Picking out your wedding theme is a really tricky part of planning your wedding, because it shapes so many different elements of your big day – the decor, the dress, the colour scheme, even the food and drink. It can be daunting enough thinking about just one of these elements, so when it comes to an overarching theme that includes them all it’s not surprising that so many couples struggle to get their head round it initially. If you’re still undecided, the good news is that it really doesn’t have to be such hard work – especially if you think of your theme as a way of making all those other decisions that little bit simpler. Still, there are so many to choose from that you might need a bit of help breaking some of them down. We’ve put together this guide to some of our favourite themes, all of which work brilliantly in our Lake District Barn Wedding Venue.
The hugely popular festival scene in the UK is all about celebrating music, food, and culture – three elements that go into making a great wedding – so it’s little surprise that more and more couples are choosing to hold festival themed weddings. This is a great way of ditching formality and throwing a party that truly reflects your personalities, and works perfectly with a more relaxed ceremony.
You’ll need a venue with plenty of wide open space, live music and performances, and lots of delicious food and drink. The food should reflect the theme, too – think street food stalls, sharing platters or hog roast, and craft beer and cider for drinks (or a Prosecco or Pimms station for a bit more glamour). Of course, you’ll want to spend most of a festival themed wedding outdoors, but with the British weather being what it is, you may want the insurance of some indoor space to retreat from the rain – this could be a good quality marquee, tipis or yurts, or a barn. Should the weather hold though, you’ll have scope to put on all sorts of fun outdoor games for your guests to enjoy; we’ve had giant jenga, welly wanging, hook-a-duck, space hoppers, sack races and much more over the years. Add as much variety as possible, just like a real festival.
In terms of the ‘look’, you have a fair amount of freedom and flexibility. You could lean into a rustic vibe, with flower garlands and hay-bales, or go more bohemian. Or, you could really embrace the idea of a festival and do your best Glasto impression – loads of colour, flags, banners and bunting, hand-painted signposts, lanterns and outdoor lighting. For your bouquet, go with wild meadow flowers like gerberas, sweet peas and poppies.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that this wedding theme is perfect for music lovers. It’s all about the band at a festival wedding, so make the room in your budget for your favourite live band – or bands – and keep the vibe alive after the live acts are finished with a playlist that includes all of your favourite festival headliners.
You can check out Clare and Scott’s festival themed New House Farm wedding here.
We might admit to being slightly biased when it comes to how much we love a rustic theme – but that’s because it works so well in our Hayloft Barn that we just can’t help ourselves! What makes it extra special is how adaptable it is, meaning you can still put your own personal spin on it, and works brilliantly in any season, from a cosy winter wedding to a gorgeous summer day.
For a rustic theme, the venue is key. Barns are ideal for rustic weddings – they already have the rustic feel built into them, with exposed wood beams and the added bonus that they’re usually surrounded by countryside. A skilled wedding stylist can give most venues a fairly convincing rustic look, but an authentically rustic location will always look, and feel, better – and by choosing somewhere that suits your theme, you’ll be able to spend less on decorating the venue to get the look just right.
Your decor will incorporate a lot of natural elements, particularly wood, but also wild flowers, burlap, and hay bales. String lights, mason jars, twine, hessian and lace might also feature heavily, but again, you have a lot of freedom to play around with and find the look that you love. It’s all about creating a simple, homey vibe.
When it comes to food and drink, you can be a lot more informal with a rustic theme. If a traditional three-course meal isn’t really your thing, this is a great opportunity for some good old home-style cooking – BBQ is perfect in the summer, or a roast in the winter, for example. Set up an old-fashioned lemonade stand as a drinks station; get some Kilner style decanters and fill them up with fruit juice, alcohol, ice, whatever cool drinks you want. As for the cake, a rustic theme really lends itself to the ‘naked’ or ‘semi-naked’ wedding cake trend – or if you’re feeling bold, you could try a cheese wedding cake. As always, the adaptability of the theme means you can play fast and loose with what elements you choose to implement – there’s nothing wrong with sticking to tradition for the food if you’ve really nailed the look.
Your dress should reflect the casual nature of your rustic barn theme, so choose something that you will feel comfortable and relaxed wearing. We’ve seen lots of different styles of bridal wear that perfectly compliment a rustic theme, particularly flowing bohemian chiffon numbers, broderie anglais dresses and off-the-shoulder Grecian gowns. Vintage inspired dresses also accompany a rustic theme nicely. You could also pair your wedding dress with boots or wellies for a truly rustic look – this can look surprisingly stylish!
Want some more inspiration? Check out Nicola and Matt’s rustic wedding at New House Farm here.
Cool, carefree, but still beautiful, the bohemian theme is perfect for anyone who wants a relaxed and romantic vibe. This is a theme you can really put your own stamp on. You might incorporate elements of nature and bright colours, or deeper, earthy tones, while others lean towards Moroccan or Indian influences, there really is no hard or fast rule – but this also means things can go off track quite quickly. An element of stylish mismatching is all part of the theme, but you will need to be consistent on your primary inspiration otherwise you’ll end up with a busy, cluttered mess. Take some time to decide what ‘boho’ means to you, and how far you want to take the theme, and keep this in mind through the planning process.
Regardless of which direction you want to take the theme, boho brides almost always tend to gravitate towards nature and the outdoors. This means choosing an intimate venue with a ‘close to nature’ feel. It also means details like overflowing wildflowers, foliage, feathers, roses and petals, which you can fit around your loose flowing fabrics, twinkling fairy lights and eclectic prints. The relaxed, flowing look is really enhanced by decorating from above – lighting and lanterns is an obvious one, but also hanging fabrics, woven god’s eyes, plant hangers and dream catchers. You might worry that the deliberate mismatching of the boho theme could lead to a horrific clash of styles, but if you keep your colours warm and romantic, and with this influence from nature running throughout, you’ll be surprised by how much mixing and matching you can get away with. Two takes on the bohemian theme to keep an eye on for 2019 are a burgundy, moody tone and an earthy tone with pampas grass.
For the bohemian bride, a long, free flowing dress is perfect for really nailing the style – romantic, relaxed, comfortable and care-free. Boho wedding dresses are usually a simple design, but they can still feature exquisite, delicate detailing, with fabrics like crocheted lace, soft chiffon, or organza all great choices. A natural make-up look is the way to go, while flowing locks or a fishtail or four-strand braid works really well for the hair – add a crown of wildflowers, or even weave flowers within the hair itself, to complete the look. For a more detailed bohemian bridal look, check out our blog here.
If you hate wearing heels, good news – going barefoot is an option, for you and your guests. There’s nothing quite as bohemian and carefree as discarding uncomfortable footwear and feeling the grass beneath your toes. The mismatched bohemian vibe is great news for your bridesmaids too – no need for colour coordinated outfits, just a loose, flowing dress that matches the theme. For the groom, khakis and a loose white shirt will work just fine, but you could also go with a linen suit for something a bit more formal.
Vintage Tea Party
Vintage weddings offer a dose of timeless romanticism, evoking the past while still celebrating the now. It’s quite an open-ended term, and you could really take it in any number of different directions, depending on what era you want to evoke, but for us there’s nothing better than a vintage-inspired tea party theme, especially in the spring or summer. The charm and whimsy of an alfresco English garden party is such a natural fit for a wedding, and it’s something your guests will all love, too.
One of the bonuses of this take on vintage is the amount of freedom to create something that is truly you – you don’t have to worry about nailing a particular era or about ‘authenticity’. Instead you can get really creative and throw the kind of party you want, whether that’s low-key and traditional, or go over the top with an Alice in Wonderland inspired fantastical theme. One thing is for sure though, you’re going to want bunting galore – it just gives such an instant vintage festive vibe. Go for a pastel hue for your colours, and you can’t go wrong with lots of posies of flowers – mix and match different blooms to create a beautiful array of colours and shapes. Extravagant blooms are exaggerated even more when placed next to simple arrangements of daisies or carnations. You can also mix and match your crockery to add to the antique vibe; slowly start building a collection of china, tea pots, silver and anything else that jumps out to you, and by the time your wedding comes around you should have a real treasure trove. Charity shops are brilliant for finding unexpected gems, and you can always borrow from relatives, too.
Your dress is entirely dependent on your taste, however certain styles of gown really add to the tea party theme. Replica vintage dresses look really elegant and work beautifully with the kitsch decor. Lace numbers also look lady-like and romantic, and shorter, tea dress style dresses are really girly and playful. You should try to stay away from large, structured wedding dresses – but if that’s what you have your heart set on, you can still get away with it if the rest of the theme is consistent. For your bridesmaids, a floral or fifties inspired tea-length dress is ideal, and mix and match the colours for a real tea party vibe.
English rose style make up is perfect for this romantic theme – natural skin, a rosy glowing complexion, long lashes and pink tinted lips. This look works really well with most skin tones and is really easy to do yourself with only a few products. Fairytale style locks are perfect for an English tea-party style wedding, so we really recommend tousled curls if you have long hair. Top-knots and buns also look really simple yet glamorous, especially with pretty accessories such as flowers or a dainty tiara.
This theme really makes it easy when it comes to food. An afternoon tea of dainty cakes, posh sandwiches, delicious pastries and lots of sweet treats, as well as glasses of fizz, is at the heart of the theme – but there’s no need to restrict yourself. If you really want to serve hot food there’s nothing stopping you, and it really won’t clash with the theme especially if you’ve got all the details right.
The key to planning your wedding theme is to not let it restrict you from doing what you want – they’re a great way of helping you find the look and the vibe for your big day, not a rigid checklist. At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner, so follow your gut and go with what makes you happy!
We hope this guide has been helpful and you’ve found some inspiration for planning your wedding. Need more planning advice? We’ve got you covered! Our Easy Guide to Planning Your Lake District Wedding has all you need to know. Click here for part one, part two, and part three.
Not sure if you want a ‘theme’ but need somewhere to start sparking your creative ideas? Take a look our guide to finding your Wedding Colour Scheme here.
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Looking for the perfect Lake District summer wedding venue? Come and take a look at what we offer at New House Farm. Our beautiful lakeside location and rustic Hayloft Barn makes for the perfect fairytale wedding! To arrange a viewing please contact Hazel on: 07841159818.