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The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Wedding Themes

Wedding Themes
Photo by IVASHstudio from AdobeStock

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When planning a wedding, choosing the perfect theme is an important part of making your day memorable. The theme sets the tone for everything, from your invitations down to your souvenirs. 

If you’re searching for the right way to express yourself on what is likely the most important day of your life, keep reading. Below, we list 12 popular and alternative wedding themes for every personality. 

Do You Need A Wedding Theme?

Although picking a wedding theme isn’t necessary, it can help you plan your dream wedding better.

Planning a memorable wedding is about telling a story, and having a theme allows you to tell a more cohesive one. As mentioned above, choosing a theme helps set the tone for your wedding guests – letting them know what kind of experience to expect on the day of.

Your theme also assists you in making the myriad of design decisions that come with planning a wedding. It can help you decide what kinds of invitations to send out, what decor to use for the table settings, what flowers to choose, what souvenirs to give out, what color scheme to assign to your wedding party, what food to serve, and even how to choose your entertainment. 

Finally, a wedding theme guides your budget and vice versa. For example, your theme can help you narrow down your venue options. A casual garden party theme can be accomplished in a lowkey setting, like a rooftop event space or even your own backyard. Meanwhile, a classic, black-tie wedding calls for a more refined setting, such as a ballroom or a historic estate.

How To Choose A Wedding Theme

When choosing your wedding theme, consider the following factors: 

The Location

Location, location, location! Your wedding location or venue plays a huge role in setting the tone and communicating your theme to your guests. 

For example, a beach-front resort could easily sell a tropical-themed wedding. Similarly, a lush, wooded venue would add a more magical vibe to a whimsical wedding, while a ranch or a barn would really sell the rustic-ness of a rustic-themed wedding. 

When choosing a wedding venue, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • What time will you hold your wedding ceremony and reception, and what does the location look like at this time?
  • How many guests can your venue hold?
  • How close is your venue to the nearest airport? What accommodations are nearby?
  • Is your venue easy to find, or does it require specific directions or a map?

The Season

Choosing a theme, location, and date for your wedding all go hand-in-hand. For example, say you want a winter wonderland-themed wedding. Then, it would make sense to set your wedding in December to February. If you want a garden party wedding, you’re better off setting it in spring or summertime. 

If you don’t want to contend with Mother Nature, on the other hand, you can always go for an indoor wedding. However, this might limit your options when it comes to themes. You can technically decorate a banquet hall to look like a garden party or a tropical paradise, but some people prefer the real thing. 

Your Shared Interests As A Couple

Naturally, you’ll want to settle on a theme that suits you and your partner’s personality. When coming up with theme ideas, think about your shared hobbies and interests. 

Do you enjoy spending time in nature? Consider an outdoor wedding. Did you meet while backpacking through Europe? A travel-themed wedding might be a good way to tell that story. 

Are you and your significant other musicians? Perhaps you could host a music festival-themed wedding where you and your soon-to-be spouse perform a special number for your guests.

Your Budget

As we’ve already talked about, your budget plays an important role in helping you choose the right wedding theme. A small budget means less funds for decorations, table settings, outfits, etc. If you want a larger-than-life wedding theme, a large budget will help you achieve your vision better. 

Your Preferred Color Scheme

If you’re having a hard time settling on a concept, you can start by thinking about the color scheme you want for your wedding. 

If you prefer soft tones, pastels, or muted colors, you might want to choose between a romantic theme, a garden party theme, or a rustic theme. If you like bright and bold colors, you might like a nautical or tropical theme. 

Wedding Themes By Color Scheme

If you’re not looking for a specific theme per se, perhaps you can find inspiration in the following color schemes:

  • Pastel: Soft colors like blush, lemon yellow, mauve, peach, powder blue, and sage go well with vintage/retro, romantic, and shabby-chic style weddings.
  • Bold colors: Whether you’re hosting a music festival-inspired wedding, a boho chic wedding, or an over-the-top Art Deco-themed wedding, go with bright and bold colors like burgundy, emerald, orange, violet, and electric blue. 
  • Neon: Quirky couples can make a statement with a bright and peppy neon color scheme featuring neon pink, yellow, green, and orange tones in their decor.
  • Metallic: Metallic tones like gold, silver, and bronze give a touch of glitz, glamor, and luxury. This color scheme goes perfectly with an Art Deco theme. 
  • Earth tones: For those who want a casual, laid-back rustic or boho chic wedding, go for earth tones like mustard, fern green, terracotta, rust, sage, cream, sand, and umber.
  • Preppy colors: Pink and navy are the main colors of a classic preppy palette. These vibrant colors exude that polished, collegiate aesthetic.
  • Neutral tones: Whether you’re not too big on bright colors or you’re going for a timeless, elegant look, you can’t go wrong with a color scheme that is primarily based on black, gray, brown, and other neutral tones.
  • Jewel tones: Jewel tones are deep and saturated colors inspired by gemstones such as amethyst, jade, citrine, turquoise, ruby, and sapphire. These look especially good for a fall wedding!
  • Fall colors: If you like the warm and cozy feel of the classic fall colors, you can also default to a palette composed of various tones of orange, yellow, cream, purple, and green. 

Wedding Theme Ideas For Every Personality 

Now that you know why and how to choose a theme for your wedding, let’s break your options down! Below, we list 12 popular and alternative wedding themes, plus recommendations for wedding entrance ideas, ideas for centerpieces, design inspiration, and venues. 

Romantic Theme

Weddings are inherently romantic, yes, but you can up the ante with dreamy soft lighting, white- and paste-toned decor, candlelight, delicate flowers, and draped greenery. Essentially, romantic weddings feel intimate, warm, and cozy! 

Venue ideas for a romantic wedding theme: Botanical gardens, vineyards, mansions, and greenhouses

Where to host a romantic wedding in Florida: The Howey Mansion, Villa Festa

Rustic Theme

There are no hard and fast rules for designing a rustic wedding. The goal is simply to create a cozy and laid-back vibe, which is often accomplished with DIY and natural elements. 

Think lots of wood, exposed bricks and beams, mason jars, vintage string lights, organic fabrics, dried flowers, wild plants, and even hay bales. As for color schemes, you can’t go wrong with neutral and soft tones. 

Rustic-themed weddings tend to overlap with country- and garden party-themed weddings, so if you’re looking for more inspiration, feel free to look into these styles as well. 

Venue ideas for a rustic wedding theme: Farmhouses, ranches, and barns

Where to host a rustic wedding in Florida: Ever After Farms Wedding Barns, Madison Barn Venue

Nautical Theme

If you’re planning on tying the knot before a beautiful seaside sunset, why not lean into the nautical aesthetic? Some of the go-to motifs for a nautical theme are stripes, anchors, rowing oars, shells, ropes, sailboats, and lighthouses. 

But if you don’t want to go overboard, consider going for a “coastal grandmother” aesthetic instead. It’s like a grown-up version of the nautical theme, typified by a navy and white color scheme, wood accents, linen, jute rugs, breathable and airy fabrics, and floral prints. Of course, no nautical wedding is complete without a seafood menu.

Venue ideas for a beach wedding theme: Beachfront resorts, yacht clubs, maritime museums

Where to host a beach wedding in Florida: Isla del Sol Yacht and Country Club, Seafair Naples

Classic Theme

Unlike the romantic theme, which is warm and cozy, the classic theme is more about exuding elegance and sophistication. When you look back at the photos from your wedding, your theme should withstand the test of time even as trends come and go. 

The classic wedding theme hinges on timeless elements like a black-tie dress code, a soft and neutral color palette (white, black, gray, cream, and ivory), monogrammed invitations, white flowers, champagne, cigars, and the works. 

Venue ideas for a classic wedding theme: Ballrooms, banquet halls, museums, galleries

Where to host a classic wedding in Florida: Lightner Museum, The Biltmore Hotel Miami Coral Gables

Casual Garden Party Theme

If laid-back is more your style, you might enjoy a casual garden party. You could hold your wedding at a botanical garden or a lush event space, or if you really want to keep it low-key, your own backyard! 

Spruce up the place with bistro lights, mismatched chairs, parasols, hanging lanterns, and lots of colorful flowers. You could even dedicate a spot for “lawn games” like croquet, ring toss, and corn hole.

Venue ideas for a casual garden party wedding theme: Botanical garden, greenhouse, forest

Where to host a casual garden party wedding in Florida: Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, The Gardens of Weber Manor

Bohemian Theme

The Bohemian theme shares some similarities with the rustic theme. It’s casual, cool, carefree, and playful but still elegant. It uses bolder earth tones – think lots of reds, browns, and deep greens. 

Many boho-themed weddings have a big ceremony arch, oriental rugs lining the aisle, rattan seats, vintage furniture, tents, and tons of macramé. Table settings are usually adorned with dried flowers and leaves, as well as cacti and succulents.

If you want to emphasize the nomadic nature of those who abide by the boho lifestyle, consider incorporating campers and food trucks (maybe even a cocktail truck?) in your venue. In place of the usual string lights, spring for Moroccan lamps.

Venue ideas for a bohemian wedding theme: Gardens, wooded parks, lakefront venues, desert venues

Where to host a bohemian wedding in Florida: Cypress Creek Farmhouse, Colonial Quarters

Art Deco Theme

Are you a huge fan of The Great Gatsby? Then an Art Deco-themed wedding might be right up your alley. Bold geometry, rich colors, dark woods, metallic accents, wild animal prints, and expensive materials like marble are all common motifs in Art Deco styling.

Visuals aside, you can also capture the vibrancy and glamor of the roaring ‘20s with your entertainment. A live jazz band playing songs from the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton might even inspire your guests to get up and dance the Charleston. 

Venue ideas for an Art Deco wedding theme: Hotel ballrooms, mansions, jazz clubs, rooftop bars

Where to host an Art Deco wedding in Florida: The Oxford Exchange, The Confidante Miami Beach

Tropical Theme

Tropical weddings are often synonymous with destination weddings. You hop on a plane to somewhere warm and enjoy a weekend full of clear blue skies, the warm ocean breeze, and powder-soft sand between your toes. 

Whether you’re hosting your wedding at a beachfront resort or in your own backyard, you can easily pull off a tropical wedding with lots of vibrant colors, tropical plants like palm trees and hibiscus, rattan and wood furniture, floral prints, and drinks inside coconuts!

Venue ideas for a tropical wedding theme: Beach resorts and private villas

Where to host a tropical wedding in Florida: Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, Hemingway Home & Museum

Travel Theme

Did you and your SO meet while backpacking abroad? Or do you both share an immense love for exploring new cultures? A wedding theme that incorporates your love for travel can be a fun and exciting way to share this important part of your life with your guests!

There are myriad ways to go about the travel theme – there is really no hard and fast rule here. For example, you can put up street signs pointing to all the destinations you’ve been to or all the places your guests have come from. You could decorate your space with vintage luggage, design your wedding invitations to look like train tickets or boarding passes, and design your seating chart like an airport arrivals announcement board. 

Venue ideas for a travel wedding theme: Boutique hotels, beach resorts, lakeside villas, vineyards

Where to host a travel-themed wedding in Florida: The Historic Maxwell Room, Pelican Cove Resort & Marina

Vintage/Retro Theme

The terms “vintage” and “retro” have similar but slightly different meanings. Vintage is often used to refer to something that either comes from or represents a certain era. Some designers believe the term should be used to refer to objects over 20 years old. The term retro, on the other hand, refers to things that may not actually have been made way back then but has clear references from styles of the past.

Now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about vintage/retro wedding themes. There are many ways to go about hosting a vintage/retro wedding – if you want a more romantic wedding with a fairytale-like feel, focus on Romantic and Victorian-era design. If you want something cool and a bit more current, consider aesthetics like 50s diners, the swinging’ 60s, and even the 70s disco era. 

Venue ideas for a vintage/retro wedding theme: Gardens, old hotels, warehouse venues

Where to host a vintage-themed wedding in Florida: The Glass Factory, The Floridan Palace Hotel

Pop Culture Theme

Do you and your significant other share a pop culture obsession, like Star Wars, Marvel, Game of Thrones, or Disney? Mega fans can consider throwing in subtle (or not-so-subtle) hints of their love for certain fandoms in their wedding celebration.

Some people go all out and get married at Disney World or Universal Studios. Others show off their nerdery in details like their cake toppers (Han Solo and Princess Leia for Star Wars fans), the ceremony itself (think a lightsaber wedding arch for Star Wars fans or an Elven-inspired ceremonial arch for Lord of the Rings fans), the invitations, and the outfits (Infinity Stone cufflinks, anyone?). You can also play the original soundtrack or theme music from your favorite movies to really set the mood!

Venue ideas for a pop culture-inspired wedding theme: Hotel ballrooms, banquet halls, theme parks, bed-and-breakfast inns

Where to host a pop culture-inspired wedding in Florida: Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando

Music Festival Theme

Whether you or your soon-to-be spouse are musicians, met at a music festival or concert, or just find a lot of comfort and meaning in music, this option makes for a unique and memorable wedding theme. Music festivals like Coachella can be your major design inspiration. Think big tents, rugs, mismatched outdoor seating, RVs and camping trailers, flower crowns, and of course, live music! 

You can also host your wedding in a concert hall or even your favorite music lounge. Plus points if it has a great story attached to it!

Venue ideas for a music-inspired wedding theme: Concert hall, bar, warehouse event space, park, or garden

Where to host a music festival wedding in Florida: Floridian Social Club, Ball & Chain Bar and Lounge

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right wedding theme can be tough. But by incorporating your budget, location, preferred date, and your personality into the equation, you’ll find it easier to zero in on the right theme to represent who you really are as a couple.

We hope our guide to wedding themes helps you find the perfect theme to tell your story!


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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