all about atoms and science. First kiss after getting married seated in front of guests at Winchester Town Hall. Couple exit ceremony together. Details from bride's dress can clearly be seen with layers of tulle and sequins as they go down the stairs of Winchester Town Hall. Guests gather outside Winchester Town Hall on cobbled streets. Colourful confetti moment for Gemma and Paul outside Winchester Town Hall. If you are planning a non traditional wedding then be inspired by these two lovely people who did things entirely their way. Young toddler rides on the back of her brother as guests congragate outside Winchester Town Hall. A simple portrait of Gemma and Paul in their super colourful clothes by heavy concrete steps in Winchester. Providing a bleak backdrop so their outfits pop. Gemma's colourful bouquet was so unusual and other wordly. Couple walk down steps in Winchester with the sun behind them. Wind revealing the blue underskirt that clashed brilliantly with Gemma's pink skirt. Planning a Non Traditional Wedding Blog illustrated by Gemma and Pauls Alternative Wedding Day in Winchester. Couple in closed down shop front. Toddler feasts on a plate of prawn crackers in Japanese restaurant in Winchester. Wedding party at Planetarium show as part of their non traditional wedding day plans. Boy interacting with exhibits at Winchester Science Museum and Planetarium during Non Traditional Wedding day for Gemma and Paul. Party in a spaceship with confetti cannons galore at Winchester Science Museum Wedding.



Award Winning London Wedding Photographer. Photographing weddings all over London, UK and Europe for laid back & fun loving couples.


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