Throwing a Travel Themed Wedding Without Leaving Home
There is no need to book a wedding far away to feel like you have escaped to somewhere exotic. Rather than spend the money or time to book a destination wedding, why not bring the wonders of the world to your wedding venue?
A travel themed wedding at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino can help you incorporate the tastes, entertainment and thrill of an international wedding without ever leaving the U.S. Whether you want to feel like you have just stepped onto the beach in Hawaii or just dined at a bistro in Paris, travel themed weddings can help you and your guests feel like you have earned a new stamp in your passport.
How to Choose Your Travel Themed Wedding
With so many wonderful places in the world, how do you sift through all the options for travel themed weddings? If you want to try this fun theme for your nuptial celebrations, keep the following tips in mind:
- Choose a place that has personal meaning. If you or your significant other has a rich, ethnic heritage, one of the easiest international themed wedding ideas is to choose your family’s country of origin. Base your theme around Italy if you grew up eating your grandmother’s homemade pasta or grab the maracas if you have a Hispanic background. Making your theme personal helps connect your guests to your heritage.
- Base your theme on where you will spend your honeymoon. If your bags are packed for the Bahamas but you just cannot wait to get there, escape a little early by throwing an island-themed wedding. This is a great way to help your guests feel like they are part of your extended celebration. Do your research to find the culinary specialties of your honeymoon destination and incorporate them into your menu. You may also discover a popular festival known for that region and mimic your reception on it.
- Pick a favorite vacation destination. If you and your spouse-to-be enjoy traveling, choose your travel themed wedding based on a favorite vacation destination. Perhaps you love the beach, or you cannot stop talking about that African adventure you went on. Whatever or wherever it is, bring it into your wedding to relive those fond memories.
- Combine your two favorite things. If you and your significant other have two different heritage backgrounds, two different favorite destinations or two travel themes in mind, make the best of both of them. Combining certain destinations into one travel themed wedding is a great idea if you can make them mesh well. This dual theme gives your guests some variety on choosing what foods to eat, the themed outfits they will wear and the type of wedding gift they might pick out.
- Go with a basic travel theme. If you cannot pick one destination, why not go with a general travel theme? The sense of adventure will follow you as you ask your guests to use their imaginations and get ready for a jet-setting experience. You can use a basic travel theme by designing your invitations to look like passports and using a punch card to make confetti out of old maps. A globe also makes a great guestbook — just ask guests to sign their names over their favorite travel destinations.
Ideas for a Travel Themed Wedding
With these guidelines in mind, here are some our favorite international themed wedding ideas. We have you covered on everything from decorations to entertainment, food and attire. Take a look and see which travel theme makes sense for your big day.
A Night in Paris
One of the world’s most romantic destinations is calling your name. Instead of flying your whole wedding to Paris, why not bring the tastes, sounds and entertainment of this French city to your wedding venue?
- The food: Place baskets of baguettes on the table surrounded by sparkling water and mini finger sandwiches to kick things off. Quiche, escargot and onion soup also play off the theme. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, try different colored macarons or crème brûlée to tempt those with a sweet tooth.
- The attire: A Paris themed wedding oozes with romance. For the bride, try a tea-length dress with a short veil that makes it easy to run around the mini city you have replicated in your venue. A lot of lace adds to the elegant feeling. For the groom, go for a French-inspired tuxedo designed by a famous French designer.
- The entertainment: The music of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel are great additions to your wedding playlist. Also consider a photo booth with a few berets, big baguettes and mini Eiffel towers. Your guests will love taking photos that help them capture this night in Paris.
- The decorations: Cover the reception hall in twinkling lights to mimic the beautiful theme of this city. Add Eiffel towers to each table and use mock plane tickets as place cards to help your guests feel as if they have been whisked away for the night.
The Shores of Hawaii
What could be more beautiful than a sunset wedding on the shores of Hawaii? How about one that does not require you to make the long flight or track in all that sand? Bring the beauty of the islands to your travel themed wedding.
- The food: Go for a luau theme and escape to the islands of Hawaii with a tropical menu. Think of a pig roast, and mix the sweet taste of the meat with pineapple, island spices and beautiful, edible flowers. Fresh ahi tuna, piles of tropical fruit and sponge cake also help round out the meal. For beverages, think of the colors of a beach sunset with a Mai Tai or Hawaiian-style punch featuring pineapples, cherries and bananas. Piña coladas also are an easy yet fun tropical drink.
- The attire: The bride can choose a light, flowing dress typical of a beach-style wedding with strappy sandals and her hair let down in loose waves. The groom might want to go for a casual yet clean look with linen shorts or pants and a white shirt to match.
- The entertainment: What reminds you of Hawaii more than hula dancers? Hiring a few hula dancers, flame-throwing acrobats and tropical-style drummers to entertain your guests is a great way to make them feel as if they have escaped to a warmer climate. Add in a few hula lessons to help your guests learn the dance moves that made the islands famous.
- The decorations: Fresh flower leis are a great gift for every one of your travel themed wedding guests. Add brightly colored, large tropical flowers to your centerpieces and incorporate palm leaves or trees where possible. Tribal statues, made of either wood or stone, also make great backdrops. If you cannot bring the sands of Hawaii to you, incorporate the sandy theme with decorative shells and sand-filled vases on the tables throughout the reception venue. Small tokens representing this tropical paradise help guests feel as if they have traveled across the country.
The Greek Islands
The romance and charm of Greece is not only a favorite honeymoon destination for many couples, but it is also a great international themed wedding idea to help all of your guests feel like they are making a trip of their own — without actually visiting the country surrounded by bright blue waters.
- The food: Think fresh seafood, olive oil, grape leaves, cheese and baklava. The Greeks are known for their fresh, healthy diets that incorporate the natural resources found in the beautiful waters surrounding the islands. Sweet honey, crunchy nuts and delicious delicacies from the sea help set this cuisine apart.
- The attire: Brides can feel free to mimic the gowns worn by Greek goddesses. These straight-cut, empire-waist gowns flow gracefully to the floor for a breathable, airy look. Top it off with a high-set bun and simple, elegant jewelry. Grooms look great in white pants and crisp dress shirts paired with a blue fitted jacket to reflect the distinct color of the sea.
- The entertainment: The arts play a big role in Greek entertainment. Ancients Greeks were known for their development of early theater and the popularity of stringed instruments. Try incorporating a harp or other guitar-type music into your entertainment or have actors portray the Greek athletic games to encourage guests to battle each other in a test of physical skill.
- The decorations: Flowing drapes, white pillars and simple white décor add a touch of clean to this travel wedding theme. Incorporate the popular olive leaves of the islands by wrapping them around candles and chairs and scattering them across tables. Crisp white flowers and gold accents also add a nice touch.
A Rustic Italian Affair
Gather your family and get ready to fill your bellies with the tasty creations of an Italian travel themed wedding idea. There is nothing better than celebrating your wedding in a way that would make a nonna proud.
- The food: Serve your meal family-style with big bowls of pasta, fresh lasagna and plenty of bread. Make sure each table gets roasted red peppers dripping in oil, fresh olives just waiting to be pitted and spicy meats and cheeses begging to be devoured. Italian wines also make a great compliment to many of these comfort-food dishes that the proudest Italian family would enjoy. Cannoli and tiramisu make great dessert options that will have guests looking for seconds to take home for later.
- The attire: A fitted mermaid-style gown with plenty of lace pays tribute to Italy’s traditional side for this travel themed wedding. Long, lacy veils and simple white shoes also add a touch of elegance. Grooms will do well in a fitted black tuxedo with a simple back bow tie. Tradition is an important part of the Italian culture, so feel free to dress in traditional styles.
- The entertainment: The music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are favorites at Italian-American themed weddings. Swing bands are also great options for those seeking some live entertainment that will help liven up the party atmosphere at this wedding.
- The decorations: Look for classic décor options at an Italian-themed wedding, with black and white acting as a classic balance with natural elements such as lemons, fresh flowers and even grapes cascading across tables. Try using wine corks as name cardholders or individual-sized wine bottles as favors for guests. Wine bottles also make great candleholders, and dried grape vines mixed with fresh flowers add a rustic yet elegant look to centerpieces.
A Festive Latin Themed Wedding
The bright colors and loud music of the Latin heritage make your wedding a party your guests are never going to forget. Get ready to dance late into the night and fill your belly with savory, spicy foods as you embrace this international themed wedding idea.
- The food: Fill up on rice, beans and plantains while spiced chicken, grilled skirt steaks and smoked pork tempt your wedding guests. Lighten things up with fresh margaritas, Dos Equis beer and tequila flights. Try mini churros and sweet tres leches cakes soaked in cream.
- The attire: Ruffles, long trains and lace are iconic wedding gown features at Latin travel themed weddings. Bright red accents in flowers, headpieces and ribbon also add a bold touch of color against a stark white background. Fitted black tuxedos and Cuban-style hats that show up at the reception add to the light, fun affair.
- The entertainment: Bring in a mariachi band to entertain guests with classic Latin music while they dance throughout the reception. A piñata, Latin-American made cigars and salsa-style entertainment make for a great after party. It could be fun to incorporate Latin dance moves to help guests learn this classic style.
- The decorations: Add lace to tablecloths, hand out brightly painted paper fans as favors and decorate with flowers of a bright red hue. Look for bold patterns in linens and add plenty of candles to give the room a romantic, far-off look as the party goes late into the night.
An African Safari
Escape into the rain forest without ever needing a passport as you invite your guests to your African travel themed wedding. Filled with exotic foods, tribal music and the thrill of adventure around the corner, this international themed wedding idea will transport guests to a continent they may have dreamed of visiting.
- The food: Congo chicken, spicy rice, stewed fish and grain salad make this African menu a light but filling meal. Think of grilled or stewed meats, fresh fruits, honey-sweetened vegetables and unleavened breads as your main course showstoppers. Milk tart, sweet pudding and spicy almond biscuits are a treat to end the meal.
- The attire: Look for bold colors, geometric shapes and ornate headdresses for the bride and/or groom in an African-themed wedding. Whether you choose a mix of African and American cultures with white outfits highlighted with patterned belts or small details or you prefer the bright colors and bold patterns of a full-on African theme, this unique look is sure to set the tone.
- The entertainment: Go all out and find a live band that can play the bongos and set the tone for a truly tribal-sounding affair. Entertain guests with traditional African dances that celebrate the continent’s vast wildlife and diverse plains. Add animal masks to a photo booth for wild outtakes and help guests feel as if they have taken their own safari.
- The decorations: Incorporate the African setting with carved animals, wild prints and exotic flowers. Animal print linens, tribal masks and unique representations of the African culture will make guests feel as if they have stepped into the Sahara.
Let Us Help You Create a Travel Themed Wedding
The events experts at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino are ready to help you create the travel themed wedding of your dreams. Our unique event spaces can help you feel as if you have been transported to a land far away with just a few simple touches that incorporate your wedding theme. Contact us today to see how we can bring your travel visions to life.