by Robbin Montero

            Couples can enjoy a distinctive ceremony and reception by infusing wedding traditions with a memorable theme. Whatever theme you choose, incorporate it into your event decor, formalwear, menu, music and all aspects of your celebration. Let’s take a look at several approaches to choosing a wedding theme. Much depends on the timing of your wedding and your interests.

Holiday themes

            An easy theme choice presents itself when a holiday falls near the wedding date. Red, white, and pink colors will be featured in the decor of any Valentine’s Day wedding. White lace or subtle pink tones make exquisite choices for the Valentine’s bride, while rose chiffon or pink satin would be elegant choices for bridesmaids. Heart-shaped Valentine-style invitations will delight all who receive them. Favors aren’t always necessary, but candy kisses, heart-shaped chocolates or long-stemmed roses are almost a must with this romantic theme. Roses, ranunculus, calla lilies or gardenias in graceful bouquets and centerpieces can carry the theme throughout the room. Decorate the site with hearts and roses, and top your cake with a Cupid.

            At Christmastime, brides can choose a winter-style gown trimmed in faux fur. During wintry weather, gowns can be elegantly contrasted with a striking white or burgundy velvet hooded cape and white fur muff. Holiday decorations already in place at most sites will probably require only simple enhancements for the wedding. Topiaries, silver bells, tiny Christmas trees or poinsettias and pine cones make seasonal reception centerpieces. They can also double as gifts for departing guests. In the “giving” tradition, trim a natural Christmas tree with specially selected ornaments and ask guests to select one as they depart. Holiday music can be played prior to the wedding and during the reception cocktail hour. Local carolers can fa-la-la while your guests enjoy their meal. And don’t forget to scatter cheerily tied bunches mistletoe throughout the room.


Period themes

            The Victorian era makes a perfect theme for one of the most elegant occasions in our lives, weddings. Locating the perfect Victorian home to serve as the ideal backdrop for a Victorian-theme wedding is easy in most suburban areas and large cities. Brides can accent a classic Victorian gown by holding an heirloom handkerchief as they stroll down the aisle preceded by bridesmaids carrying small Victorian flower arrangements known as nosegays. 

Parasols and fans can be distributed to keep ladies comfortable during warm outdoor ceremonies. Sachets make enchanting favors. Prior to cutting the wedding cake, invite members of the bridal party to tug on a long ribbons inserted into the wedding cake. Each will receive a charm that was baked into the cake. You should probably pass on this old custom’s tradition of putting an “old maid” charm in the cake to foretell of an unlucky recipient’s failure to find a mate.

            If the dashing romance of the 1920s is your style, a “Great Gatsby” wedding may be your best choice. Most tuxedo shops carry a nice selection of  tuxedos to suit the theme. Look for a reception site with an “estate look”. Secure a vintage Packard or Cadillac convertible to transport you from ceremony to reception. This is the ideal theme for a martini bar during the cocktail reception, or ragtime music over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Black and white photographs are popular now, but they really capture the feel of a 1920s theme for the wedding album.

            If your wedding theme lends itself to costumes, let your guests be part of the fun. Informed in advance, your groomsmen and gentlemen guests may want to sport Gatsby-esque fedoras to your 1920s wedding or the ladies at your Valentine’s Day wedding may want to wear their best pink and red outfits–all sure to make better wedding album photos.


Look for more theme ideas in the next column.


“Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero 707-579-5886

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.