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  • Writer's picturePeter Roehrich

Mini Golf and Other Unconventional Wedding Ideas

Image of couple and officiant holding living room ceremony.
This handsome couple tied the knot in an intimate living room ceremony, increasingly common in the age of COVID.

Are you considering an unconventional wedding? You know, something other than what springs to mine when you think “wedding”. There are tons of great reasons to buck tradition, and a myriad of ways to do so. Here are a few.

Unique Venue

A unique venue is a big reason a wedding may buck tradition. It might be that there's a particular place inextricably linked to your relationship. Maybe the two of you have a passion for some part of the world that doesn't have a “typical” wedding space. Of course, you might just wish to make a memory entirely your own, and think there's no better way to do that then go somewhere uncommon.

Imagine tying the knot deep in a park that might require hours of hiking. Leave dresses and tuxes at home. In fact, at many parks rangers inspect gear prior to issuing a back country permit, and Jimmy Choo heels won't cut it! But how amazing would it be to backpack to a natural wonder, just the two of you plus your witnesses and officiant? Maybe even so remote that you end up camping, exchanging vows at sunset or sunrise.

Another unique venue, and one that I've seen in person, is Christ of the Abyss. This bronze statue is located in Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida. I dove on the statue when getting my open water diver rating; it’s amazingly colorful due to the coral growing on it and it's larger than life. For these reasons, plus it's religious theme and obvious uniqueness, people tie the knot here, tank on back and regulator in mouth, but a flower girl is probably out of the question.

Increasingly, and especially in these days of COVID, couples are marrying at home. Home as venue isn't unconventional vis-à-vis the number of people choosing it so much as it differs from the images of weddings that might come to mind at first with grand spaces. It's this difference that makes a home wedding so special. I have officiated a number of home weddings, some smaller and some larger. They tend to be relaxed. Timelines are less important, after all, you won't get kicked out at 11, and there is more opportunity to connect with guests without hurry. Perhaps you have a guest who cannot travel outside of home, perhaps you have a budget constraint, or maybe your home garden brings you and your betrothed peace. Whatever the reason you might choose a home wedding, it's sure to be warm and memorable.

Change Up Wedding Day Attire

Weddings conjure white dresses and dark suits if not tuxes. This might be tradition, but it's not a rule.

I know a bride who didn't want to wear a white dress. Not her thing and not something she felt comfortable wearing. What did she do? She got married in a pantsuit. Another bride I worked with decided she wanted to wear a tuxedo in her ceremony. Both brides beamed! Of course, even brides who chose to wear a dress need not wear white. I've married brides in red dresses. And one bride wore a black and white dress (their cake was also stunning with black detail).

Grooms can break rules too. Formal military uniforms aren't unheard of at weddings, but not everyone can wear one and those who can sure look snappy! Of course, DC summer weather can drive anyone to jettison a suit. What about light linen?

And speaking of attire, have you considered moving away from requesting the wedding party buy (or rent) clothing that they can really only wear once? I have seen several weddings where the wedding party wears variations of a theme. This might be include the request that party members pick a tie that has a certain shade of yellow or a dress that is generally lavender.

Break The Reception Mold

A lot of weddings follow the same timeline: ceremony, cocktails, dinner, dancing. I'm not going to say that there is anything wrong with that because, well, there isn’t. But I'd you're the kind of person who doesn't care for a sit down dinner or dancing just isn't your thing (like me), maybe it makes sense for you to shake things up.

Getting married in fair weather? How about a mini golf reception? Think putters for all, boxes of popcorn, and eats from your favorite food trucks. Depending on where you hold your ceremony, you might want to arrange for a shuttle to ferry guests to the mini golf course and back to their cars. Let guests know what to expect in advance; heels don't really lend themselves to the green, so some preparations will be necessary.

If the weather might not cooperate or you're getting married in a cold month, a bowling alley might make for a better reception space if you want to do something low key and uncommon. Just like with the mini golf idea, you could plan on unlimited rounds. Make sure the bowling alley has enough shoes for your guests. Since they often have bars, you might not have to make extra plans for beverages. Pizza and hotdogs can substitute for a sit down dinner, and bowling trophies can serve as your favors.

Thinking something else might tickle your fancy? Brunch after a late morning wedding could be in your future? Mimosas all around! Guests can feast on quiche, French toast, and eggs Benedict (my husband’s favorite). Be sure to tell your guests what the attire is going to be. This still lends itself to some wedding traditions. Guests can give speeches with everyone seated. Your venue will likely have a spot for a photo booth (less certain at a mini golf course). And this kind of event is more compatible with floral décor.

Wrap Up

Your wedding should all be in the service of honoring your relationship. Sometimes breaking with tradition is just what you need to have a celebration that fits you like a glove. Whether you use these ideas or think of something totally different, if your heart is in it I'm sure you'll have a great time.

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