To theme or not to theme, that is the question. Personally I adore the idea of a themed wedding. Not only does it allow your guests a chance to get to know you a little more based on your interests, but it also adds a fun and whimsical feel to any wedding and reception.
Here at A Place in the Vineyard we have already had a couple themed weddings from Disney Princess to Lord of the Rings. Neither went overboard to the point that it was tacky like a high school prom, quite the latter actually. They were both “classily themed,” as my sister would call it. I’m right in the midst of working on my own themed wedding right now. It’s going to be Harry Potter. Crazy, I know. It’s really fun but also complicated. So before you take the plunge into a full blown, over the top themed wedding, here are a few helpful tips on how to pick and keep your themed wedding a classy one.
1) It doesn’t have to be based on a book, movie, or TV show.
I’m not just talking to all my fellow Harry Potter fans, but you know who you are. Having a themed wedding doesn’t have to be “nerdy”. If you don’t want anything too outlandish, simply think of something both you and your partner enjoy. Do you like to travel? Are you avid wine connoisseurs? There are so many different ways to theme a wedding. Your theme can be as simple as your favorite season or as complicated as your dream vacation (a trip to Paris or London), just make your food and décor match the look and feel of those places. However, if you want to base it off a book or movie… kudos to you, that’s what I’m trying to tackle!
2) Let your guests know what they’re walking into ahead of time.
Nobody wants to be blindsided showing up to what they thought was a normal wedding, only to find out that it’s Harry freakin’ Potter. Best way to accomplish this is to talk about it and make sure that your save the dates and invitations clearly portray what’s to come. Don’t send out normal looking invitations and then bust out dressed as Hagrid. Plus, if the people on your guest list know of your theme well enough in advance, and aren’t familiar with it, most will take some time to learn a bit so they aren’t left feeling confused.
3) It doesn’t have to be a costume party!
Unlike me, not everyone enjoys wearing a costume. When you say the word “wedding,” most people are going to instantly think formal attire and will not stray from that. Grandma doesn’t want to and shouldn’t have to come dressed as Professor McGonagall. Some guests may decline attending if they think they are required to come in costume. Many would feel uncomfortable or even unprofessional coming to a wedding in anything other than formal attire. Remove that fear or worry simply by designating that it is “formal attire” on the invitation. Problem solved. When making this decision, just be sure to put your guest’s happiness and comfort at the top of your list. If your crowd would enjoy a costume party… go all out!
4) How far do you want to take your theme? Submersive or subtle?
This really is the ultimate question when working with themed weddings. Do you want your guests to feel like they just stepped foot into the dining hall of Hogwarts or do you just want subtle Harry Potter touches here and there. This all boils down to your own personal opinion. What will make you happy and look back on your pictures with only the fondest of memories? If you are at all hesitant about hosting a themed wedding for fear of it becoming tacky or falling out of love with it over time, I would personally keep it more as a playful touch to ensure you never look back and say “Oh how silly!” Either way, everything needs to be artfully done so it doesn’t come across looking kitschy.
5) Make sure everything ties together smoothly.
This is the kicker. If you are trying to stick to a specific theme but mix and match your decorations or styles in a way that isn’t cohesive, you’ve defeated the purpose. My Harry Potter theme needs decorations that really tie in with the books and movies. This extends into printed materials too: save the dates, invitations, menus, even the engagement photos. Lanterns, broomsticks, owls, you know the drill. Can’t go mixing in burlap and mason jars. That would make the whole vision fall apart. In essence, planning a themed wedding is a bit more intense than normal because everything has to be chosen for a purpose and fit in seamlessly.
There is quite a lot that goes into executing a themed wedding. A lot more than I ever really knew. I’m learning as I go. So now that I’ve scared the be jeepers out of you (as well as myself!), I think I have some wedding planning to do. Happy Theming!