Outdoor wedding themeNo matter where you turn for wedding planning support, most expert advice starts in the same place: choose a theme. Your wedding theme is meant to be your foundation and your guide. It dictates what your colors will be and what style of dress you will wear. It helps you make decisions and choose wedding vendors and reception venues in keeping with the day’s overall tone.

However, in an age when many brides are downsizing their weddings and opting for simplicity rather than expensive and ornate events, is a theme really necessary? Is it possible to plan a wedding that captures who you are as a couple without the hassle of a grand, overarching vision?

What is a Wedding Theme?

People define wedding themes in different ways. Depending on how far you want to take it, a wedding theme can be as simple as a color palette or as complex as a period-accurate historical vision straight from the past. Popular wedding themes include:

  • Time Period: Whether you’re a big fan of the Roaring Twenties, the Swinging Sixties, Medieval Times, or the Victorian Era, many wedding themes are centered on a specific period of history.
  • Location: Because destination weddings can cost quite a bit, many brides and grooms bring the location right to them. Beach-themed ceremonies, Las Vegas style weddings, and even exotic locales can be brought to life with the right planning.
  • Cultural Touches: Celtic weddings and Southern-style receptions are popular right now, as are any cultures in which the bride and groom are a member.
  • Seasonal: Seasonal weddings can be a great way to incorporate a favorite time of the year. Although spring and summer weddings are fairly common, some brides and grooms prefer to get a little creative with the cooler months.
  • Fairytale Weddings: Cinderella fairytale weddings are popular, as are less-than-ordinary themes like Under the Sea or Princess Warrior.

Wedding themes like this can be fun for a creative, whimsical couple who want to pull together a unique event. However, it’s very easy to step over the line and go overboard with these kinds of themes—which is something many people go on to regret later. Pop culture references can date your wedding and make photographs less timeless. Too much of a theme can overshadow the real purpose of a wedding and cast the couple into the shade. And successfully pulling off a big theme can end up costing you much more than you expected to spend at the outset.

Wedding Theme Alternatives

Fortunately, it is still possible to plan a cohesive décor and wedding without following an over-the-top theme. Instead of picking a specific time, event, or story, you can:

  • Choose a Feeling: Do you want your wedding to be casual? Formal? Romantic? Rustic? Fun? What defines you most as a couple?
  • Select Common Design Elements: Find motifs, textures, fonts, and materials that embody the overall feeling of the wedding.
  • Stick to Your Personal Style: Would you consider yourself a modern, eclectic dresser, or preppy and traditional? Do you have a classic sense of style? Your personal tastes carry over well to a wedding.
  • Take Note of Where Your Wedding Going to Be Held: Your Utah reception venue says a lot about your wedding. Are you going to take advantage of an outdoor garden? Did you choose a more formal ballroom setting?

No matter what you end up doing, a wedding is your chance to be yourself and encourage all your family and friends to celebrate with you. A wedding theme—for good or for bad—can help you define that celebration. Choose wisely and have fun!