When I first started out planning my own nuptials, I was very sceptical to the concept of themed weddings. Perhaps from watching “27 Dresses” approximately 27 times, I had gotten it into my head that introducing a theme to one’s big day meant over-the-top-ness the likes of “Gone With the Wind” hairdos, underwater vows or skimpy hot-pink dresses. Theme wise, there just wasn’t some common interest so important to my groom and me that we felt the most important day of our lives should revolve around it. Sure we both loved “Forrest Gump”, but that didn’t mean we needed to incorporate feathers into our festivities or vow to be each other’s peas and carrots.
As our wedding planning progressed, I was mystified therefore when different wedding vendors kept asking us what our theme would be – from the decorator (obviously) all the way to the cake maker. Guh! Why did we need a theme? Far from “Gone With the Wind” expectations, what I realized the vendors were trying to find out was the look and tone of the wedding, so that they knew what colors and style (in our case, “formal elegance”) we were aiming for in our decision making.
Other than colors and style, what I learnt from the most recent wedding I was part of (as an absent bridesmaid) is that a wedding theme can also simply be a motif – a recurring symbol throughout the day – rather than a no-holds-barred homage to Star Wars or The Great Gatsby. The happy couple at that wedding chose to have a literary motif throughout their day, and I thought they achieved it so well – in a way that was consistent and yet subtle – that I might share it with others who are also feeling a little gun-shy about full-blown themed weddings. So how did they incorporate it?:
• Venue: The reception was held in the function space at a library.
• Invitation: The happy couple chose a wedding invitation styled like the cover of a Penguin Classics book. They also used the same style for the menu, placed on the tables during the reception.
• Ring box: Also as a nod to their favorite film “Up”, the newlyweds used this “Our Adventure Book” as a ring box. The box was passed around one by one to guests during the ceremony, as part of a ring-warming ritual.
• Photographs: As part of the post-ceremony session with the professional photography, the bridal party took snaps in amongst the stacks of the library. They have fabulous pictures of them posing up against the bookshelves, and one with the full bridal party peeking over the top of a book as they pretended to read.
• Decorations: A blackboard posted outside the reception room declared “Happily Ever After Begins Here”, and the happy couple also found hollow books with blackboard covers to use for table numbers and labelling the gifts table and guest book area (“our future is a blank page, express yourself”).
• Favors: The soonlyweds scoured second-hand book stores to individually select an appropriate book for every guest as their wedding favor. Each book was wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string (these are a few of my favorite things!), with a label handwritten with the guest’s name and placed at their assigned seat, so that the whole package doubled as a name/escort card.
Family and friends also joined the literary motif bandwagon in their own efforts around the big day:
• Hens night: The bride was treated to two pre-wedding parties – one a traditional bachelorette night, and the other a low-key daytime affair for older relatives. This second party was hosted by the bride’s mother, in the theme of the series of books the bride had been named after: something like “Madeline”.
• Gifts: We bridesmaids each gifted the bride with a hardback edition of our favorite romance stories, writing a message inside the cover about why the book meant a lot to us and why we thought she might like it. These were presented to the bride during the hair and make-up preparations on the wedding day.
• Speeches: In the group bridesmaid speech during the reception, a couple of the maids mentioned books that they’d bonded over with the bride or compared her to particularly famous characters.
The great thing is that newlyweds didn’t let the book motif overpower every element of their day. They still had Lego bride and groom figurines on top of the wedding cake, they simply had a chevron background to their photo booth, and the wedding gown was simply a favorite of the bride – not more and more attempts to squeeze in a literary flavor.
Are you incorporating a theme or motifs into your big day? What theme are you adding and how are you incorporating it into the festivities?