How to Choose A Wedding Theme

The Enchanted Home

Before I dive into details, I should share the big picture with you. Before you panic over the color swatch shown below and the pictures that scream "'Murica!" throughout this post, I should start by saying this will not be a patriotic-throw-up-in-your-face wedding. Before we even discussed our budget together and with our families, I stressed over our wedding theme. I'll discuss how we finalized our wedding theme and touch on factors that you might want to consider when creating yours.

Our wedding theme can be summarized in four words: America, military, Thomas Jefferson, and Virginia. I've named my design "The Southern Jefferson" to reflect the four terms. Based on our theme, our main colors became navy blue, a lighter blue, grays/silver, and white with hints of red. You're either 1) confused or 2) laughing at the images that come to mind when I mention these four words. Fret not, as I'll dive into my vision behind each and what happens when they come together. Since my visions for America and military are so intricately intertwined, I'll discuss them together.

Visions of America not only came from our date being on Memorial Day weekend but also due to military traditions and our love of travel around the US. Side note - I'll save the chaos in choosing a date for a later story but I'll skip ahead and note that we decided May 23, 2014, was the most logical time to get married for school and career reasons. With my hopes of infusing military wedding traditions plus military attire (hence the military term), it only seemed logical that combined with that weekend, we would incorporate American elements. Before I have you thinking we'll have potted plants with American flags sticking in the middle for table decor, my vision was focused on military and American details such as the following:

  • Military wedding exit with Betsy Ross flags for guests to wave
  • My grandfather's WWII bronze star attached to my bouquet
  • Military guests in uniform and a Military Chaplain to wed us
  • Military cake cutting
  • Flags as props and decor
  • Travel postcards for guests to sign and suggest places to visit in the relevant state
Jen Fariello Photography
KT Merry
Amy Arrington

To infuse our mutual love of history and incorporate local elements, I added Thomas Jefferson to the theme. I chose Mr. Jefferson not only because he's a Charlottesville celebrity, but also because he was interested in fashion and all things French. His love of history and French style emanates throughout his house. Haven't been? Take a tour online. Although they did away with my favorite Wedgewood-blue dining room with recent renovations, there are aspects that inspire my wedding vision such as the following:

  • Busts, antlers, ladders, Jefferson Chairs, and other objects of curiosity
  • Framed art on ribbon
  • Wedgewood, books, blue and white porcelain
  • Boxwood
  • Toile
  • Tufted anything
  • Wood crates
  • Silver everywhere
The Enchanted Home
The Enchanted Home

Lastly, the final word of our theme is Virginia. We wanted our guests to experience our local favorites and the south as explained in Virginian terms. To me, it's a place where:

  • all things are historic
  • a classic southern preppy can be found everywhere
  • people barbeque their heart out no matter what time of year
  • you can drink brews and sip wine at breweries and vineyards with a darn good view
  • tailgate toss is a pre-req even for high school football games
  • you can never have enough apple donuts, especially with such a romantic view
Samantha Brooke Photography
Samantha Brooke Photography

Are you incorporating local elements into your wedding? If not, how are you infusing your relationship or other personal meanings into the wedding?

Thinking back on our wedding theme, there are at least six factors to consider that come to mind when creating your wedding theme.

  • Personal Style | Think about both your and your significant other's personal style. Is it preppy? Outdoorsy? Clean and modern? Michael and I both gravitate towards a classic preppy style (in other words, I live and breath J.Crew). I suggest looking at your favorite stores' catalogs and tearing out images (or writing down details) of what you like. This helps generate a wedding vision if you don't know where to start.
  • Season | If you're envisioning a laid back, outdoor barbeque, you might want to avoid winter (just sayin'). Thinking about the weather, how nature will look (fall foliage vs. naked winter trees), and seasons are important considerations for reinforcing your wedding theme.
  • Meaning | This touches on a lot of different subjects. Do you want to include local or hometown details? Spiritual or cultural aspects? I strongly favor a wedding that exudes personal touches to both partners as individuals and together based on their relationship.
  • Location | A building, city, state, or even country can reinforce the mood and wedding vision. If your heart is set on a formal black and white tie event, having it at a rustic barn might not be the best location. I'm not arguing that it can't work, but you want your location to reinforce your vision.
  • Budget | Some wedding themes might be pricier than others. On average, a more formal theme might require more money than a country themed or vintage wedding. But then again, you can make the most informal theme expensive as anything. Budget is still something to consider, especially considering the resources available to you already.
  • Colors | You can generally make colors work with anything but this is about reinforcing the wedding mood. A rustic or country wedding is generally associated with at least the color brown rather than black. If you have your heart set on a color, consider the themes that are associated with it.

Did some of these factors play into your wedding theme decision? Any other factors that aren't listed? I would love to hear your thought process on what I consider to be one of the biggest decisions during the wedding planning process. Next week, I'll dive into how to choose a wedding venue.

Happy planning, y'all!