The top 10 wedding theme ideas for 2023

A father and daughter share a wedding dance surrounded by guests in an opulent room with marble walls and tall ceilings.

At the heart of every wedding is a wonderful party filled with your best friends and family—and adding a themed element to the equation can make the whole event all the more memorable, still. There’s no shortage of ideas for bringing a theme to life at your welcome party, ceremony, reception, or after party, and the options are only as limited as your imagination. 

Where do you start when trying to decide which wedding theme idea is right for your big day? We tapped some of our favorite wedding planners, including Jung Lee, sought-after event designer of Fête NY fame, and Augusta Cole, renowned wedding and event planner, for the scoop on what their couples are gravitating towards this year. 

Many couples choose a theme or style for their wedding that has meaning for them. Ms. Lee, says, “When you think about all of the aspects of a wedding, it should reflect the couple’s style, lifestyle, and passions.” Ms. Cole adds that “[A couple’s] style, their innate taste, and how they entertain are important to bring out in their wedding planning.” 

Of course, how you incorporate your theme is entirely up to you. Ms. Cole says, “What are three ‘it’ factors? How are we reinforcing this theme in a smart way, whether it’s cuisine, décor, or entertainment?” Whatever elements of style you choose will surely impress your guests and make your day feel the most true to you.


Viewed from above, a very long white wedding banquet table with servers and guests is set up on a road surrounded by green trees.Image by Roey Yohai; courtesy of Fête NY.


10 Wedding theme ideas you’ll love

Deciding on a theme for your nuptials is a fun part of the wedding planning process where you can let your creativity lead the way. We’ve rounded up 10 unique wedding ideas to help inspire your vision. 


1. Follow your destination (even if you’re staying put)

Your setting can be the perfect jumping-off point for your theme, so consider taking inspiration from your venue. There are some genuinely gorgeous wedding locations out there, from art galleries to vineyards to botanical gardens, a ski lodge in a snowy winter village to a quaint estate in the countryside. Choose décor that speaks to your surroundings with flowers, fabrics, menu choices, and centerpieces that can all be incorporated into your location-inspired theme.

Once you’ve decided on your venue (typically the first step of wedding planning), use the location as a theme for décor, food and cocktails, and invitation styles. For example, if you’ve chosen a tropical getaway, adding flowers and greenery such as palm fronds, hibiscus flowers, and orchid corsages at your reception will dial up the vacation vibes. Don’t forget to serve throwback cocktails like Blue Hawaiis, Mai Tais, Bahama Mamas, and Pina Coladas in tiki-style glasses. 


Left: In a tropical setting, a round table with a blue printed table cloth and rattan chairs is set with a rattan lantern and tropical fruits in the center. Right: A wedding invitation with a border of leaves and kumquats on a gold foil backdrop.Image by Corbin Gurkin, courtesy of Augusta Cole; “Nagami” by Oscar de la Renta for Paperless Post.


Does your venue have a country vibe? Try including natural wood elements and bunches of wildflowers in your décor—or go a step further. Ms. Cole says, “A particularly fun themed wedding we planned was a Western weekend at Brush Creek Ranch. One of the evenings was themed ‘Westworld,’ and people really got into it. It was otherworldly because it was down in a wine cellar, and you arrived at night.” Her favorite tip for throwing a Western party? “Hand out hats. Suddenly, everyone’s a cowboy.” Yeehaw!


Left: A cream wedding invitation with sketches of blossoming branches on the top and bottom on a wood backdrop. Right: A newlywed couple seen from behind walks outside wearing Western-inspired clothing, like wide-brim hats and a white fringe jacket.Dogwood Blossom” by Paper Source for Paperless Post; Image by Ashley Sawtelle, courtesy of Augusta Cole.


Saying “I do” abroad? Your theme’s practically built-in. Says Ms. Cole, “If you’re doing a wedding in Italy, you can weave experiences throughout the weekend that shed light on why you chose Italy as a theme.”

By the way—if you’re still deciding on your locale, we’ve gathered a list of 30 destination wedding ideas around the globe that will inspire your love of traveling.


Left: A bamboo-framed sign with dessert names written in pink handwriting sits on a small black table beside kiwi fruit and flowers in the background. Right: A wedding invitation with a colorful border of sherbet-colored abstract flowers on a pink envelope with gold liner.Image by Corbin Gurkin, courtesy of Augusta Cole; “Aripan” by Paperless Post.


2. Take cues from color

Color evokes emotion and is a great starting point when brainstorming ideas about styles and concepts. When it comes to choosing your hues, Ms. Cole advises, “The world’s your oyster when it comes to color. My couples this year are loving shades of green, woodland red, yellow, terracottas, and oranges.” If you’re unsure what color scheme to choose, Ms. Cole says, “You can’t go wrong with classic blue and white. There are a lot of beautiful, timeless blues and whites out there. It’s a lovely way to be tailored but still have a design reference.” Black and white is another classic color combination that can inform everything from your invitations to your table linens and wedding party attire. Or, opt for the clean look of all-white and request that your guests dress in white, too. This is an especially popular option for coastal destination weddings, where the neutral color palette pops against a seaside backdrop.


3. Keep it classic  

Wedding styles like romantic, modern, boho, and rustic are all timeless choices that can be easily applied to your invitations and décor with flowers, fabrics, and centerpieces. To gather your ideas, Ms. Lee suggests creating a visual mood board. “It’s easy to latch onto singular things, but they don’t give weddings a heart and soul. Everyone wants to have a great and memorable wedding. How do we get that, and how do we authentically tell your story?” 

“I live and breathe mood boards,” agrees Ms. Cole. “I do them weekly on Instagram. It’s nice to have a visual touchpoint of what couples are drawn to and what they want to create for their guests.” 

Once you’ve narrowed your style down—for example, choosing a boho-inspired wedding—get creative by pulling ideas for lighting, table settings, wedding party attire, and wedding invitations that bring that aesthetic together.


4. Celebrate the seasons

Incorporate elements of seasonal style into your wedding like fabric and décor in the rich colors of autumn leaves or winter berries on branches. (By the way, another benefit of holding a winter wedding is that venues are typically less expensive during the off-season.) For more seasonally relevant inspiration, check out our fall and winter wedding ideas guides. 

If you’ve decided on a spring or summer wedding, you can include gorgeous flowers like peonies, roses, tulips, and hyacinths in your décor. Choose from a stunning assortment of Paperless Post invitations featuring wedding flowers to match your invitations to your theme. 


Left: A black invitation with silver beaded strings hanging from the top on a marble backdrop. Right: Hands reach for disco ball-shaped drinks with straws on a silver serving platter.Josephine Baker” by Paperless Post; Image courtesy of Fête NY.


5. Embrace the holidays year-round

What better way to celebrate your favorite holiday than making it the theme of your wedding? “New Year’s Eve weddings are super fun and fabulous,” says Ms. Lee, who  knows a thing or two about bringing glamor to an NYE affair.

For true romantics, a Valentine’s Day wedding with red roses, hearts, and customized chocolate boxes is the ultimate theme. Or if you want to see sparks fly in a low-key, casual setting, a 4th of July backyard wedding may be the way to go.   

If your favorite holiday is Halloween, there are many ways to add elements that reflect your love of all things spooky, including your invitation. From gothic-style wedding dresses to jack-o’lantern centerpieces, the possibilities for Halloween wedding décor are endless. 

And for those who celebrate, Christmas is a joyful and exciting holiday to inspire your décor and overall vibe. A festive reception at a local hotel that incorporates the beauty of garlands and twinkling lights is sure to impress—even better if there’s snow on the windowsills. 

Use Paperless Post’s customization tools to transform any card—like a cocktail party or New Year’s Eve party invite—into your dream wedding invitation.


An over the shoulder view of a woman in a pink top finding her name on a welcome seating board with colorful bracelet favors.Image by Corbin Gurkin, courtesy of Augusta Cole.


6. Highlight your culture 

From your food menu to what you wear, there are some magical ways to include all the aspects of your culture that you love. Our advice? Go for it. This is your celebration, and your guests will love being involved and included in your special day—whether those traditions are familiar to them or not. Ms. Cole recalls, “We had a couple do a really fun Brazilian night. We had tambourines, thematic music, and everyone dressed a part.” 

Creating a mood board will help incorporate visual elements of your culture into your décor, entertainment, food, and beverages. The symbols and imagery associated with your heritage can also be worked into your décor, like paper lanterns or draping gorgeous swaths of silk cloth. Don’t be afraid to go all out. 


7. Step back in time

Bringing in elements from days gone by to style your wedding is an excellent way to make your big day stand out, and even if you opt for a more traditional ceremony, you can still incorporate retro themes into your wedding. Channel the wildly popular Art Deco aesthetic of the 1920s and ’30s with brass and black color schemes, geometric designs, and stylized fonts. Or, time travel back to the ’40s and ’50s with zoot suits and swing dancing.

Have fun with vintage vibes at any point in your wedding weekend, whether that’s the rehearsal dinner, reception, or an after party. To play into one of the hottest wedding trends, turn your reception into a ’70s disco extravaganza with mirrored balls, a DJ spinning groovy hits, and shimmering accents. Ms. Cole says, “The disco-themed after party is very successful. People can go from a more formal place to a more moody, clubby setting. That changes the tone of the evening really well.” Ms. Lee says, “The disco jungle is here and it’ll stay for a while. People just can’t get enough of it. It’s just fun and tropical—who doesn’t love hundreds of mirror balls up in the air?”

Want to take things back even further? Those who love a good Renaissance festival already know how much fun it is to travel back in time. Bring forward elements of the past through dress and décor. For example, transform your venue into a 19th-century banquet fit for royalty—think tapestries, regal motifs, embroidered table runners, and tall candelabras. 

Whatever time period you choose to celebrate, make sure your invitations and wedding website clearly indicate the dress code and overall vibe to your guests. Ms. Cole suggests, “Establish how you communicate the theme to your guests. A successful theme party has everyone involved.” 


Left: A white wedding invitation with a pink, purple, and black marbled pattern on the top on a black marble backdrop. Right: Three singers, two in tuxedos and one in a gold sequin gown, sing at microphones with a disco ball shining on them and a metallic backdrop.Marbleized by Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post; Image courtesy of Fête NY.


8. Over-the-top ideas

When it comes to your wedding, nothing’s off limits—including how out-there you make your theme. It’s your day, and if you and your partner want to celebrate with a masquerade ball or a royalty theme, go all out! Seek inspiration from “Vogue’s” annual Met Gala or lavish high-society parties from the 1960s and ’70s. 

Ms. Lee’s favorite? “The Surrealist party is really fun, like [Truman] Capote and Rothschild.” Channel Truman Capote’s 1966 Surrealist theme extravaganza for décor inspiration—think ostrich feathers instead of flowers, mirrored centerpieces, and jeweled photo props for guests at the reception. Could anything be more fabulous? 


9.  Roll out the red carpet 

From “Casino Royale” to “The Wizard of Oz,” there’s a place for your favorite films in a Hollywood-inspired wedding theme. Having a popcorn machine, walking down a red carpet, and using a movie theater as a venue will set you in the right direction for lights, camera, married. 


10.  Go all-in on glamor

Live for the razzle dazzle? Hold nothing back as you plan the glitziest bash your friends and family has ever seen. Rent the fanciest ballroom you can and fill it with shimmering lights. Dress your bridesmaids in metallics, use gold cutlery, and feature gilded accents in your table linens and invitations. Have a bridal bouquet that’s a foot-long cascade of orchids. Make your wedding a three-day weekend affair with multiple events. Embrace the spirit of maximalism, make every aspect of your celebration as extra as you feel, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re being extra. (If they do, they can just stay home!)


How to choose a wedding theme

Now that you’ve read about some of our favorite wedding themes, you may ask yourself where to begin. All weddings have a universal starting point, and that’s your budget. Ms. Cole advises, “The first thing anyone should consider before making decisions is budget. You can back it up against how many people you’re inviting and what you are comfortable spending as a whole. That will help direct you towards what you can afford and how many themed moments you’ll be able to have.” 


Invitations for the wedding theme of your dreams

One way to stay within your budget without detracting from your wedding weekend vision? Choosing Paperless Post invitations. (For more guidance on picking the perfect design, see our post on wedding invitation ideas.) Browse hundreds of spectacular wedding invitations, including designs from world-class designers like Oscar de la Renta, Stephanie Fishwick, and Carolina Herrera. Or work with our Personal Design Services team to create a customized invitation that’s truly one of a kind.

Adding hints about your theme and dress code—plus photos, videos, directions, accommodations, and more—is simple with informational Blocks, displayed on your invitation page without cluttering your invitation design. With no right or wrong wedding theme to choose, follow what speaks to your heart and watch your spectacular event unfold. 

For more inspiration from our wedding experts, follow Jung Lee and Augusta Cole on Instagram.


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Hero image courtesy of Fête NY.