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15 New and Unique Wedding Ideas

Just-Picked Wedding Flowers

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Forget the tightly-rounded bridal bouquet, says Janie Medley, florist and blogger behind the popular blog The Bride’s Cafe. “Brides today love the ‘just-picked’ and looser feel and look to their bouquet. Their flower choices tend to be those you can purchase from your local Farmer’s Market, such as dahlias, Queen Anne’s lace, and scabiosa,” Medley says.

“In addition to this more organic bouquet style, brides are also opting for pops of color in either the floral or in the wrap around the bouquet handle.”

Raw Bars

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This cocktail hour staple doesn’t have to be messy melting blocks of ice, stringy seaweed, and thoughtless piles of seafood, says Josh Tierney, Co-Director of Style and Design at Great Performances. “The raw bar can be a clean, elegant, cocktail-hour friendly presentation. Instead of piles of shrimp and oysters, we’ve created a ‘grab n’ go’ seafood presentation, featuring small plates of oysters on a bed of sea salt and individual shrimp cocktail shooters in clear glass votive holders,” he says.

“Accent the menu with a condiment bar: Cocktail, mignonette, lemons, and horseradish presented in martini, highball, and rocks glasses. Miniature bottles of Tabasco sauce will complete the look,” adds Tierney.

Have floral arrangements peppered across the raw bar, with colors complimenting the seafood, to help enhance the overall statement and specialty rental furniture to “push the look from ho-hum catering hall, to one-of-a-kind, urban sophistication.”

A Healthy Cocktail Bar

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Forget signature cocktails and plan a specialty bar offering a limited menu of drinks all with something in common. While some couples may opt for a tequila bar (Lala Vazquez and Carmello Anthony’s 2010 wedding did) or a martini bar, you can also go the non-alcoholic route.

Help your guests stay healthy by serving specialty cocktails that include freshly squeezed juices and fresh herb accents, suggests wedding planner Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events in Washington, DC.

Smaller Bridal Parties

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Possibly inspired by Kate Middleton’s minimal bridal party or trying not to burden their friends, celebrity wedding planner Shawn Rabideau (he planned Bethenny Frankel’s wedding) finds that the majority of his brides and grooms are asking only a maid of honor and best man to stand up with them or going without a bridal party altogether.

“The days of large wedding parties are no more, and professionally, I couldn't agree more. Choreographing the processional is sometimes like timing out the Rose Bowl Parade with eight to ten attendants, but now brides don't want the hassle of listening to their friends complain about the dress and shoes they have to purchase,” Rabideau says.

And while not being a bridesmaid can save your friends up to $1000 or more, you can save money too, adds Rabideau, because you don’t have to buy attendant gifts, bridesmaid bouquets, and bouts for the groomsmen.

Black and White Photography

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“Along with the resurgence of film, black and white photography has made a big comeback in popularity as couples look for timeless images to complete their modern wedding day packages,” says Blair deLaubenfels, co-owner of Junebug Weddings.

When interviewing wedding photographers, make sure to ask if they can shoot both in color and black and white, and then make sure he or she captures formal portraits, details, and special moments in both.

Craft Decor Elements

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Donna O’Brien, owner of Beautiful Blooms in Philadelphia, has seen an increase in requests for textural and craft elements such as paper, yarn, buttons, felt, and rope to be incorporated into bouquets, boutonierres, centerpieces, and floral decor elements.

“This style is often found in brides who are moving from the DIY segment back into the traditional and event floral design companies. These same brides often play with the multiple vintage and estate pieces on their tables,” O’Brien says.

A Black and White Color Palette

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The new color palette is black and white, says Bill Schaffer, Design & Studio Director at Beautiful Blooms in Philadelphia. “The overall design for a black and white wedding is classic with a twist on the textural aspect of the floral decor.”

In addition to flowers, linens, and table settings, the black and white palette can easily be translated into bridesmaid dresses, cake decor, wedding invitations and stationery, and wedding favors.

Posies for Moms

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Who wants to put a hole in their clothes? And wrist corsages tend to be rather itchy. If mom is insisting on having personal flowers for her walk down the aisle, Medley says a small posy is the way to go.

An Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain

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Another idea for a non-alcoholic bar is to create a fun and surprising Soda Jerk Bar, says Matthew Riznyk, Catering Chef de Cuisine at Great Performances. “What I love about taking it back to the style of the jerk bar is that it's a fun twist on a tried and true classic. We use artisanal ingredients to create exceptional flavor profiles, yet keeping it simple and really adding that wow factor with elements of design and modern nostalgia,” Riznyk says.

You bar menu can include fruit-flavored soda or have the bar set for dessert and offer floats, egg creams, and milk shakes!

Film Over Digital

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Since digital cameras were invented most photography trends have focused around the digital effects a photographer could create with a computer, but after ten years of digital photography, photographers are returning to adding film to their wedding packages and brides are starting to ask for film over digital pictures.

“While film can’t capture low-light situations as well as digital, film brings a romantic, lush look to photos that simply can’t be replicated,” deLaubenfels says.

Petite Bellybands and Invitation Sleeves

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Ensure that your guests read all of the details in your wedding invitation suite (invite, reply set, reception card, direction card, pre/post-wedding celebrations) by holding them together with a decorative bellyband or placing them in an invitation sleeve.

Marina Marchisi, co-owner of East Six stationery design studio in New York City, advises, “A petite bellyband will let the invitation stand alone, yet holds stacked cards together. It’s a great way to include a lot of information in a discrete manner.”

Another design idea that will do the same thing is to have an invitation sleeve, like a pocket, to hold all of the various cards. “An invitation sleeve will neatly hold your invitation and other cards together. Plus, you can have your guests’ names printed on one side of it so it serves as the inner envelope too,” says co-owner Stacey Mui.

Global Inspiration

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Brides have always looked to their family’s cultural and religious customs to help them plan and design both their wedding ceremony and reception, but now more couples are looking beyond their own heritage. “Global styling is exploding on the market with a greater increase of the combined feels of multi-cultural representations,” Schaffer says. “Brides are asking for a patchwork of polychromatic hues with an earthy basing. Wood, fabrics, paper, and feathers are featured as part of this mix.”

Seasonal Cake Decor

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When deciding on your wedding cake’s decor look to the season of your wedding for inspiration. Fruit, flowers, and other natural elements can all be created out of marzipan and sugar paste. Here are some ideas for each season:

Winter: Winter weddings can be white on white with three dimensional snowflakes or add amaryllis to each tier.

Spring: Weddings held in the spring have the luxury of choosing from a large variety of flowers such as lily of the valley, peonies, and tulips.

Summer: The summer cake shown here was designed by Kristine Bender of K. Rose Cakes in Washington, DC and features wild strawberries and small flowers made from marzipan.

Fall: Fall foliage, leaves in a beautiful reds, oranges, and golds, as well as acorns or tree-motifs are perfect for fall or woodland-themed weddings.

Individuality and Personalization

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Brides and grooms are looking to add their own tastes and personal mark on every aspect of their wedding and are doing so in more creative ways. One way brides are adding a personal touch to their wedding-day look is adorning their hairstyle with a flower and textural element, such as a feather, O'Brien says.

For entertainment, couples are choosing genre specific bands for cocktail hour, dining, and dancing music.

When it comes to their attire, brides have the choice to accent their wedding dress with everything from belts and sashes to bright and bold colors. And while grooms and groomsmen may still wear a classic tuxedo or suit, they're accessorizing with colorful or themed socks and a pocket square.

Shorter Guest Lists and Casual Settings

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Forget the never ending guest list. Keep your wedding small(-ish) and plan an intimate reception, advises event planner Shawn Rabideau. “Instead of a 5-hour party—1 hour of cocktails and 4 hours of dinner, dancing, and dessert—my clients are opting for a 4-hour party where they have passed canapés, food stations, and passed small plates finished off with bite-sized treats,” he says.

A shorter guest list and a more casual setting can also save you money. “You're basically compacting all the fun, pomp and circumstance into a short party, which sometimes means a smaller budget.”