20 Classic Wedding Theme Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration

Classic wedding themes are tried and true. Explore these 20 classic wedding themes with Zola, your wedding day experts!

By Emily Forrest

couple on a beach
Photo by C. Baron Photography

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.

You can call it a mood, a vibe, an essence—whatever you like—but a wedding theme is a wonderful planning tool that aids in inspiring your wedding ideas. They set your day apart, as well as make decision-making throughout wedding planning a lot easier.

That said, the extent to which you take a theme is totally up to you. Some choose to incorporate the theme into every last detail, while others let it guide smaller details, like the floral arrangements or the stationery.

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

20 Classic Wedding Themes

1. Black Tie

For the ultimate air of elegance, embrace a black tie theme. Wedding dresses should be long and tuxedos should be black and white. Floral arrangements and centerpieces should be uniform and tidy. And, of course, wedding decor from the ceremony to the wedding reception should be sophisticated and elegant.

2. White Wedding

Crisp, fresh, and utterly classic, this theme practically screams elegant wedding. An all-white wedding clearly consists of a bridal party, guest list, and everyone else dressed in white, but can also include white flowers (peonies, anyone?) and white decor ideas. Personally, we also enjoy picturing a large white tent.

3. 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.

Classic Wedding Themes Photo Credit // Emily Michelle Photography

4. Bohemian

The bohemian theme is 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. Picture linens, outdoor venues, and an earthy color scheme.

5. Rustic

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.

6. Country

Many couples in the U.S. choose a wedding style that reflects the American West, complete with cowboy boots, floral prints, and even barn venues. However, you don’t need to go all-out to enjoy a country themed fête. Some rural accents—and perhaps those cowboy boots—will do nicely.

7. Natural

Natural themed weddings, as you can expect, focuses heavily on natural and organic elements. There’s less incorporation of farm or rustic accents and more use of natural materials (like wood), as well as plenty of greenery. Think of it as the more organic take on a romantic wedding theme.

8. 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.

9. Beach

Those near and far from the coast flock to the beach for a beach wedding. That said, you don’t need to be on location and tie the knot on the sand to go with the theme. Think summer weddings, fresh white weddings, linens, bridesmaids in breezy dresses and jumpsuits, and coastal-inspired wedding colors.

10. Nautical

Are you celebrating seaside or in a particularly preppy location, like Nantucket or Cape Cod? If so, a nautical theme may fit like a glove. This theme differs from a beach wedding in that it’s less nature-focused and typically a bit fancier. Venues can be made of country clubs, waterfront resorts, and even boats. Just don’t forget your navy blue pinstripes, white linens, and lineup of seafood.

11. Destination

Destination weddings are all about leaning into your jet-set locale. That said, they all tend to have a wistful and worldly look and feel to them. If you’re planning to travel for your nuptials, consider shaping your theme around the destination—or travel itself. Think DIY airline ticket wedding invitations and a wedding cake with the best local flavors.

12. 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.

13. Art Deco

Evoke images of the roaring 1920s with an art deco theme. Weddings with this aesthetic are often inspired by art deco art and architecture, as well as books and films like The Great Gatsby. Hire a jazz band, set up a champagne tower, and toast to a night full of glitz and glamor. Bonus points if your wedding takes place on New Year’s Eve.

14. Romantic

Romance as a theme has a certain timeless wedding look. Romantic 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.

EA Romantic Winter Wedding at The Gardens at Viola-s Photo Credit // Frankely Photography

15. Fairytale

Far from trendy, your classic fairytale weddings have stood the test of time. With brides in stunning ball gowns, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and tables covered in hydrangeas, it’s hard not to gravitate towards this mystical theme.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. Industrial Modern Wedding

Exposed brick and large industrial spaces lay the groundwork for modern industrial weddings. Some of our favorite additional touches include ghost chairs, tons of greenery, a mismatched bridesmaid dresses, and a live band.

19. Alternative

Unique and creative couples will thrive under an alternative theme. These themes often stray from the rest of your classic ones, leaning into the personalities of the couple, as well as their favorite subcultures (steampunk, comic books, etc.). With so much room for creativity, you’re free to craft your day into exactly what you want. Consider bold colors and interesting decor you may not find at other weddings.

20. Classic

We promise, this isn’t redundant. Classic itself is a well-observed and popularized wedding theme, showcased in real weddings and popular media throughout the years. This theme is timeless and formal, often involving a handful of traditions and clean lines throughout the decor. It’s the image that likely comes to mind when you think wedding.

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

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