‘Themes’ at Weddings – what they are, what they do and what purpose they serve. Coming from a reasonably creative background and being naturally more accustomed to indulging in creative arts such as languages, poetry and art (in it’s most general term) I have a certain passion for creativity and the ‘finer details’. Therefore, when I say the word ‘theme’ I think my family and friends automatically see me dreaming up a Cirque du Soleil wedding reception with fire breathers, candy floss machines and half-exposed dancers catapulting one another across the ceiling while I – naturally dressed in my ring bearers outfit – whip guests to their seats all the while, eating a toffee apple. Whilst that may be something I would 100% do (and it undeniably is) I actually feel that no wedding is without a theme, or at the very least that no wedding should be without a theme.
A theme doesn’t have to be something akin to what you may read in a novel by JRR Tolkien or Lewis Carroll and it certainly should not be something to be afraid of. It is something I feel helps us to embrace our thoughts and creative ideas and channel them into a clear pathway of understanding to achieve the look and feel that you want for your special day.
This brings me to the juncture where I feel it appropriate to mention 2 very important points…
1) You do not have to spend a fortune to have a themed wedding
2) ‘Theme’ does not mean ‘colour scheme’ (your wedding theme is not ‘blue’…)
A theme is there to reflect you and your fiancé and incorporate your ideas – it’s not there to blow a hole in your proverbial wedding wallet! Your theme can be subtle and understated or loud and in your face – whichever you choose but make it you! Some couples say that they want to keep things simple and dislike the idea of a ‘theme’ for their celebrations. Well, I’m here to tell you that your simple and no frills ‘English country wedding’ is – whilst of course beautiful – heavily and completely stylised and yes, themed! This is where people I think get their wires crossed. Themes are not their to create rigidity but rather create clarity.
Colour Scheme – Pink (this incorporates everything in the world that is pink & gives little direction). You’re colour scheme is not, I repeat not a wedding ‘theme’. It is merely the colour palette that you wish to base your theme around.
Wedding Theme – Romantic & Vintage (with pink as the colour scheme) immediately offers more imagery making it therefore easier to source and/or make your décor whilst incorporating your chosen colour scheme.
For those of you who might be thinking at this stage, “I can’t afford to have a themed wedding”, I am here to tell you, “yes Cinderella, you can and will have your very own themed wedding!”
We’ve all seen it before and we’ll no doubt see it again but the DIY wedding is becoming ever popular especially as we all have at least one useful person in our family who bakes cakes, dabbles in floristry or is a dab hand with Max Factor ultimate lashes & a set of curling tongs. And why the hell not!
Your wedding is probably the 3rd most expensive ‘thing’ you will ever do after buying a house and raising a child so let’s call in the cavalry! In a lot of ways I think having a theme can help with your budgets because you tend to avoid aimlessly buying things that you think might be the right shade of lilac to match your wedding without any idea of why you have bought it other than……it’s lilac. If that’s the case you could end up with lilac bunting, on a lilac pirate ship eating lilac macaroons. (To be fair, I would love to see this wedding – but it’s not necessarily the most cohesive.) Stick to your theme and work to it – you will be far happier with the results as you will have something that truly reflects what you are looking for rather than randomly accumulating items.
My wedding theme that I had decided upon was ‘Secret African Garden’. It sounds simple enough but these 3 little words helped me to realise what I actually wanted and how to achieve it.
Secret – a venue that had to be in the middle of nowhere with a small group of close family and friends. The feeling that nobody knew where we were, how we got there, or how to get back and that none of that ultimately mattered because it was just for us.
African – reasonably self-explanatory in the fact that we got married in South Africa so wanted to incorporate some innate African qualities. We had our reception in a private game reserve looking over a lake and a landscape filled with giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Of course there was some mandatory animal print by way of leopard and giraffe print adorning the tables but everything had a rustic, warm feel about it – we used lots of natural woods, tin and had candles to reference the heat of the Africa sun. Oh, and we finished the evening with a surprise performance by a fantastic troop of Zulu dancers! (Just to tone things down a little…)
Garden – Outdoors! Alongside the wildness and ‘African-ness’ that we wanted to create, it was important that it felt comfortable and relaxed, sort of like having a BBQ in your back garden. Just endlessly better views!
Having your theme as a guideline really helps to harness the creative juices and keep them flowing in the same direction as opposed to swirling out of control in a whirlpool of diversity and uncertainty.
To show how you can take a simple concept and make it into a theme, as well as taking a big idea and turning it into a wedding theme, I have detailed below my Top 3 List for each category. In either respect you have a chance to be creative, unique and achieve a really beautiful day whether you choose understated or heavily stylised – Lord knows there are enough options out there for every woman on Earth to get married 5 times over and for us never of us to cross wedding paths!
My Top 3 Favourite Wedding Themes (understated)
(Think blush pinks, nudes, lots of texture, soft lighting and votive candles)
Rustic Country Chic
(Outdoor ceremony, mixed jars full of fresh flowers & homemade favours)
Old English Glamour
(Tall vases filled with fresh flowers, pale greens & champagnes with feathers)
My Top 3 Favourite Wedding Themes (heavily stylised)
Fiery Spanish Fiesta
(Red linen & candelabras, red wine bottles with roses, Paella & sangria, Latin gypsy band & salsa dancers)
Alice in Wonderland
(Afternoon tea & a bonkers wedding cake, mixed centrepieces such as potions, clocks & old books, flowers in teapots & teacups, playing card confetti)
Wild at Heart
(Leopard print table runners, sticks & burnt oranges & corals, animal cookie favours, bronzes & wood)
These are just a few of my personal favourites to get you in the mood so what are you waiting for? Get a glass, open that bottle of red that’s been calling your name and play around with some themes that reflect you, your partner and what you want your wedding to say about you. (And remember your Mantra…BLUE IS NOT A THEME!)