Renaissance, anime, costume, Halloween, goth, Gatsby, period, geek, and a full-on Harry Potter wedding, with Dumbledore acting as the officiant! All have happened – or in the case of the Harry Potter wedding, are about to happen –  at Chase Court, the wedding venue I own and run.

Theme weddings are always memorable, and always lots of fun! In fact, the common thread running through every theme wedding that I’ve experienced is “fun.” So, one way to have fun is to have a theme wedding. But is it right for you?

Couples are attracted to each other by – and sometimes despite – the things that we like and love. We develop shared likes and loves when we spend time together. Our relationships are built upon those shared experiences. These are the things that people talk about in wedding planning when they want to “express who we are as a couple.”

Sometimes those things are a little quirky.

When we chose to marry, we have the opportunity to create a wedding ceremony and reception where we can share our most authentic selves with the people we love and who love us. Who you are as a couple, what you believe about marriage, how you will honor the family members and friends whom you will invite to share this experience, and how you will all celebrate it together are things to think about when you contemplate the look and feel of your wedding.

Sometimes, to the delight or dismay of our family and friends, we go a little crazy!

But before you do, consider these questions:

Are you both in agreement? Is this a shared dream, or does one of you want a full-on Princess Bride wedding while the other one cringes at the thought of showing up in tights?

Rule #1: If you’re not both fully committed to having a theme wedding, don’t do it.

Here’s my ultimate go / no-go litmus test: Imagine looking back through your wedding album 25 or 30 years from now. Close your eyes and see those photographs in your mind. Do they make you smile, or even (in a good way) laugh out loud? Or do you say to each other, “what were we thinking?”

If you’ve made it this far and are ready to go for house colors and Butterbeer, then more power to you! Make it happen!

Do you want to create a total environmental experience, or would “theme-light” be enough? Maybe using subtle references rather than in-their-face displays would suit you best. Decor touches can do a lot without being overwhelming. The colors of your table linens or the look of your centerpieces can gently convey meaning, especially to those guests who share your thematic interests.

A caveat: full-on theme wedding decor and accoutrements can be surprisingly expensive.  Take a good look at costs before you commit.

How would you like your guests to participate? Would you like them in costume or a certain style of dress? How will you make that happen? Be explicit about what you want in the wording of your invitations. Pro tip: It’s hard to get guests to commit to dressing up if you say, “costume optional.” People don’t want to be embarrassed or stand out. If they know everyone else is coming in costume, they are more likely to do it, too.

Your wedding is your wedding. How it looks, feels, sounds, and tastes is entirely up to you. What matters is that you create a wedding with meaning for you, one that honors and supports your new marriage. Whether that involves wands and robes or special colors or fancy lighting or swords and corsets, I say “huzzah!” to you, and “mischief managed!”

Next time: Cheap decorating tips.

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David Egan
David Egan
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.
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