No matter what you do, your wedding day will always be special and unique for you. But for all of the people watching you and your sweetie tie the knot, it’s bound to be the same boring thing they’ve seen a million times before (a unity candle AND a lariat? – yawn…). So unless you plan to have some kind of crazy skydiving ceremony, perhaps you should think about ways you can at least spice up the reception by making it a bit more unique. Here are just a few areas that you could touch on when planning a wedding reception that is truly one of a kind.

  1. Food. Steak, chicken, and a vegetarian option are pretty standard fare for weddings, whether you offer them via buffet or a five-course spread. But many couples these days are opting to do things a little differently. Some contract with catering companies that offer local, organic, or vegan options (whatever suits their sensibilities) while others spring for exotic foodstuffs from far-off locales. But since a lot of people these days are attempting to save a little money in order to start a married life free of debt, you could try an afternoon tea (finger sandwiches, petit fours, and all) or a DIY dessert bar. But if you go for one of these options, just make sure to inform guests ahead of time that dinner will not be served.
  2. Drinks. Alcohol can be a touchy subject at some weddings, but since most couples want people to eat, drink, and be merry at the reception, booze is usually available. If you want to do something unique, though, work with the bartender to create a couple of specialty cocktails for the event. Or hire yourself an old-timey mixologist (handlebar moustache and all) to create classic cocktails like juleps and punches for your guests.
  3. Venue. Most wedding receptions occur in ballrooms, country clubs, and gardens/parks – beautiful, serene, and virtually pristine settings, in other words. If you want your reception to be a bit different, think about taking your guests someplace that is special to you, like the restaurant where you shared your first date, the hiking trail where your honey asked for your hand in marriage, or even the bookstore where your eyes first locked over a copy of Pride and Prejudice (yeah, right). You might be surprised how many shop owners are willing to entertain romantic requests (especially if you have the rental fee to back them up).
  4. Décor. If the flowered bowers and white linens of traditional weddings don’t appeal to you, think about decorating with some kind of theme in mind. You could go with an era or culture that you find fascinating or tap a favorite media influence (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for example) to make your setting something special.
  5. Entertainment. Forget about the cheesy band, annoying DJ, or stuffy string quartet on your wedding day if you want your reception to be one of a kind. Instead, consider a few forms of entertainment that suit your style better than the traditional fare. For example, you could hire singing/dancing waiters to keep your guests smiling, book a wedding magician to wow the assembly, or even opt for circus sideshow acts like fire eaters, sword swallowers, and a troupe of tumblers for the evening’s entertainment. You might even want to arrange for something truly unusual like a jousting match a la Medieval Times. If you just think outside the box you’re sure to come up with some truly spectacular ways to keep all of your guests entertained during the reception.