10 Classic Wedding Themes

Classic wedding themes are tried and true. Explore these 10 classic wedding themes with Zola, your wedding day experts!

By The Zola Team

couple on a beach
Photo by PhotoHawaii

The First Look ✨

  • Black tie weddings call for an air of elegance, so go for classic and timeless attire and decor to pull this theme off.
  • Rustic weddings are the most popular wedding theme today. A wedding that’s truly rustic has a natural, outdoorsy feel. A mountain range, country barn, or lush garden is the perfect venue.
  • Keeping it contemporary means giving your wedding a modern twist. Minimalist designs, cleans lines, and unique colors palettes fit this theme the best.

Like any good party, a wedding deserves a theme. If that sounds cheesy, think again. A theme sets the tone for the wedding day and provides a clear vision for your big day. Think of it as the inspiration board for your wedding. You can call it a mood, a vibe, an essence... whatever you like, but a unique wedding theme is a wonderful planning tool.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to go all in on a particular theme. The extent to which you take it is totally up to you. Some choose to incorporate the theme into every last detail, while others let it guide just a single element, like the floral arrangements or the stationery.

To help you establish a starting point, take a look at some of the most classic, tried-and-true wedding themes:

1. Garden

A garden wedding is a classic choice, because it's an inherently beautiful space, complete with ample greenery and blooms. It’s a subtle theme that develops naturally as you plan for your outdoor event.

How to Execute It: A garden wedding should emphasize florals. Think pastel colors, lush greenery, floral motifs, and even prints. But like gardens, this theme can be all different styles; it can be all white and full of roses or feature an eclectic mix of floral print bridesmaid dresses and flower crowns.

Classic Wedding Themes Photo Credit // Emily Michelle Photography

2. Black Tie

For the ultimate air of elegance, embrace a black tie theme. Gowns should be long and shoes should be shiny, floral arrangements should be uniform and tidy, and wedding decor should be sophisticated and elegant.

How to Execute It: Black tie weddings are about attire, yes, but also classic, timeless styles. Choose an established wedding venue at a resort or country club, and embrace the ballroom with its high ceilings and gilded decor. Stick to a traditional color scheme of black and white, which you can emphasize with classic red or metallic accents.

3. Bohemian

Bohemian weddings have become so popular so quickly that they deserve a spot on the “classic wedding themes” list. It’s the go-to choice for the free spirit, made popular by California brides who took to the deserts and beaches to say “I Do” in a way that felt true.

How to Execute It: Boho weddings can be laid-back and understated or incredibly artful. The key is to consider one’s own personality and style and let it run wild. Instead of white dresses and black tuxes, opt for earthier shades and looser silhouettes. Instead of rose bouquets, picture wildflowers. And instead of pews or cross-back chairs, embrace vintage rugs and Morrocan poufs. A bohemian-themed wedding is whimsical, natural, and never short on style. ##

4. Beach

A beach is a setting that speaks to the souls of so many, so naturally, but you don’t have to tie the knot on the sand to have a beach wedding.

How to Execute It: Pick the motif from the sea that speaks to you and your SO and roll with it. Seashells? Sailboats? Anchors or rope? Think about the perfect beach wedding decorations to tie the theme together. Illustrate stationery and signage with the nautical symbol of your choosing, then decorate tables with it, too. Don’t shy away from hues of blue and white or prints like stripes. And be sure to serve up seafood and sea breezes at cocktail hour to take full advantage of the beach theme.

5. Rustic

Rustic has become the darling of wedding adjectives, but what exactly is rustic and when does it fittingly describe a wedding theme? Rustic can define anything with a natural, outdoorsy feel to it. This most commonly refers to neutral colors, wooden accents, and outdoor venues or natural settings such as the countryside or the mountains. With the rise in popularity of outdoor wedding venues, natural decor, and wooden wedding furniture, it’s no surprise this is the most popular wedding theme today.

How to Execute It: A rustic wedding theme should feel organic and a bit more casual. Choose a wedding venue with natural beauty and charm and embrace it. This could mean a field with a beautiful oak tree to say “I Do” under, a deck overlooking a mountain range, a country barn, or a lush garden. Choose colors that accentuate—not detract from—the setting. Think neutral shades of cream and grey, earthy tones of green and blue, or soft hues like blush and peach.

6. Vineyard

Similar to rustic, a vineyard theme is all about playing off of the natural elements of a vineyard—the land, the vines, the wine. The setting is both beautiful and romantic and makes for a wedding to match. It doesn’t hurt that wine barrels, bottles, and vines are not only functional but pretty, too.

How to Execute It: First things first, pick the right venue. For a vineyard theme, there is really no other option than to get married on a vineyard or in a wine cellar… or on a vineyard that has a wine cellar. Opt for an earthy color scheme that reflects the green vines and neutral environment and/or a range of deep shades that reflect the rich purple and burgundy hues of the grapes. For wedding decor, utilize wine barrels, bottles, and corks. And, of course, serve wine. (Don’t forget to save a bottle of the vintage you serve to sip on your first wedding anniversary!)

Classic Wedding Themes Photo Credit // Winery

7. Glam

Glam weddings take an ultra-luxe approach to everything. We’re talking extravagant floral arrangements, dramatic wedding ceremony backdrops, and decorations dripping with diamonds. They can be monochrome, gilded with gold, or rich with color. A glam wedding spares no expense, but the result is a dazzling experience for both the couple and their guests.

How to Execute It: Almost any venue can be transformed into a space fit for a glam wedding, because there will be no shortage of decor. Everything from floor to ceiling should have a shiny finish. Think mirrored dance floors, beaded chandeliers, metallic vases, and voluminous drapes. Your look and the look of your wedding party should be equally eye-catching. For these types of affairs, look towards ball gowns and cufflinks. For your best girls and guys, opt for long gowns in elegant fabrics over shorter silhouettes and tuxedos over suits.

8. Romantic

While every wedding is romantic, romance as a theme has a certain look. Romantic-themed weddings feature soft textures, pale colors, and personal details. Don’t be surprised to see fabrics like lace and chiffon or colors like blush and lavender. Overall, the look is light, airy, and idyllic.

How to Execute It: Country chateaus, family backyards, and historic venues can all lend themselves to the romantic theme, so don’t overthink the location. If a venue gives you butterflies or has fairy tale-like features, it’s probably perfect. Dress up the space with ethereal elements like twinkle lighting, fabric-covered chairs, and delicate china. The goal is to take guests’ breath away, so create plenty of swoon-worthy moments with floral arches, potted plants, endless candles, cascading greens, and a dreamy dessert display.

9. Contemporary

Contemporary weddings put a modern twist on typical wedding traditions. They incorporate current trends in one way or another, but almost always feature clean lines, geometric shapes, and unique color palettes. It’s the perfect wedding theme for a cutting-edge couple not afraid to do away with traditional wedding themes and make their style known.

How to Execute It: Recruit a wedding designer to help you dream up innovative displays for your wedding ceremony backdrop and escort card displays. Beyond choosing a few areas to push the envelope, stick to otherwise minimalist designs. Choose simple fonts for your stationery and simple fashions for your bridesmaids and groomsmen. The combination of modern flair and timeless style will work together well.

10. Vintage

A vintage wedding theme can be subtle with details like lace and china plates or be more thematic with a specific decade serving as the leading influence. Either way, incorporating neutral tones, antique furniture, and family heirlooms is the easiest way to achieve a vintage feel.

How to Execute It: Pick a time period. This will help you at every step of the process, from trying on wedding dresses to selecting signature cocktails. Do you want a blusher veil reminiscent of the ‘50s or an embellished headpiece more fitting for a ‘20s-inspired fete? Will your lounge be crisp and cool like the ‘60s or plush and luxe like the Victorian era? Consider what you’ll use for your vintage wedding decorations to bring it to life. Working with a specific decade will ensure all the elements of your vintage wedding theme tie together beautifully.

By embracing one of these classic themes and putting your own twist on it, your wedding will have a clearer direction that will help it become everything you could hope for and more.