Planning a wedding but want something unique that speaks to who you are as a couple? Consider having a theme wedding that includes aspects of your personalities, preferences and shared history. We reached out to Kimberly Mack, owner and lead consultant of Ohio-based Dream Event Services, LLC, for some expert advice on how to choose a theme for your wedding as well as some tips on making sure it is an enjoyable event for all.
Tell us why themed weddings have been gaining in popularity.
For couples, it’s about making the wedding uniquely their own, an event that reflects their own personalities as opposed to the cookie-cutter wedding or something they had seen in a movie. For example, if the two met on a baseball diamond, they might have a baseball-theme wedding. A couple I’m working with now enjoys movies, so we’re having a movie theme, complete with paparazzi.
Another wedding I did had a Roaring Twenties gangster theme for the reception. After the ceremony, the bridal party changed into Roaring Twenties’ shimmy dresses and zoot suits. As they came in, we had searchlights flashing, then when the bridal couple came in, we turned on the spinning red police lights and had an echo chamber with “Put Your Hands Up!” It turned out great and everyone enjoyed it!
As a planner, I encourage the couple to have the wedding theme represent the two of them. But my younger group is definitely into it more than my older group. But once I talk to the older couples about making it personal, they really get into it.
When selecting a theme for the wedding, what are some tips to make it enjoyable not only for the bridal couple but also for their guests?
First of all, with guests younger than 15, I suggest having a separate area for them to go to after the dinner, with a couple of play stations available and perhaps some sitters on hand to supervise. That way they can enjoy the evening, too. Most of the venues I work with have been able to do that with enough notice.
If the wedding is outside, I make sure there is a solid walkway or a spot where people who have difficulty walking can go. We once did a wedding on a beach that had seating similar to an amphitheater. The guests were in that section and only the wedding party walked onto the sand. I encourage my clients to pay attention to those kinds of things so all the guests can enjoy the event.
I also plan the reception so the main traditions take place before dinner. When the bride and groom come in, they immediately go into their first dance, and then they cut the cake. The toasts are also given before the bridal party starts eating to make sure when pictures are taken, the table looks nice and there’s nothing spilled on the bride’s dress or the groom’s tux. It makes for better optics.
This way, too, if people need to leave before the bride and groom, they still enjoyed the highlights of the event.
If the bridal couple wants something different but can’t decide on a theme, what tips do you have for them to help narrow it down?
My opening questions really help with this situation. Some of the questions I ask are how they met, what are some things they do together that make their relationship special and what was their most memorable date or a vacation that they took together.
I’ll ask him what makes her so special and why did he choose her? Then I ask her the same questions. Generally, the idea for a theme comes out of their responses.
Who makes most of the decisions for the wedding?
In some cases, it’s all on the bride, but I’ve also had cases where it’s all on the groom with the bride saying, “Whatever you want to do is fine”—a total flip-flop of roles. I’ve also had it where they both are very involved in the planning.
I do see more guys involved than in the past, and I think it’s because they are paying for this together, and one of the ways she is able to convince him that a specific expense is necessary is for him to be there.
Another change is in the financial arrangements. Most of my clientele are between 26 and 35 and are paying for the wedding themselves. Their parents may pay for pieces and parts, but for the most part, the couple pays for everything themselves.
It also appears that Millennials are getting married later, and fewer in the 18- to 23-year-old age bracket are getting married. Generally, they have graduated from college and are establishing themselves in their careers, they may already have a house and maybe some kids, and now want to seal everything together with a wedding that speaks to who they are as a couple.
For More Information
Looking for more wedding-planning ideas? Check out the following WHN posts:
- Money-Saving Tips from Brides
- Marriage Resources
- Budget-Saving Wedding Advice from Brides-To-Be
- 9 Wedding Insurance FAQs
- Groom’s FREE Wedding Day Emergency Kit List
- Bride’s FREE Wedding Day Emergency Kit List
- 6 Tips for Preventing Wedding Disasters
- 11 Low-Cost Wedding Tips
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