Wedding Talk with Grace and Mariah: The Art of Being Non-Traditional

Wedding Talk with Grace and Mariah is a blog series about KML weddings, with expert insights and advice from Marketing and Events Manager, Grace Schmitz, and Events Coordinator, Mariah Summers.

At the Lodge, we think a wedding should be extremely personal, with every element reflecting the uniqueness of the couple’s lifestyle and tastes. More often than not, this can mean something that isn’t the usual white dress, matching suits, classic flowers, and tiered cake. Of course the classic wedding is always beautiful (that’s why it’s classic!), but in an age wherein everything we do is posted online, there is a lot of creativity on display and some couples find themselves inspired to do something out of the ordinary. 

Below are some ideas and guides for incorporating non-traditional elements into your wedding. Whether you want the whole thing to be outside of the norm or just need help figuring out how to put your own stamp on your ceremony or reception, we have you covered. Once you’re done here, be sure to check out our Pinterest board “The Art of Being Non-Traditional” for visuals we found particularly fun. 

Maybe the white dress or classic suit/tux are just what you want. If so, you can skip ahead. Grace always said if she ever got married, she would wear something unexpected, like a dramatic coat, a bespoke suit, or a black dress. Earlier this year, one of our brides looked absolutely stunning in a navy velvet gown. Even if you aren’t prepared to go full Sarah Jessica Parker and wear, say, black taffeta, you can look for something with a pop of color, embroidery, or unusual cut. Same goes for suits. Experiment with different fabrics like linen, or forgo a jacket and tie completely. Maybe wear your grandpa’s favorite paisley shirt from the 1970’s, you do you and wear what makes you happy. 


Candles, vases of flowers, and strings of lights are always beautiful and easy to set up. But this can easily be modified to make your reception memorable. Following our earlier advice and getting married up here in October? Get some mini pumpkins and instead of flowers, use bouquets of fall leaves. Bunches of greenery, evergreen boughs, or live plants are also lovely. While we provide our own linens as part of our packages, using runners in a print or unexpected fabric would add something different. 


The ceremony is really a place that you can easily throw in a non-traditional element. Writing your own vows is one way to make it very personal, but what if your wedding requires certain rites to be performed? Take a hard look at your wedding party. If you want your four big brothers to be by your side instead of your sorority sisters, then skip bridesmaids. Make your favorite cousin your best woman, or your man of honor. Or don’t have a wedding party at all. Again, depending on religious necessities, you could choose to get married in an unusual location, like one of the preserved ghost towns in the Keweenaw or just the two of you at the top of a lighthouse. Grace performs ceremonies for the Lodge and is comfortable with weddings just about anywhere…except sky diving. Please don’t make her go sky diving.

Parties, Food, and Music

The wedding festivities start not with the reception, but with a bachelor or bachelorette party. If you choose to have one, you will notice that many people head to a party town like Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville, or Cancun. Instead maybe plan a coed party, take a sea kayaking lesson together at Keweenaw Adventure Company, then pop some corks while watching the sunset on Brockway. Or get a party bus and hit every brewery from Houghton to Copper Harbor. At the actual reception, play with different floor plans. Don’t have a head table, or just have a sweetheart table for the two of you. Maybe you want to have it bierhaus style, with several long tables. 

If the days are getting shorter and you’d like to maximize daylight, have a brunch or lunch reception instead. When we sat down to plan this blog, we realized that an excellent way of managing your food budget would be to have a “build-your-own-something” buffet. Taco bars, BYO mac and cheese, noodle bowl, baked potato, nachos, etc would a) take care of a bunch of different dietary and personal preferences and b) cost less. Last year, a couple had tacos and pulled pork sliders for their dinner, which fit their fun, laid-back style perfectly.

When if comes to music, do what you love. If you want to have a fast, fun first dance, or use an unusual song, do it up. Mariah recently attended a wedding where the first dance was done to a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” that was truly moving and really stuck with her. Maybe get a polka band, a bluegrass group, or do nothing but EDM (electronic dance music for the uninitiated), who knows, maybe Grandma will really enjoy Steve Aoki. 

Want to learn more about our vision? Head over to Pinterest and click our blog board “The Art of Being Non-Traditional” to get an idea of where our heads are.

Stay tuned for Edition 3 of Wedding Talk “Hair and Makeup Probablys and Probably Shouldn’ts “

Love, Grace and Mariah

One Reply to “Wedding Talk with Grace and Mariah: The Art of Being Non-Traditional”

  1. As a wedding videographer this is full of awesome wedding ideas! We did something similar but same idea. Keep it you, keep it fun, keep it interesting. You don’t have to go and spend a ton just do it right. Great article! If you ever want to run some wedding videography questions just let me know 🙂 Cailen owner of Rocking Chair Productions

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Last modified on July 24th, 2019 at 7:52 pm