20+ Ideas and Themes for Your Summer Wedding

We put together a list of summer wedding themes inspired by the season, so you can take advantage of the warm weather.

By Nilina Mason-Campbell

Best Summer Wedding Themes
Photo by Goodman Photography

The First Look ✨

Do you love the sun and warm weather? How about the great outdoors? If you’re looking to have a wedding ceremony that incorporates any of these elements, all are best served with a summer wedding. Use the season to your advantage by staging themes that are enhanced by the time of year. Here, a list of the best wedding themes for summer to inspire you.

Summer Wedding Colors

Sometimes a theme simply revolves around a level of formality and a set color scheme. Whether that’s the case for you or not, it can’t hurt to start taking inspiration from some of these popular wedding color palettes.

  • Neutrals and Green: Green paired with just about any neutral color naturally comes off as refreshing. Opt for a light green and beige for something a bit more casual, or deep greens and white for something more sleek.

  • Navy and White: Nothing says nautical summer like navy and white. Luckily, this color palette applies to weddings exceptionally well, with navy appearing just as formal and chic as black.

  • Peaches, Corals, and Oranges: For the couple that leans towards brighter colors, consider playing with peachy pinks, corals, and oranges. When paired together, they create a satisfying amount of depth and cohesion.

  • Various Pastels: From garden weddings to regency-inspired affairs, pastels can make any summer wedding feel fresh and fun. Just don’t go overboard and choose too many, which can prevent things from looking cohesive.

  • Black and White: Everybody loves a classic. For especially formal wedding celebrations, opt for the elegant pairing of black and white. A major bonus is that these colors look great anywhere—from the beach to a resort.

  • White Monochrome: Something of a newer color trend, many summer weddings are going all-white. From decor to guest attire, white monochrome weddings appear effortlessly chic.

Summer Wedding Theme Ideas

1. Solstice

When it comes to the summer solstice, it’s a celebration of the longest day of the year. There are a few ways to approach this as a summer wedding theme, whether that’s a floral-centric celebration akin to the Scandanavian Midsummer festival tradition or by having your wedding at night.

2. Garden/Botanical Wedding

Celebrate the season by focusing on summer flowers well beyond just the bridal bouquet. Stage it in an actual flower field amid rows of flowering lavender or inside the glass panels of an indoor botanical garden. Whether it takes place in your own backyard or among the hedges of an arboretum, having a garden-themed wedding is a great way to marry in the outdoors.

3. Rustic Farm

Does the ease and honesty of country living appeal to you? If your vision of domestic bliss includes weathered barn wood, outdoor meals with farm fresh vegetables, vibrant green grass well into the horizon, and the feel of quiet rural living, a rustic farm wedding could be up your alley. Not only is there a specific charm, but a whole, well-honed aesthetic to staging a rustic wedding. Think boho, but stripped of the glam and instead a little more earthy. The outdoors is a key element, since the location can be in a field and/or a large barn that opens into the outdoors. Having it during a warmer season only aids in comfort. Abundance is an important part of farm life and perhaps you can even celebrate in-season crops with your centerpieces.

What Are the Best Summer Wedding Themes Photo Credit // Ali Bastek Film Photography

4. Mountain Trail

In the summer months, snow recedes and the tops of mountains are awash in fields of flowers and lush green grass. If you and your partner are a fan of hiking, getting married next to crystalline alpine streams and in the stillness of nature could be a great fit.

Depending on what kind of ascent it involves, this theme might be suited to a smaller number of guests, but plenty of nature parks have a wide variety of trails, including asphalt access ways for visitors of varying abilities. Just don’t forget: You often need to get a permit through the closest municipality. Plan the hike beforehand and put up personalized trail markers that speak to your relationship history and coupledom.

5. Nautical

Is your city located near the ocean or along a shorebed of a lake? Perhaps a river runs through your town. Whether you have access to water or are docked on dry land, a nautical theme is a fun way to bring a carefree vibe to your wedding day. In terms of location, you could get married on or near floating wooden docks or even rent out a small yacht for a daytime cruise. Think primary colors—specifically white and navy—for your color scheme to further bring the summer wedding theme to life. You can even take inspiration from retro beach party movies to give a fun and flirty vibe.

6. Tropical

Whether you go full destination wedding and escape to a foreign island or simply bring the heat to your own city, a tropical wedding is a fun way to give your celebration a lush, exotic feel. Look to the native animals of tropical locations for imagery and color palette inspiration and plant life for possible props and common food dishes for menu choices.

7. Music Festival

It’s no secret that most music festivals take place in the warmer months in order to best accommodate large crowds in an outdoor arena. If you’re looking to bring together a love of music while staging your wedding outside, mounting a music festival-themed wedding during summer is a safe bet. Bring together love music and other entertainment for a multiday destination event—even if it’s taking place in your hometown.

8. Summer Camp Wedding Weekend

Why stop at a single wedding day? If summertime takes you back to exciting weeks spent at summer camp, use those memories as a source of wedding theme inspiration. Thanks to Airbnb, renting a cabin or two big enough for your guest list has never been easier. Plan a few days of hanging out and outdoor sports competitions leading up to your nuptials. Then, on your wedding day, gather all of your loved ones to witness you exchange vows. Finally, of course, take a spirited dive into the nearest body of water.

9. Mamma Mia

This beloved movie musical (and its sequel) has become a popular source of wedding inspiration over the last few years—and it’s easy to see why. The Grecian disco theme—complete with hanging disco balls, a period-accurate dress code, and statement pieces of Greek decor—is especially ideal for beach weddings and outdoor weddings near the water. Cue up an ABBA playlist and you’re ready to go.

10. Moroccan Style

If your summer wedding has you picturing a vibrant color palette, a lot of texture, and tons of plant life, look no further than a Moroccan-inspired theme. Decor may include a bevvy of rich colors, intricate hanging lanterns, as well as layered and patterned fabrics. Consider seating your guests on comfortable poufs layered atop a vibrant rug, complete with tasseled pillows all around.

11. Pearlescent

Nothing quite says classic and luminous like pearls. Luckily, this wedding attire and decor accent has seen a rapid rise in popularity. Countless weddings have and will continue to use pearl (and faux pearl) decor, from hanging strings, to filled vases, to complimentary accents like lustrous oyster shells, and more. Many couples are even inspired to shape their color palette around them, utilizing their creamy off-whites, pale pinks, and deep blue-blacks.

12. Nature-Inspired

During the sunny season, couples are taking outdoor-inspired weddings to the next level. Not only are they more inclined to use an abundance of florals and greenery, but many couples are basing their entire wedding theme off of a specific nature site (or type of nature site). Key aspects of this theme include color schemes found in nature, as well as natural materials and textures (wood, stone, shells, etc.).

13. Romantic Woodlands

Who says all outdoor summer weddings must take place on the beach? Plenty of couples are instead flocking to the woods, escaping to the shade and whimsy that accompanies countless trees. Think something along the longs of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Towering trees, string lights, silver or gold accents, and a formal dress code that inspires romance.

14. Italian Garden Party

Italian garden party as a wedding theme and source of inspiration just screams elegant summer evening. Think ivy-covered walls, stunning brick architecture, string lights, and some more opulent details, like chandeliers and a plethora of florals. Top things off with endless prosecco and say saluti.

15. Upscale Beach Affair

The standard idea of a beach wedding may be fairly casual, but it doesn’t have to be. Take your formal and even black-tie affairs to the sand—though, we recommend renting a sturdier floor, in this case. Minimalistic color palettes (such as black and white), an upscale dress code, and sleek decor can turn any seaside wedding into a formal affair. Clink champagne glasses and toast to your big day as you watch the sunset.

16. Secret Garden

Due to an influx of smaller weddings (see micro-weddings), those still dreaming of a romantic celebration have turned towards intimate garden settings. These wedding ceremonies and receptions rely largely on venue and florals, making the most of gardens, greenhouses, and the like to create a stunningly fresh scene. For added magic, include family-style seating and vintage decor.

17. Ancient Greece

Perhaps Mamma Mia’s funky disco aesthetic isn’t your style, but the Grecian elements have caught your eye. Go a more formal route and take inspiration from ancient Greece itself. Picture tall pillars wrapped in greenery garlands, outdoor sculptures, twinkling goblets, and gold accents. The most important element, here, is your venue, so keep a keen eye out for stunning architecture or luxurious gardens.

18. Winery Wedding

It might sound too good to be true, but it is possible to get a stunning venue, delicious food, even better wine, and jaw-dropping scenery all in one place. Enter, winery weddings. Lean into this locational theme by requesting a semi-formal to formal dress code and utilizing plenty of greenery, florals, wooden elements, and even wine red as a part of your color palette.

19. Neon Night

Perhaps your top priority is hosting a night that’s full of dancing and fun. If something flashy and exciting is right up your alley, look no further than a neon themed wedding. We’re not particularly recommending you make everything highlighter yellow (though, you definitely can), but more so taking the neon sign trend and dialing it up a notch. Use custom neon signs, light-up decor, glow sticks, and colored lights to create a thrilling and unique ambiance.

20. Organic

On the opposite end of things is an organic wedding theme. This theme calls for leaning into earthy, greenery-heavy, and even biodegradable elements whenever possible. It, too, has become increasingly popular, what with engaged couples becoming more committing to having eco-conscious celebrations. Take things a step further by DIY-ing as much as possible with natural materials.

What Are the Best Summer Wedding Themes Photo Credit // Ross Kyker Photography

More Summer Wedding Ideas

Themes aside, there are a lot of added elements to take into consideration for summer weddings. Below we’ve listed a few of our favorites—from decor and attire, to food, drinks, and florals.

Outdoor Elements

  • Waterfront Ceremony and Celebration. Summer weather means that you can seek out the most stunning of outdoor venues. Naturally, we suggest taking advantage of the warmth and setting your sights on waterfront locations and properties. Because these views are especially stunning, not much decor is required to seriously impress. Beaches are a popular option for couples near the coast, but don’t count out wedding venues with waterfront views of equally beautiful lakes.

  • Outdoor Group Lawn Games. Giant jenga, cornhole, croquet, horseshoes. Consider having lawn games present during part of or throughout your wedding day. A few set out before the ceremony can be a delightful surprise and entertain guests while they wait for your grand arrival. A few available during your wedding reception are sure to be great fun (and entertainment). Even better, do both! During the cocktail hour, have any games moved and situated for the rest of your evening. Nothing beats celebrating love, being with those closest to you, and a little bit of good-natured competition. Pro tip: Ask certain groups if they’d like to play against one another. For example, bridesmaids vs groomsmen or family vs family.

  • Tree decor. Having your big day outdoors greatly expands the wedding decor possibilities available to you. One idea we love in particular is using any nearby trees to your advantage. Draping string lights or drapes across a couple is a staple, but you can also opt to hang paper lanterns, wrap floral garlands around the trunks, or string photos all around. For practical and space-saving decor, you can even attach escort cards via twine or ribbon and clothespins.

Attire

  • Monochrome Wedding Party or Guests. A wedding attire trend that’s been rising in popularity for all times of year—but especially summer—is the use of monochrome. Those comfortable with everyone wearing white will benefit from a breezy-yet-put-together look that spans their entire wedding party (if not every guest in attendance). Neutrals in general tend to be favored, as it’s easy for people to find clothing for, but you can also opt for an array of location-inspired blues, greens, and browns.

  • Bold Colors. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to embrace an array of bold colors. With an abundance of colorful florals, beaming sunsets, and sunlit views, it’s only natural to gravitate towards brighter palettes. If neutrals or monochrome aren’t your thing, don’t hesitate to dress your wedding party (or yourself) in bolder hues.

  • Playful Patterns. While technically you can encourage guests to wear floral or tropical prints to a winter wedding, there’s no time like the summer to play them up. If you’re looking for a unique way for your wedding party to stand out, accent everyone’s outfits with matching seasonal prints. From entire bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmens’ button-downs to accessories like ties, bow ties, and socks, there are plenty of options to choose from.

  • Interesting Silhouettes. Warmer temperatures also means that you and your wedding party likely won’t need to worry about warmth. Whether it’s the bride’s outfit alone or the entire bridal party cohort, don’t count out interesting and daring silhouettes. Low backs, deep-v necks, halter-necks, tulle-covered side slits, exposed shoulders, and more are on the table throughout the sunny season.

Food and Drink

  • Champagne Tower. While cake cutting is undeniably classic, guests are sure to appreciate the spectacle and refreshing drink that come with a champagne tower. This exciting moment can take place of cake cutting or act as an addition to your reception—whatever feels more like you and your celebration. Also consider that you don’t necessarily have to have champagne flowing. Rosé, prosecco, and red wine are all completely acceptable. Dry weddings can even opt for non-alcoholic apple cider.

  • Refreshing Signature Cocktails. Likewise, it’s a nice added touch to include some refreshing signature cocktails in your celebration. Be them representative of you or important relationship milestones (what you ordered on your first date, each other’s usual orders), or created solely for this celebration, guests will delight in the personal and thirst-quenching touch.

  • Fresh Fruit on Display. Nature’s beauty doesn’t stop at florals. Consider going the artistic route and placing decorative bowls of brightly colored fruits on each guest table (e.g. as centerpieces). Not only will they be a feat for the eyes, but a refreshing bite while waiting for dinner and throughout the remainder of the reception. You can also place beautiful displays of seasonal fruits on platters and trays.

  • Outdoor Barbecue. Nothing says comfortable gathering like a BBQ buffet or family style dinner. Weddings taking place at home or on others’ properties (e.g. the home of a loved one or a booked space with a backyard) can cut costs and tap into the summer feeling by having an outdoor barbecue. Just ensure that you have vegetarian and/or vegan options, if needed for some of your guests.

  • Seafood Spread. It goes without saying that summer is the best time of year to serve guests seafood. Impress yours with a colorful and tasty selection of sushi, fish, lobster, crab, oysters, or whatever else delights your palate. As mentioned above, just make sure you have a few non-sea food items for those who don’t eat it or would prefer something slightly tamer.

Florals

  • Tropical Flowers and Greenery. The thought of wedding flowers often inspires mental images of roses, peonies, and ranunculuses. While stunning in there own right, summer weddings provide you the opportunity to go with something a bit more tropical. When researching your desired florals, consider taking a look at ginger flowers, anthurium, protea, and greenery such a monstera leaves and fan palms.

  • Stick to One Type of Flower. Hear us out. Bouquets entirely composed of one type of flower (and perhaps some greenery) not only looks effortlessly put-together, but can give off the feeling that the person holding the bouquet went out into the summer sun and picked the florals themselves. Summer blooms that look especially fresh when styled this way include baby’s breath, chamomile flowers, lavender, tulips, and garden roses.

  • Uniquely Shaped Bouquets and Centerpieces. Lean into how florals and greenery look in nature by asking your florist to create arrangements in unique and interesting shapes. Allow some vines or greenery to gracefully hang from your bridal bouquet and/or bridesmaids bouquets. Ask that your flowers stand at different, but harmonious heights. Doing so gives even indoor weddings a beautiful and fresh outdoor feeling. This arrangement style works particularly well for garden weddings.

  • Large Floral Installations. For summer outdoor weddings, the sky is the limit as far as floral arrangements and displays go. With eye-catching bouquets and centerpieces already involved, go one step further with large flower installations. There are plenty of things you can do, here. Arches (fully floral and more minimal pedestals), hanging installations, and flower sculptures galore are at your disposal—so long as budget or DIY skills allow, of course. Take advantage of spacious outdoor venues and seasonal blooms with these stunning decorative displays.

Summer weddings bring with them great weather, more time off for you and your guests, and a variety of doable themes. With much to choose from, wedding planning can be as overwhelming as it is enjoyable. Don’t worry, Zola is here to help. From venues, to vendors, and even advice on wedding hairstyles, we’re here each step of the way with expect advice and free, helpful tools.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola