When you’re planning a wedding on a budget, it often means planning every aspect yourself, from the venue and food to the decorations and invitations. With the amount of blogs, pinterest boards, and magazines we have dedicated to wedding details these days, you’d think this would be easy, but for a lot of people, the sheer number of different possible options is overwhelming! That’s why choosing a style, colors, and aesthetic for your wedding when you start is so important – it helps you narrow down what you’re looking at and what you’re looking for on your special day.

While many brides choose broad styles and colors such as “elegant blue wedding” or “hipster barn wedding” to help define their searches, I found myself still overwhelmed with options, and eventually decided to go with a much narrower approach: a themed wedding.

Themed weddings have sprung upwards in popularity in recent years, but they are still somewhat uncommon, due to the misconception that having a theme necessarily makes your wedding “tacky” or “childish.” But while a comic book theme might add a playful youthfulness to your wedding day, there are always ways of doing it beautifully – and with a themed wedding, anything from mountainbiking, to world travel, to The Great Gatsby can be transformed into an elegant and personal celebration.

So how do you decide if a themed wedding is right for you? If you don’t have a clear vision already in place, a themed wedding might be a great way to help you focus and direct your wedding planning. It’s especially useful if you and your future spouse have some particular, unique interests in common that you might want to incorporate into your wedding day. My husband and I were both English majors in college, and when we first met, we bonded over a love of Lord of the Rings, so when I was considering themes, I looked into both literary-themed and specifically Lord of the Rings-themed wedding ideas. We ended up with a more subtle Lord of the Rings theme, inspired by The Shire, the rustic country home of Tolkien’s hobbits (you can view some pictures of our wedding here).

Keep in mind, almost anything can become a theme! Whether you and your partner share a love for the city of Paris, for painting, or for “The Princess Bride,” you can use music, invitations, decorations, even favors and escort cards to incorporate this into your wedding, and a lot of it can be done with a tiny budget. One of the great things about themed weddings is that many themes have pre-existing elements you can purchase that were originally created for themed parties or events, which will cost less than elements that were specifically created for weddings. One of the other great things? When your guests are blown away by the theme and how well everything fits together, they’re not concerned about whether or not things are high-end; if you have a literary theme, it totally makes sense to have a stack of old books as your table centerpiece, and no one needs to know that those are just books you already had laying around your house.

Overall, themed weddings are not for everyone, but they deserve a lot more love – they are an awesome way to narrow down your decorating options, expand your budget’s possibilities, and show off a personal side of your relationship that your guests will remember.

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