All weddings have thematic threads that hold them together, be they based on formality or style. Words like "formal" and "casual," "modern" and "traditional," and "rustic" and "whimsical" are all used to describe different types of celebrations, and often guide planners and vendors in the right direction as they make choices for the reception they're working on. But what if you want an actual theme—a wedding centered around a pop culture reference or holiday, for example? Is there a way to pull it off without crossing the border into tacky territory?
This styled Princess in the Frog shoot proves that themed weddings can still be tasteful. To walk you through planning a sophisticated themed affair, we spoke with the project's creative director. Here, Leslie Kay, the founder of DisneyBound, provides her tips.
Why do so many couples turn to themes for wedding inspiration?
Themes evoke certain emotions and celebrate the things you love. Kay uses Disney as an example. "I think when we are younger, we turn to Disney as our fairytale source—we look at brides like princesses. Your wedding day is supposed to be magical, so really, what's more magical than a Disney wedding?!" Using the same logic, she encourages couples to embrace a theme if it means a lot to them. "I think for those that love Disney, it adds a certain amount of magic into your big day."
How can couples embrace a theme without going overboard?
"We tried to keep everything subtle," Kay explains of her shoot. For example, it was shot at Hacienda Sarria, a gorgeous venue that reminded her of the film's restaurant, Tiana's Place. While the location choice acknowledges the movie, it's beautiful and wedding-worthy regardless.
Of course, some details can be a bit more obvious. "I feel like your sweets table is where you can have a little more fun with it and go overboard," she notes. Consider having a groom's cake, which is traditionally more casual than the main dessert. A photo booth is another great way to bring your theme to life—Kay used Princess in the Frog-inspired props in her shoot.
How can you make a themed wedding elegant and elevated?
Themes can run the risk of looking childish or commercialized. Kay recommends the following, using Disney as an example: "I enjoy taking a Disney character and imagining what they would be like as an average, everyday individual. What would Tiana wear to her wedding if she got married today? How would she want it to be decorated? We are so used to seeing a Disney film as a third party from the artist's perspective, but how would the character see it if they were just living their lives? That's the thought process behind the styling."
"I would encourage brides to take a look at current, modern wedding trends," she adds, "and put a Disney-inspired spin on it. This will give your wedding a Disney twist while staying modern and on-trend." The same goes for any other theme, and any other style a bride or groom likes—it doesn't have to be what's trendy or contemporary.