Tired of the same old humdrum wedding routine? Planning a themed wedding can get your creative juices flowing, and make your wedding your own, instead of a carbon copy of some bridal magazine. With a little imagination, your theme can make its way into just about every aspect of your wedding, from the initial save-the-dates to your final, triumphant departure.
Here are three popular theme wedding ideas that are sure to give your guests something to remember:
The Middle Ages Wedding Theme
The medieval theme is fantastic for a couple who love romance and tradition. If you can, arrive at your reception on the backs of great horses in crenellated trappings, straight out of Ivanhoe. Have heralds on-hand to announce your arrival with a blast of their trumpets. Use tall pennants to mark off the
boundaries of your reception if it held outdoors, or if indoors, deck the walls with large coats of arms.
Some of the most beautiful gowns in the world are reproductions patterned after the Middle Ages. Trust us, the rest of us brides are jealous that you get to wear one of these lovely creations to yours. Top off your gorgeous gown with a lovely hooded cape, if you wish. Ask your guests to don costumes as well, while reassuring them that you’ll still love them even if they show up in Gap jeans and oxfords.
One of the simplest ways to express your medieval theme is through your reception food. All the old Renaissance Festival standbys are sure to please. Serve plenty of wine to go with, and treat your guests to the wandering strains of a minstrel or troubadour instead of a DJ or a swing band. Many couples have deep ties to the medieval age, and the theme will show up even in the ceremony and the vows.
Any little girl who grew up reading “long, long ago and far away” tales or watching Disney movies — which excludes probably about five of us — probably has some kind of fairytale vision lodged deep in their minds. In fact, the Cinderella or fairytale theme is one of the most popular themes going today. It’s beautiful, it’s romantic, and it’s easy to pull off. Cinderella weddings have to start with a romantic, horse-drawn carriage, of course.
Then it’s time for the bride and groom to sweep into the hall. Naturally, she’s wearing a tiara, a pearl choker, and a classic ballroom gown with a full skirt. He might be dressed in a cutaway tuxedo, and slacks with a contrasting satin stripe for the faintest military air.
Cinderella weddings beg for ice sculptures, cascading floral arrangements perched on top of tall, fluted pillars, clear “glass” slippers arranged artfully around the room (sprinkled with rose petals and placed next to the cake, for example), and if you’re lucky enough to live near a large party rental company, a giant pumpkin carriage straight from a dream.
Don’t forget that any royal couple should know how to sweep across the room in an artful waltz. Fortunately, you can get the hang of the waltz and look really impressive with just a few dance lessons. And of course, you’ll want to end this glorious affair with a dramatic dove release — Cinderella couldn’t have anything less.
The popular and evocative under-the-sea theme could be the perfect match for the couple that’s wild about water. Under the sea is its own theme, distinct from the more common beach one. While the beach theme is above ground, filled with notions of sand, blinding sun and seashells, under the sea is more about the mysterious, unseen world lying just below the surface.
You could have this theme wedding on the beach, but probably the most ideal place is in the hall at an aquarium, with giant windows on all sides where anything from porpoises to polar bears fly weightlessly by. You can also have a great under the sea wedding at any banquet hall, simply by decorating it creatively.
Let’s start with attire. The bride might wear a wedding gown with a beautiful mermaid silhouette, long, sparkling chandelier earrings in colors resembling seaweed, and a tiara, just like any mermaid princess. The groom could don the traditional tux (after all, the penguins have been doing it for years), a cummerbund in lamé or an aquatic color, and mother of pearl cufflinks.
To decorate the venue, drape tulle in soft ocean colors from the corners of the room or any other architectural features, then overlay the tulle with beautiful fish nets. Periodically (but don’t overdo it), suspend float balls and other seaside decorations such as model swordfish or sea horses from the netting. Hang one or two anchors and chains from strategic locations.
Put out a really dramatic cake table by using the same aqua or sea foam-colored tulle to build a cake canopy, and accent the opening with long, dramatic strands of seaweed from the craft store.
As for the cake itself, sure, you can use those beautiful white chocolate shells, but don’t forget your aura of mystery and magic. Your undersea cake could also be tricked out with chocolate dolphins, barnacles, sea urchins, sea horses or seaweed.
Simple white candles on mirrors will make a beautiful centerpiece, but you can personalize things even more by using faux pearls. Hot glue them to your candles in a spiral pattern, or wrap strings of faux pearls around glass cylinders and fill with flowers that resemble water lilies or sea anemones, such as hydrangeas or Livingston daisies.
One more idea for centerpieces is wine bottles in blues and greens, with mysterious messages tucked inside. Top off each bottle with some wax, and drape with a little fish net. Scatter some flotation balls and vase gems around your bottles. You might even want to glue a little sand around the bottom of the bottles, about a third of the way up the glass.
Want to get even more unique? Ask your handy cousin or parent to help you out by making some beautiful treasure chests to plunk in the middle of your tables. If you buy them, they’ll cost a lot, but you can make them for next to nothing, and they’re so easy that even a handy kid could do it.
Now that you’ve got them, fill those beautiful chests with a little gauzy fabric, and on top of it pile strings of faux pearls, flashy costume jewelry you picked up for next to nothing at the thrift store, and real (but cheap) coins from a coin dealer, or chocolate coins from your favorite candy store. Now you’ve got an exciting look on your hands that your guests are unlikely to forget. When it’s time for your guests to go home, gift them with a little token such as a silver dolphin bottle opener, a dolphin candle, or a regatta bottle stopper.
The theme wedding is a terrific way to do something different. Just tailor your enthusiasm to your level of formality. If you want your wedding to come off as very formal, to keep a tight rein on the thematic touches. On the other hand, perhaps you’re having a boisterous second wedding, or just want to have a good time. In that case, your only limit’s your imagination — and chances are good your guests will take their cue from you, letting their hair down and getting into the fun.
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