Whether you get married in City Hall or at the altar of a 500-year-old church, every wedding can have a theme. Whether it is simple or extravagant, sumptuous or spare, your goal is a wedding that reflects your passion and vision, and one that everyone will remember.
Here we suggest 20 themes that might inspire your creativity.
A beautiful farm with a great barn can offer views and leisurely walks in the outdoors. Plus you won’t need a tent. It also gives you the excuse to roast a whole pig or hire a food truck or two.
If your parents have green thumbs, their backyard could provide a memorable and relaxed setting for a garden party. Maybe you set up an ice cream sundae table instead of the traditional wedding cake.
A wedding celebration at the campground can go on for days, filled with fishing, hiking and other forms of relaxation. A suggestion: Everyone else can set up tents. You should book a nearby cabin for the honeymoon night.
When the venue overlooks a lake, the bride may make her entrance in a sailboat if the wind is prevailing, and alight on a dock strewn with rose petals.
For those who are really – really – big fans of comic book heroes, pack your ceremony and reception with a POW!! and POP!! You and your groom don’t necessarily have to dress as Batman and Catwoman – but you could.
Fantasy embodies other approaches, too. Decorate the reception hall to resemble the Paris Catacombs if you are into ghosts. Blood-red linens, dripping candles and garlic necklaces would set the scene for all of you who imagine yourselves as a bride of Dracula.
Halloween may be the most popular holiday theme for weddings. In addition to the couple’s wish for fun, it means your guests have no need to buy a gown or rent a tux. Costumes will do just fine. Bobbing for apples, and candy corn-themed drinks get everyone in the mood.
Plenty of other holidays lend themselves to wedding themes as well, starting with Fourth of July. Plan for red, white and blue background, a menu that includes corn on the cob, and hand out sparklers to the guests who promise not to burn the place down.
In fact, there are only two holidays we can think of that would be unsuitable for a wedding: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Yes, even when the bride is expecting. In the years to come, you will want to savor your wedding memories and the joys of parenthood on separate days.
Seasons of love
Only your imagination can limit how you celebrate the new beginnings evoked by spring; the elegant beauty of winter; the exuberance of summer; the glory of fall (especially if you incorporate pumpkins in the decorations).
What if the wedding party is dressed as chess pieces and the carpeting is checkerboard? (This would also work with a “Through the Looking Glass” theme, with you as Alice. Be careful with your choice of the Red Queen.)
Cornhole is all the rage now, including at wedding venues to keep the guests occupied before the ceremony and during quiet times in the reception. You can create an entire arcade if you add bocce and badminton.
A Candyland layout could also resemble a fantasy theme. Although it is a children’s game, we suggest you consider the maturity of your guests. You don’t want the groomsmen putting their candy canes where they aren’t welcome.
Yes, you can make a color (or colors) your theme. Pastels are pretty, and you can have fun with the bridal gown, bridesmaids’ dresses and even the groomsmen’s tuxedos. From there, you can coordinate the tablecloths, flowers, cake and even the rest of the food and drink.
Black and white, or silver and gold can also be managed to stunning effect.
Reflect your heritage
If you are not quite up to a destination wedding, you can nonetheless embrace your background with a faux vacation venue. Palm trees evoke any number of exotic home countries, sand can be trucked in for a make-believe beach ceremony, and dry ice melting in the sun recreates the tundra of Siberia.
Timing is everything, and as long as you can count on the ring-bearer showing up on time, plan your ceremony for the moment of sunrise or sunset. Early morning will suggest Bloody Mary’s and omelets for the banquet. Early evening brings its own charms. Saying “I do” at midnight – in church or especially in the middle of a forest – will create other sorts of unforgettable memories.
If you enjoy clowns and prancing horses, you can get married at the center ring of a circus. Entering via trapeze will make walking down the aisle seem passé.
Do you have a favorite movie? Nearly any title can be recreated with costume and decoration. But unless the groom has a great sense of humor, stay away from “Beauty and the Beast.”
Ever more often these days, dogs wearing bow-ties are showing up in the wedding parties. That’s fine, and you can extend the theme to the decorations, too, if you really love your cats, gold fish and parakeets. Imagine the impact of plastic pink flamingoes serenading you as you walk down the aisle.