Unexpected Wedding Themes for Couples Who Think Outside the Box

unexpected wedding themes for couples who think outside the box

From the unexpected to the flat-out jaw-dropping, your wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life, so why not make it unique?

love is life and if you miss love you miss life quoteA beautiful church and traditional reception are truly special, but do they reflect you and all your wonderful quirkiness and your equally unique spouse-to-be? You and your partner are truly one of a kind, so don’t be afraid to show it.

From the invitations and the show-stopping gown, to the flowers and food, there are countless ways to make your wedding truly memorable and reflect your offbeat personalities.

Here are a few unexpected wedding themes for couples who think outside the box:


There’s a whole range of geeky wedding themes to suit the sci-fi fan or the video game enthusiast. So, if you’re a geek who loves a good party, here are a few ideas:

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Harry Potter

hogwarts street sign

Make like Harry and Hermione and throw a Hogwarts wedding. Starting with the invitations, design them like the Hogwarts acceptance letters in the aging yellow envelope, addressed in emerald green just like Harry received.

Some U.S. cities offer trolley companies for hire; turn a trolley into your own “Hogwarts Express” to travel to the ceremony and reception.

Choose a venue with soaring ceilings like Hogwarts’ great dining hall. Decorate with the banners of the four Hogwarts houses, along with huge candelabras.

Work the color schemes of the four houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, into everything, from the bridesmaids’ dresses to the place settings. Include pages of the books themselves in the table settings to get your guests reminiscing about their favorite scenes. Use potion bottles as tiny vases.

color schemes of the four hogwarts houses

Incorporate a reading of your favorite passage into the ceremony or even consider the use of a sorting hat. The bride, of course, will be sorted into the house of her new last name.

Consider wands, chocolate frogs, and golden snitches—Ferrero Rocher chocolates make the perfect snitches—as gifts for your guests. Serve Honeydukes lollipops and Bertie Botts every flavor beans.

You can conjure Severus Snape’s potions class and concoct some clever drinks at the bar, such as Hiccoughing Potion, Polyjuice Potion, and Draught of Peace.

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Dungeons & Dragons

married couple standing in doorway

Get your wedding game on in an older, gothic venue of stone and dark wood, such as a mansion or castle. Construct a crest for the entryway of your fanciful D&D reception. Consider an ice sculpture of a dragon slayer or incorporate a forest as a backdrop, with crooked vines. Consider heavy tableware such as silver goblets for serving the meal.

Create a woodland tabletop with strips of moss and jewel-toned flowers and fillers such as fiddlehead ferns in footed urns. Incorporate dice—perhaps dice-shaped chocolates as gifts for your guests. Get creative with the cake featuring a fiery dragon topper.

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Love The Walking Dead? Is your favorite music video Thriller?

A zombie apocalypse wedding that would make TWD’s Glenn and Maggie proud can be a lot of fun to organize and pull off. Who can forget when Glenn proposed to Maggie in Season 3, grabbing a finger off a zombie who reached through a fence and yanked off the wedding ring?

zombie with forest in background

Start with the “Until Death Do Us Part” invitations—blood-spattered, of course—with the groom perhaps brandishing a gun and the bride with a katana. An industrial venue such a warehouse or factory would make a cool venue for the big event. Create a clever cake with zombies clambering up the tiers, eager to feast on the blissfully unaware couple on top.  


Whether it’s on the beach, with the melodic crash of the surf providing the soundtrack, or on top of a mountain, the venue itself can be a theme. Here are a few ideas for creative couples to consider.

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Country Carnival

With all the wonderful sights and smells, carnivals and state fairs conjure memories of carefree summer days.

Start with an outdoor venue such as a circus tent, or, if you can be assured of a sunny day, ditch the tent and hold it in a wide-open space. A blue sky is all you need to paint a picturesque backdrop.

Enter the ceremony through a Tunnel of Love and include carnival games such as “Ring the Bell” and the “Rope Ladder Climb.” Paint a customized cut-out board for your guests to pose for pictures. For the reception, you can drape the tables in gingham and hang bright paper tissue paper pom-poms. Sunflowers in jam jars make festive centerpieces for the reception tables.

cocktails on bar for serving

Serve cotton candy, corn dogs, barbecue, mac ‘n’ cheese, lemonade cocktails, and, of course, home-baked pie. For the wedding cake, a merry-go-round design is a whimsical addition. You can even invite your guests to entertain you with karaoke instead of the traditional DJ.

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At the Movies

You can’t beat the silver screen for a Hollywood wedding, so play the starring roles in your own wedding movie. A grand old movie theater makes the perfect majestic wedding venue, complete with theater seating and sound system.

For the invitations, recreate your favorite romantic movie scene. Some favorites come to mind: Edward and Vivian on the fire escape in Pretty Woman; William and Viola dancing in Shakespeare in Love; and Sam and Annie at the top of the Empire State Building in Sleepless in Seattle. Or keep it simple with a movie ticket to “Admit One.”

Hold the ceremony on stage, pulling the curtains open to reveal the wedding party. To incorporate the theater screen into the ceremony, you can assemble a slideshow of the happy couple or display the wedding vows on screen, like the old wording screens from silent movies.

Borrow the color schemes and even the dress and hairstyles from your favorite romantic movie, like the glamorous Audrey Hepburn, with her beehive hair and signature classic 1960s style in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Package your guests’ favors in turquoise Tiffany-esque boxes tied up with white bows.

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The Zoo

Say “I do!” at the zoo. The zoo provides a picturesque wedding backdrop, with its variety of animal habitats and an eye-catching collection of flowers and lush jungle plants.

Most zoos offer all-inclusive wedding packages. You can even “hire” a few animal ambassadors, such as penguins, snakes, or rabbits for the reception.

The happy couple can accessorize the wedding party with animal-print fabrics and accessories. For the reception, consider decorating the tables with carved wooden animal figures, palm fronds, and exotic flowers, like bright tropical orchids.

Zoo-themed cakes aren’t merely for children’s birthday parties. Go bold with a cheery, colorful cake with zoo animals and zebra-striped and leopard-print icing.


Whether you go for classic rock, heavy metal, or hip-hop, there are so many ways to weave a musical theme into your wedding. Here are a few ideas:

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Rock ‘n’ Roll

bride and groom dancing on cliff

Incorporate your favorite lyrics into everything from the invitations to the wedding vows—even rockers are romantic. Leave a blank line for rock song requests on your RSVP cards.

A mixed tape of your reception music makes a perfect giveaway for your guests.

Brides can incorporate a touch of rocker glamour into their celebratory look. Pair a tulle or retro wedding gown with black leather boots and go bold with makeup and nails. Grooms can rock a leather jacket or vest over rolled up sleeves, leather cuffs, and a bold tie.

A music hall makes the perfect venue for a wedding. From guitars to vinyl, incorporate everything rock ‘n’ roll in your décor. Decorate table tops with album covers or use them as place mats.

Leave gold sharpies on the tables for your guests to sign the vinyl with their best wishes—a rock ‘n’ roll inspired guest book. Or have them sign an actual guitar. Rather than numbering the guest tables, give each a name of one of your favorite bands.

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Is Drake or Future more aligned with your tastes? A hip-hop theme, with a nightclub or rooftop patio as a venue, makes for a killer wedding.

Style is a major element of hip-hop music. Borrow some style tips from Pharrell, Jay-Z and Beyoncé for your wedding ensemble. You can even pay tribute to Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson and arrive at your ceremony riding matching white bikes.

Just don’t forget to incorporate plenty of bling in the gown and jewelry, from glittering jeweled bracelets to chandelier earrings.

Why walk down the aisle to traditional music? Consider a hip-hop classic like “International Players Anthem” by UGK and Outkast.

Hip-hop weddings are custom-made for first dances, so break out the Running Man, the Stanky Legg, or the Nae Nae to kick off a wild night of dancing in style.

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Prince or Elvis

Obsessed with Prince or Elvis? Rather than feature a genre of music, why not pay tribute to your favorite artist?

elvis in middle of dance movePrince is an easy one to channel. You may not be able to match his style, but a purple theme with accent colors of charcoal and ivory will thrill your guests. Incorporate purple into the wedding party, from colorful socks and pocket squares for the groomsmen to a traditional wedding dress with a purple sash at the waist for the bride.

Decorate the reception area with purple roses and a liberal amount of mirror accents. For the playlist, some great Prince songs for weddings are Kiss, U Got the Look, Purple Rain, I Wanna Be Your Lover, and Erotic City—although you might want to save the last one until it’s adults only.

If you’d rather be dancing to the jailhouse rock, Las Vegas has offered Elvis-themed weddings for decades, but you don’t need to travel to Nevada to throw an Elvis wedding.

The late crooner was one of the all-time great romantics, so incorporate Elvis’s lyrics in everything from the invitations and décor to the ceremony itself. There’s a virtual feast of Elvis songs to choose from for your walk down the aisle. There’s nothing more romantic than the opening lines of Can’t Help Falling in Love.

For extra whimsy, you can get married by an Elvis impersonator. You can even choose a particular Elvis from your favorite period.

Channel Elvis and Priscilla in your wedding wardrobe. Dress the groom in a classic black suit with a white carnation corsage and the bride in a vintage long-sleeved, high-necked white gown with a billowing veil over her tall beehive hairdo.

If you want to take it to the next level, dress the groomsmen in blue suede shoes, with the bridesmaids in matching blue. As a nod to Elvis’s Blue Hawaii period, decorate the venue in Hawaiian style with 50s-style sunglasses and drape Hawaiian leis on the table. Orchids make the perfect tropical centerpieces.

There are plenty of terrific Elvis accessories on the market to make for an unforgettable wedding, including fantastic wedding cake and cupcake toppers, etched Elvis wine glasses, vintage guitar swizzle sticks, and even personalized Elvis wedding stationery.


These days, some brides and grooms are eschewing the traditional church and personalizing their special day in a way their parents and grandparents would never have imagined. Instead of worrying about fulfilling their parents’ wishes or fitting a traditional mold, couples are opting to unabashedly showcase their own beautifully quirky personalities.

And why not? You only do it once!

Rock and Roll Themed Wedding

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