CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING THEME: My Top Do’s and Don’ts

Karen Bussen, Celebrity Wedding Planner & Author First off, when it comes to your wedding, I would suggest you think more about “mood” than “theme.” After all, your wedding celebration already has its most important theme…YOU! But here are some of my favorite tips to help you personalize your big day with unique and special details that will harmonize to create a beautiful effect.

DO sit with your fiancé and write a list of adjectives that describe how you want your wedding to feel. “Elegant and classic,” “vintage and chic,” “modern and simple,” or “whimsical and funky,” for example…these descriptive words will help you when you are making choices about your celebration and when you’re communicating with everyone, from your floral designer to your caterer. Having a clear idea of what you want to create will help you focus the whole process and bring your vision to life in a well-edited way.

DON’T think you need to have an actual “theme.” A wedding doesn’t have to be combined with another concept to be fabulous. Sure, if you’re marathon runners, you can exchange vows at your favorite mile marker and have a groom’s cake shaped like a pair of sneakers. But, unless there is a compelling reason to marry your celebration with another concept (like you’ve just always dreamed of tying the knot on Halloween, for example), it’s much better to focus on the above DO, and come up with the mood or feeling you want to create.

DO use color to create and enhance your wedding mood. If “sleek and sophisticated” are two words you’d use to describe your celebration, think of neutrals and soft metallics, and bring those hues in everywhere, starting with your bridal party attire. I love this look for bridesmaids from the new David’s Bridal Spring Collection.

If “spicy and passionate” describe your preferred atmosphere, add in deep reds and hot oranges or saffrons here and there, from your girls’ dresses or accessories to floral centerpieces and colorful candles.

DO use lighting and music as tools in your “mood kit.” I always say that music tells people how to behave at a party. What I mean is, if you walk into a sunny room where classical harp music is playing, you just feel different than if, say, you opened a door to find a softly lit space with tons of candles and sexy salsa music in the background. Use lighting and music to layer your mood throughout your celebration, and you’ll delight all your guests’ senses.

DON’T overdo it. Instead of thinking of your wedding as a branding opportunity, choose key details, such as a pretty pattern or monogram, and use those details in just a few areas, rather than hitting guests over the head. I recently received a sample from a vendor who is now making monogrammed “Wedding Toilet Paper.” This, my dear bride, is a DON’T, for so many reasons. You’ll get more bang for your buck and more impact across the board if you simply accent your celebration with details that relate to your mood rather than going overboard.


Here’s an example of how to layer mood: Black and white is all the rage now, as are vintage-inspired celebrations. Here are three great details to bring this mood into your celebration:

• This gorgeous invitation is at once fresh and vintage-esque, and hints at the mood and colors to come in a sophisticated way.

• This lovely white bridesmaid dress is totally wear-again. I love the retro, off-center ruffle and the little black belt.

• Any simple favor in this pretty, personalized box, says “chic and stylish” and layers the mood in a subtle way.

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