Here’s What You Need to Know About Picking a Theme for Your Wedding

Spoiler: Contrary to Pinterest, you don’t need one.
HONOLULU Weddings theme
Photo: Courtesy of Roy Nuesca Photography


If you’ve been to a wedding in the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen beachy shell décor, rustic burlap table runners and modern colorblocked chevrons. Everything looks kind of nautical at one reception, while another is covered in Mickey ears. Welcome to The Theme.


One of the first questions brides tackle, after guest list size and budget, is “what is my theme?”  The answer can determine all your follow-up choices, from venue to favors to even your attire. Where do you go from here?


Wait. Seriously? Do I really need a theme?

Sometimes, the answer to the theme question actually is: No need. And that’s OK! If you’re like us and love picking out matching colors, creating a narrative in your head and showcasing your and your fiancé’s favorite things and styles, then themes are a great way to communicate that. If you couldn’t care less about a theme, just skip it. Everyone loves the theme Big, Awesome Party, and, since your wedding is already going to be that, you’re fine.


OK, I think I want one. Inspire me!

We’d love to! Here are two of our favorite—and very different—themes that are doable and sure to be memorable.


European Elegance

Thanks to Paris’ reputation as the city of love, it never ceases to inspire brides. We love the idea of focusing on one aspect of your event and really driving the theme home there, instead of trying to incorporate every single item, spending a ton of money in the process. For example: A station of French desserts (labeled as such) with éclairs, macarons and mousses, plus a little statuette of the Eiffel Tower (psst: Try Ross Dress For Less). Print out table numbers with Eiffel Tower imagery, and use strips of lace for table runners. Have a variety of Champagne cocktails as your signature offerings for a themed bar, and purchase Target light-up letters for a marquee sign that spells out “L’Amour.” Ready to splurge? Get picky with your venue and choose one with a fairy-tale-like European vibe, like La Pietra Hawai‘i School for Girls.


Camp theme
Photo: June Cochran Photography



Summer-camp weddings have been trending, and we couldn’t find them more adorable for outdoors- and adventure-loving couples. Camp Pūpūkea on the North Shore offers facility rentals (no alcohol allowed, though), or you could rent beach cabins at Camp Malaekahana, which means—bonus!—the festivities can continue into the next day. Decorate with whimsical, rustic bunting, give out cute tin mugs or thermoses as favors and recreate your favorite summer-camp moments with team-building games, s’mores, campfire feats and picnic-style blanket seating.