Adapting to the Ordinary // A “Traditionally Untraditional” Wedding

Photo by Nicki Olson of  eStudio Weddings

Photo by Nicki Olson of eStudio Weddings

Soon after the last phone call was made and the pictures of the engagement ring were uploaded to various social media platforms, it was time to switch gears and focus on turning our wedding day visions into a reality. I had planned the elaborate engagement surprise complete with love notes, theme gifts, and a CD mix. Despite my nerves it went off just as I had imagined in my head. (Except for the part where the ring fell of her finger just after I had put it on, but I digress).  

“This is going to be the best party that anyone ever throws you; make sure you do it right, and do it how you want it.”

Then it was time to discuss the wedding plans. Where would we get married?  How many guests could we invite? How were we going to afford this? So many questions, and nearly as much advice, came flooding in.

The process quickly became daunting, but through it all I always drew on what my future father-in-law said, “This is going to be the best party that anyone ever throws you; make sure you do it right, and do it how you want it.” This is honestly the best advice he could have given the two of us. We quickly turned our back on tradition in favor of a wedding day that we felt accurately represented our personalities, relationship and love. It was different. It was unique. It was us. We bucked the trend in several ways and it was honestly the perfect day.

Photo by Nicki Olson of  eStudio Weddings

Photo by Nicki Olson of eStudio Weddings

1. The Venue

Until my wife and I were married every member of our families had a church ceremony. We knew that this did not really fit for us practically, as we wanted both the ceremony and reception in one space to accommodate our many disabled guests. We wanted the space to be big and open, while also reflecting our creative personalities. My wife found a beautiful artist loft space that met all of our needs and we instantly fell in love with it. After convincing some family and negotiating with the owners we were able to secure the use of Lacuna Artist Lofts for our big day. Following our wedding, three of our siblings have also chosen to get married outside of the church.

Photo by Nicki Olson of  eStudio Weddings

Photo by Nicki Olson of eStudio Weddings

2. Attire

We knew that tuxedos and dresses that our wedding party would wear once was not the route we wanted to go. My wife, Rebecca, was able to find a dress rental option and bought her bridesmaids some beautiful scarves as gifts. For the groomsmen we would go with something they could wear again: a cardigan sweater/slacks/tie combo all for under the price of a tux rental. Then we got everyone in the wedding party low-top Chuck Taylor’s as gifts and had them wear those in lieu of dress shoes.

3. Guests

It is well known that one of the best ways to keep wedding costs down is to cut down on guests, but we also knew that it is tradition to invite friends of parents and give everyone a plus-one. Ultimately, we were able to come to an agreement with our families on limiting plus-ones and people we did not know or did not have a connection to. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you should share it with the people that have impacted you and your partner’s life the most. It is not about who can give the best gifts or a random plus-one you will never see again. It is about celebrating your commitment in a room surrounded by love.

4. Food

For food we wanted to make sure that we had vegetarian and gluten-free options to accommodate our guests’ dietary needs. The catering company was, of course, instrumental in this, but another way we were able to cut costs was by scrapping the traditional wedding cake. We chose instead to have a dessert bar complete with homemade goods. These treats were made mostly by my wife, friends, and family members. It was a big hit and allowed for more variety!

Planning a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming but don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to conform to traditions. It’s important that your wedding day be the celebration that you and your partner want. While it is important to take certain things like the dietary and accessibility needs of your guests into account, never forget that it is imperative to commemorate your day and your love with the ones that mean the most to you. Do not lose sight of that by trying to appease family members or stick to silly norms or traditions. Talk to your partner, decide what you both want to do to honor your love for each other, and make it happen. Do you. You will not regret it.



Greg is a writer and lives in Chicago Illinois with his wife, Rebecca Anger.