The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Wedding Theme
Is your wedding pinterest board confused?
If you are recently engaged, you might be already scouring the internet for big day inspiration and trying to pin down a theme. Now just a disclaimer about the word "theme" before we start....
Themes can get a bad reputation in the wedding industry sometimes, because the word invokes thoughts of super match-y match-y cookie cutter weddings with no personality, or novelty weddings that are basically a bit cringe. You might be put off by the word “theme” because it sounds a bit restrictive, or maybe even makes you think of a kids party.
I totally get it, you are complex people and don’t want your wedding to be put in a neat little box. But it doesn’t have to be like that. A theme is just the setting for telling your love story. It sets the tone and atmosphere for your day, and will go a long way to creating the vibe that you’d like your wedding to have.
If chosen well, your wedding theme can be your North Star in the planning process; keeping you from decision paralysis, overwhelm and silly last minute splurges. Choosing a wedding theme can actually save you time, stress and money.
Ok now the disclaimer's out of the way, let's get into it...
Choosing a theme or style for your wedding can be hard work. Your theme is the foundation for all your ideas, it’s the basis of the experience of your guests and will ultimately affect how they remember the day. Having too many ideas can result in a completely directionless wedding where nothing looks as good as it could. Not having enough ideas makes finding accessories, stationery, decorations really difficult because there is TOO MUCH CHOICE. The good news is, I'm here to help you and I am a massive geek about this stuff.
If you’re ready to find your perfect wedding theme then I have the steps for you all laid out here. I’ve also made a free workbook for you, so you can download that and use it to record your notes and ideas while you work through each step.
STEP 1: ANSWER THE BIG QUESTIONS
There are some important things to consider before you can start to think about your wedding theme:
Where do you want to get married? In the countryside, in the city? A destination wedding?
What’s your budget?
What season would you like it to be?
How many guests do you imagine being there?
All of these things affect the theme that’s likely to work best for your wedding. You probably wouldn’t want to plan a winter wonderland wedding in June, so it’s best to get these things decided first. This would be a great time to read my post on the first steps to take when you’re engaged if you haven’t already ;)
STEP 2: LEARN FROM OTHER WEDDINGS
There’s a lot you can learn from other people’s weddings, especially ones you have been to as a guest. It’s the perfect way to see how things work in real life practice, and also the reaction that they get from guests. To make the most of the lessons you can learn from other people’s weddings:
Think about all the weddings you’ve been to and what you liked (and perhaps even more importantly, disliked) about each one.
Have a read of some real wedding stories online and in magazines. Pay attention to the full story and not just the pictures. What is it about the vibe of that particular wedding that you resonate with?
What do all of these weddings have in common? For example, are they all outside? Do they all have industrial elements? They were all fun and like a huge party? Use your workbook to note down any details that come up again and again.
Original photo by Jenna Kutcher.
STEP 3: VISUAL INSPIRATION GATHERING
Here comes the fun bit. Collect everything that you are visually drawn to in one place. You have my full permission to go wild at this point. Don’t think about budgets or practicalities for this stage, just look around for things that inspire you. Some great places to collect visual inspiration are:
Pinterest (the most obvious choice). For this particular step I recommend making a “secret” board and going on a 10 minute pinning spree. Don’t just stick to weddings, anything goes, as long as something about the image captures your imagination. I find this helps tame any perfectionist tendencies. You can always edit the board and make it public later.
Books and Magazines - looking in real life printed media can be a nice break from your computer screen.
Look in your own house and wardrobe, are there any colours and textures that you go back to again and again? This can be a really great hack to getting to know your tastes as a couple.
Go window shopping - what colours are you drawn to time and time again? You can even visit DIY stores, fabric shops and places like IKEA (my personal happy place) for inspiration.
STEP 4: MAKE A MOOD BOARD
Now is the time to go back over your mountain of inspiration materials and be selective. Weed out your very very favourite pieces. What do they have in common?
A few tips for a great mood board:
Take it off of Pinterest and onto real paper. I recommend A3 size or bigger to really get your imagination going.
If you don’t want to cut up your treasured wedding magazines, photocopy/scan the bits you want to use. This means you can always donate them to someone else after the big day so they are not wasted.
Look in unexpected places. Paint chips, wallpaper samples, fabric scraps, anything that inspires you, pop it on there. Different textures really help a mood board communicate atmosphere.
STEP 6: CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING KEYWORDS.
Your wedding keywords will help you a huge amount while you plan the big day. These are the words that you can always refer back to when people ask what your wedding is going to be like or what your theme is going to be. The more thoughtful and selective you are with your wedding keywords the more they will help you to find ideas, decorations, stationery and even the perfect suppliers for your wedding! To find your wedding keywords:
Set a timer for 5 minutes, look at your moodboard and write down as many words as you can to describe what you see. Eg. Bright, fun, colourful, monochrome, etc..
Once the time limit is up, look through your list and choose the three words that resonate with you most in terms of your dream wedding. If you find choosing just three really hard, work backwards and cross out the ones that you don’t want first.
PRO TIP: when you think you have your three words, type them into search on Pinterest with the word wedding (eg. Bright, fun, relaxed wedding). If what comes up looks like your dream wedding then you are on the right track! If not, go back to your list and try again.
If you’ve made it to the end of these steps, YAY! Great work! You should now have the whole wedding theme package: a mood board, a colour pallet and the right keywords to help you on your journey in planning your dream wedding. Don’t forget to download your free workbook, and for bonus points, I’d love to hear what your three keywords are! Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram :) I can’t wait to hear about your wedding themes.