Alternative Wedding Themes for 2023

Loud Brides are nothing if not unique. While other websites will tell you the most popular wedding themes to expect, we’re inspiring you to go rogue with these alternative themes so you can make your day truly special. Defy the trends and buck tradition with this list of rare wedding themes.

For 2023, here are ten ways to have one of most unique wedding themes:

1. Host a Halloween costume party

‘Til Death Do Us Part

How common are Halloween weddings? Less than 1% of weddings are Halloween-themed and even fewer happen on Halloween day. In 2023, Halloween falls on a Tuesday so you’re unlikely to get married on the day itself (although, Tuesday weddings are possible. You can read all about how to make a weekday wedding work here.) But you can also throw an epic, costumed bash any of the days leading up to Halloween.

Halloween weddings are great for couples who love spooky season and want a totally unique idea for their wedding. Here are some fun ideas to have a halloween wedding that’s to die for:

  • Make it a costume party
  • Wear black instead of white
  • Send out spooky invites
  • Give out candy as your wedding favor
halloween wedding collage
Samantha Fromer – November 13th 2021 | Photographer – Cassandra Trcka | Dress – StylishBrideAccs on Etsy | Event Design – Rockin Robin

One thing to consider if you’re planning to get married on Halloween day is how your guests with kids will feel about missing trick or treating. Try and plan your ceremony start time to be later than usual so families can still get out for some trick or treating and have plenty of time to attend the wedding afterwords. Or plan your wedding as a brunch so families can go trick or treating after the reception.

2. Plan a Winter Wonderland celebration

Winter Wonderland

Winter weddings are another uncommon, but not totally unheard of, trend. Only 9% of weddings take place during the months of January, February & March according to the Knot. There are 5 weekends in December of 2023 and 12 weekends in early 2024 where you can plan a winter wedding.

If you want more details on planning an off-season wedding and how it can even save you some money, check out this post.

Some ideas to make your Winter Wonderland wedding dreams come true are:

  • Ornament wedding favors
  • A Christmas tree decorated with photos of your family and extended family
  • Holly or evergreen branches for floral arrangements
  • Big bows everywhere
  • Decorate with twinkle lights
winter wedding collage of photos
Winter Wedding Inspiration

3. Serve up a fast food theme

Wedding (Taco) Bells

You both bonded over late night tacos, why not recreate the magic for your friends and family with a totally distinctive and chill theme. Is it traditional to serve your wedding dinner in paper wrappings? Absolutely not. But I bet a lot of your guests will love a taste of their nostalgic favorites more than luke warm salmon.

You can sprinkle this into your more traditional wedding with an after-hours surprise delivery of Big Macs for your guests as a late night snack or go all out by hosting your event at a fast-food joint complete with decor, favors and outfits inspired by your love of junk food.

There are a number of fast food locales where you can have a unique wedding. Denny’sTaco Bell and White Castle all have restaurants in Las Vegas that offer wedding packages. And your local favorite might let you host a reception or after-party on premises as well depending on the owner. Give the manager a call and ask about booking out the place to host a party.

picture of three burgers
Order up

4. Pop more than the question with a movie theme

Lights, Camera, Let’s Get Married!

For movie buffs, this theme doesn’t get any sweeter. Take your love of going to the movies or a specific film that you both obsess over and turn it into your wedding theme. This theme can range from romantic and nostalgic to geeky and trivia-filled depending on your preference.

Here are some ideas to bring a movie-themed wedding to life:

  • Host it in a classic theater for an Old Hollywood glam vibe
  • Use a drive-in movie theater as your venue
  • Give out popcorn and candy as wedding favors
  • Set the tone with themed-invitations
photo of couple at disneyland getting engaged
This literal Prince Charming, Charming Kennedy, took his passion for Disney to the next level with a proposal on Christmas morning at Disneyland

5. Make a splash with a mermaid inspired wedding

Under The Sea

If a Siren Song is calling your name, then Mermaid is a fresh and innovative theme for weddings you should try. From the long flowing hair, to a Mermaid-fit dress, to a venue by the sea, this theme can set the stage for a totally gorgeous vibe without seeming took kitschy.

Here are some ideas for a mermaid-inspired wedding day:

  • Set the tone with beachy invitations
  • Host it on the beach or other seaside venue
  • Give yourself a mermaid-inspired look with hair, makeup, gown and accessories
  • Use seashells for your guest book
beach and mermaid wedding collage
Mermaid wedding mood board

6. Celebrate your one-of-a-kind love with a unicorn theme

Our Love is Rare

While Unicorn has become the most popular kid birthday theme of the past few years, it is not an overdone theme for weddings. You can go literal here with a medieval interpretation (castles, knights, princesses, and horses – uhh I mean unicorns) or you can use it symbolically to represent how rare your love is.

Here are some ideas to transform your wedding day into a unicorn-inspired celebration:

  • Incorporate unicorns into your wedding stationary
  • Get married in a castle
  • Ride in on a horse-drawn carriage
  • Spray paint unicorn and other fairy-tale toys gold or silver for one-of-a-kind centerpieces
  • Cut a unicorn cake
princess and unicorn wedding collage
And live happily ever after

7. Hit a home run with a sports-themed wedding

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Your love for each other is only matched by your love of the game. Any of your favorite sports can be an inspiration – from Major League Baseball, to your weekly soccer club, to your alma mater’s football team. Many arenas offer event packages so you can plan your ceremony around game time and have a private box for the reception. Or you can bring your favorite past time in small doses with a sports-inspired cake, attire, or wedding favors.

Here are a few ideas to bring your love of sports into your wedding:

  • Send ticket-inspired invitations
  • Host it at your local stadium or arena
  • Sign a ball or jersey for your guest book
  • Serve game day foods
  • Cut a team-inspired cake
indian wedding celebration at a baseball game
This couple knows how to play ball.

8. Host an eco-friendly, green wedding

Love, Peace, and Happiness

Making your wedding day more eco-friendly is something any bride and groom can do. If you’re looking for tips on how to have a sustainable wedding, we wrote a whole post on it here. But if you’re a true planet warrior, why not make your whole day centered on your shared love of Mother Nature?

Here are a few ideas to plan a green, tree-hugging, eco-friendly wedding:

  • Send out reusable invitations
  • Donate to a climate change non-profit in lieu of wedding favors
  • Ask for any gifts to be sent unwrapped or in reusable packaging
  • Embrace natural decor
  • Use naturally dyed fabrics for table linens

9. Get wild with an animal-inspired day

Wild In Love

Take your guests on an adventure as wild as your love with an animal-themed wedding. Whether you’re planning to have your wedding in a unique location like a local farm or zoo, or just want to infuse your love of Lions, Tigers and Bears, an animal theme will make for a truly one-of-a-kind and memorable theme.

Here are some thoughts on how to have a totally wild, animal-themed wedding:

  • Host your wedding at a zoo or working farm
  • Make a donation to a wildlife conservation fund instead of giving out favors
  • Serve animal-decorated cupcakes
  • Include safari-inspired fabrics
  • Have fun with animal-themed accessories
collage of animal-themed jewelry, balloons, and foliage
Wolf pin available on Etsy

10. Turn back the clock with a retro-themed wedding

Timeless Love

Rock out to your favorite ’80s music, throw a hippie-inspired love party, or relive your childhood of the early 2000’s in a retro-themed bash. You can even make your wedding a costume party and ask guests to wear period-inspired clothing.

Here are some ways to bring a retro-themed wedding to life:

  • Send out retro invitations
  • Make it a costume party
  • Play the hits from that time
  • Wear a gown or suit inspired by the decade’s fashions

You can even have a cake and punch reception in keeping with the retro theme. Learn more about cake and punch wedding receptions here.

photo of a retro white car with flowers and ribbon
Drive away in style

Of course the most unique theme for your wedding will be one that isn’t mentioned on any list and truly speaks to your passions as a couple. Use the above list to inspire you on how to craft a themed wedding with elements from your favorite book, tv show, hobby, recreate your first date or your college years, or plan an event based on your future dreams. The possibilities are endless to create a memorable occasion.

Looking for the perfect invitation for your alternative wedding theme?

One of my favorite tips to cut down on costs is to use an affordable wedding stationery option. Zazzle has some of the best quality and beautiful designs for the price. You can check out my favorite styles on Zazzle here. And don’t forget to check out my review of Zazzle to see why I recommend them.


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

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