When the term ‘wedding theme’ is mentioned, brides and wedding stylists alike tend to automatically think about vegas, themed tables and over-the-top in-your-face kitsch-ness – and how to avoid it!
But on the contrary, this post contains themes that you might want to consider, as they combine the best of beautiful wedding vibes, classic element and Instagram worthy things.
Wedding themes shouldn’t get a bad rap because of DIY-weddings that were done poorly and posted on Pinterest.
With the right guidelines and carefully chosen elements, colors and combinations, you can achieve a gorgeous wedding theme without the word even being mentioned anywhere…
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6 Wedding Themes with brilliant modern twists
Creating your wedding budget first will give you an idea of which venues and themes are out of the question, and which ones are do-able.
It’s difficult to find a budget that can be edited to add all the things you need, all the while being useful and includes everything you need to plan it all out thoroughly. That’s why I have created an Editable Wedding Budget which you can modify to suit your needs.
The eco-friendly wedding theme
Sustainability has become a prominent topic in most industries.
It has also influenced the wedding industry in the most unexpected way: brides incorporate environmentally friendly elements into their wedding styles. Think recycled glassware, bamboo cutlery and natural elements such as wooden underplates.
The colors for this theme can be shades of blue and green, as well as natural colors such as brown, beige and orange.
The eco-friendly wedding theme has also become quite popular for small wedding budgets, since items that doesn’t have an alternative replacement simply gets left out.
You can make your wedding stationery from recycled paper, or better yet, make everything digital.
I have taken every aspect of this wedding theme and discussed it separately in this post. You will also find plenty of brilliant ideas which you can incorporate into this theme, including ideas for wedding favors, gifts and even your wedding dress! Have a look here.
Use biodegradable confetti that aren’t filled with artificial coloring. Silk rose petals and traditional confetti or streamers are a mission to clean up afterwards, and most venues are banning them because of this. Rather use dried leaves, natural flower petals or purchase from a seller who offer these options, such as the biodegradable confetti by LaMiaCasa on Etsy.
Give useful and eco-friendly wedding favors to your guests. There are so many ideas that can be good for the environment, such as miniature plants, seed packets, handmade tea bags and so on. I personally love these Pine Cone Fire Starters by ForestLion, because we go camping a lot!
Seed Paper Stationery
The greenery wedding theme
Greenery was Pantone’s color of the year for 2017, but even before the hype of the actual color, greenery has replaced flowers and other elements in many brides’ wedding style.
And even now, greenery at weddings is still a very popular choice — especially if you’re on a small budget.
The idea is to replace wedding flowers with green, or “filler” type plants and stems, to make the wedding look all natural.
This is paired with white as a base color, and some brides even add a metallic element, such as gold, in the mix. It’s an easy theme, or wedding style, to work with.
Important note: Make sure the greenery you use are hardy enough to survive without water, if that is how you plan to use it on tables.
Plants like eucalyptus (‘silver dollar’ as well as ‘baby blue’) and ivy can be used. Also make sure that plants stand in water for at least a day, before using them, so that they can hydrate properly.
To compliment this wedding style, use greenery designs in your wedding stationery, and dried greenery leaves for your confetti. You can also use greenery wreaths or hoops for your bridesmaids.
Dried Confetti Leaves
The natural wedding theme
The natural wedding theme has tons of elements from nature — quite obvious in the name.
Use wood, branches, pampas grass, wildflowers and so on to bring this wedding style to life. The idea is to use elements in its natural state.
It goes well with a rustic theme, if you had to pair it with another style, and works well with most venues.
Colors are all natural shades (brown, orange, beige, green), mostly paired with white or cream.
The natural theme can also be paired with bohemian elements, such as macrame and twine, and other earthy elements such as semi-precious stones and crystals.
To make your natural wedding style spring to life, you can incorporate lots of different cotton linens into your wedding reception. Use cotton, muslin or even grey tulle to create that natural effect. I especially love natural cotton, like this Table Runner from RPlinen on Etsy.
Natural Ring Pillow
Besides your table decor, find other ways to include natural fabric in your wedding, such as this Cotton Ring Pillow from theartsyhippie. It also makes a wonderful keepsake for your wedding box.
Agate Name Cards
Agate, crystals and natural pearls can give your wedding style that final touch. I like how you can include these as a favor to your wedding guests, and also use it as your table decor. You can find agate place cards, like these ones from LavenderCloudCo, on Etsy.
Gold Vine Rings
Gold is one of those natural elements that will look good at any wedding – and on your finger! I have found these gorgeous natural, 14ct Tree Vine Gold Rings from Zahour on Etsy.
Another way to add natural elements is by giving a sealed and polished wooden ring to the groom. Wooden rings, including this with titanium, has been a wedding trend for the past few years already. This Walnut Bentwood Ring by JWMorseDesigns can be found on Etsy as well.
The Nordic wedding theme
Also known as the Scandinavian or Viking theme, this theme is very old world with a modern touch.
It’s also quite controversial, as some non-traditional items are included in this wedding theme. Mostly an outdoor wedding style, it works well in secluded venues such as forests or the mountain side, and it is perfect for winter as well.
Leaning more towards the raw, Viking side, are key elements like antlers, heavy metals and faux fur. If you want to add more unique elements, faux skulls can also be included in this style.
For your wedding bands, you can choose hammered gold or other metals, or even rings with rune symbols engraved upon it (Tungsten ring). A Celtic ring will complete your wedding look as well…
This is by far one of my favorite wedding styles, because you can play around with so many old-world elements to truly make it your own.
For more inspiration, you can watch the hit series Vikings, as well as certain scenes from Game of Thrones.
The raven is one of the most iconic birds of the Viking era, and is symbolic to so many things. Make a statement by incorporating feathers into your bridal look, such as this Feather Cape Shaman by HigginsCreek.
The final touch to your wedding style is by wearing a memorable wedding dress that fits into your theme. For a spring wedding, you can wear a cool Celtic-inspired lace dress, like the one from CELTICFUSIONDESIGN. A winter wedding means heavy fabrics and fur – I am totally in love with this Viking Queen Wedding Dress by KMKDesignsllc.
Groom's Wedding Ring
The groom’s ring can be raw, hammered metal with imperfections. A popular choice among couples is also a perfect ring with a Celtic or Nordic design.
Bring more of the Viking tradition alive by including ceremonial items – such as this Couple’s Drinking Horn Pair by OtherworldSundries.
The minimalist wedding theme
Ironically, you still need to add items to your wedding style if you want to do a minimalist wedding.
However, this is one of the most affordable ways to style a wedding, and still make it look modern and elegant.
You can add single flowers or stems to bottles with water, and place them unevenly on a long table.
This theme goes along well with the greenery wedding theme, because you can simply work with green and filler for your wedding decor.
To give the minimalist wedding more color, opt for colored glass bottles in various sizes and heights.
The key to achieve a minimalist look is to not make the tables look too cluttered.
The wedding dress for a minimalist style is plain, without any embellishments, and complimented with dainty jewelry.
Stationery and invitations can be simple. These designs are popular right now as it looks mature, elegant and modern. You can also print your wedding stationery on acrylic, to give it a luxurious twist.
Whether it is your invitations or table menus, your wedding stationery will look fabulous on acrylic. It will also compliment the minimalism vibe that you’re going for. If your budget is limited but you still want to add these, do your table numbers or menus in acrylic, like these Acrylic Event Menus from ExceptionalEvent365 on Etsy.
Etsy is my go-to for dainty jewelry inspiration, especially for weddings. You’ll find something small and simple, like this Diamond Wedding Ring by JSVConcepts, to match your elegant wedding dress.
A plain, simple white dress goes well with the minimalist wedding style. It also looks very modern and elegant, and you can easily complete your bridal look with a hairpiece or your favorite jewelry pieces. I am one for over-the-top dresses, but I have to say that this Minimalist Wedding Dress from MelloryCouture has become one of my favorites!
The maximalist wedding theme
Like you’ve probably guessed, the maximalist wedding style is the exact opposite of the minimalist style.
The idea is to add as much as possible to your wedding tables, but still make it come together in a way.
It’s a busy, over the top wedding theme that is slowly catching on. You can add anything to your tables, including flowers, the usual wedding decor item, glassware, books, patterned linen, and even fresh or dried fruit, to name a few things…
The maximalist wedding theme is difficult to work with, because you need to add as much as possible, without making it look cheap and run down.
Your wedding style should still come together in such a way that it looks somewhat cohesive and still gives a wedding vibe. A good way to bind everything together is by using only one metallic color, such as gold, or one key element such as crystal.
The easiest way to start off your maximalist wedding look is by adding a bold printed table runner, like this Floral Tribal Table Runner by InteriorEssentials. From here onward, you can add items that are more plain, simple and complimentary.
Floral Cloth Napkins
Or, instead of adding a bold table runner, make your focal point the table settings themselves by adding boldly printed cloth napkins. You can work on building up the maximalist style by taking colors from the napkin’s design and adding it to the table. I love these Large Cloth Napkins by ClearSkyHome on Etsy.
The Cake Table
Don’t forget to add your maximalist style to other parts of your wedding. I would definitely consider placing this Marie Antoinette Print by HenriInTheHaus in a frame on the cake table, along with some other decor items.
Complete your bridal look in the name of maximalism by adding these Giant Pearl Earrings by fashionmeme to your style, for example.
Bridesmaid Gift Idea
Abstract jewelry pieces are all the rage right now and fits perfectly into the maximalist’s wardrobe. I would totally give these Rainbow Earrings by KajuCreations to my bridesmaids as a gift from the bride, and let them wear it on the day of the wedding as well!
Stackable Jewelry, such as mutiple rings stacked on one finger, or multi-layered necklaces are also part of the maximalist’s style. I like these Stacking Rings by MeadowBelleMarket, because you can mix and match them, or opt for rose gold, silver or yellow gold only in the set.
by Tanya Viljoen
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tanya Viljoen has been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. When not writing educational content for brides and wedding professionals, she can be found designing printables for her Etsy shop, TWCprintables. Keep up with her on Instagram.