Unique Wedding Themes to Make Your Ceremony Stand Out

2022 couples are being extra intentional with the details of their wedding. Going into the new year, we take a look at their unique wedding themes and inspiration.

By McCall Minnor

Unique Wedding Themes
Photo by F8 Photo Studios

The First Look ✨

The last couple of years have seen to-be-weds’ preferences shift and evolve. Now more than ever, engaged couples are putting special consideration into all aspects of their wedding, being extra intentional even with the details. They’re focused on celebrating their unique relationship and showcasing their personalities, notably with highly specific wedding themes. While more broad themes such as ‘classic elegance’ and ‘rustic’ still have much influence, engaged couples are now more willing to step out-of-the-box.

If this fits the bill for your ideal celebration, take a look at the following unique themes that are sure to make your wedding personal and noteworthy.

What Engaged Couples Are Experiencing Now

The numbers don’t lie: Engaged couples are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their dream 2022 wedding. In fact, Zola’s First Look Report—which surveyed over 3,000 engaged people—found that 70 percent are spending more than they anticipated they would to do just that. Sure, going over your budget can be a result of unexpected costs, but more often than not these extra expenses are going towards getting exactly what a couple wants.

On a similar note, 21 percent of those surveyed wrote in and shared that their wedding theme spans outside of the norm. It’s very apparent that a unique and personal wedding day is a top priority. Here are a few of the categories and themes that Zola couples were inspired by for their 2022 weddings.

Nature-Inspired

While weddings focused heavily on florals and plant life aren’t exactly new, nature wedding themes are now going hyper-specific. Not only are couples leaning into an abundance of flowers or greenery, but they are creating entire abiances based on specific natural sights. Key elements of these themes are, of course, plant life, but also outdoor settings, color palettes found in nature, and distinct materials and textures (wood, stone, shells, etc.). Inspiration is not only taken from a location’s flora, but all of its outdoor landscape—and its accompanying lifestyle.

Luxury Italian Garden Party

Garden party weddings have come into immense popularity. Dinner and dancing with a high-end feel among flowers is a dream—now elevate it further with a type of garden in mind. An Italian garden party wedding may feature historic architecture, climbing ivy, luxurious fountains, and manicured hedges. There’s more of a focus on greenery and architecture, though jasmine, lilies, and roses may be abundant.

Flannels and Mountains

Those who enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the great outdoors may gravitate towards more mountainous landscapes and aesthetics. Think great summits, towering trees, and a more rustic feel. This style of nature wedding gives ample opportunity to lean into the lifestyle, with plaid accents, wool textiles, and rich neutral color palettes.

Flora and Fauna of Florida

Nature-themed weddings aren’t limited to your standard nuptial flowers. Florida natives (or those who love the landscape) can lean into the surrounding nature scene to influence their wedding theme. Palm trees and frauns, gazebos, and muted greens and off-whites make for a breezy and lavish outdoor affair.

Summer Camp

A surefire way to make your wedding unique is to fill it with fun group activities. Fans of warm weather, water sports, and a more laid-back celebration will go crazy for a summer camp-themed wedding weekend. Immerse yourselves in the outdoors with games and excursions reminiscent of youth camps. This one’s also sure to be a hit with families with a lot of children.

Location-Inspired

Broaden your scope of creativity and consider basing your celebration on a special location. These themes can be some of the most unique and personal, since you can take inspiration from places that are important to you as a couple. Key factors for these themes are architectural styles, standout color palettes, super specific decor, and even a set dress code.

Lowcountry Charleston Charm

A quaint, historical, and often artistic vibe surrounds a Charleston wedding theme. Soft green, white, and even pink and yellow hues reflect the charming city’s architecture, while accent decor can lean in a myriad of directions—colonial, gothic, victorian, and Art Deco to name a few. Consider mossy plants, draping fabric reminiscent of willow trees, and antique looking fabrics and dinnerware.

Cottagecore

The cottagecore concept became immensely popular throughout the pandemic, embracing a simpler lifestyle that is harmonious with nature. It harkens back to agricultural and sustainable living, while aesthetically it borrows from the English countryside. Transferring this to your wedding is easy and eye-catching. Utilize a venue with abundant greenery, and make it extra cozy with a warm, neutral color palette and soft, earthy textures. Encourage peasant dresses, drink from vintage teacups, and place dried flowers wherever possible.

Night Out in Brooklyn

For the couple that loves a night out on the town, lively cities are a tremendous source of inspiration. A Brooklyn location or theme works especially well for those that enjoy an artsy, cool celebration. Picture exposed brick, industrial accents such as metal chairs and lighting fixtures, and a nod or two to the city (if you aren’t near the Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan skyline, for example) are great ideas. Dim lighting helps create a cool ambiance, which will only be taken to new heights by the addition of a live band.

Book, Film, and Television-Inspired

While pandemic lockdowns were undoubtedly hard on everyone, many were given the opportunity to watch and read beloved pieces of media. The love for couples’ favorite books, movies, and television shows has now inevitably poured over into their wedding planning, with small hints and entire themes being built around them. Look to your bookshelves, Letterboxd accounts, and Netflix catalogs for a theme that you and your partner will truly cherish.

Light “Jurassic Park”

It’d be wrong to call this film anything but a certified classic. The movie, which takes place on a secluded island filled with overgrown plant life and safari-style trails, leaves plenty to be used in your ceremony or reception. Stick to natural elements, such as wood and stone, as much as possible, while incorporating tropical flowers into your florals (fun fact: the fictional island of Isla Nublar is near Costa Rica). If you’re willing, you can even involve dinosaurs on the sly—tiny figurines placed on the lips of drink glasses, for example.

Light “Lord of the Rings”

It isn’t difficult to be inspired by this beloved book series and film trilogy. The films, especially, stand out for their spectacular scenery and beautiful costuming. Emulate Rivendell, the Elvish valley, with a forest location, castle venue, and abundance of hanging greenery and lights. Or, look to the Shire for a more cottagecore-style tribute.

“Star Wars”

The conclusion of the sequel trilogy in late 2019 has caused an outpouring of love towards the “Star Wars” franchise. Shamelessly nerdy couples will take no issue with showcasing their love of the series on their wedding day. While you can definitely include a light dose in your theme, it’s just as fun to go all the way. What about a lightsaber tunnel as your grand exit? Perhaps a cloaked Jedi and Sith style wedding party? Consider throwing an epic battle on the dance floor. Any of these will make your wedding one of the most unique across the galaxy.

Notable Top 2022 Wedding Themes

Alongside these noteworthy themes are a slew of stylish ones that are on the rise for 2022. When looking ahead to your own wedding, consider if one of these would make your celebration next level.

Celestial

Engaged couples are looking to the stars. Celestial wedding styles are glitzy and glamorous without the need for a city location or party-heavy vibe. This theme relies on the inclusion of space-inspired shapes (stars of all styles, moons, constellations) and a shining color palette (pops of gold, silver, or copper are encouraged). Glittering disco balls, navy blue or black as a base color, and a couture-inspired dress code can also elevate a celestial celebration.

Vintage and Literature

The popularity of BookTok, bookstagrams, and a general love of reading throughout the pandemic has given rise to book and library-themed ceremonies. You can pull inspiration directly from a book of your choice or customize your theme around a love of reading in general. Even if your nuptials and following reception don’t take place in a library or bookstore, you can decorate your space with book-themed signage, centerpieces, vintage looking furniture, and creative uses of book pages. Don’t forget to include your favorite quotes where you can, be it on signs or in your vows.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

If “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” specifically aren’t your thing, no worries. A general appreciation for film, specifically sci-fis and fantasies, are becoming hugely popular in the wedding space. Neon color palettes, silver as an accent color, and futuristic clothing and makeup lend to a science fiction feeling, while splendor and regality met with natural elements can pull together a fantasy setting. Both can be taken very literally, a couture route, or be lightly added into a more classic theme.

What About Your Typical Wedding Themes?

None of this is to say that your standard, classic wedding themes are over and done with. From classic and elegant, to rustic, to black tie, these long-time favorites are here to stay. In fact, couples who choose to go with one of these broader themes have ample opportunity to seek out inspiration. Weddings of the past, magazines, and social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are practically a bottomless well of it. With years of reinterpretations and staple styles, it’s now easier than ever to curate a beloved wedding theme into your own special day. These styles are tried and true, while still being able to showcase your individuality.

Bringing Your Theme to Life at Zola

Once you’ve chosen a theme that you love, there’s nothing stopping you from including it in your wedding planning right away. In fact, it’s ideal that you infuse it in your save the dates, invitation paper suites, and website to give your guests an idea of what to expect (and get them excited for it). Keeping this consistent might seem overwhelming, but it’s actually incredibly simple. At Zola, you can transfer the same theme from your wedding website to your paper needs so that everything seamlessly matches. Simply sign up and navigate to “Website” or “Invites + Paper” to get started.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola