Dream Theme

Planning your pop culture wedding

Pop culture themed weddings are on the rise. From Marvel Comics to Harry Potter to Star Wars and beyond, more and more couples are branching away from tradition to incorporate their favorite books, music, sports teams and movies into their big day. While themed weddings give you considerable freedom, there’s no roadmap on how to plan and execute your ideas as if you were preparing for a traditional wedding.

Local wedding planner Kerie MacLeod has been the owner and operator She Said Yes Weddings and Events for four years and has planned a number of themed weddings spanning very different subject matter.

MacLeod said the first thing she does when she begins planning a couple’s wedding is ask them what their favorite colors are, what their hobbies are, and what some of their favorite things are. She first asks them personal questions about themselves rather than asking what they envision their wedding to look like in order to engage their personalities rather than their expectations, which she can then incorporate into their wedding. From this point, it’s easier for her to help a couple decide on potential themes.

When it comes to choosing a theme that’s going to be timeless for a couple, MacLeod said it’s all about incorporating the things you love into your wedding without going overboard. Small accents of your chosen theme are a much better way of incorporating, say, your favorite movie rather than having the movie be the centerpiece and draw too much attention away from what a wedding is supposed to be about—the bride and groom.

MacLeod said a lot of couples come to her with the idea of wanting a Disney themed wedding, an idea that can quickly become overkill. If you’re a fan of Cinderella, for example, she suggests having a Cinderella-like dress rather than an elaborate replica, or having quotes from the movie when you enter the venue rather than having Disney merchandise everywhere. This ensures the theme doesn’t become too overwhelming.

One part of the wedding MacLeod recommends keeping completely traditional is the ceremony, especially the vows. She said the theme should be kept at the reception, as themes have a way of taking the magic away from the ceremony. She also notes that when themes are relegated to the reception it makes for a fun surprise for guests. MacLeod recalls one wedding where the ceremony was completely conventional, but when the reception began, the bride and groom walked out for their first dance, busted out lightsabers and had a duel before entering the dance floor, which wowed the crowd.

When planning your theme, she said to consider your grandma and grandpa or other family members who are traditionalists. Although it’s your wedding you’re planning, MacLeod said, “Don’t just be like ’I’m a 20-something-year-old—I’m just going to do what I want.’”

Reno locals Kaitlin and Kyle Young celebrated their music festival-themed wedding on Oct. 13, 2018. According to Kyle, the couple had been to enough traditional weddings to know that option wasn’t for them.

“People get so hung up on traditions that they forget how boring they can be,” he said.

Kaitlyn said their theme was inspired by how they began dating. After meeting online, the two attended the California Roots Music and Arts Festival within a week of knowing each other. Kaitlin said they would always joke about having a festival-themed wedding, so when Kyle proposed she said it was like the two had already settled on a theme they both wanted.

Because they didn’t have a wedding planner, it was up to Kaitlin, Kyle, family and friends to help execute their vision. Kaitlin recalls initially choosing to have her wedding on her parents’ property in Wellington, which had fewer restrictions that a traditional venue.

“Because [the venue] was out in the middle of nowhere, we decided to do a wedding during the day, and we didn’t have to worry about music playing too late, so our chosen venue afforded us to be able to dream big,” said Kaitlin.

The couple’s love for brunch food, distaste for wedding dance floors, and desire for a true festival vibe were all put into consideration during the planning process. According to Kaitlin, once they finished larger steps in planning, smaller steps followed, which made it easier to plan the details.

“We had a lot of different things that maybe wouldn’t work at a more traditional, classic wedding,” said Kaitlin. “For example, we had a bounce house. I think that would look really weird at a black tie event, but since it was during the day and music festiva themed, it totally went.’

In addition to the bounce house, Kaitlin and Kyle went all out and incorporated a bubble station, an array of concert posters, a gazebo decorated with tye-dye flags and filled with marijuana vape pens, giant fake flowers growing from the ground from spray painted PVC pipes and rainbow smoke bombs to conclude their ceremony.

“You kind of have this hope that what you think is cool other people will enjoy,” said Kaitlin. Because the festival theme was so eclectic, all of the decorations blended together without it being too overwhelming, she said.

Kaitlin’s advice for couples considering a themed wedding would be to hire a day-of wedding coordinator, so you can focus on the party instead of any problems.