Most brides-to-be at the very least explore the idea of having a theme wedding, but the whole idea of a wedding them has gotten a bad rap. A bride that has a vintage wedding theme complete with old fashioned Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry, antique lace, wedding fruit cake just like great grandma had, and retro menswear, plus an old Model T and all the trimmings of 1920 is somewhat unusual.
If anything, more brides (and their partners) integrate themed elements into their ceremonies and receptions without going whole hog. Wedding themes can seem a little scary when some of the examples of theme weddings out there are a little… déclassé. We’d caution that the overwhelming number of rather silly ideas for theme weddings on wedding planning sites shouldn’t get in your way of wanting to have an awesome ceremony and reception that fall outside of the norm!
As far as theme weddings go, there are two ways to handle integrating a theme into your ceremony and reception, and we’ll describe both here.
Taking a Wedding Theme All the Way
Wearing great grandma’s bridal jewelry isn’t enough? Or maybe vintage isn’t for you and you’re currently hunting down Doctor Who memorabilia and a Tardis. Possibly a nautical theme? The theme itself doesn’t matter as much as your willingness to put the time and effort into building upon it when you’re going all the way with your wedding theme. The thing about planning a wedding around a theme is that it can take longer than planning a wedding where the theme is, well, getting married. It can be more expensive, too, especially if your theme will require you to buy a lot of specialty items – or have decor and clothing custom made. So before deciding on a theme wedding, consider your budget! And ruminate on the fact that theme weddings often work best when both halves of the couple are equally enamored by the theme.
A Wedding Theme of Subtle Touches
If the time and commitment required for a in depth theme wedding seem like too much effort and expense or you and your sweetie can’t agree on a theme, consider integrating details from the theme that resonates with you into your ceremony and reception without going all the way. For example, many brides and grooms will have subtly themed wedding favors or songs that relate to a theme that’s close to their hearts without dressing up like pirates or having a Fourth of July wedding cake. Having a themey touch here and there can be a lot more budget-friendly and a lot less jarring for those friends and relatives who might otherwise be confused as to why they’re suddenly entering the world of My Little Pony – hey, it could happen – when they expected to be at a wedding.
Shown: gold chandelier bridal earrings; pearl and rhinestone bracelet
Because many families include children, weddings often include children. At any given wedding, you might find children on the guest list, brides and grooms with children… even babies. And some couples feel strongly that including children in the ceremony and reception is important, whether because they have children of their own or simply like the idea of having mini attendants in the wedding party. Is having an adults-only wedding okay from an etiquette point of view? You betcha. That said, it’s not at all uncommon to include children in weddings and there’s more than one way to do it!
Obviously, you have your flower girls in their adorable flower girl dresses and ring bearers with their delicate pillows. That’s probably the most common way to include children in a wedding – and the role that the kids themselves may feel most comfortable with. But many little ones have been given less obvious roles to play in ceremonies and receptions. For example:
- Little girls and boys can perform tasks at the ceremony without being included as part of the wedding party. For example, outgoing children may enjoy being ushers, even if there are still adult ushers acting as backup. Less extroverted kids can light candles prior to the start of the ceremony or ring a bell to signal that guests should take their seats.
- Children who have studied music might enjoy performing a song in advance of the arrival of the bridal party. At religious weddings, kids can stand up and read a religious verse during the ceremony.
- Other tasks appropriate for children in weddings include handing out programs, greeting guests, presenting corsages to notable guests, turning pages for a musician, or carrying the bride’s train.
- At the reception, children can be put in charge of the guestbook, present wedding favors to guests, help serve cake, or lead a special dance.
- When two families are becoming one, couples often will include their children in the wedding ceremony itself as participants. A unity candle or water ceremony can include children – sometimes, these rituals are called ‘Family Ceremonies’ instead.
However you choose to include children in a wedding, consider kids’ personalities before assigning roles. Most children are initially very excited to be included as part of a wedding, but some will balk at the idea of walking down the aisle alone or standing up in front of a hundred guests to light a candle. Assign roles for children according to what they will enjoy doing since their participating in your wedding should be a joy, not a burden.
Opinions on the garter toss vary from bride (and groom) to bride. Some see it as a harmless and fun tradition that’s a great photo op and good for a laugh. Others think that the idea of the groom diving under the skirt of a wedding dress to remove a bridal garter – sometimes with teeth – is at best, unladylike and at worst, kind of gross. Then there are the brides who look at the garter as an easy, hidden “something blue”, like this blue Swarovski crystal bridal garter. As with all things wedding, though, there’s no one right way to think about traditional bridal garter toss.
From Swarovski crystal bridal garters to plain white garters to sports team or college themed garters to flask garters and other unusual wedding garters, there are more colors and styles that you can imagine. Whether you choose one and wear it – and then whether you let your new spouse slide it off your leg with teeth or otherwise – is up to you. If anyone in your life gives you a hard time for choosing to ditch the garter toss, don’t sweat it. You’re actually in good company as more and more brides are deciding to skip this ‘tradition’ altogether, along with the bouquet toss.
For a fun take on the garter toss that doesn’t alienate married folks or embarrass your single wedding guests, announce that the guy who catches the bridal garter (along with the gal who catches the bouquet) will receive a gift card. And let your emcee know that you don’t expect the garter catcher to slip it on the leg of the bouquet catcher – almost no one likes participating in *that* tradition.
Wedding budgets at the worst, right? First, folks like us tempt you to think in terms of the sky being the limit, then money matters drag your fantasy wedding right back down to earth. Sorry about that! It’s easy for us, who are just dreaming and have the freedom to build the ultimate any price wedding from the ground up, to suggest gobs of Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry and a sit down dinner for 300 when we’re not the ones paying for it. To apologize for any unrealistic expectations we may have put into anyone’s heads, we wanted to give our budget brides-to-be a little present in the form a post with lots of fun wedding gear and accessories – all for under $100!
The first rule of saving money? DIY! Putting together a simple bridal bouquet with a single blossom is easy – just add ribbon and a rhinestone hair pin. Make some for your bridesmaids, while you’re at it!
A Russian tulle vintage cage veil with feather hat? Yes! It’s the perfect complement to retro fun and flirty wedding dresses.
We love these modern floral ring pillows from Seizen. They’re a great antidote to all of the plain poly satin ring pillows lurking behind every bridal corner.
Edible wedding centerpieces? Why not! We’ve seen amazing things done with fruit and veggies – just find the produce that matches your wedding colors and find a friend to help you DIY!
Our Naomi Pearl & Swarovski crystal bridal earrings pair beautifully with simple wedding dresses and gowns that are a little more elaborate.
Betsey Johnson Betseyville pumps in black and white make a great bridal accessory for the bride who wants to wear something a little bit different underneath her wedding dress.
Have we mentioned that we love reader questions? Please share your questions about choosing wedding jewelry, wedding planning, and more with us at our Facebook page – or connect with us on Twitter and ask there!
This week’s reader question comes from Kate L. in Nevada – she’s having some trouble narrowing down her wedding guest list and getting certain guests on board with her version of the perfect wedding.
My fiance’s family is wonderful and has been so welcoming. That said, when we asked them for a must-have guest list they came back with a list of over 150 people! I think it wouldn’t feel so overwhelming if they were helping to pay for the wedding, but we’re actually footing most of the bill with my family contributing a little bit here and there. And we were actually hoping to have a wedding that’s a little less… opulent than they’re expecting. How can we bring this all up without sounding rude or ungrateful?
We think Kate L. must be a fantastically patient bride-to-be to have approached us for advice instead of going right to her future in-laws with a hasty counteroffer. Which is what a lot of us would have done in her place, truth be told. It’s not easy to stay diplomatic in the fact of people trying to hijack your guest list – yes, we said it – and to turn your wedding into something you don’t want it to be. Our kudos and admiration don’t solve Kate L.’s problem, however.
Kate L. may be feeling extreme pangs of anxiety right now because it’s hard to say no to your future spouse’s family, but what she needs to do is bank on the fact that they are wonderful and have been welcoming. This whole thing may be the result of a simple communication error. We don’t know, for example, if Kate L. (or her fiance) has actually sat down to with her future in-laws to share her ideas about wedding size. When her fiance asked for guest list input, did he specifically say that they were planning a small wedding and suggest an appropriate number of guests? And finally, we don’t know if the list Kate L. received is truly a must-have list or if the fiance’s family simply went overboard with their suggestions.
Make of it what you will, but we’ve found that a lot of wedding planning conflicts begin with simple misunderstandings that spiral out of control. Communication is often the answer, even if the very idea of having to bring up a contentious topic makes you feel like you’ve eaten a brick.
Opinions are like belly buttons – everyone has one. Especially where weddings are concerned. In fact, when you’re planning a wedding, if the people around you limit themselves to sharing one opinion, you’re lucky. Most brides? Find themselves at the receiving end of way too many opinions to count – many of which are in direct opposition. One opinion giver suggests wearing grandma’s vintage jewelry while another thinks you should go ahead and buy that Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry set. Considering a colored wedding dress? Be ready to field comments about how white is the only real wedding dress color. Vegetarians and anyone else with special dietary preferences or concerns is going to hear some criticism if their menu isn’t all-inclusive. And so on.
So what’s an otherwise happy brides-to-be to do about all of those opinions being thrown at her from all sides? There are a couple of different ways to respond to unwanted opinions about your wedding planning choices and we’ve outlined some below.
1. Smile and Nod, Then Move On
Polite brides-to-be can avoid conflict by listening courteously to advice givers, thanking them for their input, and then doing whatever they felt like doing in the first place. After all, it is your wedding and as much as the people around you are eager to offer up their commentary on your choices, they probably also expect that in the end, you’ll choose what you want.
2. Quote the Experts
When someone in your life is trying to convince you that some absolutely unmannerly wedding “custom” is actually just fine – think expecting guests to spend the price of their meal on a wedding gift – you can pull out your wedding planning know how and throw down the names of some experts. They might not know who you’re talking about, but quoting expertise gives you an immediate advantage.
3. Just Be Blunt
Of course, you could always let the opinion givers in your life know that you’re not interested in hearing what they think about your wedding planning choices unless what they have to say is positive and enthusiastic. You’re under no obligation to take the opinions of 10 or 20 or 50 people into account when choosing your wedding venue or bridal accessories or reception menu, after all.
As a bride, everywhere you look, someone is telling you what to do. And it’s not just the magazines and wedding planning websites, either. In addition to the pressure to be trendy or to DIY your wedding to the nines, we’re guessing you have well-intentioned friends and relatives who are offering up unsolicited advice left and right. The big ones? Are usually that brides have to wear white… that bridesmaids have to match… that you have to serve cake… have a wedding DJ… wear high heels and a bridal jewelry set… toss the bouquet… There are plenty more. We could probably spend the next hour listing off the “musts” that poor brides-to-be have thrust upon them as soon as they start wedding planning. It can get irritating – or disheartening, depending on whether you were excited to buck the trends or you simply were trying to cut down on costs.
Here’s the thing, though. There are only a few real “musts” in the wedding planning world. You must speak your vows in whatever way is required in your state. You must feed and entertain your wedding guests – if, that is, you’re having guests at your wedding. And that’s about it. Wedding favors? Not necessary. Cake? It’s up to you. An iPod can stand in for your DJ if you really want it to. There’s no rule saying you have to have a sit down meal at your reception.
Brides, as it turns out, actually have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to what they “must” do, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. For every bride who wants to wear Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry there’s a bride who wants to wear a simple veil and no other accessories. Most brides still choose white, but we’ve been to many weddings where the bride walked down the aisle in red, purple, green, or even black – and saved a bundle of money as a consequence. Matching bridesmaids? Only necessary if you like that look! Some brides choose a color and let their bridesmaids choose the dress. Others choose a pattern (see above) and go from there.
The point is that there is more than one way to have a wedding, regardless of what the magazines and wedding planning websites would have you believe. As a bride, you should wear what you love, not what someone else likes best or what some expert tells you is proper. Do we offer recommendations? Of course, and we do it weekly! But we’d much rather know that you’re standing at the altar feeling comfortable and beautiful than be the ones to pick your colors, your bridesmaids’ dresses, and your jewelry.
Because, bride-to-be, that’s your job! If anyone tries to tell you any different, feel free to thank them for their input and then disregard that input entirely.
You have your emergency kit. You have your wedding earrings. Your dress has been pressed and is hanging framed in front of a tall light-filled window. Your shoes have been thoroughly broken in. Every vendor has confirmed. Every detail is seemingly in place. Or is it? You probably have a team that’s going to have your back on your wedding day. The ushers who will make sure everyone is seated smoothly. The bridesmaid who happens to be a makeup goddess. You mom, who’s hurrying over to the reception venue immediately after the ceremony to make sure everything is set up and ready.
But who, we wonder, will be taking care of you? One thing that is conspicuously absent from your list is a point person. That’s the member of your bridal team whose job is to be your wedding day PA. She – or he – might run little errands for you, like zipping off to the drug store for a detergent stick. Someone who takes on the responsibility of finding out why the photog is 15 minutes late. Your point person is the one who makes sure you’ve eaten breakfast or lunch before the ceremony and also the one who keeps you fed and hydrated during the reception. Something’s stressing you out? Your point person will offer to fix it, insofar as she or he can.
If you haven’t chosen a point person for your big day, consider who among your friends and family is both uber responsible and also unencumbered by wedding day duties. Sometimes a sister is the perfect person for this role. Though admittedly, sometimes a sister is the worst choice! Only you know who the best point person will be on your wedding day. That said, even if you have more than one willing wedding day PA, don’t work their poor fingers to the bone. Your point person should have the same chance to enjoy your ceremony and reception that the rest of your guests will have!
What is it about weddings that makes people feel like they have the right to chime in with any old opinion? You may have noticed that everyone and their mother has something to say about your wedding colors, your cake flavors, or your venue.
In some cases, it pays to listen. If your cousin was married at that cute little chapel in the next town and tells you that the AC broke halfway through her summer ceremony and the minister asked some very inappropriate questions beforehand, consider looking elsewhere. But when it comes to your wedding dress, bridal shoes, and wedding jewelry, you shouldn’t feel obligated to listen to the opinions coming from all corners.
Why? Because you are the one who will actually be wearing your wedding dress, bridal shoes, and wedding jewelry. Almost every other element of your wedding is shared. Your guests will spend time in your ceremony space and eat the same food you eat at the reception. The cake you cut will almost always be the cake everyone eats. The favors will hopefully go home with the majority of guests. The decorations will be enjoyed by friends and family alike.
But again, you are the only one – we assume – who will slip into your wedding dress, bridal shoes, and wedding jewelry. As much as you value your mom’s input or your bestie’s suggestions, you’ll be most lovely in your chosen dress and accessories when you’re comfortable. Bridal earrings that feel too heavy will make you self-conscious. A dress that pinches or weighs you down will lessen your enjoyment of one of the happiest days of your life. A bridal headpiece that gives you a headache? Don’t even try to suffer through it, no matter how amazing it is. Shoes that are too tight? Hobbling is never beautiful!
As you plan your wedding, be gracious. Listen to the opinions – and know that they come from the best possible place. But don’t ever feel obligated to let someone else’s ideas about your wedding dress, bridal shoes, and wedding jewelry determine what you’ll wear as you say your vows. On your wedding day, you should look and feel like yourself – and that means looking and feeling your best.
How much weight are you giving others’ opinions about your big day?
Shown: The Bella ribbon bridal headband
When people talk about wedding jewelry, bridal earrings are often the topic of conversation. Which is all well and good, until you’re talking to a bride-to-be who never felt the need to get her ears pierced. She may be the kind of bride who feels comfortable having her lobes bare on the big day, and we think that’s fantastic. There’s more than one way to accessorize a bride! But a bride-to-be who has gone without earrings for most of her life may still find that she wants a complete wedding jewelry look when she says her wedding vows.
That’s where clip on bridal earrings come in. They represent an elegant solution to what isn’t actually a problem. Brides can get all the shine and beauty of crystal or rhinestone bridal earrings without having to fundamentally change their ears. Clip on bridal earrings are comfortable. They stay put. And they’re no more or less expensive than traditional post earrings.
We’re tremendously pleased to be able to carry a limited selection of amazing clip on bridal earrings because we don’t want any bride to have to go without! Here are three clip on bridal earrings options that have all of the sparkle of regular earrings in a pain-free package:
Our sleek and vibrant floral clip on bridal earrings feature a botanical pattern with oval and pear shaped stones that coordinate with any style or color wedding dress.
These dazzling clip on bridal earrings are crafted with tons of tiny brilliant gems, two medium circular gems, and a beautiful, light-catching teardrop at the lowest point for maximum impact.
You’ll be simply beautiful in our elegant 1″ clip on bridal earrings featuring two stones – one round and one teardrop – for subtle movement and shine.
Do you have pierced ears? Have you ever worn clip on earrings anyway?