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Nontraditional Ideas From a Unique Wedding Venue in Massachusetts

If you are looking to plan a unique wedding, you've come to the right place!

While there are many traditional elements that are wonderful to incorporate into your special wedding day, many couples are looking for ways to make their wedding day their own.

Hi! We are Olio, a modern event space just north of Boston, Massachusetts in a historic building, and we love unique and nontraditional couples and wedding elements. Bringing in something special to the day helps it to stand out for your guests as well as make every element of the wedding day personalized to the couple. As an added bonus: many of the unique wedding ideas listed below are ideal for couples who don't love to dance or who have guests who don't love to dance, since dancing is usually a significant portion of a typical wedding timeline.

Here are some of my recent favorite unique wedding ideas from our unique Massachusetts wedding venue!

Bride and groom play shoe game at unique New England wedding
Mark Davidson

Wedding Glitter Bar

Do you love to sparkle and shine? A wedding glitter station might be perfect for you! At a recent wedding, the bride (an art teacher) brought in a makeup artist who applied glitter makeup to guests throughout the evening. The best part? The application took only a minute or two, so guests could get right back out on the dance floor. Guests sparkled and shined all night long and had a blast checking out each other's makeup. The bride even got in on the action!

Pro Tip: check with your venue first to make sure glitter is allowed. At Olio, we welcome professional makeup artists to apply the glitter over a rug. Minimal mess and cleanup!

Glitter sparkle on Sarah Narcus owner, entrepreneur  for a unique wedding
Me with glitter!

Glitter and sparkle bar sign and decoration for unique wedding at Olio Peabody Massachusetts

Wedding Tattoo Station

Are you a bride or groom who loves tattoos and want to share this love with your guests? Looking for a unique favor for guests to take with them on the way out? Channel your inner kiddo and consider a temporary tattoo station! One of our dog-loving couple brought in custom doggy tattoos for guests to apply, as well as a selection of other tattoo options. When guests woke up the next morning, they saw the tattoos and remember what a fabulous night they had. Maybe skip the face tattoos if you have to go back to work on Monday. 😜

Pro Tip: make sure the station attendant has dedicated light so they can see what they are doing.

Tattoo stand at unique wedding guest engagement
Nicole Hunt Photo

Bride gets a temporary tattoo at her unique wedding
Nicole Hunt Photo

Live Wedding Painter

We adore seeing a wedding conveyed with paint onto canvas in "real time" onsite at a wedding. Couples select an artist who brings all of their own tools: paint, brushes, easels, light, and canvas. The painter sets up, often at the back of the ceremony or to the side of the dance floor, to create a scene from the wedding. It can take several hours (or more) to finish a live wedding painting, and guests can check in on progress throughout the night. What an incredible keepsake to hang in your living room.

Pro Tip: check with the painter if you can take the painting home that night or if it needs to be finished in studio. If it's going home, make sure to designate someone you trust to carefully transport!

Live painter at wedding unique nontraditional idea
Paul Robert Berman

Wedding Show or Wedding Performance

If you know someone who is a fabulous singing artist or dancer, consider asking them to perform at your wedding, or bringing in a professional. Guests can be entertained or even moved to tears! Last month, a bride and groom asked a guest to perform a significant song during the ceremony. Everyone paused to listen to the song and it was an incredibly special moment. If you are looking for something more upbeat, maybe a performer would be perfect to hire for a few songs. A recent couple brought in the local national anthem singer for Boston's professional hockey team. The only people knew about it in advance were the bride, groom, and us! When the singer arrived, he belted out a favorite love song and followed it up by the national anthem, during which guests rose from their seats to listen and cheer.

Pro Tip: Keep it short! Even a song or two can have a memorable impact on the wedding.

Live singer wedding performance unique idea
Paul Robert Berman
Live singer wedding performance unique idea
Paul Robert Berman

Indian dance performance at unique wedding colorful sarees
PTaufiq Photo

Video Games and Arcade Games

What a fun way to inquorate your personal hobbies into the wedding, and include guests who may not be as excited about dancing. Adding a pinball machine to your wedding can bring a delightful dose of nostalgia and friendly competition. Imagine guests of all ages giggling over bumpers, cheering on high scores, and creating connections. It's a unique way to break the ice, provide entertainment beyond the dance floor, and capture unforgettable memories in candid photos and videos.

Pro tip: be sure to choose games that align with your wedding's theme and noise level. Many weddings have the games muted for sound control.

Acrobatics and Aerialists

For couples looking for something a bit more offbeat and nontraditional, consider a local entertainment company that offers acrobatics. Typically the artist will bring all their own equipment and be ready to go. During or directly following dinner is a fabulous time to incorporate a performance of this style. Some acrobatic performers even walk around and interact with guests for a really dramatic and unique wedding experience.

Pro Tip: consider dramatic lighting for the performance to enhance the feel in the room.

Contortionist acrobat entertainment for a unique wedding event
Ceijay Photography

Aerialist hanging from silks in the air at an industrial wedding venue
Ceijay Photography

Wedding Dance Enhancers

If you love to dance and want to really step up the dance floor game, considering bringing in an enhancement to join in on the dance floor. A fun-loving couple at Olio brought in several LED Robot Dancers to their wedding reception. The light-up robots joined the dancing fun and stood over 10 feet tall. Talk about wow! Guests watched the robots dance and also joined in. A fabulous photo opportunity too!

Pro Tip: the dancers don't need to stay the whole time to add to the vibe. It's a great surprise!

LED Robot Dance for unique wedding idea party
PTaufiq Photo

Bonus Tips

If going all-out with a professional entertainment company or artist is not your thing, consider utilizing some of your existing vendors to spice up your unique wedding vision! A few ideas...

  • Ask your full service caterer for ideas about how to make food service more interactive. We have seen build-your-own taco and slider stations, pasta cooked in a giant parmesan wheel, a big wall of salads for guests to choose from, and more. Your caterer will be able to share some unique and interactive food and beverage ideas with you!

  • If you are not offering dancing or want to provide an alternative, a budget-friendly option is simply to provide some board games or card games. Have your wedding coordinator set them out during dinner or after dinner, and customize the selection to what best suits the newlyweds. Alternatively, incorporate the interactive element into a nontraditional wedding table centerpiece so guests can take part during their meal. We've seen Lego sets, decks of playing cards and tarot cards, Cards Against Humanity, Settlers of Catan, Jenga, Connect Four and dice sets.

  • You can ask your DJ for unique spins on some of the classic traditions and games to incorporate into your wedding timeline: shoe game, bouquet toss, garter toss, centerpiece game, trivia. This is especially great for a not-so-dance-focused crowd.

Board games at unique wedding with uplights and candles

What do you think? Plan to implement these or go something unique to share? Would love to hear from you so contact us today to schedule a tour!



Owner, Olio

Sarah Narcus wedding entrepreneur venue owner Olio, Peabody, Massachusetts


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