10 ways to have an alternative wedding

An alternative wedding doesn’t have to be wacky, crazy or a story people will be dining out on for years. It just means you don’t want to do what everyone else does, you just want to make it all about you – and to have as much fun as possible! So if you want to plan an alternative wedding but don’t know where to start, try these ideas on for size…
Rockabilly 50s Wedding Islington Town Hall-55
Forget family politics. Only invite people you REALLY want to be there. If that’s nobody, then nobody it is! I have photographed weddings with no guests and it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever seen a bride.
 2. Venue
As for a venue, think about what you really love and what represents you as a couple. If you want to get married in a treehouse, tie the knot in a shark aquarium or say your vows on an underground lake then why the hell not? If you like swimming or diving, get married underwater. If you skydive, say your vows during free fall. A homebody? Have the wedding in your back garden or a ceremony in the local woods! No one says you must get married in a church and have the party in a nearby hotel. The most fun weddings I’ve shot have done the legal bit the day before and then had a friend as the celebrant and done the ceremony the way they wanted.
 3. Clothes and shoes
Smoke bombs, powder paint and BMX Alternative Brighton Wedding by Anna Pumer Photography www.annapumerphotography.com
Bridal shops will charge you several thousands of pounds (not kidding) for a heavy diamanté-covered monstrosity you’ll only wear once. But if you’re not into all that, why not check out TopShop, H&M or any other high street shop. They have dresses that would be perfect for a wedding, cost less than £100 and will probably make you look super hot instead of like a big meringue. As for shoes, your first port of call could be Irregular Choice (I love that shop) – and if that doesn’t float your boat, buy a pair of shoes you like the shape of, paint them and pimp them with anything you like, from buttons to sweets to Lego men. That all said, if you want to wear a miniskirt and Converse then there’s absolutely nothing stopping you. Power to the alternative bride and groom!
 4. Theme
Theme your wedding around something you really love. It could be anything from your favourite book or movie, a location, an era, a holiday such as Halloween, or even a hobby, like sailing or knitting – or perhaps a mish mash of things you love. Consider asking your guests to dress to the theme as well – they’ll have a lot more fun shopping for a wedding outfit than they would if they had to trawl round BHS. Having a theme gives you a really good jumping off point when it comes to organise all the details – you’ll no longer be swimming in a confusing sea of conflicting Pinterest images, instead you can focus on making things roughly fit into your theme – or not at all if that’s what you want!
 5. Flowers
Instead of flowers, make a bouquet out of your favourite book, comic or music sheets. The photo above is a Doctor Who bouquet, with a Sonic Screwdriver handle and flowers made from Doctor Who comics!
 6. Food
bbq food at a wedding
If sit-down dinners and table plans bring you out in a cold sweat, why not throw some blankets down on the grass (in summer!) and have a picnic or a BBQ? Or have one long table where your guests choose where to sit. Other ideas include hay bales, a serve-yourself platter on the tables and hog roasts. Or save yourselves a massive wad of cash and send your guests home for dinner, and invite them to come back later for the party!
 7. Details
Rockabilly 50s Wedding Islington Town Hall-50
Pinterest has a lot to answer for when it comes to driving you crazy with ideas for details. So why not assign your wedding party guests (parents, brothers, sisters, bridesmaids and groomsmen) the task of making or collecting knick knacks to decorate the venue with (and then get them to actually decorate the venue on the morning of the wedding) and ask the other guests to bring a small dessert. That’s decorations and cake sorted out without lifting a finger! As for personalising details, why not create a photo line – it’s conversation fodder for your guests and you can hang it up at home after the wedding.
8.  Transport
If your venue is within walking distance of the ceremony location, put on some flat shoes and lead a convoy on foot! If it’s a bit far, how about a beer bike, a tuk tuk or a motorbike? If you want to save the pennies on your transport, try looking up local vintage car enthusiast forums and see if anyone wants to show off their car by driving you to your wedding – any excuse for them to get the car out the garage!
9. Guestbook
Alternative wedding guestbook ideas could be a video guest book (either a camera set up on a tripod or a flipcam that your guests pass around), a Dictionary that your guests use by looking up a word they think describes you and writing a message next to it (perhaps on a sticky label), or a Polaroid guestbook where you put out some props and a Polaroid camera and your guests take instant snaps of each other looking silly, then stick it in the book and write a message next to it.
10. Timings
 Alfriston English Wine Centre Wedding-8
You don’t have to follow the conventions of ceremony at 2pm, followed by canapés, hanging about making small talk, dinner at 5pm, cut cake at 6.30pm, band sets up at 7pm and party till midnight. If you’re a morning person, drag your mates out of bed for a morning wedding and spend the afternoon doing a fun activity such as surfing or paintballing, or just chilling out; if you’re a night owl, have a sunset ceremony – the Roman Baths in Bath do both sunrise and sunset ceremonies – I’m shooting a sunset wedding there next year, so watch this space!

Remember the ultimate key to holding an alternative wedding: If you don’t like it or don’t know why people do it, then don’t do it! Things like cutting the cake, first dance, throwing the bouquet. They’re all fine but if you don’t feel like doing them, listen to your heart and spend more time chatting, laughing and larking about.



*To chat about booking me as your wedding photographer for your alternative wedding, contact me here, email me on anna@annapumerphotography.com or give me a ring on 07598445182. You can find more information and prices on my info page and in my awesome info booklet.*




  • Jan ScottFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    Thank you for using so many pics from my daughter Laura’s Wedding in Wonderland. We all got into the spirit of making things to decorate the tent’s & ‘eat me’ cakes & the hot food gang. Love the photo of Laura & her brother Adam in the car. Guests all wearing a variety of hats & entering into the spirit of a joyous day. Being different is great. Happy Mother of the Bride.ReplyCancel

    • Anna PumerFebruary 21, 2014 - 8:03 pm

      Thank you so much Jan! It was such an awesome alternative wedding, and a real inspiration for this post!

  • MelanieFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:45 pm

    Awesome blog. Amazing ideas. Stunning photography!ReplyCancel

    • Anna PumerFebruary 21, 2014 - 8:15 pm

      Thanks Melanie, I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Jackie JamesFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:16 pm

    These are awesome ideas!!

    I never knew that about the Roman Baths and I’m from Bath!!ReplyCancel

    • Anna PumerFebruary 21, 2014 - 8:16 pm

      Thanks Jackie! I only know about the sunrise and sunset weddings at the Roman baths because of the wedding I booked there next year! Exciting!