Planning a Wedding: How to Choose a Theme

31st May 2013

Wedding reception theme

The theme of your wedding should run through all the elements of the occasion, such as the location, reception, invitations and decorations. Before the planning of your wedding is in full swing it is important to consider the theme and style of the wedding, and how this will affect your other major decisions.


The wedding venue is arguably the most significant element in portraying the theme to guests. For example, the decision of whether to have a traditional or modern wedding can greatly affect the choice of venue. A more specific theme – e.g. winter wonderland or the 1920s – will obviously require a suitable location in order to ensure the theme is consistent. If the couple already has their hearts set on a location, the theme could be built around that – likewise for any of the other elements. The theme may even be built around the bride’s dress, if it’s already been selected!


The theme will affect the colour scheme, decorations and favours in the wedding reception. Therefore before these decisions can be made a clear theme needs to be developed. The theme need not be seen as a constraint – it ensures consistency through the different elements and allows the couple to define their styles and personalities to their guests. Likewise, the theme does not have to be overly obvious, it can be subtle – but still enough to allow guests to understand what the theme is and how it represents the bride and groom.

The theme will also influence, and be influenced by, the date of the wedding, i.e. wanting a summer or winter wedding. It can also influence the choice of suppliers, such as the style of photography and the entertainment. The decorations at the wedding and in the reception will also likely develop the theme further, as well as the invitations and even the choice of menu.

Developing your Wedding Theme

Reception theme

Finalising the theme of your wedding requires a lot of forward thinking and planning but it shouldn’t be a burden. This is the element of the wedding that allows you to define yourselves as a couple and portray your personal style to your guests. Careful thought is therefore important and there are several methods that can be used for generating ideas.

Methods to Generate Ideas

• What is meaningful to you both as a couple? Perhaps there is something significant about the way you met, your first date or the proposal. If you are living together already look around your home – as you’ve acquired items and furniture, has a theme unknowingly developed, i.e. a significant style or colour?

• Think about your personalities. You want to ensure both husband and wife’s personalities shine through so guests can understand the relevance and how it represents you both. This will make it more meaningful for both the couple and the guests.

• Sit down, close your eyes and imagine your dream wedding. Compare your thoughts and ideas and spot the overlaps – some compromises may be required!

• Some families like to pass wedding traditions down, such as the bride wearing a family heirloom or a dress that has been passed through the generations. If it is a significant tradition, you may decide to build a theme around it, or incorporate it in some way.

• What are your favourite types of music? What are you favourite scenes from books or films? Where is your favourite place? List your favourite things and then ask yourself, ‘What do I like about them?’ This is a great way to isolate specific elements, allowing you to then consider whether they can be incorporated into your wedding theme.

Still stuck? It may be tempting to research the latest wedding trends and build your theme around them; however it is important to ensure your wedding is personal and unique to you. When you look back at the wedding photographs in years to come, trends will have changed but if the wedding was built around you as a couple it will stay meaningful and remain timeless.

It’s also important to remember: a theme may not be right for you! Not all weddings need a theme and it’s important to do what you and your spouse want to do. If you’re having trouble deciding on a theme, or finding it hard to develop a theme that fits the elements you want, then forget it – it’s your day and you should have what you both want.

Wedding theme

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