Mar 26

{Steps to the Altar} Venue or Theme

Which came first, the venue or the “theme”?

It’s a common question; brides are not sure if they should have an overall theme or feel, paired with colors and an elaborate vision first, or if they should select the venue and let that dictate everything else about the wedding.

I personally do not think there is a right or wrong answer to this question.  I talked with brides who have done it both ways, but here are a few points to consider:

Picking a theme first-

If you should choose this route, make sure your venue can help to attain the look that you are hoping to achieve.  Should you decide on a very rustic, woodland feel with soft tones you might want to stay away from brightly colored modern venues. Something else you may want to consider, the colors of the chairs and other accessories that the venue provides.  I had a friend who was going through the planning process and settled on royal blue and green for her wedding colors.  One of the venues she was considering has bright teal chairs.  Because the chairs were so bright, she decided that if she settled with this reception space, she might have to reconsider her wedding colors.  You may need to be creative about how to incorporate these odd elements. Or you may want to remain somewhat flexible and open minded about your decision making.

By choosing the mood you want to set for your day, you can then shop for a venue that will cater to this feeling and compliment your theme and color scheme.  It will help edit that long list of wedding venues in your city.

Picking the venue first-

The venue will influence the mood of the wedding.  A grand ballroom with crystal chandeliers and a marble staircase is going to set a different tone than if you decide to get married in a barn or a friend’s back yard.  Either setting can be absolutely beautiful, but it’s going to affect the ambiance of your wedding.  In this case the venue will help define the theme or wedding style.

Another point to consider, venues have limited availability.  Dreaming of a June wedding?  Settle on the venue first, as this tends to be prime wedding season.  Finding a place to host your event may be more difficult if you have a set style that you have to match your venue to.  This is especially true if you’re working on a tight time frame.

Should you find a venue that you absolutely love, go for it!  Plan your day around your setting, make it beautiful and customize it to make it truly yours.


Sometimes the theme and venue may just go hand in hand and fall into place.  The above photo is from styled wedding shoot I put together last fall, captured by the amazing Bradley James Photography.  I knew I wanted to incorporate some peaches and mint green tones along with teacups (because I love them!) and then I started searching for venues.  I had the opportunity to tour The Felt Estate, and fell in love with this charming little room and its floral wallpaper.  The venue paired well with a vintage theme and I could easily incorporate some of the colors of this floral wallpaper into the rest of the décor without it being overpowering.  I made a slight change and added a rosy pink to my mint and peach color scheme, and then enhanced the delicate vintage details with the rest of the décor.

By remaining somewhat flexible, I was able to create a gorgeous event that compliments my style, and added a couple extra girly frills!



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