Fun Wedding Ideas from 2018

I say this all the time but one of the COOLEST things about being a wedding photographer is seeing how everyone makes their day truly them. Gone are the days of having to have a wedding by the book. Which I love. If a tradition doesn’t feel right to you, then don’t do it. Your wedding is about celebrating YOUR love and it should reflect you two and be full of things that make YOU happy. So if you want your day to be completely traditional or if you don’t want it to be like any wedding you’ve seen before, both are great. As long as you are being true to yourselves. Thats what matters.

I also want to note something that several couples have asked about. The wedding day timeline and how much time do you need for photos. I will eventually do another post about that but I just wanted to real quick touch on the formals (couples, bridal party, family). If you aren’t in to having photos taken then there is absolutely NO need to set up 3 hours for photos! I work quick. And keep it fun and have done all bridal party and couples photos at a wedding once in 15 minutes. That might not be ideal but we made it work due to timing. I know there is a lot of wedding info out there on all the things you should do and take it with a grain a salt. There is nothing you HAVE to do on your wedding day besides marry the love of your life! Everything else is just icing on the cake :) So if you want to spend less time taking photos and more time hanging out at a bar before your ceremony or actually going to cocktail then I am ALL for it. My job is not to tell you what your day should look like. My job is to document it exactly how it is. I am, of course here to also help out with logistics when needed.

So below are some fun things I have seen at weddings. This is not a guide on what you should do but merely inspiration for all the things you have been wanting to do but thought maybe you shouldn’t. Let 2019 and beyond be the years of throwing your best dang party exactly as you want it.

Itasca Paper Airplane Church Ceremony Exit


One of the BEST exits ever was the paper airplane exit from Katie and Jason’s wedding. They had mentioned it to me earlier and it was better than I could have imagined! It was such a cool way to have the guests feel like they were a part of the ceremony and made for one epic exit. They put paper and instructions out at the front of the church. The Priest even gave a few guidelines on what would be happening. And it was one of my favorite parts of their day!


A few years ago we were introduced to this concept where you run around and get a photo with each table over the course of one song at the reception. Lex and I loved it so much we decided to do it as ours and try to tell everyone about it! It is such a fun way to get a photo with everyone. Perfect for you to look back and see all your loved ones that attended your wedding and for everyone to have a photo with you. Gone are the days of traditional table shots. No one likes to be interrupted mid bite or conversation to pose for a photo they didn’t ask for. So this is a great way to update some old trends without killing the mood. In fact, I think this set the fun vibe of our reception when we did it :)


This was such a FUN surprise when Jimmy stood up after the first person tapped their spoon against their cup. Is there anything worse than being mid bite to have to stop and kiss your new spouse? I am all for stealing kisses on a wedding day but this can get old. We tried to avoid this by having plastic cups but one of our friends tapped his wedding ring against his beer…looking at you DEVON :) Instead of the bride and groom having to kiss when your heard a clink, Jimmy and Sophie would tell another couple to kiss. It was hilarious! Some people got really in to it :)


I think one of the best things you can do on your wedding day is give yourself more time. More time to be together, more time to party and have fun with your loved ones and less time taking up a chunk of the day for a post ceremony photo shoot. First looks are one of the best ways to do all of the above! You can have a special moment just the two of you. Really soak up that you are about to get married. And then get through all of your photos or at least most prior to the ceremony. That way you aren’t missing out on cocktail hour! Getting time then to either relax just the two of you or mingle helps you have more time to just have fun at the reception. This is not something you have to do! Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony is magical too. I did have one bride though say she felt sooo anxious to see her future husband and those nerves instantly went away the moment she saw him . Seeing each other and having more time together helped calm those nerves! Then she got back to just having a great time. Gwen and Joel’s first look gave them time to finish decorating their venue together.


This one really applies to beach weddings but I just loved how unique they made their ceremony! Again, it was another cool way to have guests feel like they were involved in your day. Before the ceremony really even began, the officiant announced to everyone that when the ceremony was over to make their way to the water. During the ceremony, they had passed around stones and asked everyone to make a wish or bless the stone for Nina and Tim. Then toss those blessings and wishes into the ocean. It was pretty awesome to be a part of. You may not be getting married at the beach but an idea like this can definitely be incorporated into your day!

Guys Getting Ready Western Suburbs


Guys take WAY less time to get ready then the ladies. Often times they are already dressed ahead of schedule when Lex, Zachary, or another second shooter gets there. And we get it. Having someone in your business while you are getting dressed and aren’t a fan of photos can make you feel nervous. But one of the biggest regrets a friend of ours has from their wedding day is that there aren’t any photos of her husband getting ready and hanging out. I am not saying you have to get dressed or get those shots. Or that you have to do a billion group photos. But I think if you have tons of time before the first look or ceremony just plan an activity to do. Like playing cards. Or getting a hair cut. Or having drinks. Or whatever the heck you want! That way you can have an awesome time with your friends, we will capture those fun moments, and you don’t have to feel like you unfairly got 2 more hours of group photo time. We had a group get ready in the game room of the grooms’s house where they had drinks at the bar and then played fuse ball. It was awesome!

Kilbuck Creek Wedding


When I met up with Patrick and Melyssa to discuss wedding collections and their day, they told me how Patrick and one of the groomsmen had been working on this special beer. They were SO excited to have it ready to go by the big day and hoped to have time to drink it. They asked if I could get photos if it worked out. I told them we for sure had to make this happen! 1) because how awesome is it that they brewed this beer? and 2) it was something they loved to do and was important to them. Your day is not about a 3 hour photoshoot. Especially if you aren’t into a 3 hour photo shoot. Your day is about YOU. And you are probably thinking, Mackenzie you say this all the time. But I don’t think I can stress it enough. Let’s do the things that make you happy on your wedding. And we will be there to capture it all :) So for Patrick and Melissa they all got glasses and tried the new beer. It was a great way to give the bridal party a break from group photos and for us to get some of them just hanging out.


This was also from Patrick and Melyssa’s wedding! We had a ton of fun that day :) Bring out your sparklers, your glow sticks, your goofy hats and PARTY. Patrick and Melyssa had it all. The moment the DJ turned the dance music on, people grabbed these giant glow sticks and went straight to the floor. They even brought props form the Photo Booth out, and had a fun time with sparklers.

Renwick mansion Iowa


We have had a few weddings with food trucks and it is so much fun! Now that food is becoming more important at weddings, couples are always looking for ways to make dinner delicious and exciting. And one of those ways has been food trucks. Rachel and Marlania had a taco truck and a brick oven station set up. The food was AMAZING.


This was definitely a first at Micayla and Tim’s wedding. They had a list of activities the bridal party had to perform (like stealing something from a guest or finding someone who is more attractive than you). The bridal party got super into it and the ending was a bit intense! So fun to watch.


I adored Cori and Dan’s day for so many reasons. One of the biggest being that their day was 100% them! They were married at Byron Forest Preserve, drank beers in a camping trailer before their reception, the guys weren’t in tuxes. It was just a fun laid back day! Cori was such an awesome bride. She wanted a simple dress that didn’t cost much but she looked incredible. She also had to be barefoot during the ceremony. That was a first! And totally her. She also wore a gorge flower crown and created her own bouquet and bouquet wreaths for her ladies. Their reception was full of craft beer bottles because that is one of their favorite things to do, check out new local craft beer. Their wedding was a huge inspiration to ours!


Carol and Erik weren’t the only ones to have a Mariachi Band at their wedding but they were the first for us! And it was such an unique part of their day. The band played during cocktail hour and for parts of their reception. You don’t often see live music at weddings anymore but it is so fun when it is incorporated! They even had a band play for the first part of the reception and a DJ finished the night. Talk about an awesome collection of music :)


Danielle had mentioned her dad and her were going to start off with a traditional father-daughter dance and then transition into dancing to all these fun songs. It was awesome! They even had Daniels’s husband, their son, and her bothers (along with confetti poppers) join in. By the end of the song everyone was on the dance floor. Talk about a great way to get the party going! Danielle and Zac knew how to throw an awesome party.


Sparklers aren’t new but aren’t they just so much fun?? Whether you use them as an awesome exit, photos with your bridal party or have your guests light for your first dance, I think sparklers are always a great idea :D Whitney and Rob had a huge gorgeous sparkler exit at their wedding!


Annemarie and Lawson had a list of places they were dying to shoot at. They LOVE Chicago and wanted to check out a few staples on their wedding day. I was all for running around the city. And even more so when they said there was room on the party bus for us. Guys, I will never turn down an invite to ride with you on the bus :) This is such a great way for you and your friends to relax, hang out, and just have a freaking awesome time. I am not there to direct but just have fun with you and capture these awesome moments! And because they had this party bus (and an amazing group of friends up for anything) we miraculously got to all 4 of their locations mid day in Chicago on a Saturday!


We are seeing this more and more couples choosing to add video to their collection which I love! We offer both photo and video. My husband and brother are my main videographers and when we all get to work together it is SO DANG FUN. Video is also a wonderful way to per a new perspective on your day. There is just something so special about reliving moments you remember and moments you didn’t know were happening through video clips. All video collections come with this style of video set to fun music that reflects your day.