Alternative Wedding Day Portrait Ideas

Maybe this is just me, but hopefully, some of you can agree that the typical wedding day poses are getting a little bit redundant. Don’t you think? Yeah, pretty posing and pictures are always cool but in all honesty, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. Standing around for 40 minutes for photos that will either be slapped on a wall or looked at again isn’t the move.

As my experience as a Chicago Wedding Photographer, I’ve crafted my documentary-style wedding photography in a way that allows my couples to not only get those pretty posed photos but more importantly, have photos that stand out and make you feel that much more special. These alternative wedding day portrait ideas will hopefully give you a bit more insight into how many options you have to make your wedding day photos that much more unique and much more fun for everyone involved.

What Do You Mean By Alternative Wedding Day Portrait Ideas?

First things first, what exactly do I mean by alternative wedding day portraits? Let’s be clear about one thing. I am by no means bashing formal and perfectly posed images. A few formal photographs are incredibly important to show who was present on your wedding day. You know, like those photos with you and your best friend because let’s face it… real best friends have no photos together – lol.

However, rather than solely relying on these types of formal photos to curate and tell your wedding day love story, I have a better idea. Choosing a location or activity that is special to you, your partner, and/or your friends can give you some of the best results. Not only that, but everyone can relax in the moment and your photos come out way more organic and authentic in the moment. That’s what it’s all about.

The best type of moment on a wedding day is being able to capture you in your element having fun. Rather than focusing on capturing the “perfect” moment, focus on creating an experience that will give you perfect moments. By now, you’re possibly intrigued so I am going to give you some better alternatives to spend your time that ~everyone~ will enjoy and thank you for. These are especially great for super hot summer weddings and dead-of-winter weddings where no one wants to be outside!

Pick An Activity Everyone Can Participate In

A great way to avoid those overdone wedding portrait poses is to pick an activity that everyone can participate in. Especially your wedding party! Most recently, Sarah and Eric went to the Emporium Arcade at Fulton Market where we all got a small bucket of tokens to play games with. The entire time everyone was hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. Afterward, everyone was raving about the experience as opposed to standing around forever for portraits. If you’re wondering if we still had time to capture a few of the more traditional-style images, the answer is YES!

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some of you may want to lean more towards another type of activity. This could be an early morning golfing sesh or in the case of Jay and his groomsmen, he treated them to a morning of bowling! Yes, you read that right. They had a ball (pun intended) and was a perfect way to spice up their wedding day morning and have some fun while doing it!

Activities You Can Do On Your Wedding Day

If you want to step outside of the box for your wedding day portraits and are interested in doing an activity, here is a list of just some of the many activities we could incorporate on your special day.

  • Arcade bar
  • Bowling
  • Ice skating
  • Ice cream date
  • Mini golf
  • Your favorite bar for a celebratory drink
  • Your favorite brewery with board games
  • Your favorite record/music store
  • Your favorite thrift shop/local bookstore
  • A restaurant/fast food for a snack
  • Boat tour/water taxi trip
  • Christkindlemarket around the holidays

These are some of the many ways that we can spice up your wedding day with an activity that the whole gang will enjoy!

Hang Out Sesh

If an activity really isn’t your thing, don’t worry because we have other alternative wedding day portrait ideas. Another great way to break outside of tradition for your wedding day portraits is setting aside time for a hang-out sesh with all of your friends.

For Payton and Charlie’s wedding day, they opted to set aside time to head back to their parent’s house and have a hang-out sesh with the rest of their wedding party. Everyone was sitting, drinking, and even had a quick game of beer pong to unwind in the middle of the day. It was a goal mine of moments to capture where everyone could get away from all of the “go, go, go” stress of the day and re-center themselves together. It truly was a beautiful moment to witness and one of my favorites from 2023.

View Charlie and Payton’s wedding day extravaganza here!

Make A Wedding Day Moment Out Of It

I am a firm believer in turning the grandiose nature of your wedding day into itty bitty small moments of pure joy. While much of what I said above can apply to you and your wedding party, this can also apply to newlywed portraits with just you and your partner.

After tying the knot, Angelica and Dennis stopped by their favorite Asian market they visit often for a quick snack break. We got mochi donuts, browsed the aisles, and soaked in this rather untraditional moment between the newlyweds. The entire time Dennis was gushing to every single person he saw, “We just got married and this is the first thing that we’re doing together!!”. A pure and genuine moment between newlyweds that made it all the more intimate and special to capture.

Alternative Wedding Day Portrait Ideas

Everything that we’ve touched on in this blog can apply to both newlywed portraits as well as portraits with your wedding party. Keep in mind that if you do choose to incorporate an activity on your wedding day it is dependent on your event location and what is nearby. We want to be realistic here, especially with your wedding day timeline! Depending on what you choose, you can either bring everyone with you for a party pit stop or keep it simple with just the two of you and have a little getaway moment.

At the end of the day though, what matters most is being able to celebrate your wedding day your way. Break outside the scope of tradition and do what feels right for you. Your wedding day can be adventurous and fun and as out of the box as you want it to be, in fact, I encourage it!

Get In Touch! | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Hey, I’m Emma! A Chicago Wedding and Elopement Photographer ready to document your day in a candid and documentary style. If you enjoyed learning some alternative wedding day portrait ideas, inquire here, and let’s chat through the vision of your wedding day!

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