5 WOW Wedding Themes
Photo: J. Cogliandro Photography
Choosing your wedding theme is about more than picking your venue, colors and flowers. It’s about setting the scene in which you and your future spouse will take the next step from “yes” to “as long as we both shall live.”
Picking a wedding theme certainly can be overwhelming—if you look at it as a matter of decorating, rather than one of expressing your personality, your background, your tastes and your aspirations. Get inspired by these theme-design ideas from detail-oriented Houston wedding pros, and you’ll be well on your way to setting the perfect tone for your special day.
1. RUSTIC CHIC
Lush, blooming trees, colorful pebbles and natural instincts find their way from the outdoors in for this warm, cozy theme that emulates the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. A rustic-chic theme is all about blending unexpected outdoorsy elements like burlap, wood and even antlers with a bit of well-placed bling.
Release your inner animal. For Tamara Menges, owner of Tamara Menges Designs, incorporating animal-inspired accents is a favorite way to bring a bit of rustic charm to the table. “One of my favorite tablescapes to date was … a farmhouse table, with tree logs that I embellished with lush floral cascading around the logs, deer antlers, and a large piece of fabric draped down the middle of the table to the ground as an exaggerated runner,” she says.
Soften the edges. Rustic themes can begin to feel hard and masculine if feminine touches aren’t sprinkled throughout the design scheme. Add a bit of ladylike luxury with ornate crystal chandeliers, flowers in various gem tones and glowing pearl accents. A great idea for the aforementioned antlers? Take them from hunting trophy to hip decor element by painting them metallic shades of silver and gold, suggests Jenika Gonzales, associate event coordinator with planning and design firm Event Solutions.
Upcycle, elegantly. Rustic chic just might be one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly themes to pull off, thanks to a focus on making old ideas new again. Antique washtubs, wood barrels and metal buckets can be repurposed for storing cold drinks, for instance. Old wood farmhouse doors, meanwhile, make great tabletops—perfect for displaying heirloom portraits mixed with low-profile wildflower arrangements and softly glowing votives. Scour local thrift and antique stores for inexpensive, unique finds that won’t break your wedding budget.
2. VINTAGE CHARM
This is a theme grandma would approve of, though with a bunch of bold, edgy twists. Vintage is about using styles from days gone by to create a wedding experience that feels both very “of the moment” and utterly timeless.
Focus on the family. Gather old photos of relatives, whether they’re your great-grandmother’s wedding stills or the photos your parents took of your awkward brother before he left for his junior prom. All pictures, whether “good” or “bad,” are worth saving, and with them, your wedding can be a showcase for where you’ve come from and where you’re heading. Frame them in “shabby chic,” thrift-shop frames and scatter them throughout your venue.
Add icing to the cake. Many brides throughout the decades have saved their cake toppers as mementos of the most memorable day of their lives. Odds are someone in your family has too. “For one of our brides, we suggested that she use the same cake topper that graced her grandparents’ wedding cake years ago,” Gonzales says. “It was the sweetest touch to add a family heirloom to her special day, and it made for an unforgettable moment between her and her grandmother at the reception.”
Get branded. Hearken back to simpler days with antique or vintage branding such as elegant, colorful Coca-Cola signs and steel signs advertising penny candy. Delight guests by having waiters tray-pass sodas in vintage bottles, or add a little late-night vintage fun with a root-beer-float station in an unused corner of your venue, Gonzales suggests.
Hold the flowers. Who says you need to spend a fortune on vases? If you’re going for a vintage theme, empty soda bottles, wine bottles or beer cans can be spray-painted or decorated with twine to add a sweet vintage touch. And don’t forget to surf sites like Etsy for great deals on vintage milk jugs, mason jars, mercury glass vessels and other throwback flower-holders.
3. CITY SOPHISTICATE
Hello, swanky! For the city-dwelling couple that thrives on sleek sophistication, a modern scene filled with sleek lines, stark colors and a bit of Hollywood glamour is an ideal environment for celebrating your blessed union in cutting-edge style.
Lock in your location. Gonzales and Menges agree that a great city- sophisticate wedding starts with a fabulous, contemporary venue with ample space. Look for sites with exposed brick and ductwork, open windows and dark walls, industrial elements, and wide-open floor plans that can hold an interesting array of food stations, bars, and—perhaps most important—a massive dance floor.
Set your sight on white. Modern sophistication might make its mark with dark, dramatic colors like red, black and slate grey. But adding hints of stark white can soften and feminize an otherwise cold look, Menges says. White is also a great background hue if you wish to wash your sophisticated space with boldly colored lighting and LED effects.
Put it in writing. Nothing brings New-York edge or Hollywood chic to your event like professional lighting, Gonzales says. And no lighting effect is quite as commanding as a custom monogram gobo. “While uplighting and pin- spotting definitely transform a room, I love when couples create their own gobo or monogram and showcase it at their wedding,” she explains. “Not only does it serve as a ‘wow’ factor for guests as they walk into the reception, but it is a personal design that the couple can keep and use for the rest of their lives.”
Pay attention to details. That slick monogram that’s splashed in lights across your super-chic dance floor or on the exposed-brick wall behind your ultra-cool cake can be incorporated into bathroom towels and napkins, too. And don’t forget to up the fun factor by adding dazzling decorated stirrers, pinstriped straws or LED “ice” cubes to party-time cocktails.
4. ROMANTIC AND FEMININE
A wedding is, at its heart, a celebration of true love. So it’s no surprise that romantic, feminine weddings are enduring favorites among tradition-loving Houston brides.
Light right. “There is nothing more romantic than candlelight, and you can never have too much,” Menges says. Dim your ballroom’s lights and spark the flames, but make sure to also place them in unique places. Fill vases with water and float glowing tea lights on top for a gorgeous bar accent; complete the look with ornate flowers circling the base of the vase. Illuminate guest bathrooms with no-flame candles set on sinks (and even on toilet tanks), and add twinkling string lights to outdoor trees.
Don’t forget to moss. Sure, gorgeous flowers in feminine pastels, white and ivory are a natural fit for a feminine fête. But soft moss and dirt can look just as lovely as full blooms when encased in clear vases hung from walls. Add ruffled skirting to bar tops and cover them with moss and flower petals for an earthy, romantic, enchanted-forest look, Gonzales suggests.
Tempt with texture. Using whimsical textures like fur combined with silk will give your romantic reception an upscale feel. Bring soft, feminine texture and visual interest to often- overlooked areas like bathrooms, hallways and buffet tables, with “luscious, fluffy flowers” like peonies and hydrangeas, she adds.
5. CLASSIC ELEGANCE
If what you seek is a wedding everyone will remember for its elegance, start with luxury—and maintain a sumptuous feel throughout your celebration space.
Choose luxe linens. Your guests will be spending most of their time, and their focus, at the table. “Renting a high-quality linen in a luxurious fabric like satin or taffeta as opposed to the generic polyester linens will go a long way and make your wedding feel unique and exquisite,” Gonzales says.
Eat it up. Plates and cutlery are often ignored as side thoughts, but incorporating gorgeous tableware into your elegant design can set the tone for the entire event. Specialty tabletop rentals can also enhance color details in surrounding areas. Gold chargers, for instance, can bring out ornate metallic accents, while patterned china can echo elaborate floral arrangements. And nothing reflects light more beautifully than elegant crystal stemware.
Snazz up those sills. Windows are a favorite feature of many beloved Houston wedding venues. Yet when it comes to wedding design schemes, they are often overlooked, Gonzales says. Draping windows with lavish linens can enhance the elegance of the room, and serve a practical purpose, filtering the intense light of a romantic summer sunset.