Setting The Scene

By Misty Milioto Hiring a wedding planner may be the most important step in planning a wedding, but choosing a theme is next. Having a theme helps narrow down choices...

By Misty Milioto

Hiring a wedding planner may be the most important step in planning a wedding, but choosing a theme is next. Having a theme helps narrow down choices while demonstrating your personality as a couple. “Incorporating themes into a wedding is a fun way to share your personalities, style and passions with your guests,” says Erin Hall, owner of San Diego based Hall Weddings & Events. “Themed events also unite ideas and help streamline the planning process. Be creative and don’t be afraid to bring your personality into the wedding.”

For example, if you both love the outdoors, you may choose to have the ceremony on a ranch with wildflower bouquets and a tapas menu that highlights locally sourced ingredients. Even if you plan to have a traditional wedding, it helps to know that you will most likely want red roses, classic invitations and a formal, sit-down meal. Here are some trends for themed weddings that will spark your imagination.



The Western Ranch theme (pictured above) is a favorite for Colorado brides. Jacqueline Midkiff, certified wedding specialist and designer with Temecula, Calif. based Jacqueline Ashley Events, designed this theme based on the outdoor environment itself. “The images of roasting s’mores by campfire in a relaxed setting danced in our heads,” she says.

Midkiff designed a handmade sign that guided guests to the ceremony site and fire pit. “The s’mores add that little personal touch with a screen-printed leather tag that says, ‘Enjoy s’more good times by the fire,’” she says.

Additional details included leather-wrapped napkins, horseshoes as chair accents and menu stands, a rustic candelabrum and pops of color in the floral arrangements (burnt orange with shades of green and brown). “We continued the theme by choosing ranch-style foods,” Midkiff says. “Use verbiage to your advantage. Don’t just say ‘rib-eye,’ say ‘grassfed ranch-house rib-eye.’ Have fun with it.”

Another word of advice: Choose one or two things that you want to have as a focal point, and add everything else with care. “Stay away from kitsch the best you can, especially with a ranch-themed wedding,” Midkiff says.



The sweet and playful Country Wedding theme offers a twist to the Western Ranch theme, and is a natural look to pull off here in Colorado. “We based this theme off of our surroundings, which is a great way for a couple to come up with a theme,” says Melissa Reinke, president of Encinitas, Calif. based Sweet Blossom Weddings.

Special touches for this wedding included rustic picnic benches, floral arrangements in wooden vases, succulent and terrarium arrangements in apothecary jars, a gorgeous yellow cake, a moss table runner and round tree cutouts. “Once we had the country theme in mind, we had to think about colors,” Reinke says. “Yellows, greens and whites were nice earth tones. The idea of lemonade and lemons came to fruition because this was a casual wedding.”





Most everyone loves to travel, and an Aviation theme wedding is too cool to pass up. While an airport hangar helps get the idea across, many other venues will work if you include the right details. Hall says, “We decided on a vintage Ralph Lauren feel (think worn leather, stripes, aviator jackets and a red, white and blue color scheme).”

Some of the creative elements included a loveseat; suitcases and trunks; and a table outfitted with burlap and blue-ticking runners, map-wrapped apothecary jars for the flower arrangements, vintage cut-crystal stemware paired with tarnished silver goblets, silver chargers topped with vintage plates and menu cards printed on aeronautical charts with attached paper airplanes. “The floral arrangements and menus were the finishing touches that really tied everything together,” Hall says.



The romantic and elegant ombre-themed wedding is one of the hottest trends for 2012. Ombre is a French word that means “shaded,” and it consists of colors graduating from light to dark. “The color effect is woven into fabric, hair and now weddings,” says Monica Pradel, event and design coordinator with San Diego-based Eventity. “The couple can decide on their prime color and develop their overarching palette from that point.”

The design team chose a pink color palette and the rest flowed naturally. The wooden table and benches created family-style seating in the garden-like venue, and the fanned place cards added a touch of delicacy to the scene. “Detailed and continued communication with the florist to determine what colors are naturally occurring and which flowers will be in season during the wedding is imperative,” Pradel says.



Another huge trend in Colorado is an Eco-Friendly theme. You can make the theme as simple or as involved as you want, with everything from invitations printed with soy ink on recycled paper to a nature-inspired color palette and locally sourced menu items. Floral arrangements, nature-inspired table settings and an outdoor photo shoot bring this theme to life.


Western Ranch Theme

Photography: Creative Photography Inc., Stephanie Sundell | 760.434.0800 | Carlsbad, CA
Floral: Katrina O’Donnell Custom Florals, Katrina O’Donnell | 760.505.3738 | Vista, CA
Stationary/Paper Goods: Cali Cards, Tiffany Arnaldo | 858.688.2230 | Encinitas, CA
Event Planner: Jacqueline Ashley Events, Jacqueline Ashley | 950.260.8377 | Temecula, CA

Country Wedding Theme
Photography: Brant Bender Photography Inc., Brant Bender | 858.675.1019 | San Diego, CA
Floral: Katrina O’Donnell Custom Florals, Katrina O’Donnell | 760.505.3738 | Vista, CA
Stationary/Paper Goods: Cali Cards, Tiffany Arnaldo | 858.688.2230 | Encinitas, CA
Event Planner: Sweet Blossom Weddings, Melissa Reinke | 858.668.8263 | Encinitas, CA
Venue: Temecula Creek Inn | 888.618.6523 | Temecula, CA

Aviation Theme
Photography: E3 Photography, Eddie Garcia | 619.972.4312 | San Diego, CA
Makeup & Hair: Lovestruck Makeup Artistry & Hair Design, Jessica Hofmann and Carrie Schmidt |
Venue: Channel Islands Aviation, Sara Oberman |
Bridal: The White Flower Bridal Boutique/Dresses, Courtney Cole | 619.501.1700 | San Diego, CA
Event Planner/Rentals: Hall Weddings & Events, Erin Hall | 949.370.4230  | San Diego, CA www.hall‐
Stationary/Paper Goods: Cali Cards, Tiffany Arnaldo | 858.688.2230 | Encinitas, CA
Floral: Trendee Flowers, Noemi Garcia |
Hair Accessories: Rachel Larrine | 619.277.2721
Model: Kat Rodgers

Ombre Theme
Photography: Bryan N. Miller Photography Inc., Bryan Miller | 619.300.8373 | San Diego, CA
Floral: Sweet Pea Flower Company, Michelle Shumard | 858.437.4375 | San Diego, CA
Desserts: Hey There, Cupcake, Stevi Nicole | 858.790.8929 | San Diego, CA www.heythere‐
Stationary/Paper Goods: Cali Cards, Tiffany Arnaldo | 858.688.2230 | Encinitas, CA
Wedding Planner: Eventity Inc., Monica Pradel | 619.819.6302 | San Diego, CA
Venue: Darlington House | 858.454.7625 | La Jolla, CA
Accessories: Rachel Larraine Pretty Accessories, Rachel Larraine | 619.277.2721 | San Diego, CA
Bridal: Mia Belle Bridal | 858.481.4900 | Del Mar, CA
Rentals: Raphael’s Party Rentals | 858.689.7368 | San Diego, CA