Incorporating Theme into Wedding or Event Design

Themed weddings, Themed restaurants, Themed bedrooms – the list goes on. In all honesty, when someone mentions a ‘theme’ whose mind instantly goes to the bizarre and the most heightened version of a theme possible?

I guarantee so many of you! So I thought I would discuss themes and debunk a few myths surrounding the idea and also show you that by incorporating a theme really doesn’t have to be so scary and so overwhelming.

Let’s think of some themes. Close your eyes and imagine some ideas of a theme. I think we’ve all been to some kind of themed restaurant for example. 1950’s American Diner with red seating and bright lights! I’m sure there are several Harry Potter themed places in the world. There is definitely a hotel somewhere and even larger scale themed attractions such as Disneyland.

A lot of these places take on the theme in every sense but going for the really bold and having the theme running through EVERYTHING isn’t the only way you can incorporate one. To start with we are often mistaken with what a ‘theme’ actually is. Whenever I am creating anything I split my styling and design into two areas. CONCEPT AND THEMES.

A concept is a plan, an intention or a notion. The origin of a story for example.

A theme is a sub category that can run through a larger concept. A recurring notion, a repetition. The meaning behind a concept and the storytelling. 

Small Details

As a stylist, my eyes are always on the small details. Of course, the big factors are important but often it is small things that people remember. Plus where the theme is concerned it is a great place to start thinking about how you can incorporate it without it becoming overpowering.

A recent wedding editorial I did was a fully black coloured shoot. The concept was to show that black can be stylish and doesn’t always have to have the Gothic, Halloween connotations that are often associated with the colour. To create the vibe it was important to consider the small details that would be picked up. Those themes that recurred throughout the styling to show there was a definite theme involved.

These images are from that exact shoot. Alongside the concept of showcasing style, I created a slight ‘Maleficent vibe and theme’ running through it but not in a literal sense, just in the smaller details. The model wasn’t wearing horns and there was nothing that immediately said Maleficent BUT the theme was referenced. The feathered cape immediately gave off the theme and to tie in we added feather detail onto the tablescape. Plus the entire shoot was black – which is a theme all in itself! Those little details are meaningful. They are what people pick up on and connect with.

I’m going to give you a few ways you can consider places to incorporate themes within your wedding or events. Of course you can absolutely go as big and as dramatic as you like but if you’re looking for something more subtle that still has a vibe and theme then have a read…

Table Design and Centrepieces

This is a sure fire easy way to bring in a theme. You can add in little elements to your design that acknowledge your chosen theme. Stationery could be branded with a logo or writing that links to your theme. You can add some figurines in if that’s your theme and style them in with flowers and other decor elements so they add a unique surprise element for your guests to discover.. You could have themed place mats? Straws in your drinks that you serve? Napkins?

There are so many different options available here. The key is to think of sight lines for your guests – where will they look throughout the event.

The possibilities here are completely endless so  let your imagination run wild!

Accessories and Clothing

Part of me feels this is very 90s but I LOVE this idea! Incorporating themes into your clothing or accessories is my favourite way to bring it to life because it makes it so much more personal to you. Embroidery on your jackets is a fab example. It could be a larger print or something small that only you know about and people may or may not notice but YOU know it is there.

Something on your shoes is another way. On the sole of your shoe or you could even go that step further and get painted shoes in your theme? There are so many fab designers out there who can create something like this for you. This goes for jackets too. Painted jackets aren’t going anywhere as a trend especially in weddings, so have you thought about getting one made that has a nod to your theme?

For events you might want to think about asking the guests to wear something that reflects the theme and have that as one of your only big nods to it. You could go for a full dress or you could just ask them to wear an accessory or hairstyle that reflects the theme.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure that iron on patches and pin badges are still around too for anyone who loves that.

Food and Drink

We all love food and drink at an event right? It’s one of the ways to REALLY get people’s attention. Ever been at an event or wedding where they announce the food is open and you see a swarm of people running to get in line? Focus your attention on your guests’ pain points when it comes to the theme and you are on to a winner.

Theming food is really easy. You can think about the type of food you can serve and HOW you serve it to people. Cater your menu to suit the theme and work closely with a caterer who can absolutely do this for you. You might want to think about the placement of the food and drink. If you fancy a very regal English theme then seat people at smaller tables and have the food brought out to them. If you want a relaxed American Diner vibe then maybe you might set up a buffet-style service and have your food and drinks placed in American servers OR you might even want to offer extra-large drinks and refills so people really get the vibe.


Options for entertainment are absolutely endless now. Coming from a Theatre background myself I know a lot of entertainers who offer some fab things.

The most simple way to have themed entertainment is to find the right style. So if you want to have a more elegant theme then consider music that reflects that such as string quartets or an acoustic singer. You might even niche the theme down more and only have music from a certain era or in a certain style.

If you want to go bigger and bolder on theme, like a circus theme for example, then think big on entertainment. This alone could be just a sole way of incorporating your theme. From magicians, to fire breathers to larger outdoor entertainment. Planning and directing when and where these things go ahead throughout the course of your wedding or event can absolutely be a stand alone theme without having to base the entirety of your day on it.

Entertainment is so versatile and so varied now that your options for including this in your theme are limitless.

So there are just a few ways you can incorporate a theme into your wedding or event concepts. I’m not saying don’t go big if you want to. You absolutely do you. But if you want to find smaller ways to incorporate themes that don’t seem so scary and overwhelming, then that is possible too. 

I would love to chat with you if you want any more advice on theme as it’s one of my absolutely favourite topics as a stylist. Also, if you need some tips on creative direction then get in touch.

Photography Credit

Taylar Jade Photography