A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Wedding Theme

by Bridestory Sep 20, 2016 | 09:00 in Wedding Ideas  


Photography : Cassidy Carson

Rustic, nautical, white wedding; you must have run into more than a few wedding themes while browsing for inspirations or attending weddings, but have you thought about what goes behind each theme? We think that a wedding theme should be about more than mere looks or trends. Above all else, a wedding theme should reflect your true personality as a couple. Aside from that, a wedding theme should be able to pull every wedding element, from the venue to the tiniest details, together in harmony.

If you haven't decided on a wedding theme yet, take some time to close your eyes and envision your wedding day. What does it look like? How do your guests feel as they walk in? What kind of impression are you trying to convey to your guests? To help you imagine your dream wedding even further, try asking these questions to yourself and your partner.

These questions will help you decide on the kind of wedding that you and your partner want. If you both are laid-back and do not want a glamorous reception, why not have a casual pot-luck party in your backyard instead? Or, you can opt for a travel-themed wedding to represent your love of adventure and globe-trotting.

Things to consider when choosing a wedding theme
Now that you've pictured what your dream wedding will be like, take a look at some factors that can really help you decide on a specific wedding theme.

Photography : Virgil Bunao

1. The venue
Your wedding venue will take a big chunk out of your wedding budget; the last thing you want is for it to clash with the wedding theme. If you've already chosen a venue for your nuptials, take a look at what it has to offer. Pay attention to its features and ambience, and choose a suitable theme to go with them. For instance, a grand wedding hall is suitable for glamorous celebrations, like this couple's extravagant wedding at the Paris Opera.
If you don't have a venue yet, refer to the dream wedding that you've envisioned before. What kind of venue will suit the theme you have in mind? Be mindful of your budget, though. If a venue you like far exceeds your original budget, do reconsider whether it's really worth it.

2. Your favorite colors
Next, think about your favorite colors and see if they pair well. Don't have a favorite color? Just go through your wardrobe and count the colors you wear the most. Or, you can start browsing different color combinations to see if any will catch your eye.
Remember, don't disregard your fiancé's opinion on this matter. Take notes from this flower-filled wedding in Bali. The groom didn't want to have too many feminine colors on the wedding day, so the stylist incorporated shades of gray to create dusty versions of pink and purple. What a clever way to cater to both the bride and groom!

3. Delve a little deeper
When it comes to choosing a wedding theme that's unique and personal, just treading the water won't do you any good. You need to get into the details. If you want to have a vintage-themed wedding, for instance, decide on a specific period, like the 1920s or 1960s. If you like rustic decorations, which kind of rustic are you talking about? The elegant or rugged kind? With a clear brief, it will be easier for vendors to understand your vision. If your theme is too general, different vendors might have different interpretations, and the results may not look harmonious together.

4. Consider the season
Don't forget about the season, especially if you're planning an outdoor wedding. You can't have a garden wedding in the winter, can you? Also, different seasons offer different atmospheres and natural colors. For example, if you've decided to have a fall wedding, autumnal colors such as orange or red will be especially suitable.

Photography: David Christover

5. Look into your roots
If you'd like to pay tribute to your family's cultural heritage, why don't you add a dose of tradition to your wedding celebration? These days, traditional weddings aren't necessarily dull and long-winded affairs. Modern-day couples often combine multiple traditions, modern sensibilities, and their own personal style. Take a look at this couple's multicultural wedding that mixed Japanese and Padangnese cultural elements.

6. The event's formality
The formality of your event will also help to determine the wedding theme. Let's go back to the dream wedding you had in mind earlier. What kind of celebration did you imagine? What will your guests wear? Will they come in suits and evening gowns or more relaxed outfits? If you've always dreamed of a formal black-tie occasion, a grandiose ballroom wedding is the obvious choice. If you want something more laid-back, opt for a garden party or beachside wedding.

7. Mind your budget
As always, be realistic and stick to your wedding budget. An indoor garden-themed wedding party might not be the best choice if you're on a budget, as filling a ballroom with flowers will be very costly. Instead, why not opt for an actual garden that doesn't need too many extra decorations?

8. Be true to yourself
There is no better wedding than one that reflects the couple's character, so you need to stay true to yourself when deciding on a wedding theme. Take some cues from nature-loving couple Sari and Frey, who had an eco-friendly wedding in the woods. Their wedding was enjoyable for every single one of their guests, and more importantly, it truly represented their personality.

Popular wedding styles to choose from
You might already have a few ideas for your dream wedding, but putting them all together from scratch can be challenging. That's why, we've collected five popular wedding themes that you can use as a template. Keep in mind that these are general themes and you are more than welcome to customize them according to your preferences and personality.

Who should do this: This is the kind of celebration that comes to mind when you hear the word "wedding". It's a foolproof choice for romantic couples with a refined sense of style.
Venue: Most suitable for a ballroom, function hall, or restaurant.
Pros and cons: The classic theme is a timeless choice that is really easy to modify. On the downside, your wedding can look eerily similar to many other weddings. To avoid this, add some personal touches to keep your wedding from being dull and predictable.

Who should do this: If you want a laid-back atmosphere, rustic will be the perfect choice. It's also great for those who wish to have an eco-friendly wedding or DIY lovers who want to add crafty elements.
Venue: For a rich rustic feeling, choose a forest, loft, garden, or conservatory.
Pros and cons: The rustic is very versatile and can be adapted to different settings. It's more suitable for casual celebrations, however, so keep this in mind if you're planning to throw a formal wedding.

Who should do this: Beach lovers, couples with a small guest list, and those who yearn for an unforgettable destination wedding experience.
Venue: You can choose to get married by the beach or at a chapel overlooking the ocean.
Pros and cons: Beach weddings have a casual atmosphere, so guests can unwind and just enjoy the party. A beach wedding also gives you a chance to travel with your loved ones. However, you won't be able to invite too many guests as most beach venues have limited space and not every guest will be able to travel on your wedding day.

Who should do this: This theme will be especially great if you live in a tropical country. Filled with colors and plenty of energy, this kind of wedding is suitable for couples with a fun personality.
Venue: The beach, garden, and pool are great venue options for this theme.
Pros and cons: Tropical weddings have a lot of colors and exotic flowers. It can be tricky to decide on a color palette, and off-season exotic flowers can be hard to find. Despite the drawbacks, think of all the colors you'll get in your wedding pictures!

Modern minimalist
Who should do this: Perfect for edgy couples with a clean and sleek sense of style; those who genuinely believe that less is more.
Venue: Any place can be your wedding venue, but look out for wide spaces with simple architecture such as lofts, rooftop venues, and glasshouses.
Pros and cons: This kind of celebration will stand out among all the other glamorous weddings. You can also cut your decoration cost, as long as the venue already suits your creative vision. Unfortunately, it might not be easy to find a suitable venue that has the kind of aesthetic you're aiming for. It also won't be easy to convince your parents, especially if most weddings around you are not that simple.

Slide through for more wedding themes!

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson

    Country or ranch

    Nothing evokes a sense of home quite like a ranch wedding. Spread out wooden tables in the backyard and make use of pretty laces to add a subtle touch.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    Weddings inspired by the Roaring Twenties have made a comeback thanks to the Great Gatsby. This theme will work especially well in a glamorous ballroom, and it gives you a chance to channel your inner vintage vixen.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    When in doubt, seek inspiration from the nature around you. Pictured above is a celebration inspired by fall. Warm-colored foliage and reaps of harvest work together to create a lovely autumnal wedding. Which season is your favorite?

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    Calligraphy, vintage clothing, and perhaps your grandmother’s pearls are some of the many details you can include in your vintage wedding. To keep everything consistent, remember to choose a specific era.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    Greens, greens, and more greens. Lush foliage has been featured in more weddings lately, and you can put it front and center in a green botanical wedding.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    If you love mixing colors and geometric patterns, the bohemian theme will be the perfect choice for you. A bohemian wedding doesn't need to be shabby, as you can add other elements to create an elegant look.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    The sea can be a wonderful source of inspiration. Add a selection of seashells and nautical elements to add an oceanic touch to your wedding decorations. This theme is perfect for a beach wedding, don't you think?

  • Photography: Angga Permana Photo - Kristina Adams


    For centuries, flowers have been an essential part of weddings around the world. For an ultra-romantic, modern fairy-tale look, go all out and add an abundance of flowers to every corner of your wedding venue.

  • Photography: Arielle Doneson


    Last but not least, step out of the boundaries and throw a thematic wedding. This couple chose Star Wars as their inspiration, but there are plenty other movies or books you can choose from. Alice in Wonderland, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or perhaps Harry Potter? Take your pick!


  • Photography: Cassidy Carson | Virgil Bunao |

    David Christover

    | Jose Villa | Julie Paisley | Connie Whitlock Photography | MK Sadler | Acqua Photo | Sposto Photography | Michael and Carina | Melanie Nedelko | Audra Wrisley | L&L Style Photography |

    Summer Story Photography

    | Danielle Poff | Brumley and Wells | Arielle Doneson |

    Angga Permana Photo

    | Kristina Adams | Bryan Giardinelli

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