How to choose your wedding venue. Part two

Posted by on in Planning Tips

Wedding Venues and their respective themes

Now that you, hopefully, got a clearer idea of what you would like your wedding day to represent - a family bash in the country, an urban soiree at an art gallery, or an adventure cross state, it feels like the day is getting contour, isn't it?

What's left is to create the atmosphere you want to share and enjoy with your guests. And for that, you need decor and styling efforts.

Bride and groom seating in peacock chairs under a lighted sign
'till death do us apart. Photo by Lauren Scotti.

So, throughout this post, I will draw a layout of the most distinguished wedding styles and their corresponding venues.

To bring across this very difficult task, I will create a mood board and share heaps of pictures so you get the feel rather than give you a list of items to buy, even though I will do that as well. 😆

It is a challenging task - accurately defining a theme or set its boundaries because frequently elements of decor overlap. Often, a specific theme is a polished version (over many wedding seasons) or an extension of an overarching atmosphere.

My advice is to choose a feel, a frame if you will and then customize it as much as possible, add yourselves in the picture with bits and pieces of decor and experiences. Now, I will try to pinpoint the key elements of the most known (and used) themes, and the rest is and should be you.

The venues are split into two categories: the conventional ones, that have known for years, such as castles, country houses, the famous renovated barns and lodges, private houses, ranches or farms.

Then, we have the unconventional venues, which the creatives of the day made trendy, these are becoming widely spread and booked. Into this category fall: museums, art galleries, the conservatories, repurposed buildings. I know a couple that got married in a repurposed train station which pretty much set up the theme. The original train tracks were embellishing the floor, and the details of the place were integrated as part of the decor: objects such as the station's clock or the rough edges of the space or the exposed red brick of the walls. It was quaint and absolutely lovely.

Coming back, the list continues, historic libraries can be an alternative place to get hitched, also the theaters or your favorite quirky restaurant in town. I believe there's a perfect venue for every couple's aesthetic needs.

Why I emphasize on choosing your venue before your theme or drawing the vision for styling is because sometimes, the venues can be a real help by having the most significant accessory pieces in place and then you are kind of set.

Popular wedding themes

Classy, elegant, timeless.

Elegant table decor in a ballroom setting
Ballroom Classy Decor. Photo by Kenzie Victory.
Elegant white flowers in vases
Elegant Tablescape. Photo by Emily Delamater.
  • Venue recommendation: a castle, a manor house, a very fancy hotel, or a country house.
  • General feel: this theme has a royal aspect with clean cuts, pale colours, elegant flowers in matching tones, tall flower arrangements and crystal glassware. It is advisable not to have any decor elements that stand-out but instead make sure that all pieces work well together and complement each other. This theme should remind you of the old, aristocratic ballrooms. It usually has a well-defined dress-code, a sit-down meal and I would say this is the most formal type of nuptials you can plan.

Vintage glam, art-deco, 1920's

Wedding cake with gold touches and big flowers
Gold and Bold Wedding Cake. Photo by Ashley Cook Photography.
Wedding Reception with trees and gold accessories
Gold and Emerald Glam. Photo by Gina Meola Photography.
  • Venue recommendation: any conventional space will do. But to do proper justice to the Roaring 20s, your venue should ring of the beginnings of Waldorf Astoria or The Savoy. It doesn't have to be a hotel though. You can bring the glamour and bedazzlement in any of the above-mentioned spaces.
  • General feel: Jay Gatsby's infamous parties; gold touches, monogrammed items (the must-have tier cake could be one of them, napkins, or even plates), statement flower arrangements, dark, moody, metallic colours, play with lighting. If you want to go full Fitzgerald, follow the 20's dress-code, or else your formal wear with some glitz will do. A jazz band would definitively create the desired atmosphere.

Retro (the 50's and up)

Vintage yellow car on a plate and a big white flower in a vase
Retro tablescape. Photo by Hay Wood Jones.
Girls in Retro Dresses
Retro Outfits. Photo by Mary Wyar Photography.
  • Venue Recommendation: country house, an up-to-date barn, a tipi, or a backyard.
  • General feel: informal, laid back kind of celebration. This theme comes with lots of charity shops items, like doilies and tableware, porcelain figurines, old bottles of pop or cereal. And the must-have piece: a record player. Add pops of color, a tea length wedding dress, polka dots, pin-up hair-styles, and that's your retro theme wedding. Keep in mind that every decade has its charm.

Shabby-chic

Shabby Chic Dessert Table
Shabby Chic Dessert Table. Photo by Zelo Photography.
Flowers in a cup and a saucer on a table
Shabby-Chic Centerpiece. Photo by Mia Photography.

  • Venue Recommendation: country house, a lodge, a garden or backyard.
  • General feel: natural look, intimate, personal with a homey atmosphere, it is a family celebration, with mostly DIY and handmade touches. Infuse antique elements into your very own home decor accessories like cute signage, old valises, a typewriter, mismatched vases. You can even use teacups and saucers for the flower arrangements. Frame it all together with lots of bunting, colorful and messy bouquets and plants. Food stations and buffets will be the perfect add-on. Does this remind you of a fancy garden party? That's the theme's goal.

Rustic, country chic

Big flower arrangemenet on a Wine Barrel
Wine Barrel Flower Decor. Photo by Kristin Sweeting.
Barn decorated for a wedding with fairy lights and tulle

Barn Glam. Photo by Nessa K. Photography.

  • Venue Recommendation: barns, lodges, cabins, farms, anything surrounded by open space and natural landscapes.
  • General feel: fun, relaxed, lawn games kind of festivities. You can either opt for a rougher look or add some finer touches to it in order to glam it up a bit (such as metallic elements, neater tablescapes, a mirror seating chart etc.). The must-haves though are: reclaimed wood or anything reclaimed actually, watering canes, frames, baskets, ladders. Add everything garden/wildflowers, a great mix of it with a messy look. Focus on local produce, hearty meals, like family's favorites and food and drinks stations galore. To really bring it home add fairy lights, blankets, quilts, hay, wine barrels. The outfits can be informal: tweed, tartan, gingham.

Urban, edgy, modern.

Wedding reception Space with white chairs
Modern Wedding Reception Space. Photo by We are the Rowlands.
Wedding Table Chart on Black Paper
Table hart for a Modern and Moody Wedding. Photo by Jami Laree.
  • Venue recommendations: any unconventional venue will do. Think industrial loft, music and arts Center, libraries.
  • General feel: alternative, contemporary, fashionable. It could be highlighted by vibrant or dark hues, metallic elements (the signage or the chairs), marble and copper combos, bare-bulb lighting, exposed brick, velvet furniture, minimalist styling (Scandinavian decor - fine lines, geometric shapes). Think gourmet dining. Clothing wise: a modern take on the wedding attire: jumpsuit, capes.

Boho, Indie, Hipster, Moody

A flower and Pampass grass wooden arch
Flowers and pampas grass wedding arch. Photo by Koby Brown.
Peacock chairs surrounded by flowers
Peacock Chairs. Photo by Sanaz Photography.
  • Venue Recommendation: the outdoors (desert, woodland, garden) or country houses, golf clubs or repurposed buildings with open spaces
  • General feel: free-spirited, authentic, wild and adventurous. The style can be either whimsy, colorful with garden vibes or moody with darker tones and modern accents. Needed pieces: macrame, flower arches walls, branch tipis, flower crowns, carpets. And on the other side, we have pampas grass, peacock chairs, feathers or dreamcatchers and any flowy elements. Always breathtaking dresses (lace, intricate patterns, low backs) and it comes with the opportunity for colorful men wear. (yee)

Of course, all these are just some general lines, and it is good to have them in the back of your head when you scout for venues, but always personalize. Add a twist to any theme or style, or even better create your own.

Until next time.