Do You Really Need a Wedding Theme? (Rustic, Vintage, Etc.)

A wedding theme is a particular kind of style or design choice that you’d like to establish your wedding around. You might choose your décor, attire, entertainment and even the venue itself based around this theme.
Wedding themes are handy for conveying a particular atmosphere or mood. By having a theme, you can express your personality and creativity, and base your special day around something that’s important to you. For example, if you’ve always been a Disney lover, you might have a Disney-themed wedding. Or if you and your other half are regular beachgoers, a beach-themed wedding might be perfect.
However, there are some downsides to having a theme, too – such as the risk of your décor looking tacky or overdone. You might also put off potential guests from attending if the theme doesn’t appeal to them. Today, we’re going to be discussing the pros and cons of having a themed wedding so that you can decide whether it would suit you.

What Is a Wedding Theme?

Almost anything can be a wedding theme – a design style, a book or TV series, a genre of media (such as science fiction or fantasy) or even a historical era. Some themes are more popular than others. Examples of wedding themes include:

• Rustic
• Vintage
• Modern
• Nautical
• Bohemian
• Fantasy
• Travel/adventure
• Romantic garden
• Autumn (fall)
• Winter wonderland

You might choose your wedding theme based on the season, your venue, personal interests, or even your favourite colours. Most people just pick a theme that they feel speaks to them while browsing wedding inspiration sites.
The purpose of having a wedding theme is, broadly, to give you something to base your décor and wedding stationery around. Your theme will be your aesthetic that you strive towards in every part of wedding planning and execution.

Do I Need a Wedding Theme?

There’s no law stating that every single wedding must be themed. Of course you don’t need a theme – you can just pick a variety of decorations that look nice together and match with your colour palette. Non-themed weddings can look just as good as themed ones.
But be aware that one of the first questions you’ll be asked when you say you’re getting married is ‘what’s your theme?’ Having a wedding theme can be a great way to convey to your guests what kind of atmosphere you’re going for.
There are many benefits to having a themed wedding, but there are also some disadvantages, too. Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of wedding themes.
Advantages of Having a Themed Wedding
There are many benefits to having a wedding theme. Here are some of the many reasons why themed weddings are so popular.

Create an Atmosphere

Although a wedding doesn’t necessarily need a theme, it should have a style – a particular atmosphere that you’re trying to create. Do you want your wedding to exude grace, formality and class? Or would you prefer a more casual, fun feel?
Whatever your preference, having a theme can definitely help you pull off the atmosphere you’re going for. For example, if you want to create an atmosphere of exuberance and elegance, an ‘Oscars’ theme might convey this perfectly. Or if you want more of a relaxed, nature-inspired wedding, a woodland or rustic theme might help tie everything together. Having a theme will not only help you create the aesthetic you desire, but it’ll also be of enormous use to your wedding planner (if you have one).

Express Your Creativity

If you’re an artistic sort of person, working to a particular theme will help inspire you and bring out your creative side. If I asked you to plan a generic wedding, you might not be particularly motivated. But if I said I want you to plan a fantasy-themed wedding, your mind might start whirring with ideas right away.
Theming your wedding is also a great opportunity to express your and your spouse’s personality. If you’re both big music fans, why not have a festival-themed wedding complete with wristbands and tents? There’s no better way to make your mark on your wedding than by having a theme that means something personal to you.

Involve Your Guests

Themed weddings, when done right, can make wonderfully memorable experiences – not only for you, but for your guests as well. ‘Weddings’ can be boring – but ‘Hawaiian beach themed weddings’, for example, rarely are.
Having a theme gives you an opportunity to directly involve your guests. They can dress up to match the theme, and it might even give them an idea of what to get you as a gift. The theme will also give your guests something to talk about and bond over. It’s a bit like the difference between a standard house party and a fancy-dress party. It’s just a lot of fun!

Simplify Wedding Planning

Wedding planning can be ridiculously overwhelming, to the point of causing anxiety and stress. It’s easy to fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole, spend all day looking at other people’s perfect weddings, and wishing you could have everything you see.
This is where having a particular wedding theme comes in handy. You can whittle down your research fit your theme, making it easier to sort through everything you find and narrow down your ideas. It’s a lot harder to become overwhelmed when you’re working to a particular design style.
Disadvantages of Having a Themed Wedding
Unfortunately, themed weddings also come with some downsides. Here are some of the reasons you might prefer not to have a themed wedding.

More Restrictive

Yes, having a theme makes it easier for you to narrow down your decoration and design ideas. However, depending on the theme, it can actually be too restrictive. For example, if you’re set on having a vintage wedding, and you find some modern decorations that you just love, they might not be compatible with your theme. Your décor options might be limited in a way that you don’t appreciate.
To counter this, choose a very broad theme – such as ‘elegant’, or ‘sparkle’ – instead of an extremely specific theme like ‘steampunk’. That way, you can make lots of different design ideas work.

Can Be Costly

Depending on your theme, you may find that certain articles of clothing, decorations, props and services can be more expensive. For example, if you’re having a vintage-themed wedding, you may find that hiring an antique classic car is more expensive than basic wedding transport.
Similarly, hiring a standard wedding DJ might be cheaper than a themed entertainer. And most bakers will charge a premium for an elaborately themed wedding cake versus a basic design.
That being said, you can recoup some of the costs through buying second-hand props and decorations. And some themes are much cheaper than others – for example, handmade items fit in perfectly with rustic-themed weddings, and are very cost effective.

Guests May Be Uncooperative

Remember how we said that a themed wedding creates an unforgettable, fun experience for your guests? Well, that’s true – but not for every guest. Some guests simply won’t like the idea of dressing up or getting involved in a theme.
These people may end up having a miserable time, on a day that’s supposed to revolve around happiness and love. This is particularly likely if the theme you’ve chosen doesn’t match their interests. How fun would a Harry Potter themed wedding be for someone who’s never read the books or watched the films?
It may be worth trying to keep the theme more subtle, and noting on your invitations that dressing up is optional.

Tricky to Get Right

Themed weddings can look amazingly beautiful if done just right. If you have an experienced wedding planner (or you have an artistic eye yourself), a theme can take your wedding up several aesthetic notches.
However, the danger is that a themed wedding done wrong can look downright tacky. If you don’t do it right, your wedding guests might cringe. Certain themes carry a worse risk of this happening – such as themes based on holidays (Christmas or Halloween), seasons, and media (books and TV series).
If you’re having a themed wedding, less is more. Aim for the subtle approach – don’t think that every single decoration and item of clothing has to be themed.