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Fresh and Unique Wedding Themes

Updated on July 20, 2010
our arch incorporated twigs, moss, flowers and hanging lanterns
our arch incorporated twigs, moss, flowers and hanging lanterns

No Costumes Necessary

So by theme I don’t necessarily means fairy theme or Star Trek theme…unless that’s your big thing then go for it. Theme doesn’t mean you have to wear a corseted dress and princess hat and make your groom prance around in a puffy shirt. What I mean by theme is the driving force, the unifying aspect or the focal idea of your wedding. Costumes are optional.

To start searching for your theme, find an item or object you love. Something you can look at every day for the next 6-12 months (or however long your engagement is) and not get sick of. You’re marrying your soul mate (hopefully), so make sure he (or she, there are some groomzillas out there) loves this piece as well.

You can find your piece anywhere—a magazine photo, a restaurant menu, a piece of ribbon, a china cup, or a quirky notepad in a boutique—anything can become the central idea on which all else is based. You can go off a location you and your intended met, or a hobby you do together. It can be a piece of jewelry, a painted parasol, pretty much anything that inspires you! Etsy is a great place to look for your piece.

Carry it around with you. Maybe you just love the color combination, or maybe it’s more of a concrete idea like a Napoleon bee, a lotus flower design or a damask pattern. That’s your starting point from which everything else can be built on.

We’ll call this the Founding Piece.

try throwing an accent color into this--like raspberry!
try throwing an accent color into this--like raspberry!

Your Palette

From here, consider your color palette. Please, please, please have more than two colors. For the sake of your florist, wedding coordinator and cake artist, have a real palette. While a bedroom done in turquoise and brown is adorable, a bouquet of just those two colors is difficult to do.

Allowing colors that vary a bit brings texture, depth and interest to your palette. Even if its just a shade lighter and a shade darker than your basic colors--for example if your color is purple, don't stick with one swatch color of purple. Allow plums, lavenders, deep dark violets and soft lilacs.

The Wedding Chat has GREAT examples of nicely rounded palettes!

Once you have your palette, find something (it can be your founding piece) that has all your colors in it. Carry this and your founding piece (unless its the same thing) with you all the time. You never know when you may come across something you want in your wedding, and you'll want to make sure it goes as well as you think.

 Style Me Pretty is also a wonderful resource for palettes, ideas and look books.

hats off to 3oneseven for this gorgeous print!
hats off to 3oneseven for this gorgeous print!

Theme Ideas

It can be as simple as a tree. My good friends planned their whole wedding around a tree theme, tying in roots, branches, bark leaves and flowered branches into everything. The result was unique, refreshing and beautiful.

It can be a fun theme, like a carnival. I have friends who worked at a wedding that was all bold and bright colors, with game booths and rides. Sounds quirky but was adorable and completely fit the couple. That's one wedding the guests won't soon forget! Here's a link to some of their pictures:

You can have a theme around where you met, i.e. the beach, while camping, New York City. Or about where the couple is going to live if they're moving away.

Vintage themes with modern twists are always fun. Go for a champagne and black roaring 1920s theme with crystal chandeliers and lots of fringe. Or retro it up with 1950s brights like turquoise and yellow and polka dot prints. Remember, as with any theme you can be as subtle or full blown as you want.

You can keep things simple like having one print subtly accenting everything. A silhouette makes a chic and simple piece of décor. This page has great ideas on silhouettes:

If both the bride and groom are artists, you can go off that theme using paintbrushes, palettes and cute jars filled with paint to decorate. Sketch and caricature artists can be hired to draw for your guests as well.

A travel theme offers a lot of flexibility and fun, and can be as fun and colorful or chic and elegant as you want. Maps, vintage luggage, globes, compass, can all be used. Passports can stand in for invitations and train ticket look-alikes for table seating. After all, marriage is one of life's greatest adventures!

Ancestry and heritage can certainly play a part of a wedding's theme. Even if the bride and groom are Swedish and Chinese, you can find artful ways to play in those two different cultural styles. This helps both sides of the family feel involved as well--cause family is a big part of marriage!

Themes can center around a favorite song, movie, or play as well.

Location also can play a big part of your theme. If you're getting married in a vineyard, why not run with the vines? Or if you're at an old barn, break out the galvanized tubs and straw bales. Even Mason jars can look cute with a little creativity.

If your wedding is landing around a holiday, don't be shy of making that your theme. I've seen everything from Mardi Gras weddings to Halloween weddings to St. Patrick's Day weddings!

Weddings can focus around an animal or insects as well. Dragonflies in a sage green decorating the bottom corner of your invites can look very chic. Don't be afraid to look at stylized animals as well. A haida eagle, Navajo horse, carved giraffe or sketched seahorse are a few more ideas.

Fruits or vegetables can also the the central focus. Last summer my friend had a lemon-themed wedding! It was adorable! She accented the lemons with a black and white swirl pattern that gave the whole wedding a very unified feel.

antique ribbons I found a year before we were even engaged! (shh!)
antique ribbons I found a year before we were even engaged! (shh!)
our tables were named after places we had been together
our tables were named after places we had been together
our programs incorporated the prints I had found online
our programs incorporated the prints I had found online

Our Wedding

Here's what we did for our wedding. I had found this antique ribbon that I fell in love with--that was my color palette and my foundation piece. Later, I found a print on Stock Xpert of twigs and flowers and swirls. My fiancé liked our color palette of lavender, plum, sage, a little chartreuse and chocolate brown. We used all types of metals--silver, burnished gold, dusty bronzes and iron. We called our theme "Enchanted Forest," although we didn't involve any fairies. ;-)

Because it was important to my husband that we balance masculine and feminine items, we used twigs, branches and river rocks to bring a little masculinity to all the flowers, artichokes, grapes and moss we used. The result was whimsical and (at least for us), a "theme" we still love. Walking along a month ago I stared at a plant and thought, "That would have gone perfect in our wedding!" Just a point that it's more enjoyable to choose a theme you'll never get sick of!

The Details

When my husband and I got married, our philosophy was, "Our guests are people we love and who love us, but not everyone knows our whole story. This is our one day to overload them with stuff about us."

So we had our story in every detail. We named the tables places we had been together, and had story cards about that location on the table. While we were out taking photos guests played two games--one to see how much they knew about us and the other was to find specific people at the wedding and get them to sign your paper. Example: Find someone who knew Matt in first grade, or find Kait's great Aunt. The family members who were singled out were loving the attention, and it was a great way to mix different families, childhood friends and college buddies.

Don't worry about overdoing it--you'll be surprised how much fun your guests have learning about you and your significant other! Everyone loves a love story!

Last Words

My final thought is, let everything be a launching pad. You may not resonate with any of the ideas here, but maybe it triggered an idea totally unique to your style. Don't be afraid to do something different from the ordinary--you want people to fondly remember your wedding, not try to remember which black, red and white themed one it was.

Allow whatever you want to "flavor" your wedding, and always be true to who you are as a couple.

If you want more ideas for centerpiece, check out my hub Unique Wedding Centerpiece Ideas!

Also, don't be caught with runny mascara and a torn veil on the big day! Read A Bride's Wedding Day Emergency Kit to make sure you're prepared!


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is one of the most informative and inspiring pieces on themes that I have read. You offer so much more than just the standard 3 or 4 themes. Since we are getting married on New Year's Eve, I've been searching everywhere for ideas that will festive and personal at the same time - so thanks!

    • Solorya profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks so much! I still have it and am figuring out how to use it somewhere in our house...I'm thinking a shadow box with an invite...

    • profile image

      Chinese Wedding Invitations 

      9 years ago

      The antique ribbon you used in wedding looks great.

    • Solorya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you! It is a fun thing to do :-)

    • febriedethan profile image


      10 years ago from Indonesia

      So wonderful and romantic, you should consider your talent as serious business and start to build your own website about wedding planner. Great hub! Thumbs up!

    • Solorya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for stopping by, weddingdiva

    • weddingdiva profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful ideas. Great hub. I am very inspired by this very informative piece. Thanks :)

    • Solorya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, I've considered it! Done a lot of them for free! haha

    • profile image

      Kathy Curran 

      10 years ago

      This is an amazing site and you should think about doing this proffessionally!!!


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