Themed Weddings: How to Pull Them Off Tastefully

Niki Marie Photography

The idea of a themed wedding often turns couples off, with visions of tacky décor and tasteless costumes pushing them in the other direction. Yet, with the proper support, selecting a wedding theme can be a fun way for couples to express their personalities without going overboard. 

Whether you want a cheeky nod to your favorite movie or an immersive wedding experience for your guests, your vendor team can help you find the perfect balance without sacrificing style. 

So forget the cringe-worthy details and follow the experts’ advice about hosting a classy and tastefully-themed wedding. 

Keep it simple and timeless

Theme or no theme, most couples can agree on one thing: They want wedding photos that won’t embarrass them in 20 years. To achieve this, it’s best to stick to a less-is-more philosophy and avoid turning every last detail into a thematic element. 

Kimberly Sisti of SISTI & CO. elaborates, noting, “The excessive garishness is seen as kitschy and ruins the wedding design you’ve worked so hard to put together. A better way to look at a theme is to think of a theme-inspired event. Don’t try to recreate the theme. Just offer a few nuances instead.”

“You don’t want your wedding to feel like a kid’s birthday party,” agrees Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “You don’t want everything to be plastered in the theme. You want your wedding to feel like the two of you and the nuanced people you are. What you’re looking to create is a harmony of the theme and vibe with who you two are.”

Instead of choosing an ultra-specific theme, broaden your perspective and consider the bigger picture. That way, you can play with multiple aspects that hint at your theme without going over the top.

“Opt for something subtle, like a period in time or an element of nature, rather than an overly specific or complicated theme,” recommends Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Event Design and Planning. “This will help ensure that the theme doesn’t overwhelm and detract from the wedding itself.”

So if a tropical-inspired wedding is in the cards, you may consider booking a steel drum musician or serving island-inspired hors d’oeuvres — but without asking everyone to show up in beach attire and drink from coconuts!

Karena Dixon

Don’t sacrifice the guest experience

While themes can make for a fun time, they can also create limitations for guests. So as you dive headfirst into all the details, The Garter Girl’s Julianne Smith encourages couples to “make sure the wedding theme does not take away from the accessibility and enjoyability of the event.”

For instance, “if you have older guests that you want to be able to attend, then using an inaccessible historic castle as a venue may not be an option,” Smith says. Likewise, “a destination wedding requiring multiple flights with layovers may create too much of a barrier to attendance.”

While selecting a venue, curating menus, and designing your day, keep your guest experience at the forefront to ensure you aren’t sacrificing convenience for aesthetics. Your guests will love any themed details, but only if they can comfortably attend!

Consult with your venue

While your planner, designer, caterer, and florist can help you achieve the perfect themed look, don’t overlook your venue! According to Betsy Scott of The Hill, “many venues have props and rentals not promoted front and center on their website or discussed in the initial consultation.” 

So before scouring Pinterest and ordering décor online, “ask the venue team if they have done any events with that theme or have any suggestions,” Scott recommends. You may discover they have galleries of past events or even rental inventory that will save you the trouble of figuring it out yourself!

As you plan your big day, look to your team for inspiration and support. Your vendors have executed countless events, and their knowledge of themes can help you ensure your wedding is designed in good taste. But remember that it’s your special day, and there’s no right or wrong way to plan it! 

“Overall, your day is an experience – not just a party,” assures Jen Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. “Bringing in colors, textures, and interactive elements makes it fun and beautiful. Don’t get caught up in literal interpretations of a theme. You can flip it around, twist it up, and before you know it – you have made something COMPLETELY new and very you!”

Classic Photographers

If a themed wedding is starting to sound appealing, lean in and discuss it with your partner. From Star Wars to 1920s vintage, anything can be done tastefully — so don’t hold back from expressing yourselves authentically! 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.