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  • Writer's pictureEmily Gustafson

Bring on the themed weddings! #wednesdaywisdom

So, I recently participated in an lovely content day that was organized by Summer Simmons (seriously check her out!) and had the opportunity to style a table in Fall colors with a boho feel. It was so gorgeous and I loved every second of that hot, sticky day at the beautiful Spangler house!

See what I mean? It came together so well!

Photo courtesy of Summer Simmons

And while this shoot wasn't 100% fall with tons of pumpkins (just a few baby, white ones), it was enough to get me thinking about "themed" weddings and celebrations. Obviously, Christmas parties involve Christmas decor, and St. Patty's parties are covered in green and shamrocks, but what about weddings with a holiday or seasonal theme? Do we love them? Do we think they're the cheesiest?

Photo courtest of Summer Simmons

Well, I love them - and I'm here to defend them today. While this may not be your cup of tea, I'm here to tell you that a themed wedding that falls around a holiday or celebrates a certain season can provide instant styling guidelines for those who overwhelmed by designing their event and evoke very celebratory moods from guests. Plus, it creates an incredible anniversary for the couple that they'll never forget :) Some of my very good friends were married on New Year's Eve in a wedding and celebration that was so perfect and I never, ever forget the anniversary of their big day.

Photo courtesy of Summer Simmons

So, here are my tips to creating a "themed" wedding around a holiday without crossing into cheesy, over-the-top territory. We are going to start with the practical stuff, then get into the design goodies next:

1. Choose a holiday/season that lends itself well to celebration. This really isn't tough as most holiday lend themselves well, but there a few to steer clear of when planning. Namely, do not plan your wedding or event on or around Thanksgiving. The weather, at least in my part of the country, is very changeable and often rainy and Thanksgiving is a family holiday. Many people will be traveling out of town to be with family for the weekend. Also, travel prices like airfares and hotels are at their most expensive for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which could limit attendance in a big way. The Saturday after Thanksgiving could work if you do not have too many out of town guests. But, on the whole, I steer clear of this holiday all together.

2. On a topic I have touched on before - think of the weather. If you're thinking planning a July 4th wedding or event, know that it will be fun and that you can go bananas with red, white and blue; but keep the cold beverages coming. With Summer holidays, heat can be a major factor, so choose a venue with an indoor/outdoor option. Also, consider people that may be planning vacations. If it's Winter and you want to get married on a mountaintop, think of what steps might need to be taken in the case of icy weather. Maybe a 4-wheel drive shuttle? In any case, just think it through and make a plan and a backup plan for weather conditions that might not cooperate on the wedding day.

3. Get those save the dates out early. If you're planning a wedding celebration on a holiday weekend, send out your save the dates about 9 months in advance. I know that seems like a long time, but trust me, the earlier the better. Hotels can be more crowded and flights are tougher to come by, so get the info out there early so bookings can be made ahead of the holiday rush.

4. Acknowledge the holiday or special day in your celebration. If you're like my friends and getting married on New Year's Eve, then the reception better last until midnight and there needs to be countown complete with champagne toast. If you're getting married during the Kentucky Derby as one of my clients is, then maybe encourage guests to wear their favorite hat and seersucker suits. If you're marrying around Christmas, then don't be afraid to have a beautiful Christmas tree in your reception area. Acknowlege and incorporate the holiday in your celebration and your guests will enjoy the day so much more.

5. Now, enough of being practical - let's talk design! Choose your design style before you start incorporating the holiday/theme into your decor. I can see your confused face from here. Hang in there and let me explain. A major component to creating "themed" wedding that doesn't go over the top is incorporating the "theme" without letting it become the only design aesthetic. Do you prefer rustic style in general, or are you a clean and classic type. Your style should be represented as well as whatever holiday or occasion you're incorporating.

For example, let's disect the table below a bit. When Summer asked me to join in the fun she gave me the direction to create a table that incorporates Fall colors with a boho feel. So, now close your eyes and think of things that say "Autumn" to you. Pumpkins? Pumpkin spice everything? Leaves? Orange?

It's true that all of those things are technically Autumnal. But if we put ALL of the Fall things into a tablescape, we would end up with something out of a pumpkin patch and not an elegant celebration. You have to achieve a balance with your decor style, in this case boho, and the Fall design influence. I even managed to use some little, cute pumpkins on the table! But, it was balanced with the boho design elements to create an elegant, earthy Fall tablescape that doesn't go too "theme" and retains the intended style.

Photo courtesy of Summer Simmons

Now, if all of that design stuff sounded like I was speaking in some sort of secret code, then go find yourself a planning or event stylist who can speak your design language and bring your spectacular themed wedding wishes to life. I LOVE these kinds of weddings and would be so pleased to help you find that sweet spot.

To wrap up this week's post, here is a gallery of more beautiful photos from my shoot with Summer Simmons. And after the gallery all vendors involved in the shoot are credited for their amazing work.

All photos in this post are courtesy of Summer Simmons

Shoot organizer Summer Simmons

Venue The Spangler House

Bride's dress by bhldn

Hair styling Alex York

Makeup Artist Kristen Davenport

Floral Melissa Timms

Signage/Invitation suite Scruffy City Lettering and Signs

Table and chairs rental Anderson Party Rentals

Additional rental items Sisters Vintage Rentals

Styling/tablescape by me :)

Happy planning,

For more on Summer Simmons, visit her website at

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