Wedding Ideas for a Perfect Day Your Way

A bridal party during a wedding ceremony at a museum with penguins

Do you have weddings on the brain? With so many questions to be answered in so little time, it can become truly overwhelming. What colours? What to wear? What centerpieces? Where should you have it? Brides and grooms are looking for a special, different way that truly celebrates their love, but sometimes it can be difficult, and expensive, to find the right way to say “I Do”.

Groomsmen in front of the Giraffes at the Museum



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Find the Wedding Venue

When choosing your own alternative wedding venue, think of something unique that you might want to represent you. Love dinosaurs? That will help narrow it down a lot. Few places will have dinosaurs to get married near. Unexpected venues such as museums, art galleries, unique restaurants, colleges, stadiums, and concert halls may seem over the top, but many of these venues offer little-used rental packages to either partially or fully rent out the entire space. If you can’t find any information on their website, just give them a call. Special venues like this may be willing to work with you to find a solution to be a part of such a big day. Another plus is that such venues are so interesting, they require very little decoration and create beautiful photographs.

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Choosing the Right Wedding Music

Music for a wedding is a lot harder than making a playlist for a long car ride or the gym. Take the time to discuss what type of music you both like, and figure out what would make an impact on the day of the wedding. Be very clear and communicate with your DJ or any musicians, because you want to make sure they understand your tastes. It can be very helpful to make a list for these music professionals: 10 songs you love, and 10 songs you absolutely hate. Here are some ways to set the tone of your night the way you want it:

Load up an iPod or laptop with a playlist, and plug into big house speakers. If you know what you like, you may not need a DJ.
Get a live band, orchestra, or individual to play music and keep it fresh.
Hire a DJ! There are plenty of professional services, and chances are you have a friend with DJ equipment who isn’t bad on the tables.
Find a musically talented friend and ask them to sing or play your first dance, or during your cake cutting. You’ll have the most unique first dance music of anyone you know!

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Animals in a museum wedding

Live music at a museum wedding

Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaid Dresses, and the Rest

Getting a bridal party of different ages, shapes, and sizes in the same clothing can be downright impossible. Instead of getting stressed out over the details, go for an overall coordinated effect. You can coordinate ties, shoes, jewelry, and hair, as well as choose specific colors or fabrics. This way, each person can find what they’re comfortable with.

More importantly, the bride’s wedding dress can really break the bank. Try to keep an open mind when you imagine your special dress. Find a dress that makes you feel beautiful, and fits your body shape. Some great options to keep the cost down but the dress you want in sight are:

Get a wedding dress off the rack – custom dresses can be at minimum double the price of an off-the-rack dress
Get a wedding dress second hand – for some people, holding on to a dress for a lifetime is important. For others, once the day is over, the dress is packed away gathering dust. The latter group often opt to sell their dresses, which will be dry cleaned, beautiful, and a fraction of the retail price. Explore the possibility of buying a dress worn once. It’s already full of happy memories, and it’s especially practical if you have an expensive designer or design in mind.
Choose an alternative wedding dress – just find a dress you love that fits you like a glove. No one will notice anything but how happy and wonderful you look on your wedding day.

Consider your bridal party’s budget and any restrictions before deciding on the final uniforms. Getting the clothing for a wedding can be one of the most expensive and stressful components. There are many options to find second hand wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, suits, ties, even the perfect wedding shoes, in the exact colors you want. With minimal alternations, you could have your dream wedding outfits (and pictures) for half the cost.

A wedding party at a museum wedding venue

Have your Wedding Cake and Eat it Too!

A Wedding cake, the most delicious part of a celebration, is no simple birthday cake. If you want to cut costs here while still keeping the spirit of a wedding cake alive, here are two options:

Cupcakes – often bakeries will take a bulk order of cupcakes without adding a “wedding tax” on it, and it’s a fun way to let your guests choose the type of cake they want.
A Mini Wedding Cake – Cutting the Wedding Cake is a classic moment of many weddings. To keep this photo op, order a small wedding cake ( 1 or 2 tiers), and have it decorated to your heart’s content. Then supplement with a sheet cake or cupcakes.

Lit up Wedding Cake White Chocolate

Not willing to forgo the sugary glory that is your cake? That’s perfectly understandable. Floral centerpieces can also be a huge financial component of a wedding, and finding alternative ways to decorate your table can result in a huge cake fund. For a more restrained but natural centerpiece, try a simple glass cloche encompassing a succulent plant in a terra cotta pot. Each centerpiece can be as little as R100! After the wedding, guests will be thrilled to take the plants and cloches home.

Alternative Wedding Centerpiece

For creative centerpieces, you have many options. Some of the simplest solutions will play out beautifully on a completely set table, and some of the most complicated can be overwhelming. Ask yourself how much time you have to create each centerpiece, if you have to transport them, and if you need to carry them any distance. This can easily cut out options like vases filled with pounds of rocks. Additionally, reach out to coordinators, friends who got married before you, and look for glassware and fully assembled centerpieces second hand. You can also find second hand options for table cloths, glassware, and favors. Brides will donate their centerpiece glassware and components to coordinators, or try to sell them. It makes economic sense; after your wedding, will you really need 25 glass vases?
Alternative Table Settings at a Museum Wedding

A Wedding Ceremony for the Ages

If you have a religious wedding ceremony, your ceremony will easily be structured according to tradition. When a couple is not religious, therefore can’t have a traditional religious wedding ceremony, this can lead to lot of questions. Suddenly, the format of the ceremony can be very open and unstructured. In this case, the ceremony can be officiated by a good friend, with readings from members of family, or the bridal party.

A Wedding In front of Penguins at a Museum

Choosing a reading and making a ceremony feel right can be a daunting task. What important things represent you. Research! Your wedding will always be one of a kind, but it doesn’t hurt to take inspiration from other people. Some great alternative readings are:

Children’s books – These commonly have heartfelt, simple messages that can easily be conveyed to an audience
Classic Literature – These commonly have high level themes and lessons that feel meaningful during such a special moment
Song Lyrics / Poetry – These typically allow you more choice in the emotions you want to share, and can carry an element of surprise
Major Political Speeches or Scientific Learnings – although not traditionally filled with romantic love, these often contain pure passion for humankind

Here are a few ways to make a wedding ceremony unique:

Include a loved pet, perhaps as the ring bearer
Include family members in the ceremony
Ask the moms to walk the bride down the aisle
Let the Bridal party choose their own outfits

Most importantly, make sure you feel that the wedding ceremony is meaningful to you as a couple, that you’re in the right place, with the right people, and that you’re saying things from the heart. And remember, be creative! If you want to do something as crazy as get married in front of penguins, it’s possible to get married in front of penguins!

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