Is it absolutely necessary to have some sort of theme?
No, not really, but it will actually make your wedding and reception easier to plan.
There are many theme ideas, but if your family happens to have a strong ethnic background, why not go with a cultural theme? This is one of the easiest solutions to your problem. Wear wedding attire that reflects your country's origin; include foods, music and favors that follow your ethnic theme. Your wedding colors can be determined by those in your country's flag; for example, if you're Swedish, your colors would be blue and yellow. You can even add small flags to your floral arrangements. Best of all, include as many traditional customs as possible (visit your local library to do your research). By using an ethnic theme, your wedding will plan itself, although your guests will think you're especially creative!
My fiance and I are both of Mexican descent, and we like the idea of an ethnic theme; if we were to have a Mexican theme for our wedding, what are some ideas we could include?
Why not take your cues from Mexico itselfstrive for a wedding as ethnically authentic as possible, Here are some Mexican wedding traditions:
The entire ceremony is in Spanish, of course.
A Catholic wedding mass is held at 9 p.m.
The church is decorated with white roses.
Guests sit wherever they please (not on the bride's or grooms side).
The bride's only attendants are her four godmothers, each responsible for one aspect of the ceremony: One makes three bouquets (one for the bride to lay on the altar, one to keep and one to toss at the reception); another godmother carries a dish with 13 gold arras (coins) along with the couple's rings; the other two godmothers are responsible to carry a rope with a cross they drape in a figure 8 around the couple as the couple kneels at the altar, uniting them.
The couple sits at a small table by themselves at the reception.
All the single women perform a line dance called "La Vibora" (the snake).
The reception usually goes on all night.
What about some other theme ideas?
Here are five theme suggestions for you to consider:
Snowball : This is a wedding where everyone wears white, including the mothers and grandmothers. Be sure all the whites are the same.
Black and white : All the wedding costumes are black and white. The men may wear black tuxes, the attendants black gowns with white trim, the flower girl wears white and the ring bearer wears black. This is a very popular 90s theme, but be sure there is a little color splashed around somewhere, in the flowers and ribbons, for example, or the wedding will lose its festive feeling of celebration.
Wreaths : Decorate various sizes of Styrofoam or grapevine wreaths and hang them on the pews and pillars. Also, oversized wreaths work well when hung on the walls in the front of the ceremony site.
Christmas : This is an easy theme to work with because of the Christmas trees, holly, poinsettias, candles and evergreenery available during December. Also, trail strands of tiny Christmas tree lights over and around the decorations for a special touch of winter wonderland.
Victorian : A Victorian theme needs plenty of lace, ribbon, hearts and trailing ribbon. Also, the bride and her attendants may want to wear bustled gowns and high-buttoned shoes.
I want the center aisle to be decorated in some really dramatic way, instead of the usual pew bows. Do you have any ideas?
Well, in addition to the opulent floral sprays, you may want to consider adding 6-foot pew candlesticks every other pew, decorated profusely with ribbon, tulle netting, trailing silk or live ivy and any silk or live flowers of your choice. These candlesticks can be rented from some florists and most wedding rental stores. Another trick is to stand a tall topiary tree beside every pew, decorated with trailing ribbons and tiny silk rosebuds. You can also create a striking ambiance by draping the pews together with floral or evergreen garlands, wide fabric ribbons or swirls of gracefully twisted tulle netting.
What is a "chuppah"?
It is a canopy that is held over the heads of the bride and groom and their two honor attendants during a traditional Jewish ceremony. It may be a stationary structure and is sometimes made of flowers, but it is usually decorated with elegantly decorated cloth. If it is large enough, the parents may stand under the chuppah as well. The chuppah is a symbol of the earliest rites of Hebrew marriage when the chief purpose of the marriage was the propagation of the human race and the ceremony took place in the presence of witnesses in the bridal chamber. Later, when this became objectionable, a tent was substituted to symbolize the bridal chamber, and then, eventually, a scarf or canopy became the custom.
I'm going to be married at home in our combination living room/dining room, in front of the fireplace. What can we do to decorate without overdoing it?
The nice thing about a home wedding is that the natural charm and intimacy of the home itself offers a romantic ambiance for the wedding; also, a home setting takes very little in the way of decorations. The first step is to unclutter the rooms; remove a few of the oversized pieces of furniture and clear away at least half of the knickknacks, family photos, etc. This will leave room for white folding chairs, if you choose to use them, and a few flower arrangements. The fireplace mantle can be decorated with greens, flowers, candles and ribbons. An altar can be made up quite easily by covering any small table with a lace or damask tablecloth and you can borrow a kneeling bench from your church or rent one from a wedding rental store. If white wooden folding chairs are set in the middle of the room, it is nice to drape the chairs with ribbon and flowers to create a center aisle. If the room is too small for extra chairs, however, it is perfectly fine for the guests to stand during the ceremony.
I always wanted to have a garden wedding, but we're getting married indoors in January. How can I create a garden setting?
Depending on any religious restrictions, you might consider bringing in white wrought iron benches, trellises, white wooden arbors and picket fencing. Then add colorful flowering potted plants, shrubs and trees (even silk ones). This same idea works, by the way, for converting a homely reception hall into a charming, blooming garden.
Speaking of homely reception halls, we're being stuck with a school gymnasium, of all things, which happens to be the only building in our small town large enough to hold all our guests. Help! What can we do?
Borrow some of the same tricks high school students use when converting a plain school gym into a romantic wonderland for their senior prom. First, they fill the room with all the silk ficus trees and potted shrubs they can find. Then they wrap hundreds of tiny white Christmas tree lights around these trees and plants, over the windows and doorways and along the stage and railings. Finally, they fill hundreds of balloons with helium and suspend them from the ceiling with curled lengths of crinkle-tie ribbon. By using these few inexpensive props they are able to create a warm ambiance for their party, especially once the sun goes down and the overheads are turned off, leaving only the sparkle and glow of the tiny white lights.
Another solution is to fill the homely place with candles, more expensive than borrowed Christmas tree lights, but very effective. Also, you can break up the monotony of the room by arranging clusters of plants and trees here and there across the floor.