Steal-worthy Wedding Ideas

Over the past 18 years, we at Alaska Bride & Groom have seen thousands of great ideas carried out by creative local couples. Some are straight-up money savers and some are downright divine details, yet all have one thing in common: they’re about making a special day extraordinary. Here are a few of our favorites that we feel stand the test of time. Go ahead, st4al some of these ideas and make them your own!

Great Arrivals

Why arrive at your wedding by car or limo when you can arrive atop a fire truck with sirens wailing? That’s just one of the many unique arrivals (and departures) we’ve seen. Others include a golf cart, sea kayak, dog sled, horseback, jet skis, snowmachines, floatplane and, yes, even a dumptruck (the groom owned a demolition company). But who can’t smile thinking of the one ceremony that began with the groom, best man, and bride’s two young sons riding up in a 1950 Chevy truck to the theme song from the “Dukes of Hazzard.” The adorable little boys also drove remote control monster trucks, to which the rings were
secured, up the aisle with huge smiles on their faces.

Photo credit: Chugach Peaks Photography

Theme Weddings

A themed wedding puts a new spin on tradition, and it can be a lot of fun to plan, too. Limited only by your imagination, consider choosing a theme that fits both of your personalities or lifestyles. One couple, with a love of airplanes, had their aviation-themed wedding at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. Their guest book was an actual metal propeller, found at a parts shop for old planes. The cupcakes were topped with chocolate airplanes, and songs like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Come Fly With Me” played during the reception. The bride even found cufflinks of the groom’s favorite airplane, a P40 Warhawk, to give him before the ceremony. Other couples have incorporated antlers into the centerpieces, fishing poles into the bouquets, and hockey sticks into the ceremony arch.

Photo credit: Vadym Guliuk

Happily Ever Laughter: Lighter moments from real Alaska weddings

BEST MOMENT OF CONFUSION
“During the ceremony, Scott and I forgot our lines, so Scott said ‘line please,’” remembers Amy. “I turned to the crowd and said ‘sorry, this is our first time’ and everyone in the audience laughed.”

BEST SURPRISE
Throughout the engagement, Christian had been teasing Marta saying that he wanted to have a pirate-themed wedding, describing in detail what it would look like. Marta had different plans, of course, but she got the last laugh by presenting Christian with a pirate ship cake as the groom’s cake. The groomsmen were in on the joke, too. “They presented the cake wearing pirates’ hats, eye patches and swords, pulling Marta out on a rope and yelling as any pirate would,” Christian fondly recalls.

BEST WEDDING DIRECTIONS
Megan and Travis, both in the travel industry, borrowed a beverage cart from Alaska Airlines. Decorated with flowers, the cart was pushed down the aisle by two flight attendant friends. “They served champagne and cookies while a third flight attendant gave a speech/briefing on safety, the nearest ‘lavatories’ and the ‘federal requirements’ of the wedding, such as signing the guest book and visiting the photo booth. It was a hilarious way to set the tone for our fun day.”

MOST ADORABLE RING BEARER AND FLOWER GIRL
During one ceremony, when the 4-year-old ring bearer heard the pastor mention the honeymoon, “his voice resonated over everything else as he asked, ‘What’s a honeymoon?’ After quietly being told it was a vacation, he loudly announced that he wanted a honeymoon and the 4-year-old flower girl next to him demanded that she wanted a honeymoon, too! Of course, the entire place roared with laughter.”

BEST PRE-WEDDING TEST
At one German couple’s wedding, the groomsmen wore long leather pants called bundehosen, and the bridesmaids wore dirndls. For drinks? The whole wedding party had handmade beer steins. For music? A tuba and accordion, of course. But our favorite part: After the vows, the bride and groom had a test to see if they were a good match: Using a two-person crosscut saw, together they had to saw a log of wood in half. Sweaty work, but they proved their strength and teamwork as a couple.

MOST DANGEROUS GARTER
Garters can be risky business for some grooms. At one wedding, the bride wore hip waders, and the groom was unaware that her garter was full of fishing lures. He recalls the moment with amusement: “One of them happened to stick in my lip as I removed (the garter) with my teeth!”

MOST PAINFUL ESCAPE
One groom recalls a humorous (yet painful) moment of the day – involving little bags of rice. “People were supposed to untie them and throw the rice, but hardly anyone did. When we walked out, we got pelted with the bags. They were like big rocks. We got in the truck, and had red marks all over our arms!”

WORST WEDDING SHOES
The night before her big day, Sherise’s dog, an English bulldog named Fender, dug her wedding shoes out of their box and chewed them up. “I didn’t have time to purchase new ones, so I wore them anyway!”

BEST WEDDING CRASHER
For the guests at one Otter Lake Lodge wedding – many of whom had flown in from out of state – the “friendly black bear” was the highlight of the day. “The catering staff was on the second story of the lodge with the back door open when this bear decided to just wander in and check things out,” says the bride. “He was a pretty small bear, and one of the wait staff actually gave him a friendly pet because at first glance she thought it was a dog that had wandered in!” The guests thought the wedding couple had the bear brought in special for the occasion. “We had to explain to them that no, this is Alaska, and these things just happen,” she says with a laugh.

MOST DANGEROUS GARTER
Garters can be risky business for some grooms. At one wedding, the bride wore hip waders, and the groom was unaware that her garter was full of fishing lures. He recalls the moment with amusement: “One of them happened to stick in my lip as I removed (the garter) with my teeth!”

MOST PAINFUL ESCAPE
One groom recalls a humorous (yet painful) moment of the day – involving little bags of rice. “People were supposed to untie them and throw the rice, but hardly anyone did. When we walked out, we got pelted with the bags. They were like big rocks. We got in the truck, and had red marks all over our arms!”

WORST WEDDING SHOES
The night before her big day, Sherise’s dog, an English bulldog named Fender, dug her wedding shoes out of their box and chewed them up. “I didn’t have time to purchase new ones, so I wore them anyway!”

BEST WEDDING CRASHER
For the guests at one Otter Lake Lodge wedding – many of whom had flown in from out of state – the “friendly black bear” was the highlight of the day. “The catering staff was on the second story of the lodge with the back door open when this bear decided to just wander in and check things out,” says the bride. “He was a pretty small bear, and one of the wait staff actually gave him a friendly pet because at first glance she thought it was a dog that had wandered in!” The guests thought the wedding couple had the bear brought in special for the occasion. “We had to explain to them that no, this is Alaska, and these things just happen,” she says with a laugh.

Guest Books with a Twist

Forget the boring guest book. We love how one couple bought Alaska-themed postcards so their guests could write on them with marriage advice, words of wisdom or good wishes. They placed the postcards next to a mailbox and asked guests to “Mail the Newlyweds a Postcard!” The next day, the postcards were placed in the mail. “It was really fun getting the cards in the mail at our new home after our honeymoon!” Other couples have used a variety of items for guests to sign – from boat oars to musical instruments. One couple purchased a large metal sign of their last name and a metal engraver. Each of their guests engraved their names into the metal, and the piece now doubles as wall décor in their home – a great way to “remember the wonderful people that we spent the best day of our lives with.” Another couple set up an activity table where guests could suggest date night ideas for the newlyweds and leave them a “message in a bottle” to be read on their one-year anniversary.

Photo credit: Chugach Peaks Photography

A Ceremony within the Ceremony

A sand ceremony is an easily customized ritual wherein different colored sands representing the couple are added to a container and combined. This can be especially touching when children are a part of the new family and can add their colored sand to the mix. One local couple combined white sand from the groom’s home state of Florida with black sand from the bride’s home state of Hawaii. Another couple combined glacial silt from the groom’s home in Fairbanks with soil from the farm where the bride grew up. It’s also a sweet and personal keepsake of your day.

Table Time

Will guests be spending a lot of time at their tables during the reception? Personalize the experience by including a photo collage or trivia cards at each table that feature fun and quirky facts about the couple – all will serve as great icebreakers. For a twist on table numbers, consider surprising guests with table names unique to you and your groom. Get inspired by your favorite things about Alaska, favorite love songs, nicknames you gave each other or dream travel destinations. For example, one couple who loved skiing used ski resort names for table numbers and the place cards were lift tickets.

Signature Sounds

Who says you have to stick with traditional ceremony music? Hire a cellist or quartet to play an instrumental version of your favorite rock song that has a special meaning for both of you. One bride walked down the aisle to a beautiful instrumental version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Another bride and her father walked down the aisle to Enya’s “Only Time” and at the end of the ceremony, the couple walked out as man and wife to “Sweet Home Alabama” as the audience cheered.

Eat, Drink & Be Married

Want to showcase your unique tastes and personalities through food and drink? Couples are incorporating creative self-serve stations and build-your-own bars – from mashed potato bars to hot cocoa bars (where guests add their toppings). Bonus: these stations are interactive, allow for better traffic flow and get people chatting – an excellent ice-breaker. Not sweet on the traditional wedding cake idea? Consider a non-cake wedding cake with tiers of cookies, pancakes or even cheese! We love how one couple treated guests to a dessert table brimming with gourmet caramel apples, pecan tassies, miniature cheesecakes, chocolate truffles and homemade pies.

Local Flavor

Treat your out-of-town guests to a taste of Alaska with local flavors like grilled Alaska salmon or halibut, king crab dip, locally brewed beer and blueberry wine. Send them home with a personalized bottle of wine made from local fruits, mini jars of salmonberry or blueberry jam, or chocolate-covered blueberries. One couple incorporated their love of Alaska with a cake hand-painted with mountains, a glacier and glacial lake, and a meadow with fireweed.

Guest Games

During the cocktail hour or before the ceremony, keep guests entertained with some lawn games – an easy ice breaker for those who might not know a lot of people. Games like croquet, mini-golf, oversized board games, giant Jenga, cornhole, ring toss and giant dominoes are always a favorite.

Guest Goodies

We like the idea of pampering your guests with welcome baskets when they arrive at their hotel, but even more, we love it when brides plan ahead with personalized provisions for the big day. One great example: Welcome baskets filled with mosquito repellent and monogrammed water bottles for guests attending a wedding in the great outdoors. We also loved the tropical-themed wedding where each guest was greeted with a white lei. Three of the leis held a secret gold ribbon that was later announced at the reception, and the “winners” received floral
arrangements as gifts. Another couple made 160 bottles of secret family
recipe barbecue sauce with a recipe passed down from the bride’s grandmother.

Photo credit: Weddingstar

Breakfast Brunch Weddings

Every year, brunch weddings seem to gain in popularity – and they’re perfect for the smaller budget. The food options and the venue site will be more affordable, and the expense of serving alcohol will be virtually eliminated. But if you still want to serve adult beverages like mimosas or champagne punch, people tend to imbibe more cautiously during the day. Another bonus: There will be plenty of time later in the day for smaller parties with close friends and family, or for group events such as a softball game, boating or sightseeing. After all, some guests have traveled great distances to be with you and you want to spend as much time with them as you can.

Pet Projects

Pets are a treasured part of the family so many couples are letting them take important roles in the wedding day such as serving as ring bearer. One couple that met through dog mushing had their 2-year-old dog team leader walk down the aisle as a groomsman. At one backyard wedding reception, the couple’s pet played bartender. The clever black lab’s job was to fetch and deliver beer from the ice bucket. He was quite the entertainment. No word on whether or not he checked IDs. Another couple invited the neighborhood llamas, and their presence was a big hit with the guests – young and old.

Photo credit: Vadym Guliuk

Perfection is Overrated

Take this sage advice as your planning your big day: Don’t plan for perfection. If you anticipate a mishap or two, you’ll be much better able to “roll with the punches,” notes one wedding planner. Sometimes it’s the “mishaps” that create the warmest memories of the day. After all, the only real crises are “no bride, no groom, no license or no officiant.” Anything else can be fixed, ignored or laughed at. Our favorite? The laughter. Read on for some of the funniest moments from real Alaska weddings over the years.