Planning for the perfect wedding day is a multifaceted endeavor with many moving parts and numerous details that you want to get just right. When you are knee-deep in managing the process, don’t lose sight of the fact that this day should be the perfect representation of what a celebration means to you. Thoughtfully enhance your wedding night atmosphere by thinking outside the box when it comes to planning some of your wedding day’s more traditional elements. Take the road less traveled in refining the particulars. Here are 5 suggestions to get you started...



We had the pleasure of working with Vanity Affair Events on a beautifully styled shoot and were really impressed with an idea that they, literally, brought to the table. They had spoken to Dream Cakes PDX about creating petite, individual cakes to have placed at each table setting for the guests. We adorned each with floral and foliage details - they didn’t need much because they were so tiny! If a cake cutting ceremony is not your thing and you want to add an unusual twist to your guests’ place settings, this is a wonderful option to consider. Of course, you could forgo cakes altogether and opt for tiny pies or other miniature desserts.


2. Daring Linens

Did you know that a large piece of cloth draped over a banquet table could, in fact, be DARING?! Hyperbole? Perhaps, however we highly encourage being as daring and bold as you dare to be when it comes to your linen choices. Daring doesn’t necessarily equate to busy, patterned linens (although it might); we aim to embolden you to think beyond the standard white or cream polyester linen that may come complimentary from your catering company or venue. Complimentary is TEMPTING, but we promise that going bold will have a massive impact on the look of your reception.

As you plan your wedding’s color palette (we recommend hiring an event designer for this), peruse NON-WEDDING inspiration to find color combinations that YOU like. Anything can serve as inspiration for your wedding’s color scheme: an outfit that you see in a magazine, one of your favorite paintings, or a still-life photograph. The sky is the limit…any color palette can be converted into a wedding design and the color of your linens will thematically tie it all together.

Our favorite selection of linens are available from these companies:

La Tavola Linens

The Party Place

Bridgewood Event Rentals

Photo by  Carlos Hernandez
Photo by  Peyton Rainey

Photo by Peyton Rainey

Photo by  Alixann Loosle

3. Bold Flowers

Bold flowers are a sister suggestion to daring linens. In tandem, they have a magical synergistic effect and will harmoniously establish the foundation of your wedding’s color theme. To pull this off, you will need a well-defined color palette, as well as a talented florist (wink) and an event designer to be sure that everything is working together. Okay…perhaps you don’t think all this planning hype is worth it. However, from a perspective of having seen hundreds of weddings, we can guarantee, distinguishing your flowers does make a difference. Your flowers might be beautiful no matter how cohesively planned, but they will be jaw-dropping, stunning, head turning works of art with a LITTLE more planning and thinking outside of the box. Again, most likely this isn’t your life calling, so hire a professional! The creative professionals servicing the wedding industry are bursting with ideas that they would LOVE to share with a willing and adventurous client.

Photo by  Jenna McElroy

Photo by Jenna McElroy

Photo by  Feather & Twine
Photo by Color Theory

Photo by Color Theory


4. A Cocktail Reception

This just might be our favorite path to achieving a stylishly unorthodox wedding vibe. If you are a lover of craft cocktails and bountiful displays of appetizers, you might you may do well to consider a cocktail reception rather than a traditional sit-down dinner.

THE GIST: Once the wedding ceremony has concluded, guests are guided to a thoughtfully curated cocktail area to enjoy live music and libations while the bridal party is photographed. Following cocktail hour, guests meander to the reception space to await the arrival of the newlyweds. The flow of conversations and beverages continue while appetizer service or access to appetizer “stations” begins. Alternately, skip the additional “appetizer” hour, and have the bridal party make their appearance at the reception space immediately following the post-ceremony migration. Once the love-birds have arrived, it’s a party! Rather than the traditional seating arrangements and a formal dinner, the reception space can be designed with as a swanky, high-class lounge with posh furniture and cocktail tables with some table seating for guests who want to take a break. Varying courses of appetizers could make the rounds throughout the night or permanent appetizer stations could be established throughout the space. Appetizer stations can range from a taco bar to a poutine spread; get exotic with a raw bar or, our personal favorite, a sushi spread. Dancing could commence immediately with dedicated dances interspersed throughout the evening. A cocktail reception is a true manifestation of thinking outside the box on your wedding day.

Lastly, we recommend unique accompaniment on the journey down this unorthodox route. Since your guests will have ample time to mingle, this is a great time to incorporate some extracurricular activities and entertainment such as a photobooth or photo trailer, a live painter documenting the proceedings of your special night on canvas, or a Tarot card reader set up at a booth for guests to enjoy.

WARNING: Do not try this at home. Please leave your wedding planning to a professional and hire a wedding planner!

If you’re looking to plan a night to remember in the Portland area, get in touch with these wedding planners:

Vanity Affair Events

Gather Events

Luxe Events

Ella Events

Photo by  Brittany Jean

Photo by Brittany Jean

Photo by  Sophie Epton

Photo by Sophie Epton



You cannot go wrong with craft cocktails created by professional mixologists! For many guests, a simple glass of wine or a light beer would suffice, but for guests who appreciate the experience of a thoughtfully handcrafted libation, you could really put a sparkle in their eyes by hiring some professional mixologists to work their magic. Collaborate with your mixologist to create cocktails that are both sophisticated in flavor and cohesively complementary with the theme of your wedding. It will not go unnoticed how the visually pleasing aspects of a finely crafted and thematically-paired cocktail will work to embellish the look of your tablescapes, rather than being a mere afterthought.


Now, Tell us below - what are your favorite ways to add an unconventional twist to a wedding or event?