20 Wedding Themes for Every Bridal Style

From modern to tropical, we've got your wedding style needs covered

Updated 01/04/18

Photo by Chellise Michael Photography

Picking out wedding themes can be one of the hardest planning pieces that every bride's faced with. Do you want to go the romantic route, or keep things fresh and modern? Once you pinpoint the theme of your dreams, you can officially move forward with the rest of your wedding plans. But, if you're still on the fence about which direction you want to go, we rounded up the best wedding themes for any style and venue, no matter how unique. Use this as a comparative guide to finally cross this major decision off your planning checklist and set the tone for your big day.

1. Romantic

Soft hues, delicate lighting, and plenty of florals typically make up a romantic wedding. For this theme, envision pastels, hanging lights (even chandeliers), calligraphy, and a flower wall.

Ceremony Site

Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Reception Place Setting With Flowers

Photo by Tec Petaja

Hanging greenery with candles

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

2. Alternative

More of an offbeat bride who's never been one to take the normal route? We get you. Buck tradition with an alternative wedding theme, and roll with it however you see fit. If cool, moody color palettes and creative stand-ins match your style better than bright flora and been-there-done-that wedding decor, then an alternative theme has your name written all over it. Push the boundaries as much as you want.

Reception Table

Photo by Sarah Falugo

Photo by Ed and Aileen Photography

Greenery Wreaths

Photo by Katie Nesbitt Photography

3. Vintage

Draw inspiration from decades past if you want a vintage style for your wedding—and one of the easiest ways to channel this is through your wedding outfit and beauty look. As for the ceremony and reception, you can rely on antique-looking decor, like weathered doors and worn-in wood seats, to further exemplify a vintage-inspired wedding. For your last hoorah, finish off the vintage theme driving away in a classic getaway car, like an old Porsche or Volkswagen.

Bride solo shot

Photo by Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Weathered Blue Ceremony Doors

Green Door Photography

Photo by Unique Lapin

4. Whimsical

For the whimsical couple, your wedding will be one of bright splashes of color and quirky, bohemian components. Incorporate design elements like multicolored balloons, streamers, punchy floral arrangements, and mismatched chairs if you and your future groom want to plan a whimsical wedding.

Photo by Julie MacKinnon Photography

Wedding Ceremony Space with Splashes of Orange

Photo by Sara Monika, Photographer

Dinner Menu

Photo by Sasithon Photography

5. Modern

For a modern wedding, think clean lines, geometric shapes, and minimal design. A modern theme knows few bounds, so channel it however you see fit. Put a modern spin on anything from your wedding dress (take a break from white) to your venue decorations, like sleek seats, a cool structural backdrop, or a bold color scheme. We also asked top wedding planners their 2018 trend predictions, so stay up to date with their ideas, like greenery and cream balloons.

octagon place setting

Photo by Sonia Bourdon; Planning by Mlle Artsy; Decor by La Mariée Bohème; Flowers by Atelier Floral ; Calligraphy by Imaginejoy Calligraphie; Cutting & Engraving by Central Stamp

Minimalist ceremony venue with lights

Photo by Chaz Cruz

6. Rustic

String lights, mason jars, twine, lace, and all wood everything contribute to the simple and homey vibe of this theme. If you're a huge DIY fan, rustic wedding decor will be your cup of tea. Consider a more rural venue, like a chic and intimate barn (wood or bust), if this is your dream wedding style.

Photo by Laura Murray Photography

Photo by Laura Murray Photography

7. Garden Party/Casual

If you envision a more intimate, casual ceremony, opt for an outdoor garden party-themed wedding. This laid-back style is perfect if you have a backyard wedding on the brain and a spring or summer date.

Outdoor table reception venue

Eliza Morrill Photography

Reception venue

Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

Gia Canali

8. Bohemian

Calling all boho brides—if this matches your own personal style, then say "I do" to the corresponding wedding theme. Just like your wedding dress will most likely look, a bohemian wedding remains cool and carefree, but still beautiful. Keep your venue decorations simplistically elegant, with oriental rugs lining the aisle and altar, decorative pillows, or hanging macramé decorations. Take a note from actress Troian Bellisario's 2016 wedding, which is the stuff of boho dreams.

Photo by Phil Chester

Photo by Braedon Flynn; Venue: Casa de Monte Vista

9. Southern-Inspired

Can't resist the charm of the south? Whether you're a born-and-raised southerner or just want to tie the knot at a venue below the Mason-Dixon Line, ensure that your theme aligns with your locale with hints of southern charm. Treat guests to bites of comfort food and bourbon-infused cocktails, show off your monogram, or walk down the aisle in your favorite pair of cowboy boots, if you're so inclined. Decorate with pops of color in pastel hues and rich blues (i.e. your groom's bow tie) to channel more components of the south—and don't forget about hospitality.


Photo by Carrie Patterson

Photo by Kristyn Hogan

Photo by Jacqui Cole Photography

10. Formal/Traditional

Considering a black tie-scale wedding? If you envision you and your guests dressing to the nines, your overall theme will have to match accordingly. For nuptials this grandiose, you'll want to pull out all the stops and include complete table settings (wine glasses and all) with a full sit-down dinner, posh seating, ornate flower arrangements (even on the cake!), and an exquisite head table, just to name a few formalities.

Wedding Cake with Flowers

Photo by Katie Shuler

larissa cleveland photography

Todd Pellowe

11. Art-Deco

This timeless style features Great Gatsby-era lavishness, complete with robust fonts, ornate gold and sparkles, and plenty of geometric shapes with sharp lines (similar to the modern theme). If you're all about tasteful glitz and jazz-age glam with an ode to vintage allure, then this theme's for you.

Photo by Pat Furey

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Photo by Andrew Mark Photography

12. Nautical

Whether you're tying the knot at your childhood lake house or are planning a destination wedding, a nautical theme perfectly complements a seaside ceremony. Make waves with blue and white tones (especially stripes), paired with beach motifs like shells, anchors, ropes, and sailboats to exude a maritime style.

Photo by Sara & Rocky Photography

Kayla Coleman Photography

Christina Szczupak

13. Eco-Friendly/Natural

Just because you want to be mindful of the environment (as we all should be) in your wedding doesn't mean you have to skimp out on the little things. You can use biodegradable confetti as an alternative to rice for your grand exit, opt for plants instead of flowers as table decor, and many invitations can now be printed on recycled paper. If weather allows, choose an outdoor venue to cut back on energy from lighting.

14. Celestial

Your love was written in the stars, so translate that mentality onto your wedding theme. Kick off the festivities with star-infused wedding invites, and use your venue to create the ambiance of a night sky. Even your dress can channel the ultimate celestial vibes. The sky's the limit (literally) with this theme, so get creative with a galaxy-inspired constellation guest book, cake, and ceremony backdrop.

Photo by Orange Photographie

Photo by Laura Goldenberger

Photo by Birds of a Feather

15. Music

March to the beat of your own drum at your wedding if music makes yours and your future spouse's world go round. Whether you're members of the music industry or just love a good tune from any genre, incorporate your passion through instrument motif decorations, a vintage mic stand, and plenty of your favorite songs interspersed throughout the ceremony and reception. And, this should be a given, but enlist the help of your favorite local band to keep the rhythm alive.

Photo by Stoffer Photography

Bride and groom holding hands

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Bluegrass Band

Photo by Ashley Sawtelle

16. Tropical

You don't need a beach locale to beautifully pull off a tropical-inspired wedding. One couple even incorporated a tropical vibe into their New York City nuptials. You just need plenty of plants (like palm fronds and neon florals), laid-back decor, and a signature beach-y cocktail.

Photo by Our Labor of Love

White Wedding Lounge Area

Photo by She Takes Pictures He Makes Films

Photo by Jessica Bordner Photography

17. Preppy

Bright pinks, greens, and navy blues are the name of the preppy game, which can also go hand-in-hand with nautical or southern weddings. A preppy theme allows you to blend formality with fun through bold patterns, tasteful bows, dainty fonts, and cheery flowers. Channel your inner Kate Spade or Lilly Pulitzer (pearl earrings and all) if this theme is up your alley.

Bougainvillea Table Garland

Photo by Mink Photography; Planning & Design by Perfect The Event; Floral Design by Three Petals; Rentals by Something Borrowed Party Rentals

Photo by Chloe Lapeyssonnie

Photo by Dana Cubbage Weddings

18. Christmas/Holiday

Take your winter wedding to the next level with holiday-infused motifs. From Christmas tree decor and ornament escort cards to warm winter cocktails, the Christmas wedding options are endless. Hope for a little snow the day of, request "All I Want for Christmas Is You" from your DJ, gift candy canes or Santa hats as favors, and you're all set.

Photo by Sara Wight Photography

Photo by Sara Wight Photography

Photo by Sara Wight Photography

19. Animal

It's hard not to be an animal-lover, and it makes a creative wedding theme that hasn't been overly done. If you have your own pet, incorporate it into the wedding (puppy ring bearer, perhaps?), and rely on more wild creature motifs to liven up your table settings and invitations. Take it one step further and make your grand entrance atop a horse, or hop on the llama wedding trend (yes, this is a real thing).

Photo by TPoz Photo

Photo by Krystal Zaskey Photography

Dog holding wedding bands

Photo by Mackenzie Neville

20. Travel

If you're a jet-setting duo or have friends venturing from near and far for your wedding, incorporate a creative travel theme that guests will also love just as much. This couple wanted to honor their heritages (he's from Montreal, she's from Norway) and their array of international guests in their California nuptials, which featured a sign detailing how far their friends and family had traveled and a freestanding white wall decorated with assorted globes that read "Where To Next?" They also transformed luggage tags into escort cards and used postcards as a guest book.

Wedding Signs

Photo by Birds of a Feather Photography

Where to next? Sign

Photo by Birds of a Feather Photography

Escort Cards

Photo by Birds of a Feather Photography

Wedding notes

Photo by Birds of a Feather Photography

If no one theme speaks to you, there's nothing stopping you from incorporating pieces from several themes, or choosing a completely original style. It's your wedding, so play by your own rules.

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