22 Unique Wedding Planning Ideas

Today’s couples have more options than ever. You can make your wedding stand out through sentimental decor, non-traditional schedules, intimate interactions with guests and many other creative wedding ideas. We’re here to help with a list of some of our favorite unique ideas for wedding planning.

1. Incorporate a Mini Date in Your Schedule

Many couples get so caught up in the whirlwind of the day that they barely have time to enjoy each other’s company. Give yourselves time to connect with a mini date, like a brief walk outside or a bite of ice cream. These excursions are also great for fun-but-intimate photos.

Here at the Hancock Hotel, for instance, our downtown location puts couples near plenty of fun places for this unusual wedding idea. You could pop into Axe Ventura for an axe-throwing match, head to Deitsch’s Brothers Chocolates and Ice Cream for some sweets with your sweetheart or go retro with a few arcade games at Main Street Deli and Cafe.

2. Use an Instant Camera to Collect Memories

We may have phones in our pockets, but instant cameras offer a fun type of nostalgia that you’ll love to look back on in 10 years. Set up an instant camera at a table with instructions to take pictures of the festivities.

You can use this option as a guest book, where they take selfies and write notes on the back of the prints. Another option is to have them take pictures of the event — like shots on the dance floor or at tables — and leave them for the couple. You get to hang onto these candid photos and reminisce with the uniqueness of Polaroid-style pictures. If needed, enlist your bridal party to break the ice by taking pictures and passing the camera around.

3. Create a Signature Drink

Wow your guests with a drink made just for them. You could base it on the couple’s favorite drinks and give it a punny name based on romance or the shared last name if you’re going that route. You can also offer well-known drinks with personal meaning, like the drinks you got on your first date or the champagne you toasted when you got engaged.

4. Go Big With Your Transportation

Depending on your budget and location, you can choose fun transportation options for the couple, the bridal party or all your guests. Here are some unique wedding ideas to get from the ceremony to the reception:

  • Go vintage with a classic car or convertible.
  • Enjoy old-time charm with a trolley.
  • Get classic style with a limo.
  • For fairytale vibes, try a horse-drawn carriage.
  • A party bus can get the night started before you even arrive.
  • Grab some cute shots of the couple on a moped.
  • An old Volkswagen bus offers a quirky, nostalgic ride.

5. Have a Wedding Piñata

Here’s a unique wedding reception idea — fill a piñata with candy, glow sticks, goofy sunglasses, personalized keychains and plenty of confetti. You can find piñatas in shapes like rings, hearts and wedding cakes, or take the personalized approach and get one with your initials, one that resembles the couple or one that shows off your wedding colors in a sphere or diamond. If you’re crafty, you can even make one yourself.

6. Have a Live Wedding Painter

Having a live wedding painter is a fun new wedding trend that gives you another medium for capturing memories. You hire a skilled and speedy artist to create a painting for the day. They could paint the ceremony itself, the first dance or a special moment between the couple. Styles can vary widely, from realism to more dramatic styles with artistic embellishments. The painting makes a wonderful piece of art to hang up in your home.

Another twist on this approach is to hire someone to paint quick, stylized pictures of your guests, including caricatures. They can keep these photos as a fun memento of the evening.

7. Incorporate Pets Without Bringing Them

Many couples have pets act as ringbearers or include them in photos, but you can get your furry friend involved even if they can’t attend. Here are a few unique wedding ideas for incorporating a pet:

  • Print them on things: Have someone illustrate your pet and put the picture on items like drink holders, napkins or your wedding program.
  • Name a signature cocktail after them: Try adding a Moscow Mew or a Salty Dog to your bar list, or create a drink based on your pet’s name. 
  • Add them to the cake: You can include a pet in your cake in many fun ways. Add a small dog figure taking a bite out of it or peeking out from under the fondant, or add a furry friend to the classic cake topper of the couple.

8. Get Creative With Your Centerpieces

One unique wedding reception idea is to use interesting photos of the couple as table centerpieces. You can include funny photo booth strips to show your personality. Another option is to number your tables and add pictures of the couple from when they were that age. For example, Table 4 would have adorable photos of the couple at 4 years old, earning plenty of “aws” from your guests.

9. Offer Late-Night Snacks

As the party goes on, your guests might start feeling peckish and need something to fuel them through the festivities. Bring in some late-night treats to keep them going. For example, couples at the Hancock Hotel can have house-made soft pretzels, miniature all-beef franks, a nacho bar or a pizza bar catered by Mancy’s Steakhouse.

10. Highlight Your Matchmaker

Did someone set you two up? Give them a callout with a special sash or add a garland or ribbon to their seat and a sign that says “matchmaker.” This is a great way to honor the person that made your special day possible.

11. Create a Wedding Newspaper

Wedding programs allow you to tell your guests about the basics of the day, like information on the wedding party, a timeline of the day and requests such as asking for an unplugged ceremony. You can go a step further with a wedding newspaper. It gives you more room to explore extra elements, such as:

  • Engagement photos.
  • Your love story.
  • A welcome note.
  • Directions to the venue and/or reception.
  • Bios and photos for the wedding party, parents and grandparents.
  • A crossword or word search.
  • Menu options for the evening.
  • The URL for your wedding website.
  • A QR code to a playlist or a way to request songs for the reception.

You can include anything you want — from baby photos to information on cultural traditions.

12. Brighten Up the Place

Add unique lighting to your wedding to make it stand out and highlight your beautiful space. Some creative wedding ideas with lighting include:

  • Lanterns: Hang lanterns from the ceiling or use them as centerpieces, like the ones we offer at the Hancock Hotel. These classy lights add a touch of vintage charm and a warm, intimate glow.
  • Add drapery or garlands: Beautiful swaths of lightweight fabric can diffuse lights all around the room and support your color scheme. Leaf garlands offer natural tones and tie in with floral arrangements. Both options work especially well with string lights strung across the ceiling.
  • Use neon signs: Order a creative neon sign with a shared last name or your initials in cursive. If your wedding is big on greenery, nestle your neon sign inside a wall of faux leaves. Try using it as a backdrop for the head table or in a space for people to take photos.

13. Bring the Grandparents Into the Ceremony

This unusual wedding idea lets grandparents walk down the aisle, too. They can accompany your flower child or ringbearers, or they could replace them if you don’t have a little one in the ceremony. The kids might be more comfortable walking down with an adult, and a flower grandparent always earns a chuckle.

14. Have an Alternative Guestbook

Put a spin on your guestbook with one of these non-traditional wedding ideas:

  • Signing a meaningful item: Have people sign items related to your interests, such as a vinyl record, a snowboard or the back of a beloved board game.
  • Recording audio messages: An audio guestbook allows guests to leave their well wishes as recordings, either through their own cell phones or a dedicated phone at the venue, usually with a vintage look. You can rent a phone or DIY the system to capture all of your guests’ love and emotion in a recording you can listen to over and over.
  • Create a thumbprint tree: Find an image of a guestbook thumbprint tree — Etsy has plenty of options — and set up ink pads. Guests can leave their thumbprint as a “leaf.” You can leave it as just thumbprints or have people sign their names inside their prints. Either way, you get a colorful piece of art with your guests’ one-of-a-kind impressions.

15. Pay Homage to Your Roots

If you have some state or regional pride, incorporate it in your wedding. You could:

  • Use your state flowers in your bouquets and centerpieces.
  • Dance to a song with a reference to your city.
  • Name your tables after hometown streets, landmarks or college campus buildings.
  • Include a decor item, such as a wooden sign with a heart in your city, that highlights where you met or are marrying.

16. Send Treats to Their Hotel Rooms

Show your appreciation to guests staying the night by sending a small treat up to their hotel room. You could create a goodie bag with local sweets or favors, such as a drink holder they can use during the event.

17. Use Up Napkin Real Estate

Add some personality to your napkins by having them printed with fun elements. You could add a cute illustration, your wedding date or some fun facts about the couple, like where you got engaged, your favorite restaurant or special interests.

18. Create a Seating Chart With Funny Photos

You can do this unusual wedding idea in two ways. The easiest route is likely to print off funny photos of the couple and add the guests’ names and table numbers. To find their table, they have to search through hilarious pictures of the couple.

If you know your guests well, you could do the same thing with funny pictures of them. These seating charts are sure to get some laughs and make their first impressions of the reception much more personal.

19. Go for an Alternative Wedding Dress

Although the long white gown is a classic, it might not be right for you. If you want to make a splash or do something different, try one of these non-traditional wedding dress ideas:

  • A splash of color: Floral dresses can add a subtle twist to the classic gown, offering a pop of color without completely eliminating the traditional feel. Ombre dresses that fade into a different color are also a stunning option.
  • Sequins or sparkles: While plenty of white gowns have sequins and sparkles, you can go all-out on these twinkly elements with a dress decked out in shine.
  • Dark colors: Go bold with almost any color you want, from black to maroon to navy.
  • Another light color: Wearing a light blue, beige or mint green dress also keeps the light, airy feel of the classic dress with a unique adjustment.
  • A short style: Short dresses offer a youthful, spunky vibe and can help you stay cool during a mid-summer wedding. It’s also a good option for more casual themes.
  • A jumpsuit: Try a white wedding jumpsuit for a modern and sleek twist — it also makes movement easier.

You can use a non-traditional dress as a cost-saving wedding idea or a way to drive home your wedding theme. For example, you could use a short dress for a casual, rustic wedding or a jumpsuit for a glitz-and-glam theme.

20. Make a Custom Monogram

Many artists will make you a custom monogram of your initials. Use it as the “logo” for your wedding, and put it on decor and favors, such as table signs, wax seals, napkins, place cards or a cake topper. Some lighting companies can even project your image onto the wall or floor for a unique display.

21. Offer a Kids Table

While your wedding will be a whirlwind for you, kids can get antsy. Help them out with some fun activities they can do during the less-exciting parts of the day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Wedding-themed coloring books: Be sure to include a small set of crayons. You can also make a custom drawing of the couple for kids to color.
  • Temporary tattoos: Offer some fun temporary tattoos and washcloths for putting them on. Applying the tattoos is also a great job for a teen or tween that keeps them busy, too.
  • Party favors: Offer fun items like goofy sunglasses, slap bracelets, glow sticks or fidget toys.
  • Stuffed animal adoptions: Create a “pen” with small stuffed animals kids can take and make a name tag for. Even if they’re too young to remember much from the wedding, your stuffed animal offers something to keep with them for years.

For kids in the ceremony, consider giving them special accessories, such as flower crowns or badges.

22. Consider a Friday or Sunday Wedding

While many weddings happen on Saturdays, this non-traditional wedding idea comes with a few perks. Both options offer much more availability for vendors, which is especially useful in peak season. You can get the vendors you want and avoid clashing with the dates of other weddings and events.

These dates are also more unique. Friday works well if people don’t need to travel far, and it gives them a full weekend to recuperate from an exciting night. Sunday is a little more relaxed and ideal for earlier weddings. You can also use Sundays to extend a Saturday wedding with a morning brunch. Some couples use this opportunity to open gifts and thank people in person.

Make Your Big Day Unique With the Hancock Hotel

Whether you want to stand out from the pack or want an ultra-personalized event, these unique wedding ideas should give you a head start.

Are you getting married in Ohio? The Hancock Hotel in Findlay offers a beautiful venue and comprehensive wedding packages to help you wow your guests. We’re conveniently located in the downtown area, and our stunning banquet rooms suit small and large guest lists. We can also provide pricing for other vendors to simplify your planning.

Explore our wedding packages and 3D venue tours, or reach out today to inquire about booking the Hancock Hotel for your wedding!

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