Rebel Rebel

Break tradition for an unforgettable wedding day. Written by Rebecca Voigt

It’s Time to break the rules.
Weddings are steeped in tradition, but the most memorable celebrations step outside of the box in ways both big and small. From making a fashion statement with multiple dresses to asking your adult sibling to serve as ring bearer, some of metro Detroit’s top wedding professionals share the unique ways they’ve seen — or would like to see — couples break tradition on their wedding day.



Two dresses are better than one for sure — it adds photographic interest and it’s dress insurance in case something happens to the first. Pick out a fun second dress that you can really move in for the late-night dance floor!

—Blaine Siesser, Photographer, Blaine Siesser Photography


One unique way that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing couples push the envelope on their wedding day is when they include their pets into the day. Whether it be having their fur babies present when they are getting ready, the actual wedding ceremony, some pictures added to their cocktail napkins or even a framed painted pet portrait where the couple snaps some photos. How sweet is it to see a German Shepherd in a tuxedo walk down the aisle with a wood sign around his neck? It’s probably one of my favorite wedding ideas ever!

—Shannon Bishop, Hair Stylist, Shannon Bishop Hair



I just love watching couples do it their way all around! Don’t like cake? Don’t have a cake! Don’t want bouquets for your bridesmaids? Give them wearable floral instead! Have your grandparents or friends be the flower girls instead of small children. You don’t need to serve the traditional chicken or beef — you can serve tacos for dinner! Wait to take your honeymoon when it makes sense for you, not just because it’s the day after your wedding. Remember this is your day and your time to share with family and friends who you really are as a couple.

—Erin Schmidt, Owner and Lead Photographer, Erin Schmidt Photography


I love to see couples breaking away from traditional white weddings and embracing color. You can use color to set your wedding apart and, more importantly, reflect your unique style and personality. Colorful florals or a wardrobe change to a playful outfit for the dance floor are great ways to incorporate color into your celebration.

—Liz Mally, Owner and Lead Designer, Betsy and Bobbie



My favorite way that couples break tradition is opting for a bold, colorful wedding cake on their big day. Even a cake in a solid color can be striking when guests are expecting white.

—Heather Leavitt, Owner, Sweet Heather Anne


I’d love to see more couples get creative with their seating displays. It’s traditional to see a table of escort cards, which are commonly small folded tents, with the guest’s name and table number. Instead of going this traditional route, I love to see couples creating large displays that may be interactive or oversized. I’ve designed oversized seating charts that included a life size photo of the couple or a three-piece display that was designed to mimic a passenger boarding schedule because their reception was held in an actual renovated train station. A few interactive seating displays I’ve designed include a board that had a photo collage of their family and friends that was revealed as guests pulled off small envelopes with their names and seating cards inside of them. Another one was for a foodie couple whose event planner partnered with me to set up a display with painted cast iron skillets and applied custom labels to each of them with the guests’ names and tables along with a sign that read, “What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin” — so fun, right?! All of these non-traditional ways of getting guests to their seats provide couples with another area to incorporate their wedding branding into their decor, fun photo opps, and something unique and one-of-a-kind for their guests to experience, all while giving the couple the ability to infuse more of their personality and things they may love to do.

— Le’Trice Penn, Owner and Lead Designer, LePenn Designs



Our favorite trend is couples doing their engagement ring shopping together. There are so many engagement ring options beyond what is considered traditional and everyone has their own lifestyle, personal style, and story to tell through their jewelry and in planning their wedding. Getting married is a big life decision and it’s exciting to see both partners getting involved in the ring buying process. At Elaine B. Jewelry we are all about relationships, stories and processes. We love hearing about couples’ lives together and designing the perfect ring for them.

—Elaine Jaeger, Founder and Lead Designer, Elaine B. Jewelry


I love when couples choose to break the rules and do their own thing. I’ve seen people find fun ways to incorporate their pets, wear pops of color, rock pantsuits instead of dresses, and so much more. Picking one thing that I would like to see is excluding littles as ring bearers and flower people. Too many times I’ve seen littles break down in tears or even throw full tantrums when it’s their turn. Yes, they may have done a fabulous job during rehearsal, but rehearsals aren’t in front of a full room of people they may not know. I saw an IG Reel that was brilliant! A bride had her brothers take those positions and it was everything. They made the guests laugh, had exaggerated movements to a fun, romantic song, and just had a good time. I’d love to see more of that, and if I ever have a wedding, I’m so going that route.

— Chettara T. Hunter, Photographer and Creative Director, Chettara T. Photography


Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I always tell my couples “Do You” — which can mean many things and has taken on multiple definitions and presentations over the years. For example, I recently worked with a couple who had very specific things that they didn’t want for their wedding day and some other inclusions that were non-negotiable. At the end of our initial meeting, I told them that what they wanted was an “Un-Wedding,” which we deemed as a celebration of their love and future together with very minimal inclusions built on what is considered wedding protocol. The end result was a wedding ceremony and dinner with their closest family and friends aboard a local yacht, followed the next day by a celebration attended by 200 plus guests that took the place of a traditional reception. The celebration was held at their lakeside home and included a variety of casino tables, personalized casino chips, a snack table featuring Michigan small businesses, custom drink service, an ice cream cart with multiple dipping options, an epic 32-foot grazing and small bites table, lawn games, and lake access. Ultimately, their love was the primary focus. The “Un-Wedding” was a celebration that I hope can set a precedent for more couples to toss protocols to the side and “Do You” when it comes to their weddings.

—Ryan Abney, Owner, Ryan Abney Event Design