Whether it is a company party, birthday celebration, or just a fun social gathering themes have always been a fun way to make any party stand out.  A theme can be a refreshing way of eliciting excitement and energy while breaking the perceived mold of your average boring party.  Wedding receptions are no exception.  If you are looking for a way to make your wedding stand out, adhering to a theme is a great way to make this happen.  However, there are a few rules that you may want to consider when planning your reception if you want to have a themed reception.
First,
Pick a theme that is significant to you. 
Your wedding should fall as one of your top ten memories.  Pick a theme that makes sense for your style and personality.  Consider your feelings 10 years from now.  Is there a possibility that you might look back and think… “What was I thinking?!?!”   Here are a few ideas that I have seen that worked out well:
  • Halloween Party – Best when getting married within a few weeks of Halloween.  Invite guests to wear a Halloween costume and you can even change into one mid-way through the night as well.  Pair it with a candy bar or a candy throw for the kids.  Some festive music mixed in also helps the ambiance.
  • Country Western – Fancy leather boots, chaps, and 10 gallon hats mixed with classic western music and line dances.  The best setting is a western styled dance hall or cleaned up barn.
  • Sci-Fi Adventure – What could be wrong about wearing your favorite trekkie uniform to a wedding, nothing as far as I’m concerned.  Some things to consider would be bringing a special cameo appearance of your favorite character, an epic lightsaber battle during the first dance, or laser tag set up in the lobby.  So many ideas, let your imagination run wild.
  • Classic Hollywood – Red carpet with a paparazzi line-up, spotlights, and maybe even dress like your favorite Hollywood icon.  For an added bonus you could hire service staff to impersonate famous icons like Monroe, Clark Gable, or Lucille Ball.  You couldn’t go wrong with a creatively named, themed drink at the bar either.
  • Beach Theme – Typically works best if your reception is on a beach or by a pool.  Tiki torches, drinks with umbrellas, and beach games fit in perfectly with this theme.  Invite your guests to bring swimsuits if they wish.  Even you can hop in for a swim, after all your photographic moments are done.  Plan on this either at an indoor pool venue or outdoors during warm weather months.  Have a backup in case weather doesn’t cooperate.
beach cake

photo by Lane Weddings

Secondly,
Be willing to make concessions. 
If you might make your guests uncomfortable by forcing them to wear a costume, you may have some people become unhappy or even not show up.  Give people the option to join in.  Some people will go all in with the theme.  Others will appreciate the experience but won’t necessarily “get into it”.  Still, there will be some who just don’t get it.  Be ready to be accepting of that and try to not force anything on them that might increase their angst towards the theme.  When it comes to music themes, you may want to make allowances for music outside of the set theme.  If you say that you want swing music and only swing music all night, it may be very tough to keep the majority of your guests on the dance floor.  Maybe starting out the night with a couple of swing songs and then rotating a swing song every couple songs would be a better option to be able to mix a variety of music while still keeping a prevalent swing theme.  I would just be cautious of sticking to one genre of music all night.  If you do want to stick to one genre, be ready to concede on a periodic basis to switch things up a little bit if the dance floor needs a shift of energy.
Finally,
Have fun with the theme. 
If you don’t have fun with it, then really what is the point?  If you have fun with it, your guests are sure to have fun with it.  Don’t be afraid to deviate from the expected common practices.  By doing something different, you will make your wedding stand out in the memory of your guests.  More importantly, though, you will make amazing memories for yourself.
At the end of the day, your wedding is special because it involves your unique personalities.  Picking a theme can simply make your personality shine just a little bit brighter.  From the simple to the exquisite, having a themed wedding is one of the best ways to make your wedding stand out from the pack.  Just remember to be mindful of your guests and how comfortable they might be with your chosen theme.