Planning a wedding isn’t easy. Psychologists deem it higher up the stress scale than getting fired from work. That’s rough! Perhaps one of the reasons why people find all this planning a nightmare is the fixed traditions and wedding etiquette you have to navigate through.

Well, you don’t need to worry. As there is a move away from traditional church ceremonies there are loads of more unconventional wedding options. You can pick something that speaks to you as a couple and play with traditional elements. Lots of our couples are choosing to host their wedding ceremony at the venue of their choice. This means they are free to design their ceremony themselves, below are some of our favourite unusual wedding ceremony ideas.

Get more wedding inspiration with these 12 bridesmaid dresses you’ll love!

Handfasting ceremony picture

Handfasting Ceremony

This non-religious ceremony idea is great for couples wanting something more unusual. Derived from pagan roots, the premise of this ceremony is to use the symbolic gesture of tying the newlywed’s hands. You can use string, ribbon even jewellery. Perhaps your partner bought you a gorgeous silk scarf you want to incorporate for instance. With unusual ceremonies, there are more ways to make the experience unique.

Take a look at Claire & Lee’s unconventional handfasting ceremony at their stunning tipi wedding.

Unusual wedding ceremony photo

Walk Down The Aisle Together

For some, having their partner descend down the aisle all eyes on them is the perfect ceremony moment. For others, it could not be more dread-inspiring! Same-sex couples often choose to walk down the aisle together rather than pick one of the traditional gendered ceremony roles. There is something very freeing about this break from tradition, plus it makes for some awesome wedding pictures. Couples of all genders can have this special moment together on their wedding day.

View Sophie & Chris’ wedding photography at Ufton Court where they walked down the aisle together.

unique sand wedding ceremony

Sand Ceremony

Another fantastic and unusual ceremony idea is a sand ceremony. You may not have heard of this one before but it is a really creative and beautiful way to tie the knot. The bride and the groom mix two different colours of sand in a glass jar or vase. The sand represents two souls becoming one, pretty romantic! You can even choose your favourite colours for your sand for a unique touch. Plus, you can keep the sand filled jar after the wedding and display it in your home!

For more unique wedding ideas and inspiration check out our blog.

Natural wedding photography

Tree planting ceremony

This is a great idea for nature-loving couples. As a symbol of your life growing together why not plant a tree? Great for the environment and a wonderful representation of your love. Plus you can visit your tree together for your anniversary. What a beautifully alternative way to remember your special day.

Contemporary wedding photography

Mix up your music

You might not want a really unusual ceremony, just a pinch of something different. Why not walk down the aisle to a meaningful song? ‘Here comes the bride’ doesn’t always cut it and a string quartet can for some couples seem a bit OTT. We suggest getting creative by choosing something personal and memorable. Let’s just hope you’re not into death metal, that would be unusual!

We once photographed a wedding where the bride and groom walked back down the aisle as newlyweds to the Match Of The Day theme tune!

Wine ceremony photo

Wine ceremony

I know what your thinking, “now this is a ceremony we can get on board with!” Sorry, but it doesn’t mean getting sloshed. The couple pours their cup of wine into one and then you each take a sip. Emphasis on the word sip! Any drink can be used if wine isn’t something you enjoy. Why not try these beautiful gold wine glasses to add a touch of glamour to your unique ceremony.

Take a look at Leah & Sam’s Ses Savines wedding photography

Wedding detail photo

Get the guests involved

One beautiful and meaningful idea which will involve your wedding guests is to get them to bless the rings. This involves the rings being passed then each of your guests blesses the wedding bands, whether it’s with a kiss or a little squeeze. An interactive and sweet gesture. Although we wouldn’t recommend for larger weddings, could take a while to get around 150 people!

Wedding ceremony photo

Write your own vows

To make your ceremony truly unique why not write your own wedding vows? The trick is to keep them simple and heartfelt. Do not try to be funny, this is a serious and important commitment. Save the jokes for the speeches. Writing not your thing? Take a look at some examples from The Knot.

Wedding ceremony ideas

Unplugged ceremony

Picture the scene. You spend a fortune on an amazing wedding photographer and they have to dodge your auntie who is halfway in the aisle taking a photo with an iPad. This is a sure fire way for your photographer to miss capturing those all important moments. However, it’s easily avoided by simply advising your guests that your ceremony will be ‘unplugged’. The groomsmen welcome guests with a basket for all technology to be kept safe during the ceremony. Nobody will be tempted that way. Your guests can then be fully invested in the moment rather than being distracted by their phone. Also, your photographer will thank you!

Unusual wedding ceremony ideas

Light a candle

The lighting of a candle shows up in many religious symbolic ceremonies. For non-religious ceremonies, you can still use this as a symbol of unity. The happy couple each hold a candle and light a larger one together. Guests can get involved too holding their own candles, this would make for a pretty cool wedding photo.

tea light tree centrepiece wedding candles

Choose a unique location

If you still want to mix things up whilst maintaining most of the traditional elements, a unique ceremony location can be a fantastic way to express originality. Try getting married in a maze at Combermere Abbey or under a huge dinosaur skeleton at Manchester Museum! When it comes to making your wedding ceremony unique the sky is the limit!

unique wedding ceremony location

Weddings are becoming much less rigid in their traditions, more and more you can hand-pick which elements are right for you as a couple. Break with tradition and give an unusual ceremony a go.

Want more tips? Read our tips for grooms on their wedding day.

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