Capturing special moments with an indie spirit, focusing on genuine emotions and lively, unique expressions.

A humorous shot of the bride and groom making playful gestures with their fingers, showing off their new rings, in front of an elegant mansion at dusk.


Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas at Dover Hall 

May 3, 2024

Your wedding is such a special day in your life and one that you are always going to remember. So, what better time to let your personality shine with some unique touches to your big day. If you are looking for some non-traditional wedding ideas, you are in the right spot. 

As a Virginia wedding photographer, I have captured my fair share of weddings, some more traditional and some more unique. One of those unique weddings was a recent wedding at the Dover Hall wedding venue. 

This wedding was so much fun and had some amazing unique touches throughout that are perfect for any wedding looking to step out of the box. So, if you are looking for some non-traditional wedding ideas, check out these things that my couple Jason and Maggie added throughout their Dover Hall wedding.  

Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas 

Pick a Theme for Your Wedding 

One of the best ways to make your wedding stand out is to pick a theme for the wedding. Now, when I say theme I’m not talking about a theme you’d pick for a 10 year olds birthday party. Instead, pick a unifying idea that you can use as inspiration throughout your entire wedding. 

With Jason and Maggie, they wanted a fairytale-esque wedding and Dover Hall was the perfect venue for this. As a European style mansion, Dover Hall gives off major fairytale vibes and the unique touches didn’t end there. 

They had a vision of “Bridgerton meets Lord of the Rings” and brought it to life in so many different ways. Through their clothing, flowers, and even custom made signage, they used this theme as the common thread to tie their entire wedding together!  

Have a Unique Guest Book

Another really unique touch you can add to your wedding that involves all of your guests as well is creating a unique guest book. We have all seen the classic guest book where you just write your name and that’s it. 

But, there are so many different ways to make this more unique and more meaningful for you and your guests. 

For example, you could put out a Polaroid camera and instead of signing their name, they can take a picture so you have an entire box full of pictures from everyone who came to your wedding. 

You could even have a box where people can write little notes to you and your partner with memories, well wishes, or advice for your marriage. 

If you want something a bit more interactive, you can even have a video or audio recording made for each of the guests. They can say a quick message to you that you can watch or listen back on after the wedding. 

Whatever you choose to do, this is the perfect way to put a spin on a more basic faucet of your wedding and create some incredible memories. 

Opt for Non-Traditional Wedding Outfits and Colors

When it comes to weddings, there is a pretty traditional standard for what colors you should choose and what you should wear. As much as we try to get away from them, it always seems as though all weddings are variations of the same colors on the same outfits. 

Well, a great way to add a non-traditional twist to your wedding is to mix up the colors and outfits for you and your partner! For example, Maggie and Jason picked a bit of a darker and more moodier color palette for their wedding. 

Jason even opted for a stunning green suit with a full floral lapel to go along with his custom designed wedding ring. It very much gave off the fairytale vibe they were going for and he looked incredible. 

Maggie channeled her inner Princess Bride with a whimsical dress that transformed from day to night by removing the sleeves and using family heirloom hairpins. Alternatively, you could even have a completely different outfit that you wear for your ceremony and your reception.  

Exchange Gifts During a First Look 

While first looks are becoming more and more popular, one thing you can do to add a bit of an extra touch is to exchange gifts during your first look. This is such a special moment between you and your partner and a really private one (which you don’t get a lot of on your wedding day), so why not take advantage of it. 

Jason and Maggie decided to give each other really intimate and beautiful gifts during their first look and it made what is normally a very special first look even more memorable. 

Whether it is a small gift, something handmade, or even a letter that you read to your partner, something small during your first look is a beautiful and intimate non-traditional wedding idea to add to your list! 

Have a Choreographed First Dance

One of my favorite non-traditional wedding ideas is a choreographed first dance. This is something that will take a bit of time and planning but will ultimately be one of the highlights of your wedding. 

While this created an unforgettable moment on your wedding day, it also does so much more. Because learning this dance takes time, it gives you and your partner something fun to do together leading up to your wedding. 

There is so much stress that comes along with wedding planning and sometimes you can forget what this whole thing is about. But doing a choreographed dance means that you and your partner get to spend lots of one on one time together before the wedding that you wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise!

Plan a Private Dinner 

I said it earlier but, you would be surprised at how little time you actually feel like you get to spend with your partner on your wedding day. One of the best ways to make sure that you two actually get to enjoy each other’s company before the end of the night is to plan a private dinner or a private moment before your reception. 

Jason and Maggie got to do this and they ended up sneaking away during cocktail hour to go to the cellar at Dover Hall and enjoy some alone time together. Now, not every wedding venue is going to have a cellar, but odds are you will be able to find a place where you and your partner can have an intimate moment and really take in everything that has happened that day. 

If you want, you can also plan a dinner during this time. Oftentimes you’ll hear people say that they didn’t even feel like they could eat during their wedding because they wanted to make sure they saw everyone. Well, this takes all of that away and makes it easy for you and your partner to enjoy a meal in private before partying the night away with your friends and family. 

Make Time for a Last Dance 

Finally, make time for a last dance. This is something that you are going to do for you and your partner and not for anyone else at your wedding. A last dance is the perfect way to take a step back and take in all that this day was before you officially head out. 

What’s even better, is you can do this while everyone else is getting ready for your grand exit so it won’t even seem like you are skipping out on your guests. This is what Jason and Maggie did and they were able to have an incredible last dance under twinkle lights and an almost full moon while the rest of their guests were getting ready for their grand exit. 

However you plan it, this is a great way to cap off the incredible day that is your wedding and give you and your partner one last chance to soak in all the love and joy of the day. 

Final Thoughts on a Non-Traditional Wedding at Dover Hall

Hopefully these tips and non-traditional wedding ideas help you and your partner as you are planning your own wedding. And, if you are still looking for the perfect wedding venue, Dover Hall is a dream place to make all of these incredible and unique ideas come to life. 

With a stunning mansion, beautiful grounds, and an incredible team to help give you the wedding of your dreams, you really couldn’t ask for anything better than a Dover Hall wedding. 

Now all you need is your dream photographer to capture all of these memories for you. If you are still looking for that person, I’d love to chat. You can click here to learn more about my wedding photography services or you can head over here to get in touch and chat about your own dream wedding! 

Check out these posts next:

+ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Photographer, amateur snowboarder, dive bar connoisseur,  inspired by music, good movies, and you.

I'm a Charlottesville wedding photographer and I specialize in capturing wedding days with a documentary approach. Love is pretty rad, and your photos should be, too.