4 Literary Wedding Themes

Great GatsbyThere are plenty of great wedding decoration options for a bookworm bride and groom. You can make an arch out of old books, stencil your cake with literary quotes, or print your invitation RSVPs on old library cards. But if you and your partner both love a specific book or author, why not make that the specific theme of your wedding? By taking the characters and costumes from your favorite work of literature and abstracting a little for good taste, you can have a fun theme wedding that reflects one of your passions as a couple. Here are four examples of literary wedding themes:

The Great Gatsby

For a Great Gatsby wedding theme, it’s all about 20’s-era opulence. Gold and sparkle are the watchwords for decorating the reception venue, the cake, and the bridal party. The bride’s dress could have some subtle art deco detailing, or could even hint at flapper style with a dropped waist and fringe. Accessorize with a long string of pearls and finger waves in the bride’s hair and she’ll be ready to jitterbug the night away. The groom should look his dapper best in a three-piece light-colored suit, with a shirt in a contrasting color and a gold-toned tie.

Keep the gin rickeys and champagne juleps flowing at the reception, and let your guests dance the night away through a storm of gold confetti and sequins galore. A Gatsby wedding theme is a celebration of Prohibition-era excess–never mind the point of the novel is how empty that excess ultimately is.

Alice in Wonderland

For a playful couple with a love for children’s literature, a trip down the rabbit hole is the perfect theme for a wedding. Just remember not to go too literal, especially on the wedding dress and groom’s suit: you’ll look far more fabulous in a stylish, flattering outfit that hints at Alice’s dress or the Mad Hatter’s motley, rather than dressing in an outright costume.

An Alice in Wonderland wedding wouldn’t be complete without a tea party reception filled with mismatched crockery, croquet on the lawn, heart-shaped tarts, and champagne bottles that say “Drink Me.” And bonus points if your officiant reads “Jabberwocky” instead of Corinthians 13.

Shakespeare

For a Shakespeare-themed wedding, the couple’s outfits can take some subtle cues from Elizabethan fashion, but you should probably leave the tights and ruffled collars for your next trip to the Renaissance Faire. You can go for subtle variants of doublets and bodices if you must, but the real star of a Shakespearean wedding should be the words. Take those glorious romantic sonnets and soliloquies and plaster them everywhere: the backdrop to the wedding arch, the aisle runner, the tablecloths, and the cake.

Shakespeare also lends itself well to an outdoor setting like a garden or a park. Anywhere that feels like Titania and her fellow faeries might be lurking just behind the next tree has enough wonder and mystery for a Shakespearean wedding. Live music for courtly dancing is also a requirement: after all, “if music be the food of love, play on!”

Jane Austen

If the Great Gatsby’s buzzwords are “opulence, gold, sparkles,” the Jane Austen buzzwords are “light, airy, British countryside.” You’re looking for regency-era stateliness, pastel blues, luminous whites, understated elegance and luxury. At the time, couples were required to be married in the church before noon, so a morning wedding with a brunch reception would fit the bill perfectly. The groom can wear a top hat and tails without looking overly costume-y, provided the setting is right. For the bride, here’s a description of what Jane Austen’s niece wore to her wedding in 1814: “a dress of fine white muslin, and over it a soft silk shawl, white shot with primrose, with embossed white-satin flowers, and very handsome fringe, and on her head a small cap to match, trimmed with lace.” How could you be better dressed to say your vows to your own Mark Darcy?

Whether it’s the 20’s opulence of the Great Gatsby or the Victorian whimsy of Alice in Wonderland, the trick is to take your literary theme, pull some key elements, and refine them through an abstracting filter of good taste. That’s the difference between an elegant themed wedding and a child’s birthday party. Keep a little bit of dignity to ground the flight of fancy, and you’ll have a beautiful, literary day.