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7 Offbeat Wedding Ideas for Your Big Day

7 Offbeat Wedding Ideas for Your Big Day

There are certain wedding traditions that everyone assumes they have to adhere to. But what if you were willing to embrace the idea that almost none of them are an absolute requirement? The truth is that there is very little that you’re legally required to do, but social expectations may make you consider having a wedding day that is just like everyone else’s. To avoid this, add in at least a few offbeat touches that allow you and your future spouse to showcase your unique personalities.

1. Alternatives to a Wedding Cake

The average cost of a wedding cake is rapidly approaching $500. Aside from the cost factor, many people admit later on that they weren’t even all that impressed with their cake. Therefore, why should you have one? This is one wedding tradition that is practically begging to be skipped, and there are so many fun alternatives. Doughnuts are becoming increasingly popular, and you could also have a dessert bar instead. Or think even further outside the box by utilizing your favorite sweet treat.

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2. Reexamine Wedding Favors

Many of your guests will not remember to take their wedding favors home, especially if they are of the traditional variety. You can skip the favors altogether if you put something else together to entertain your guests. If you wish to provide a favor or two, though, make it something memorable that people will truly want to keep. Customized slippers are an unusual but thoughtful wedding idea that will make it easier for people to have fun dancing. Add a photo booth or some S’mores to the mix and your guests are certain to love your wedding favors!

3. Skip the Fancy Dinner

Are you and your fiancée fancy dinner type of people? If the answer is no, it makes no sense to serve a black tie event type meal that contains food most people can’t even pronounce. Instead of spending up to $73 per guest for catering, opt for a buffet that has some of your favorites. Pizza buffets are a nice touch for a wedding with a more casual vibe or you could have a barbecue to keep things fun. Your guests would also enjoy a buffet that’s full of everyone’s favorite comfort food such as mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and macaroni and cheese. This will save you money, and it will also provide a meal that people will look back on fondly.

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4. Pick a Personal Theme

Weddings are often over-the-top and are not even a good representation of the couple getting married. Keep your budget in line by avoiding pretty but unnecessary décor that has nothing to do with who the two of you actually are. Instead, select a theme that includes a mutual favorite such as Halloween, football or Star Wars. From there, you can choose appropriate and fun décor that is guaranteed to be a conversation starter. Don’t forget to include the theme in every aspect of your wedding. For example, if you choose Star Wars, you can use music from the movies during your ceremony. Don’t be afraid to mix two themes if this lets the two of you express yourselves more fully.

5. Encourage Conversations with a Quiet Area

Sitting inside a reception venue is usually noisy and not very conducive to actual conversations. To help people have the best of both worlds, have a DJ or band keep the party going indoors and set up a quiet area outside. If you have chosen a reception venue that has the appropriate space outside, you can build a bonfire. If there is nowhere for people to go outside that is safe and appropriate, consider setting aside a room indoors for people who want to take a breather from the reception hall.

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6. Create Something Artistic Together

Exchanging rings is a tradition you will most likely keep, but there are many other things you can add to your ceremony. A prime example for people who are even the slightest bit artistic is to sketch, draw or paint something together after you say your vows. This doesn’t have to be something big that will take a long time. Instead, choose something you can do together in 5 minutes or less. It may not be a masterpiece, but it will be something worth hanging on your wall. And if you want it to be more detailed, the two of you can finish it later.

7. Hide Your Favorite Color under Your Dress

If you decide not to eschew tradition altogether by getting an alternative wedding dress, you can still spice things up by adding a splash of color beneath the dress. This is easily accomplished with a petticoat or a crinoline, and it’s also a good way to add one of your wedding colors to your outfit. Red looks amazing next to a white or ivory dress, as will many other colors.

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Ultimately, your wedding day is all about you and your future spouse. Therefore, it’s wise to put aside any traditions that you aren’t comfortable with. Incorporate your personalities and the history of your relationship as much as possible to make the day truly special. By making some careful choices, you can have an offbeat wedding that is fun and affordable.

Featured photo credit: lindico via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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