Fun Original Ideas for an Informal Wedding

Informal weddings can encapsulate the best of casual ease, friendship and family, along with innovative ideas that extend your personalities throughout every aspect of the event. They can be quiet, romantic affairs, rocking reflections of extroverted style or cheerfully self-assured second ceremonies. To give your big day shirt-sleeves cheer without detracting from the solemn significance of your union, plan an event that expresses both your personalities from beginning to end.

Location, Location, Location

The kind of wedding you want—and the budget you're trying to maintain—helps you choose the ideal venue. To find a gem that reflects your style and respects your finances, look beyond the traditional types of wedding venues. A local art museum with gracious grounds and the dappled shade of mature trees, an historic structure that the two of you helped preserve, a community theater, a city park: any of these sites can present the perfect setting for an informal wedding, provided that they're meaningful to you. Plan a scouting trip in the parts of town you're considering, armed with a digital camera or camcorder. If you're planning a spring wedding in the depths of winter, spend some computer research time looking for seasonally appropriate reference pictures.

Invitingly Yours

Handmade invitations may not be synonymous with informal weddings, but they can suit them perfectly when you add personal messages or turn them into craft projects. Whether you design them on your home computer using a typeface made from your own handwriting or create them from a combination of construction paper, doilies, rubber stamps, ribbon and glue, you can make them say exactly what you want and limit their cost at the same time. For a directly personal touch, invite your wedding party to a casual group evening and deliver the invitations by hand.

All Dressed Up

If you're not in love with the idea of honoring your union dressed in traditional—and expensive—formal garb, look for clever outfits that maximize comfort and long-term wearability. For the women in the wedding party, put together a quick smartphone survey to help you rule out styles they find uncomfortable to wear. An outdoor wedding may require less in the decoration department than one held indoors that demands more distinctive self-expressive touches. The more you make yourselves, source from local artists or artisans and keep true to the "less is more" rule, the happier you'll be. Use browser bookmarks, computerized inventories and digital photos to track the choices you're considering.

Food & Entertainment

If you love to cook or work as a professional chef, you may not want to spend the days and hours leading up to your wedding vows in front of your own range, pulling together convection baking's finest sheet cakes and miniature meat pies for your reception. Catering can cost a lot however, so think strategically when it comes to your wedding menu. Instead of gifts, ask some of your more culinary-gifted friends or relatives to donate part of the menu.

Select farmer's-market-fresh local produce, and if you live near a favorite winery or custom brewer, think locally for your beverages as well. For a clever twist on the traditional DJ or cover band, contact your civic symphony to hire a string quartet or find a folk trio that wants a break from the coffeehouse scene. While your musicians take breaks, use your home theater system to stream a playlist from your smartphone, media player or tablet device.

Photo Credits: Shauna Hundeby/DemandMedia

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