How does an 'anti-wedding' look like?

3 min read

How does an 'anti-wedding' look like?

Modern weddings have turned into a competitive showdown. Who has the best photo booth setup? Who is she wearing? Did they hire the wedding planner du jour? Who’s the chef behind the reception’s seven-course meal? It has become such a spectacle that couples often forget about the wedding's most basic elements: the wedded couple, the official document certifying the marriage, and selected loved ones. Even the first two are enough. Today, this isn’t the case anymore in our status-sensitive age.

The stress and expenses pile up along with the pressure to throw the perfect wedding. No wonder couples have their biggest fights during the wedding planning, and it's no surprise that some of them turn into anti-wedding people.

Read: Keeping Your Relationship Alive During Wedding Planning

Anti-wedding doesn’t equate to the non-existence of a wedding at all. It’s a movement that nixes perceived wedding essentials and strips down the frivolities into basics suited to the couple’s tastes. "Uncontrived" would be the best description of it.

It’s meant to lift the pressure off the couple, most of all. Here’s how an “anti-wedding wedding” would be planned:

Anti-Bride Ensemble

When fashion icon and socialite Olivia Palermo married her long-time boyfriend Johannes Huebl, they opted for a no-frills, intimate wedding that was a little unexpected from someone of their stature. The whole world didn’t know about it until after they tied the knot.

 anti-wedding gown

Photo by Johannes Huebl via Olivia Palermo

Only a few photos of their wedding were released, including the photo of her wedding attire. Palermo wore a cream cashmere sweatshirt and white shorts, topped with a tulle overlay skirt – all by Carolina Herrera. She kept her makeup light and her hair tied in a simple ponytail.

Brides don’t need Carolina Herrera for an elegant, anti-wedding look but they can pull-off an Olivia Palermo by wearing separates on the big day. It’s also more practical to get separate pieces because you can use them after the wedding. Keep your top simple if you’re wearing an attention-grabbing skirt like Palermo, and vice-versa.

Quiet Restaurant Reception

anti-wedding reception

Photo by Catherine O’Hara Photography via French Wedding Style

The couple above chose to elope over a traditional wedding. They went to a restaurant for some hot chocolate and champagne.

In selecting a restaurant, don’t take the bait just because the ambiance is inviting. Taste the food too, because your guests won’t remember the ambiance if the food is terrible. Most importantly, make sure the restaurant can accommodate your guests. This brings us to the next point.

An Intimate Guest List

In wedding planning, the stakes increase along with your wedding guest list. More people means bigger venue, more food, higher budget, and higher expectations from other people, whether intentional or unintentional.  


Photo via Cherry Marry

An intimate ceremony like the one above gives you more options across any budget range. It also allows quality time with each guest and there’s no need to deal with the pressure of having a full-blown program, table arrangements, and other wedding matters that normally stress out couples.

Low-key Wedding Styling

One thing that brings couples to anti-wedding mode nowadays is the pressure on making their weddings Instagram-worthy. They obsess over the theme, even when they eventually realize that it’s not a priority area in the wedding for them.

There are so many modern weddings that are styled almost the same, too. One look and you know it’s a wedding. Not all couples dig that.

anti-wedding styling

Photo via 100 Layer Cake

The XOXO balloons add a sweet touch to this dessert table that barely looks like a wedding reception, a concept that will appeal to anti-wedding couples. You can get balloons like this here.

Non-Wedding Activities

First dance, cake-cutting, speeches – all ingredients of a typical wedding program. They may or may not suit every couple.


Photo by Essence Photo and Video via Offbeat Bride

Don’t box in your wedding program to the typical activities. Hate dancing? How about a first wedding song performance?

If your idea of wedding entertainment is nowhere near booming band music, you can turn your wedding into one big board game party. Look at those beautifully designed game boxes above.

You do you!

These anti-wedding ideas aren’t meant to turn you into a wedding grouch. Rather, they should make you realize that even if the wedding industry has already created an idea of what a perfect wedding looks like, the wedding will always be about you at the end of the day. Anything that stresses you out and leaves you broke shouldn’t be part of your wedding, even if societal pressure says otherwise. Your guests should remember that they attended your wedding and not just any cookie-cutter wedding.