When our parents’ generation got married, they just got married. They didn’t mess around with picking a theme or special color palettes, and they didn’t need to share a Pinterest-level inspiration board with their vendors. In some ways, our generation has made weddings more complicated, and do we really need to pick a wedding theme? Well, technically, no, you don’t need to pick a wedding theme. In fact, you don’t need to do anything that the wedding blogs tell you to do, and that’s the fun part about it being YOUR wedding. Not every detail has to be about your guest experience.


But there is about a 95% chance that at least one of your vendors will ask you what your theme is, and truth be told, choosing a wedding theme helps you narrow down the way you design and plan your day. With so much inspiration out there, it’s really easy to get lost in all the pretty things that a couple can do for their wedding, but by selecting a theme, you can get your florist, baker, and rentals all on the same page. You can even let your Great Aunt Pearl know that the dress she wants you to wear down the aisle is “absolutely lovely, but it just don’t go with our boho chic wedding theme.”


When you first embark on the wedding planning journey and start looking for a venue, you’ll want to take your theme into consideration! If you want an elegant affair, the barn venue might not be the best bet. A boho wedding probably shouldn’t be in a ballroom. And a rustic celebration might not make sense in an art gallery. Choosing a theme is as much about defining who you are as a couple and incorporating that into your big day as it is about finding a style for your decor. If a vendor asks what your theme is and you totally made it up to combine all your interests and passions, OWN IT and tell them the elements that make up your theme (and maybe share a color palette, as well).


While you brainstorm what your wedding theme should be, we wanted to share some of the popular and classic wedding themes that couples love, as well as a few less common ones that we adore. And don’t forget that you can combine themes as well! We love the possibilities, such as Rustic Romantic and Modern Celestial!



The alt couple may choose to skip wedding traditions they don’t relate to, but the style itself has total diversity. If you tell a wedding vendor that you’re opting for an alternative theme, they’re going to ask for more direction, because it means you’re not putting yourself in any box! This is the route for bold colors, non-traditional elements and decor that really speaks to the couple. Maybe you’re drawing your inspiration from textures like leather and lace, your favorite band, or a jewel-tone.

Photo by MKM Photography at The Durham Hotel, Durham NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



The boho bride is free-spirited and may nix a lot of wedding traditions that feel too strict. Macrame decor often makes an appearance, and we love how boho weddings often have an eclectic and intimate feeling.

Photo by The Wild Bloom Photo at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance, Pittsboro NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



Whether you’re thinking about a romantic night under the stars or you prefer the science of space, a celestial theme gives us all the good vibes. Shades of blues and grays create a stunning palette, and including constellation-styled decor, mood lighting and a modern sense of style will create a memorable wedding. And don’t forget the foil-press to add a little extra sparkle to your paper products.

Photo by Kivus and Camera at 21C Musueum Hotel, Durham NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



For those who love a specific era from the past, a 20s, 40s or 70s wedding may speak to you! This can include the Art-Deco style wedding (think Great Gatsby inspiration), a simple 40s affair that reminds guests of The Notebook, or a groovy hippie party that has That ‘70s Show written all over it.

Photo by Radiant Light Photography at Market Hall, Raleigh NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



For couples that prioritize being eco-friendly, an earthy wedding can be a great option. Recycled paper products, compostable plates and farm-to-table catering make for wonderful, natural elements, and earth-tones are a must. Add a tree-planting to your wedding ceremony (yes, that’s a thing!) and you’ve got a perfect day.

Photo by Visual Rituals Media at The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain, Chapel Hill | The ABC's of Wedding Themes

Fandom Inspired


Calling all couples who are a part of a fandom – whether it’s Harry Potter, Star Wars, Doctor Who or anything else – if it’s important in your daily life, why not make it the theme of your wedding! Whether you opt for subtle references or a fully interactive experience for your guests, you’re sure to create a special wedding that you’ll really enjoy.

Photo by MKM Photography at Carriage Trail Farms, Lexington NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



So, you think weddings are the worst because you hate dancing and there’s nothing else to do? Think again. Bring out all your favorite games and make it a night that you’ll actually enjoy with a game-themed wedding. We’re talking everything from board games to guitar hero to a murder mystery party – because it’s YOUR wedding and you can do what you want!

Photo by Sean True Photography at The Durham Hotel, Durham NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes

Garden Party


Often more casual and intimate alfresco affairs, a garden party is great for the couple who wants minimal decor with a beautiful backdrop. This can be anything from a backyard wedding to a skyscraper rooftop, with guests more likely to adorn cocktail attire than formal wear.



From exposed brick and wooden beams to renovated garages and concrete spaces, industrial venues have a ton of character and opportunity to get creative. Dramatic lighting and mixed metals are always a hit, and you can go for a moody look with dark colors and creative use of shadows, or make it chic with soft colors and playful flowers.

Photo by Hayley Gastiger Photography at Chatham Station, Cary NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



“Modern” itself doesn’t really fit in a box, so this style can be transformed into anything you want, but common elements of modern weddings include a striking contrast of dark and light colors, clean lines and geometric shapes. Flowers are less likely in a modern table design, but other natural elements such as gemstones may find their way into the design.



Not every beach wedding has to be nautically themed, and not every nautical wedding has to be at the beach, but the two sure do make sense together! Blues, whites and coral are popular colors to work with here, as well as everything you love about the beach – especially if that includes sailboats and anchors.

Photo by Kelsey McGovern Photography at The Pavilion at Carriage Farm, Raleigh NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



If your fur-babies are a huge part of your life, perhaps you want to make them the star of the show. Cake toppers designed to look like your cats? We’re about it! Funny photos of your dog as table numbers? Yes please! Puppy ring bearer? Who could resist?



The forever classic. If you think of something as sweet and lovely, it probably fits into the romantic theme. Flowers are a big part of the romantic style, as well as candlelight. We adore poetry and love-letters, and a calligrapher can give a romantic wedding an incredibly special touch.

Photo by Amber Robinson Photography at Noahs Event Venue, High Point NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



Everyone in the south knows good and well what a rustic wedding looks like. This is where our mason jars, burlap and lace come out. This is a DIY bride’s dream, and the plethora of barn venues in the Raleigh area are a perfect fit for these weddings.

Photo by Laura Sydney Photography at The Barn at Woodlake Meadows, Bear Creek NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



While every wedding should consider the weather, choosing a season as the theme is completely an option. Spring themes include light colors and plenty of flowers, summer goes bold, fall adores burnt orange and white pumpkins, and winter looks great with stunning pops of white against deep colors. Go a step further and plan your wedding around a holiday! Our favorites are St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and New Years Eve.

Southern Charm


The Southern Belle doesn’t have to feel pigeonholed into a rustic wedding, but can instead turn toward the southern charm of the old south. Blue and white china, simple white flowers, and pops of pastels often make up this palette, and comfort food that reminds you of grandma’s cooking is a great option.



Are you a fan of all things classic? A traditional black tie wedding may be in order. But remember that your theme, decor and overall vibe should match the formal attire. Special attention should be paid to the details, particularly when it comes to place settings, and a sit-down plated dinner is a must.

Photo by Nieto Photography at Cedar Grove Acres, Cedar Grove NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



If traveling together is your favorite hobby, why not make a theme out of it? Incorporate elements from the places you’ve visited or places you want to go (think postcards as table numbers!). Globes, luggage tags and travel photos make for great details and inspiration for your invitations and guest book.

Photo by Gracie Withers Photography at Embassy Suites Greensboro | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



Feeling beachy? You don’t need the sand under your feet to pull off this look. Incorporate citrus in your drinks, tropical plants in your decor and a casual dress code to create a fun and relaxed tropical wedding. We particularly love this for early-day weddings.

Photo by Amelya Jayne Photography at The Barn at 42, Selma NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



Vintage weddings carry the air of days gone by, without sticking to a specific time in history. The couple who loves thrift shopping and hand-me-downs can create an elegant and timeless event with a vintage theme. This may include your grandma’s wedding dress, and old typewriter as the guest book, or a mix of chairs for the ceremony seating.

Photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography at Walnut Hill, Raleigh NC | The ABC's of Wedding Themes



If people most often describe you as quirky and colorful, you may want to consider a whimsical wedding theme. While there may be aspects that are boho, rustic or romantic, you can expect a lot of bright colors, eclectic aspects, and fun elements such as balloons or streamers.

Photo by Windsor Grey Photography | The ABC's of Wedding Themes