The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Themes: Inspirational Planning Ideas

Vintage, rustic, alternative or boho - whichever wedding theme you go for, we've got a tonne of inspirational ideas for you

0 Shares

What better opportunity for you and your other half to express yourselves than at your wedding? Whether you’re both 1950s obsessed or love hitting the festival circuit every summer, the theme of your wedding is the perfect way to celebrate the things you love almost as much as each other.

Navigating the world of wedding themes can be tricky though as it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by it all – leading to unreasonable wedding planning worries that make you question your sanity and want to throw the table plan out the window. 

This is why we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to wedding themes to give you some top tips on how to pull off the most popular ones. There’s also some key planning ‘dos and don’ts’ from the experts too. Sorted!

Gold bridesmaid dresses

Image credit: Benjamin Stuart Photography

Vintage Wedding Ideas

The theme: The vintage theme still stands as one of the most popular wedding trends and it’s not hard to see why. The versatility of the vintage theme is so vast and it’s the perfect way to represent the timeless bond you and your other half have for each other.

Whether you opt for vintage wedding décor completely inspired by a particular era, or just a few subtle pastel touches here and there along with some bunting, the options for a vintage theme are endless.

Neon wedding sign

Image credit: Neon Creations

This theme also works for weddings all year round too. A 1920s inspired Great Gatsby celebration full of glittering wedding ideas would work well for a winter wedding, whereas a whimsical afternoon tea reception filled with cupcakes and delicate china crockery would work well for summer.

The look: It’s impossible to pinpoint a particular ‘look’ for the vintage theme as there are so many different eras to take inspiration from.

If you’d rather include vintage touches that aren’t specific to a certain time period, then go for a soft colour palette filled with delicate shades for a nod to the theme that will still make your wedding feel contemporary.

Vintage wedding reception

Image credit: Slepokur Photography

Prints, whimsical florals and art deco style details are also great ways to give your day a retro feel – you could even consider wearing an ultra-glam 1920s wedding dress that Daisy Buchanan would be proud of!

“Think lace, hessian, creams, pastels and aged materials,” suggests Karin Tindall, a wedding co-ordinator and planner based at Stratton Court Barn. “Use old shabby chic style suitcases as card boxes, or perhaps you could park a classic bicycle outside and fill the basket with flowers. 

“Another great vintage wedding idea is to use an old milk churn instead of a pedestal for a larger flower arrangement, or incorporate brown craft paper into your stationery. Just don’t go too overboard with vintage props or else your wedding will look like the inside of a charity shop!”

Vintage wedding themes

Suppliers: Benjamin Stuart Photography; Rustic Rentals; The Cake Parlour; Kat Forsyth Photography

Festival Wedding Ideas

The theme: A festival wedding theme is all the rage right now, with many couples opting for a seriously laidback celebration full of fun details!

It’s also the perfect excuse to stretch the wedding out over a whole weekend, festival style, and get your guests into the spirit of the theme with live music, street food and even a tipi wedding venue.

If you're feeling bold, you could even get your guests to go ‘glamping’ with you! Think wellies, bunting and a reception in a yurt, tipi or marquee filled with fairy lights galore.

Yurt wedding venue

Image credit: Minnehaha Events

The look: Set the tone for your festival wedding from the off with some unique save the dates – you could even give guests their own wristband to gain access to your ‘wedfest’. 

If the weather is forecasted to be good then have loads of fun outdoor wedding games planned and set up a drinks station for guests so that guests can enjoy a cheeky tipple. Cider and beer should be the drink of choice if you’re really getting into the spirit of things or alternatively, to glam things up, get a classy Prosecco or Pimms station going.

This type of theme is the perfect chance to go crazy with wedding signs, especially if there is a lot going on and parts of your day are spread out. 

Live music will also give this wedding theme plenty of authenticity. All you need to complete the look are a dreamy boho wedding dress and some edgy wedding hair accessories such as a feather headdress or a flower crown.

Festival weddings

Suppliers: Benjamin Stuart Photography; Rustic Rentals; Sam & Louise Photography; Bar Events UK; Eaton Cards and Stationery

Rustic Wedding Ideas

The theme: The rustic theme is here to stay and we couldn’t be more thrilled. If you’re looking for wedding themes to suit your laidback personalities then this is the trend for you.

Rustic themes work best at venues that lend themselves well to this look – look for barns with oak beams or rustic wedding venues surrounded by countryside. 

Nature inspired details are key to pulling off a rustic theme, and it’s any easy trend to overlap with vintage inspired details too.

Rustic wedding ideas

Suppliers: Darling and Wild; Lock 91

The look: You will become obsessed with using tree log slices in your décor if you go for a rustic themed wedding – that we can guarantee! They just have so many great uses and you can perch pretty much anything on top of them, such as your centrepieces, your cake or even your wedding rings if you’re looking for ring bearer pillow alternatives.

Naked wedding cakes suit this trend so well, as does gypsophila which you could incorporate throughout your décor and even in your wedding updo! Sprigs of gypsophila placed in bottles or vases on tree log slices are a super easy rustic centrepiece idea.

Don’t forget about your groom either – check out our edit of rustic groomswear that will ensure he looks suitably dapper for the occasion. As for your dress, look for boho inspired designs and lace wedding dresses with a relaxed shape.

Rustic wedding themes

Suppliers: Sam & Louise Photography; Stratton Court Barn; Benjamin Stuart Photography; Cad and the Dandy; Rustic Rentals

Country Garden Wedding Ideas

The theme: Make your country garden themed wedding a seriously pretty affair by including lots of floral wedding ideas in your day.

But don’t get too carried away and end up, quite literally, bringing the whole garden into your wedding reception. The flowers you use must complement each other and there should be at least one or two focal colours to pull everything together.

“Make sure your flower arrangements are in tune with the overall look of the wedding,” suggests Anastasia McClymont, from Wedhead decorative hire. “For brides on a budget, if you don't want to spend too much on flowers but feel that parts of your décor will look bare, try and concentrate your flowers in the main areas where guests will see them.”

Summer wedding bouquets

Image credit: The Hare and Hounds Hotel

The look: You get the picture, flowers should have a starring role in your big day if you’re planning to have a country garden theme – the vibe of the day should feel fresh, vibrant and full of charm.

Wedding hashtag

Image credit: Benjamin Stuart Photography

“You could even go for one statement detail, like a floral chandelier, a flower wall or a floral arch at your ceremony,” recommends Anastasia. “If you choose to do this, use flowers sparingly elsewhere and place in interesting vases.

“This will give you the appearance of ‘fullness’ without compromising on style and help you pull off your country garden theme in a modern way.”

Hey, if a flower wall is good enough for Kanye West’s wedding then it’s good enough for us!

Don’t forget that it’s not just the décor that has to be inspired by garden blooms, you could even go against tradition and wear a floral wedding dress for a bold and unexpected bridal look. 

Country garden wedding themes

Suppliers: Love & Marriage; Sassi Holford; Diana V Photography; Hip Hip Hooray; Wedhead; Sam & Louise Photography

Christmas Wedding Ideas

The theme: If you’re getting married during the festive period, why not celebrate the season by filling your day with Christmas wedding ideas? Everybody is in the party mood at this time of year so make the most of it and express this seasonal cheer through your wedding theme.

Even if you’re planning to tie the knot in January or February, you can still embrace the frosty weather and include lots of wintery details throughout your day.

Laidback couples should go for more of a rustic feel by taking inspiration from nature, such as holly, berries and snow covered trees, whereas couples who plan to go all out should have a festive extravaganza filled with glitz and glamour.

Winter wedding place settings

Image credit: Jessica Davies Photography

The look: As mentioned above, a festive wedding theme could be interpreted in various ways depending on your personalities and personal preferences.

Karin gives her top tips for taking the theme in a glamorous direction: “Metallics and light reflecting décor details would add a real gilt edge to your day, as would dressed candelabras, multi-faceted glassware and a white wedding cake. Confident brides should go for a show-stopping wedding dress with a hint of sparkle.”

Winter wedding decor

Your winter wedding flowers could include a festive colour palette of red roses mixed with green foliage and berries, or if you fancy something a bit more edgy, consider using flowers in rich, dramatic colours such as burgundy or purple.

As for winter wedding food, think hearty dishes that will warm your winter wedding guests. Hand out festive inspired favours that will delight guests of all ages, such as candy canes, gingerbread men and cinnamon scented candles. 

You could even get Father Christmas to hand deliver the children’s wedding favours!

Festive wedding theme

Suppliers: Sam & Louise Photography; Wedhead; Champagne & Promises

Woodland Wedding Ideas

The theme: “This is the ultimate boho chic theme,” says Karin. “A woodland inspired theme is an ideal backdrop for couples that want a relaxed day.”

Woodland wedding ideas

Image credit: Camp Katur

This theme has a dreamy, ethereal vibe that is perfect for the modern day wedding. Tying the knot in a woodland wedding venue provides opportunity for so many wonderful picture moments and décor options even though you'll be outside – trees are the perfect place to hang up fairy lights and decorations!

Alternatively, if getting married in the actual woods is not an option, then you could simply bring nature indoors to create a rustic, woodland inspired reception.

The look: “For a woodland bridal look, think floral headpieces and oversized bouquets,” suggests Karin. “Foliage is of key importance in the décor and your bouquet - the good news is that it’s normally cheaper than flowers.”

As for the dress? “A floaty boho dress made of chiffon was made for a woodland theme,” says Karin.

Boho wedding dress

Image credit: Camp Katur

Candles and lanterns would make amazing wedding table decorations for this theme - the soft, romantic lighting would really set the mood for the whole theme. 

To bring a bit of glamour to the day, consider including luxe details such as a metallic wedding cake or sparkly bridesmaid dresses to give a beautiful and contemporary edge to this rustic style theme.

Wedding themes with a woodland twist are also the perfect excuse to get creative. Why not see if your venue or caterer can create cocktails or canapes inspired by the forest? Such as tomato and cheese ‘toadstools’ or sweet trees

Woodland wedding themes

Suppliers: Lemon Zest Cuisine; Stratton Court Barn; Keeper and the Dell; Wedhead

Unusual Wedding Ideas

The theme: Let’s face it – everybody loves unusual wedding themes! Couples going for a quirky kind of wedding day could literally take inspiration from anything – such as their favourite TV show, movie, or book.

The sky is the limit so take full advantage of this and celebrate what you love. Want to have a Harry Potter themed wedding? Go for it! Just remember not to go too overboard and let the theme overshadow the meaning of the day.

Funny wedding photos

Image credit: Benni Carol Photography

“A wedding theme should provide a backdrop to your day and enhance your celebrations,” says Karin. “If you think your guests won’t be able to talk to each other over the amount of outlandish centrepieces or props, then the theme is not going to work.”

The look: The look is whatever you want it to be! Once you have an idea of which direction you want to take your day in, browse through Pinterest and our hitched galleries to start collecting ideas of what you could do.

quirky wedding ideas

Image credit: Andy Bennett Photography

Try to avoid fully replicating your inspirational images, warns Karin: “Taking inspiration is fantastic, but trying to recreate the exact images you find online could set you up for disappointment.”

In other words, take your unusual wedding theme and put your own stamp on it so that your day has plenty of personality. The ideal reaction you want from your guests is ‘yep, that’s so (insert name of couple here)’.

Unusual wedding themes

Suppliers: Benjamin Stuart Photography; Kat Forsyth Photography; Stratton Court Barn; Krumblies; Sam & Louise Photography; Kelly Clarke Photography; Sarah Kathleen Photography; Andy Bennett Photography

Fairytale Wedding Ideas

The theme: For every bride who has always dreamed of the perfect fairytale wedding, this is the theme for you.

If big, frothy white dresses and top to toe pink décor are what spring to mind when you think of this wedding theme, think again, as the fairytale themed wedding is now being reimagined with modern details and seriously stylish dresses that just throw a subtle nod to the trend.

Alfred Angelo are known for their iconic collection of Disney inspired wedding dresses that have all the contemporary glamour you could possibly want, without making you feel like you’re playing dress up.

Disney wedding dresses

Image credit: Alfred Angelo

The look: To add a sprinkle of magic to your day, incorporate opulent details such as sparkly tablecloths, antique photo frames, candelabras. Signs with Disney quotes would also be a cute touch.

The modern interpretations of fairytale wedding dresses can be seriously dreamy – look for lace detailing, A-line or tiered wedding dresses with a wash of blush pink, sparkly details and silhouettes inspired by your favourite princess.

An elegant updo is the way to go if you’re inspired by classic princesses like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, whereas wavy tresses and boho beautiful ‘dos are perfect if Pocahantas is your style icon.

If ‘Tangled’ is your favourite Disney movie, you could even have a Rapunzel themed wedding and go for a gorgeous braided hairstyle.

Braided wedding hairstyles

Image credit: Jennifer Sinclair Photography

Treat your guests to a delicious wedding dessert table filled with enchanting treats. Alice in Wonderland is a great influence for this as you can fill the buffet with a whimsical display of cupcakes, jam tarts, vintage china and labels saying ‘eat me’.

A Disney wedding cake would also seriously impress – although you may find it too pretty to cut into!

Fairytale wedding themes

Suppliers: Ginger & Cacao; Sarah Kathleen Photography; Alfred Angelo; ThePinkOwlDesigns; Amy Faith Photography

Alternative Wedding Ideas

The theme: Calling all alternative couples – it’s time to break the wedding rules and throw tradition out the window!

Whether you go rockabilly, steampunk, gothic or rock, alternative wedding themes are all the rage and one surefire way to put a personal stamp on your wedding day.

Alternative wedding ideas

Image credit: Everybody Smile Photography

Gothic style décor looks amazing at a glamorous wedding venue, especially one with a historic feel.

It’s all about the look too, as more and more couples nowadays are shunning traditional wedding gear in favour of gothic wedding dresses and edgy suits with alternative buttonholes.

Alternative weddings

Image credit: Debbie Sanderson Photography

The look: Think quirky floral details, unusual décor and unusual wedding dresses that show off any tattoos.

White wedding shoes? Not for this theme! Go for bold, patterned or black wedding shoes that you can wear again. A pair of Converse underneath your dress would also make an amazing (and comfy!) look.

An alternative wedding cake would also grab your guests’ attention, especially if decorated with red roses, skulls, black icing and eccentric wedding cake toppers.

If you’re going against tradition on your wedding day there’s no reason to stop at the décor either – get your best air guitar out for a first dance to one of our favourite wedding rock songs!

Alternative wedding themes

Suppliers: Kat Forsyth Photography; Stratton Court Barn; Warren Day Stationery; Freya Rose; Veromia; Choccywoccydoodah; Sarah Kathleen Photography; Wedhead

Beach Wedding Ideas

The theme: Have you always imagined yourself gliding towards your partner down a sandy aisle wearing a beach wedding dress? Who hasn't!

A day filled with beach wedding ideas is a must if the seaside is where you and your partner are happiest.

Beach wedding photos

Image credit: Diana V Photography

Beach photos are a must if you’re tying the knot at a seaside wedding venue – even better if you can get your photographer to snap you both in front of some colourful beach huts or stood in front of a romantic sunset as if no one else is watching.

Even if a coastal venue is not an option, there are still loads of ways to bring the beach to your wedding.

The look: This is such a fantastic theme to work with, as it’s so easy to pull off and there are many ways to give your day a seaside twist.

For your centrepieces, consider ocean-inspired details such as jars filled with sand and pebbles, beach hut table numbers, sticks of rock as unique wedding favours and wooden wedding signs.

Beach themed wedding cake

Grecian wedding dresses and light coloured suits lend themselves well to a seaside theme, as would a beautiful beach wedding hairstyle with wavy ‘just emerged from the sea’ texture and boho plaits.

You could even have some fun and set up a sea-themed photo booth for your guests to play around with – with deckchairs, beach balls and oversized sunglasses.

To give your day more of an exotic twist, opt for tropical inspired details such as pineapple and palm leaf centrepieces, flamingo straws and flowery wedding invitations.

Seaside wedding themes

Image credits: Benjamin Stuart Photography

Wedding Theme Dos and Don’ts

DO choose a theme that suits your venue – “A barn wedding venue is brilliant for a vintage or rustic theme,” says Karin Tindall. “Whereas a manor house is perfect for a day with understated elegance. Marquees lend themselves well to charming country garden themes.”

DO check in with your partner – “When picking out a theme make sure it agrees with both yourself and your partner and reflects who you are as a couple,” says Anastasia McClymont. “If your partner likes minimalist modern pieces and you are in love with shabby chic, it may create disagreements. Always try and find a compromise.”

DO look at the wedding as a whole – “Don't try and match everything or your guests will miss some of the little details,” says Anastasia. “But do try to focus on the larger picture when planning a themed wedding to make sure that everything flows.”

DON’T go overboard – “Keep the base of things simple and neutral, such as the chairs and the tables,” says Anastasia. “Then add the themed details afterwards.”

DON’T forget your theme – “If you have a long run up to your wedding, don’t be tempted to pick up any old item that catches your eye as it may not fit the theme,” warns Karin. “Stick to what you’ve planned and remember that less is often more.”

Colourful wedding flowers

Image credit: Benjamin Stuart Photography

Once you've got your theme sorted, check out our awesome wedding decor ideas for £10 or less - they won't break the bank and your wedding budget will be thanking you!



0 Shares

You Might Also Like:

Tagged in

Latest Articles

More Wedding Articles