10 Dream Wedding Themes

In love with the Wild West, the beach or a special season of the year? These clever ideas will inspire you to personalize your party with flair.

Nautical Nuptials

Location: A yacht club, aquarium or private boat are ideal settings.
Décor: Try to keep the event from becoming too clichéd (nix the faux anchors and kitschy

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lighthouses), says New York City event planner David Tutera, author of Big Birthdays (Bulfinch). Tutera mixes in unexpected elements; for example, he likes to use beach grass to make napkin rings that go around silk napkins edged in crystals. (You can use iron-on crystals from a party supply store.) Top each napkin with a chic orchid. Linens and other accents might be in boating blue, bright red and yellow and sailcloth white.
Menu: Serve such seafood favorites as clam chowder, lobster, oysters and yellow-fin tuna. (Include one non-seafood item for landlubbing guests.) Serve crisp white wines and fresh-tasting cocktails like the Sea Breeze (vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice).
Favor: Give small picture frames with pretty shells glued around the edges or stylish leather luggage tags in the shape of a ship (visit beau-coup.com).

Valentine's Day Romance

Cocktail hour: Serve up crimson-hued cocktails, and give them Valentine's-themed names like "Cupid's Kiss."
Décor: Forgo the usual cutesy hearts for a more sophisticated Valentine's symbol: the red rose. Tutera suggests using rose petals to create an aisle runner at your ceremony or a blanket of color atop your tables. You can even make pretty tea-light holders by cutting the stem off an open rose bloom and removing a few of the center petals to clear a spot for your candle. Generous groupings of rose-scented candles throughout the room will create a lush, romantic glow.
Menu: An all-red dessert lounge is a hot choice for a venue. Serve a variety of sweets: chocolate-covered strawberries, a raspberry tart, a red velvet cake.
Stationery: Customize your printed materials—place cards, escort cards, menus and cocktail napkins—with famous love quotes (visit quoteland.com for ideas) or intriguing factoids about the history and significance of Valentine's Day.
Favor: Consider small boxes of exotic, spice-flavored chocolates topped with a note reading "Sweet Dreams" or favor boxes filled with candy hearts, or pink, red and white M&Ms stamped with your names or "I love you."

 

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