Classic Red Wedding Theme Ideas

If you’re looking for a bold wedding theme that’s going to stand out, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for our classic red wedding theme ideas!

By The Zola Team

couple kissing at head table
Photo by What EmSees Photography

The color red has been a color beloved by many throughout the ages. Though it’s commonly associated with major holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine's Day, in today’s contemporary culture, the truth is, it’s always been a popular color.

Red wedding themes, in particular, are big nowadays, and the color allows couples to experiment with many different looks and styles. Red works amazingly well if you love the idea of an elegant, classic, more traditional wedding theme, and it also works amazingly well if you covet a wedding theme that’s less traditional and perhaps even a tad unconventional.

Red is such a versatile color that your wedding can be anything you want it to be when you incorporate it into your theme and decor. You can vamp it up with blood red, make it festive and cheerful with bright apple red, or achieve a more rustic or even gothic theme by using deeper hues of red, such as maroon and burgundy. The color red has so much room for creativity, it’s no wonder red wedding themes are so sought after.

Backstory on the Color Red

Red has many symbolic meanings, though it really depends on where you come from as to what you tend to associate it with.

Way back in ancient times, the color red symbolized magic and power, mostly due to how rare and expensive it was. It was outmatched only by the color purple in how much it was coveted.

To Christians, red symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the crucifixion. To the ancient Greeks, red was the color of heroism and superhuman power. Some people consider red an extreme color that can symbolize everything from danger and fury, drama and adventure, and seduction and passionate love.

The color red is thought of as a primal, energetic color, which is why many people like to wear it to shore up their self-confidence. It helps to make themselves feel more powerful and it’s often a color of choice for career women making their way in a predominantly male industry. Some even call it the “power color.”

Worldwide, red is probably one of the top two colors chosen as a “favorite.” In fact, if you study languages, it’s interesting to note that most—if not all—languages have a word for the color black and the color white. However, they don’t always have a word for other colors. But, when they do, it’s usually red.

Western culture isn’t the only culture to love a red wedding theme either. In Eastern countries, such as China and Asia, people love the color red, as it denotes good luck and, in the case of the Japanese, it also denotes happiness. Brides in Nepal and India rock the red sari, while in Japan, red kimonos are highly prized.

When to Plan a Red Wedding

If you think the color red is only for a Valentine's Day wedding or a Christmas wedding, think again. Red and all its various shades can work equally well during other months of the year, too.

Autumn is a wonderful time for a red wedding, especially if you go with deeper reds. Think sultry maroon paired with cream and rust for a warm, cozy vibe.

Of course, winter months also work just fine. The closer one gets to a December wedding, the more festive it is to go with a wedding theme, such as Christmas red and snowy white. It matches the celebratory Christmas spirit and, after all, a wedding is a celebration.

Though it’s not quite as common, some couples might even like a red wedding in July, especially if they are die-hard patriots.

The reality is that a red theme is versatile enough to use at any time of year.

Red Wedding Decor Ideas

There are multiple ways to incorporate a red theme in your wedding decor. Starting with:

Invitations

You can use a little red, or you can use a lot of red. Yes, if you send out an all-red invite, many people may associate it with the Christmas holiday season, especially if combined with gold or white fonts. However, you can do a red invite successfully. Try just using hints of red in each wedding invitation. Black and white invites with a pop of red are very vintage Hollywood, and allow you to use the color without overdoing it.

Classic Red Wedding Theme Ideas Photo Credit // Erica Shurter Photography

Linens and Centerpieces

Every wedding reception needs linens. It’s up to you as to which shade of red you choose and whether you want to drape your tables in red, or use another color that complements it and simply accent with red. As for centerpieces, red roses are always popular, but they aren’t the only option. You could make a red candle arrangement, a bold floral arrangement, a fruit arrangement with red apples, cherries, and grapes, or something simple, such as floating flower petals.

Red Wedding Favors

A classic wedding favor idea that ties in the crimson hue is small, personalized bottles of red wine. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to what’s classic. If your wedding theme veers more toward the whimsical and off-beat, small bottles of Coca-Cola tied with a cute ribbon is an unconventional idea. If your wedding day is near the Valentine’s day holiday, personalized boxes of chocolates make great red wedding favors, as do Hershey Kiss candies wrapped in red foil.

For a very Snow White vibe and a red fairy tale wedding theme, you could box up candied apples and personalize them as favors. Heck, you could even make a single red rose your wedding favor. Opt for the real deal, or look for one made of red crystal and gold and then tie a ribbon with your wedding date on it. It’s simple and sleek, which makes it perfect for a formal, elegant red themed wedding.

Classic Red Wedding Theme Ideas Photo Credits // Amy Brown Photography!

Wedding Clothing

Red is such a cool color for wedding attire. You can go in almost any direction. If you want a gothic themed wedding with red as the feature color, wear a deep red wedding dress with black lace trim and detailing. Your minions can wear black, of course, with red boutonnières and corsages. If you want an elegant, festive wedding that reflects a little Christmas cheer, go for a classic white wedding gown with a deep red sash and red slippers, and dress your wedding party in red with white accents. If you want a wedding that feels rustic, perfect for the outdoors, try a cream or gold dress, with accents of maroon or marsala. Your wedding party can dress in maroon and wear cream shoes for contrast.

Red Wedding Color Combos

When deciding on your red color palette, there are many directions to go in. Consider these color palettes:

  • Red and white are probably the most classical color pairings and are beautiful for a traditional winter wedding with all the Christmas spirit that you and your guests can muster.

  • Red also pairs well with neutral shades, such as cream or gold. If you prefer more than a two-color palette, you could easily blend all four of these colors for a lovely wedding theme that offers a distinctly elegant, yet rustic feel.

  • For a look that’s more understated, go with a deeper shade of red, such as burgundy, wine, or marsala. You can combine it with a neutral color scheme, such as taupe and shades of cream, so that the red really stands out as the featured color.

  • Another color scheme that works beautifully is peach, green, and red. Go with a dark, deep red and a darker hunter green with pastel peach for a look that’s lively and elegant.

  • For an outdoor wedding, you could try a dark red combined with sunflower yellow. The yellow really makes the red pop, and when combined with greenery, makes for a warm, welcoming wedding theme.

  • If you love the idea of a modern, more contemporary wedding, grey and classic red is an excellent combination. You could blend other neutral colors into the mix as well, just for some variation.

There are so many ways to approach a red wedding theme and some combo colors will work better than others depending on your ultimate goals. Some couples prefer to have just hints of red throughout their wedding theme, while other couples make red in all its hues the main feature.

There are no wrong ways to use red on your wedding day. Unless of course, you’re trying to combine red with neon green or electric blue. We daresay that would be bad—very, very bad.

Ultimately, red wedding themes are a ton of fun, and there are so many different ways to pull one off successfully. Decide what direction you want to go in and get to planning.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola