You set your wedding day first, so why is everyone else piling on? It can be frustrating to plan the perfect wedding only to realize that your big day has been sandwiched in the “Dreaded Wedding Cluster.”
Engagements are like bananas; if one ripens, the rest of the bunch soon follows. Do you feel like your friends, siblings, or cousins have jumped on your wedding coattails? While you can’t control the calendar for your entire social group, at least you can steal back your thunder with a wedding that’s guaranteed to stand out.
Using Unique Native Flowers
Flowers are one area where most weddings are surprisingly similar. Chances are, the weddings surrounding yours are using some combination of the basic wedding flowers: roses, carnations, lilies, orchids, gardenias, hydrangeas, lilacs, or tulips. Leave them in the dust by arranging a more exotic floral palette for your celebration. Ask your florist about what flowers are native to your area, or research your own list online. You may be surprised by the unique colors and shapes that will be in season for your wedding.
Using native flowers comes with an unexpected perk: not only will your flowers arrive more fresh and last longer than flowers that have to be shipped from afar, but local flowers are often much less expensive than foreign blooms, as well. You’ll have the additional satisfaction of knowing that you’re being eco-friendly and supporting your local economy, too.
Departing from the Wedding Cake
With wedding cakes, your basic choices are tiered cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and custom-shaped cakes. While the latter can provide a fun opportunity to give your celebration some personality, there’s only so much you can do with cake batter and layers of fondant. To truly depart from the weddings in your cluster, leave cake behind altogether. Look for wedding cake alternatives like cheesecake, ice cream cake, elaborate fruit bouquets, or even wedding pie. If you have a favorite dessert, now is the time to celebrate it!
Spicing Up Your Venue
Unimaginative couples have been using the same wedding reception venues since the dawn of modern marriage. While the weddings taking place around yours will doubtless opt for the tried-and-true options of banquet halls, houses of worship, hotel ballrooms, country clubs, wineries, and other standard event facilities, you can push your wedding to the forefront with a venue of another stripe altogether.
Do you have a favorite place to frequent on weekends? Anywhere can become a reception venue with the right decorations and party rentals. Many zoos, aquariums, and nature preserves offer special packages to attract weddings, and there’s nothing more exotic than celebrating under floating jellyfish or bright-feathered macaws. From bowling alleys to family restaurants and mini golf courses, your possibilities are nearly unlimited. Even if your chosen venue isn’t already prepared for reception hosting, the managers will usually be excited to help you fine-tune the area to accommodate your party. After all, weddings are not only profitable for venues–they’re also great publicity!
Avoiding the Cluster Altogether
The easiest way to make your wedding stand out is to avoid being caught in a wedding cluster altogether. This may be hard if you’re in your 20s and you have a large social circle, but there are still a few tricks you can use.
First, consider the time of year. While it’s tempting to plan a springtime wedding, realize that the same thought has occurred to every bride and groom. Instead, look for off-season opportunities. Not only will you have less competition for wedding attention, but you’ll also have a better shot at securing your date with the vendors and venues at the top of your list. Even better, many hotels and businesses offer off-season discounts to entice customers during slow times of the year. This works on a weekly basis, as well; if you’re still set on a spring wedding, consider holding a morning wedding or a wedding on a weekday.
Second, speak with any friends who have recently become engaged. Pay attention to your phrasing; “I’m claiming the entire month of June” doesn’t work nearly so well as, “Let’s plan together to make sure we don’t step on each other’s toes.” By keeping communication open, you can be sure to choose different color palettes that will prevent confusion among your invitees. If you both have your hearts set on a pastel wedding, you still don’t have to fret.
Look for different themes you can embrace, such as Victorian Tea versus Bohemian Wildflowers, or stripes versus paisley. Take comfort in the knowledge that your friend probably wants to stand out as much as you do. With the right collaboration and creative spirit, you can come up with a solution together.
If you’ve spoken to other engaged couples and done all you can to make your flowers, cake, and venue remarkable, your wedding is on the right track. By ensuring that the major elements stay unique, you are giving your celebration a framework that will be unmistakably your own. Even if your guests attend 15 other weddings that year, they’ll be sure to remember yours in vivid detail.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.