I Don’t is a weeklong series dedicated to skewering the traditions, expectations, and psychodrama that surround wedding season.
For years, the dominant bridal stereotype was strictly traditional: She had a fairy-tale dress, a massive diamond ring, and an obsessive and ultracontrolling attitude. Over time, however, someone new creeped into our culture, infiltrated our Pinterest boards, and usurped her role: the Unconventional Bride.
The unconventional bride probably has some conflicted feelings about the institution of marriage. She appears in unusually high numbers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, but can be found all over the country — whenever you see a tiny succulent in a tiny metal pail, she’s sure to be close by. And since the unconventional bride has been identified as a market by the wedding industrial complex, engagement-ring roundups and wedding-dress lists and even entire stores now exist to serve her needs. She wants her wedding to be quirky and different, to communicate that’s she’s laid-back — even if it might sometimes be in an obsessive, ultracontrolled kind of way.
Most importantly, the unconventional bride believes that she is not like other brides.
As she grows ever more popular, the unconventional bride’s wedding details — meant to differentiate her nuptials from more pedestrian ones — have themselves become clichés. Worried you’re at risk of this happening to you? Breathe, cancel your flower-crown order while it’s still refundable, and read these tips for how to make your wedding truly stand out.
Instead of: A rustic barn wedding
Unconventional brides love nothing more than getting married in a rustic barn. Weathered wood? Big old barrels? Enough mason jars to stock a jam factory? Done, done, and done. Nothing says “true love” like crumbling wood and a ton of hay.
Try: A horse officiant
Take it to the next level: Now that we know horses can wear suits, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from getting married by an actual horse. Nothing.
Instead of: A twee wedding dress
A few years back, Anthropologie took a quick break from putting a bird on everything to launch a wedding-dress shop with a decidedly start-up-y name: BHLDN. Ideal if you’re going for the “attic ghost marries graphic designer” look, but who isn’t these days?
Try: Matching white boiler suits with your betrothed
Comfortable, practical, and entirely unisex options from the Radical Dress society.
Instead of: Wearing sneakers
Sure, white Converse are probably more comfortable than the alternatives — and ideal if you’re about to Runaway Bride it — but it’s been done so frequently that you probably won’t get the surprise effect you’re looking for when you pull up your dress for a peek. (Unless you actually run away from your own wedding, which, while not recommended, will definitely get you some unconventionality points.)
Try: Rolling in on a Segway
Move over plebes, bride’s coming through.
Instead of: Bridesmaids in mismatched dresses
The tyranny of forcing all your bridesmaids to wear matching dresses has given way to the possibility of permitting your bridesmaids to wear merely similar dresses. This communicates how chill and carefree you are in regards to uniformity, allows everyone to choose a style that’s most flattering for them, and lets you showcase all the unique personalities in your friend group — like Jen, who won’t stop hogging attention, and Linda, who’s been mopily complaining about her dating life every single time you’ve seen each other for past seven years.
Try: Hologram bridesmaids
The easiest way to avoid drama and ensure that your wedding’s memorable? Replace all of your bridesmaids with celebrity holograms. Kevin James Hologram Bridesmaid will never betray you.
Instead of: A doughnut wedding cake
The first time you see a doughnut wedding cake, you think of it as inventive, fun, and refreshingly unpretentious. The 500th time you see one, you wonder how it’s possible to be genuinely annoyed at a doughnut.
Try: A Carvel ‘Fudgie the Whale’ cake
Instead of: A vegetal bouquet
Floral bouquets are so over, with brides sourcing from places like the salad bar and the woods behind their house for inspiration: Pinecones, artichokes, and herbs all feature regularly.
Try: A log
Channel Twin Peaks for a statement-making prop that will make the bouquet toss even more high-stakes than usual.
Instead of: String lights
It’s not an unconventional bride’s wedding without an abundance of twee glowing bulbs that look like they came straight out of the last Mumford & Sons video.
Try: String lights
What can we say? They’re just so magical.