beach wedding

Does my wedding need a theme?

A themed wedding is a perfect opportunity for creative couples to celebrate their union in a style that reflects their personalities. If you’re thinking of having a themed wedding, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Does your wedding need a theme? There’s been quite a shift in the last 6 to 10 years – it used to be quite common for a bride to make two decisions first – the theme and colour scheme. Eek. For many, the colours were hard enough! But then, the themes sort of mellowed out. Nowadays, they seem to be much more subtle. Brides still go for favourite colours, but now it’s more about personalisation instead of theatrical decoration.

So for all of you struggling with this question – does your wedding need a theme? – let’s consider a few things.

We've all heard that weddings should have a wedding theme — there's the beach wedding theme, the rustic wedding theme, the vintage wedding theme, and so on and so forth. But as popular as wedding themes have become in social media, I've noticed a lot of the couples I mentor are steering clear of wedding themes altogether. There are plenty of reasons you don't need a wedding theme at all.

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Personalisation – the magic word

If you think about it, personalisation is meaningful, whereas a theme is sometimes just decor. Let’s take the example of travel. If the story of your relationship evolves around foreign lands, then a wedding commemorating that is a great idea. Take a look at Julie and Scott’s real wedding by The Fennells to see how their story took them all over the world. Even the guests who didn’t know them very well will have seen how their relationship started and brought them all together on the wedding day.

Now let’s say you like this idea, but you’re not a travel person. Not everyone is, and that’s perfectly alright! Now think practically – is it worth spending several hundred euros on travel-related trinkets, stationery and decor, when you could be getting something much better you’ll love remembering in the years to come? The thing you want is the one worth spending the money on.

The colours are enough

Consider this: if you already know your wedding is going to be mint-and-silver or lilac-and-purple, could that be enough? Of course, it’s enough. That’s already a whole distinctive look in itself. You’ll probably be matching lots of things, like dresses, bouquets, cake, flowers and invitations. When the guests walk into the reception room, they’ll be impressed with the result, and that’s all you need. Does your wedding need a theme? A theme on top of a beautifully coordinated colour palette may just be a touch too much.

Make it whisper, not shout

Let’s use an example for this one. Say you both like books, and you’d like a book-themed wedding. You go on Pinterest, and there are a million ideas, including getting married in a library. You truly could incorporate books into every part of the day, until it becomes less than a celebration between two people in love, and more like a theatre play. You’ll spend more time shopping for just the right things than actually looking forward to your vows and spending the day surrounded by people you love.

Make it whisper, not shout – you don’t have to apply the theme to absolutely EVERYTHING. Pick just two or three things. For example, book-stack centrepieces and bookmark favours. Or cake and table numbers. This is more than enough, and everyone will still notice it for sure.

Mind the guests

Spare a thought for your guests. Sure, some of them will be up for dressing up as Regency ladies, Spanish senoritas or gangsters. But not all guests can afford this, and some don’t think much of fancy dress. The more they have to do to fit in, the more they’ll lose sight of the real reason they’ve been invited… to witness you and your other half making a true commitment.

Think in broader terms

Rather than making your theme one strong statement, consider something subtler and broader that’s far easier to work with.

For example, elegant, sparkle, foodie, casual. There are many more.

Just imagine your guests talking after the event. They’ll be saying stuff like ‘it was so elegant’, or ‘we had the best food we’ve ever had at a wedding, there was so much variety’, or ‘it was great hanging out in the gardens’. Yes, this is what you want.

Reasons You Don't Need A Wedding Theme

You have more options

When you're not restricted to a single theme, you always have more options when it comes to food, drinks, and decor. You can choose whatever colours and flavours you want, without worrying whether or not it will take away or distract from your overall theme.

Your wedding feels sincere

Wedding themes can sometimes feel like a staged show or a production when everything matches perfectly. When things don't match perfectly, weddings feel organic — just like life and your love.

Guests get to know you better as a couple

When weddings don't have a single theme, guests leave feeling like they got to know more than one side of the couple, and have a deeper understanding of what brought you two together.

It's less work

If your goal is to have everything at your wedding, connect back to one theme, it means you often have to spend double the amount of time searching for things that work with that theme.

Your wedding will be one-of-a-kind

Wedding themes have a way of putting couples in a box. How many couples can summarise their love and soon-to-be marriage in just one theme? By incorporating multiple interests into your wedding day, you are guaranteed there will only be one wedding just like it — and that's yours.

So next time someone asks about your wedding theme, feel free to let them know you're forgoing the wedding theme entirely and will be sharing all the things you and your partner love most with guests. Good food, great music, and the best of the company — what more could any celebration need?

Reasons why you should have a themed wedding

Wedding themes can be simple, like colour-based themes right through to movie, TV or character themes. The boundaries are only limited to your ideas, imagination and personality. So why choose a theme for your wedding?

I think most weddings are themed even when it’s not done on purpose – I’m sure you’ve seen a peach and grey wedding somewhere online? And what about a formal black tie wedding? Or maybe the Bride who added a few 1920’s touches throughout the reception? You don’t have to go all out to create a wedding theme, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to create an over the top candy buffet coloured affair either unless of course, that’s what you want.

Wedding themes give the entire affair asymmetry that balances the day and enhances your story and your guest's experience of your wedding. And here’s why you should theme your wedding with your Wedding Theme Ideas.

From a simple colour choice to design styles and more extravagant themes like Steampunk, my top reasons for choosing a theme for your wedding are: (in no particular order)

  • It creates a central idea in which to go planning crazy
  • It gives you immediate direction so that you can research your wedding idea straight away
  • It gives you control over planning the details and stops the “oooh but I love that too” scenario (or is that just me)
  • It creates a story; the story of you two!
  • You get to show off your style
  • A wedding theme ties the elements of your wedding together
  • Acts as your perfect guide for searching out the details
  • It sets you apart and creates a unique experience

What are the pros and cons of a themed wedding?

Pros

Opportunity to have fun and be creative

A themed wedding is a great way to explore your creativity and treat your family and friends to a unique and fun experience. Particularly, for brides or grooms that have been dreaming of their wedding since they were young, it’s an opportunity to bring your ultimate wedding to life!

Incorporating a theme in your wedding can make the planning process more fun, and the results on the day will be, no doubt, appreciated by your family and friends. Additionally, having a themed wedding is a great way to express you and your spouses’ personalities,

A memorable experience for your guests

Choosing a theme you love will not only make your wedding an enjoyable and memorable experience for yourself but, also for your guests too.

Your guests are more likely to remember your wedding if you requested they attend wearing costumes or your included unusual styling elements and decorations on the day.

You can get everyone involved

Having a themed-wedding allows you to get all your guests involved by asking them to dress-up to match your theme. A themed wedding can also encourage interaction between guests, as, often, a particular theme may lend itself to including relevant games, traditions and formalities.

For example, if you were to have a festival-themed wedding, you may want to include an outdoor game or entertainment to get emphasise your festival theme.

It may be cost-effective

This entirely depends on your chosen theme, but, you may find that your theme lends itself to DIY decorations or wearing clothes that you already own. For example, having a vintage wedding theme may mean that you can borrow accessories from your grandmother and even wear her pre-loved wedding dress.

Cons

Can sometimes be costly

Depending on your theme, sourcing certain costumes, props, decorations and booking services can become costly if they are rare or hard to locate. However, costs don’t have to escalate if you set a budget.

Additionally, if going ‘all out’ with your chosen theme may prove a little too costly, you can still have a themed wedding by incorporating touches of your theme here or there. For example, you can give your guests themed Bomboniere, or maybe just include themed music or food.

The result may not meet your expectations

Many brides are warned that even after all their best efforts and meticulous planning, sometimes, not everything will turn out exactly they expected on the day. The same notion applies to themed weddings, and, is even more applicable, as a themed wedding often requires sourcing not-so-typical costumes, props and services.

Your guests may not want to cooperate

There is a possibility that some of your guests may not like or wish to participate in dressing according to your chosen theme, especially if it requires elaborate costumes.

Some guests, (and even your bridal party), may not feel comfortable dressing in a costume and may feel forced to do so. Guests may also be unhappy about having to purchase or hire an expensive costume too.

Additionally, a certain theme may even offend some of your guests, particularly if it goes against their social or religious beliefs.

It can take time to source the right clothing, props, and services

To get things just right, you may spend a lot of time and energy hunting for that particular hat or period costume to make your theme come to life. Planning any wedding, but particularly a themed wedding, requires lots of time and energy, so for some, it may become a little stressful.

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Tips for Choosing a Wedding Theme and Why It’s Important

The best weddings are personal and include things important to the couple. One of the better ways to make a wedding and reception more personal is to have a wedding theme. They can also use this theme to help pull together all the various elements of the wedding into a unified vision. Wedding colours are a start but do little to personalise the wedding.

Start With the Location

Start by taking the wedding and reception locations into account. If you’re having a beach wedding, a winter wonderland theme won’t work. Likewise, if you’re getting married on a farm, The Great Gatsby isn’t the best choice. A barn location goes well with a more rustic option.

Keep the Date in Mind

As with the location, the wedding date can help limit the options. A Christmas theme probably won’t work well in June, for example.

Think of the Overall Mood and Style

Picturing your ideal wedding day in your head can help give you some ideas. Is it a casual wedding, or is everyone wearing their fanciest clothes? Is the mood more fun or more formal? What activities are people taking part in? Are they dancing under disco lights late at night or playing lawn games in the middle of the afternoon?

Consider Your Personality as a Couple

Are there any things you love to do together or that you’re both crazy about? This could be a good start. For example, if you both love baseball and met at a Red Sox game, this could use this. Or if you dream of taking trips together, you could have a travel theme.

Take Personal Interests Into Account

Not everything has to be about things you both enjoy together. Perhaps one of you is a fanatic reader, and the other loves to dance salsa. Make a list of all the things you each love and see if any of them is important enough to you to include it. Think of the foods, places, activities, colours, clothes, books, and movies you like.

Remember That a Wedding Theme Can Comprise Multiple Ideas

You don’t have to pick just one idea, such as a Cinderella wedding. You can include multiple elements. This is especially good for those who want to combine elements of two different cultures or who have very different interests. Some couples even have a double-sided cake, so it shows their separate personalities.

Think of Any “Must Haves” for Your Wedding

Are there any wedding traditions or extras you want at your wedding? For example, do you want to wear your mother’s wedding dress or arrive riding on horseback? If you have a Pinterest board full of things you’d like to include in your wedding, see if there’s some way they relate to each other. These could help narrow down your options.

Keep Cost in Mind

If you go all out and make everything theme-related, it could get expensive. Either just have a few elements, so people get the idea (such as the centrepieces on the tables, the colour choices, and the takeaways for the guests) or select something that isn’t too expensive to implement.

Consider the Future

It might be fun to have a crazy theme and make every element of the wedding fit it. However, this isn’t always the best idea. Think about how you’ll feel looking back over those wedding pictures later in life. Will you wind up wishing you had more traditional wedding pictures if you get married dressed up as the characters from your favourite fantasy movie?

Make it Personal

Remember, the most important thing is that the theme is personal to you. Perhaps there’s a story behind it. You may be so fanatic in your love of something that anyone seeing the wedding theme would say “yes, that suits them to a T”. It should show off your personalities and be unique to you.

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Don’t know what you want?

Does your wedding need a theme? If you can’t even begin to answer this question, or don’t know what you want, there’s just one thing left to do: think about it like changing your hairstyle.

Let’s say you are bored with your hair, but you aren’t booking a hair appointment because you know they’ll ask you ‘what are you looking for?’ and all you have to offer in response is a shrug.

So what would you do? First, you’d look at lots of photos to discover the styles you like best. Then, you’d probably take a few to see the stylist, so they can tell you which one would suit you best.

It’s the same with weddings! Look at lots of pictures first. Our real weddings are an ideal place to start. Make a note of what you like, then take it to your wedding planner or venue coordinator, and work from there. You can also ask your mam or best friend – just don’t get too many opinions, because you’ll be back at square one. Remember – you don’t need a theme as such. You just need something to keep the look uniform, or you risk turning your special day into a country fair. When in doubt, choose the simpler option.

We hope the above has given you a few things to think about. So, does your wedding need a theme? The answer is: if it’s going to cost a lot of money, give you endless hours of stress, and detract from the importance of the day itself, then NO.

But if you do have a theme in mind and you don’t want to give up on it, go for it! Just remember: it doesn’t have to be huge to be memorable. A theme could go from just enough to too much in a heartbeat, so we recommend keeping it small and sweet.

Close your eyes and think of a feeling rather than searching with your eyes, conjure up hazy summer days, beautiful autumnal sunsets or a springtime landscape and dream up your colour scheme that way!

My most important piece of advice would always be to be yourself – if you have a perfect colour that is ‘you’ and that’s all you need – go for it! If you don’t, there is no rule for you to stick with one or two colours.

Remember your wedding, your way! Enjoy every minute of planning your perfect day.

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