20 Wedding Themes for Every Bridal Style

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

Updated 09/28/19

Photo by Chellise Michael Photography

Picking out wedding themes can be one of the hardest planning pieces that every couple is 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 couple 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 floral and been-there-done-that wedding décor, 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. 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 décor, like weathered doors and worn-in wood seats, to further exemplify a vintage-inspired wedding. For your last hoorah, finish off the vintage theme by 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 full of bright splashes of color and quirky, bohemian components. Incorporate design elements like multicolored balloons, streamers, punchy floral arrangements, and mismatched chairs.

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 for their 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 contributes to the simple and homey vibe of this theme. If you're a huge DIY fan, rustic wedding décor will be your cup of tea. Consider a more rural venue, like a chic and intimate barn, 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 how 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, and decorative pillows or hanging macramé decorations. Take a note from actress Troian Bellisario's 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 by adding 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.

Centerpieces
Photo by Carrie Patterson
Photo by Kristyn Hogan
Photo by Jacqui Cole Photography

10. Formal/Traditional

Considering a black tie 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, including 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) at 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, plants instead of flowers as table décor, and invitations printed on recycled paper. If the 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 into your wedding theme. Kick off the festivities with star-infused wedding invites, and use your venue to create the ambience 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 you 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 pull off a beautiful 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 décor, and a signature beachy 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 décor 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. Animals

It's hard not to be an animal lover, and it also makes for a creative wedding theme that hasn't been overdone. 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. They 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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