Celebrating With the 4 Elements of Life Wedding Theme
The ancient Greeks saw the classical elements as the building blocks of all substances. Those who follow Western astrology believe the elements corresponding to one’s zodiac sign can greatly affect an individual’s personality.
The classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water can invoke powerful and dramatic natural imagery. If you’re considering tapping into the elements of the universe to guide your own heavenly day, we have some fun ideas for bringing them into the details of your celebration.
Earth Wedding Theme
The best fit for nature-loving couples, hippies-at-heart, or the earth zodiac signs (Capricorn, Taurus, or Virgo), you can offer guests endless opportunities for communing with nature by hosting a wedding based on the element of earth. From providing the perfect backdrop to your nuptials to supplying the essentials for your delicious dinner menu, earthy inspiration is fun to find and easy to implement.
An earth-based wedding would do best on–well–earth. Take advantage of a beautiful beach, your favorite bluff, or the shade of an old oak tree and opt for an outdoor wedding. To best compliment, this element, however, consider taking your theme even a little further by completely surrounding yourself with the earth’s bounty. Host your celebration among nature’s most awe-inspiring offerings–perhaps in the middle of a forest or meadow, or maybe even by hosting a multi-day camping wedding to take full advantage of what this element has to offer.
Not only do you get the chance to feel the earth beneath your feet, but you may even be able to avoid complaining neighbors, pesky noise ordinances, and, most importantly, allow your guests to revel in the simple but awesome splendor of the great outdoors.
If you have an extensive list of allergy-prone guests in attendance or you plan on hosting your wedding during a cooler time of year, there are a few other types of venues that can serve you well. Look for versatile event locations that let the outdoors in. Venues utilizing architectural aspects like floor-to-ceiling windows, open atriums, or even indoor gardens could be the perfect fit. Look into certain locations like rustic wooden barns or enclosed gazebos for smaller affairs that would work equally well.
Consider a warm palette of earthy browns, brick reds, mustard yellows, warm tans, rich greens, and even deep purples, but try to keep the decor minimal. Especially if you’re utilizing a natural setting for your celebration, it’s best to let the effortless beauty of your location shine through. Keep touches simple and, when possible, pull inspiration from your surroundings. For example, depending purely on the ambiance you’re looking for, consider anything from ivy candle wreaths to citrus fruit displays or upright peony pomander centerpieces for touches that can be earthy, fun, or romantic.
Try to keep your menu simple and nature-based. Save foams, deconstructed spring rolls, and fancy options for your next black-tie dinner party. Earth-themed food items should be immediately recognizable and beautifully but simply presented. To maximize your theme, serve sautéed carrots at their full-length–even with a little of the green leafy top still attached–and let guests see the whole roasted chickens at your carving stations.
Wedding favors can easily play to your elemental theme. Consider live gifts like baby trees or plants wrapped in burlap, or engraved river rocks touting your names and the date of your wedding. Play to the innately “green” theme with recycled tokens of your appreciation like stationary or candles, or offer guests a taste of nature with jars of homemade jams, jellies, or spreads.
Finding inspiration to be a little more than elusive?
Take a break from your soon-to-be mother-in-law and make a date with Mother Earth by planning a local hike. It can do more than keep you in shape or offer you a breath of much-needed fresh air. Finding an out of the way nook to take a moment to soak it all in can be just what you need to find the beauty in everything from a low-hanging robin’s nest to a fallen branch or a slow-moving stream. You never know what might spark an idea that can inspire your entire celebration.
Nature is inherently beautiful–which makes planning earth element-themed wedding celebration as easy as a walk in the park. So whether you want to highlight nature in every aspect of your affair, add little hints of your particular earth sign, or simply include a few of your favorite aspects from the world outside, let the element of the earth take your celebration to new heights.
Air Wedding Theme
The air can be heavy or it can be light. You may prefer that fresh country air or find yourself at home surrounded by the air of the city. However you like your air, this element can be the most difficult to craft your wedding around as it’s the only one you can’t see. But worry not–with a little creativity, perhaps a looser definition of the word, or by focusing on its effects or associations rather than the substance itself, you’ll find it may be the perfect fit for your nuptial celebration.
Consider designing an air-themed wedding around some of its obvious effects or some of the aspects made visible by its existence. You might consider, say, a hot air balloon-inspired affair with lots of wicker accents, a muted–seemingly faded–color scheme, draped strings of pennants, as well as floating hot air balloon decor. Make sure to err on the side of vintage to avoid coming off as campy. For the more daring couples and your un-faint of heart attendees, you might even attempt a very small ceremony in the basket of an actual hot air balloon as it floats in the air, high above some of your favorite landscapes.
As they also manage to soar through the air with the seeming greatness of ease, you might consider customizing your wedding design around our flighty friends. It’s easy to incorporate feathers into your wedding decor by adding fake birds to additions like bouquets and centerpieces, or even including actual birds in iron or metal cages set up around your venue for a touch of the exotic and unexpected.
Hang them in live trees for added effect. In this case, you might want to incorporate color themes based on, perhaps, that gorgeous robin’s egg blue (with chocolate brown making for a wonderful complement) or even something as bold as the teals and iridescent colors of peacocks (although does keep in mind that peacocks cannot fly–a connection your guests may or may not make).
Or consider translating another interpretation of your air element into a world travel theme. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s fairly well understood that world travel is often done by air these days. This opens your theme up to all sorts of avenues. Consider utilizing the distinctive blue and red Air Mail stripes found on old envelopes for everything from your invitations to your place cards. Or consider seating guests at tables by country. Once again, the vintage theme lends itself to a classic feel you’re sure to love. Find old postcards of different faraway places like Paris, London, or Hong Kong and use them as table designations.
Instead of flowers, consider various epiphytes, or air plants, which can be just as gorgeous as the most beautiful blooms. Contemplate putting them in glass ornaments you can hang from bare tree branches or even from your venue’s ceiling, or arrange a collection of them along with pieces of driftwood or in glass terrariums for use as centerpieces. Plants in smaller glass containers can be handed out as favors at the end of the celebration.
In accordance with the world travel theme, think about serving better-than-airline food choices in the sectioned off plates you often see on long flights or consider lighter, even “airy” options. For dessert, serving meringues or mousses will complement your theme better than dense cakes, cookies, or heavy pies. Each bite will taste like a mouthful of air that’s sure to send guests to cloud nine.
Your entertainment options can play perfectly with your theme. Consider hiring musicians specializing in wind instruments–perhaps a jazz or blues band with a prominent saxophonist. Are you, your soon-to-be, or even your guests still a little young at heart? Ask party rental companies about including a bounce house in your party rental package to truly get guests up in the air.
Depending on the theme you choose, favors might include custom pennants, hot air balloon ornaments, caged bird paperweights, Eiffel Tower or Big Ben wine stoppers, or air plants. If one or both of you are an air sign–Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius–consider favors highlighting these astrological symbols or icons for an extra touch of personalization.
However you translate your element, guests are sure to be walking on air by the time the night is through, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. Your creativity is sure to be well rewarded.
Water Wedding Theme
The fluid and life-giving nature of water make it the perfect element to highlight your wedding celebration. On the hottest days, a glass of ice-cold water can bring the most satiating reprieve, and on the coldest, a hot bath can defrost a bone-deep chill. It’s precisely the versatility of this wonderful element that makes it such an appealing inspiration for your event. The endless opportunities afforded by using water in all its different forms–solid, liquid, and gaseous–will equip you with beautiful and unique options you may not have even dreamed of, as well as ideas not necessarily afforded by the other elements.
Your venue location, for example, is no longer restricted to land–although it certainly can be. Consider hosting your nuptial celebration next to–or even on–chosen bodies of water. Always loved Lake Erie? Particularly enjoyed a recent tour of San Francisco Bay? Never been to Kaua’i but can’t wait to see it? Charter a boat so you can say “I do” with nothing more than a hull separating you from the chilly lake waters, look into your beloved’s eyes on a beach in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, or enter married life on a pier stretching out over the Pacific Ocean.
Want to get even closer to the water? Consider submersing yourself in it entirely. An underwater wedding celebration could be the perfect fit for the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces), adventurous couples, or those with a love for the offbeat. However, if you’d prefer to stay on the drier side during your adventure, a celebration at your local aquarium could be the perfect fit. Many of these facilities have special event spaces overlooking large tanks containing rare and unique underwater creatures. The glow from these tanks provides beautiful, textured lighting that can create a breathtaking ambiance for your affair. Aquariums often have a lot of experience with special events, making them a great (if not one-stop) resource during your wedding planning.
Take inspiration for your menu from your underwater excursions by including a variety of seafood options as well as more traditional or diet-specific fare. Especially if a majority of your seafood options are shellfish, you’ll want to offer other items in addition, as crab, clams, lobster, oysters, and shrimp are quite often a common allergen.
An underappreciated beverage, consider offering guests a water bar in addition to other–possibly more potent–refreshments. Aside from plenty of cool, clear water, also consider naturally-infused water with combinations of herbs like rosemary, mint, and basil; citruses like oranges, lemons, and limes; and fruits and vegetables like berries, kiwi, and cucumbers. Serve simply in pitchers or in spigots water dispensers alongside unique and customized homemade ice options containing tasty edible items, frozen in fun shapes, or comprised of complementary flavors.
For further usage of water in its frozen form, consider commissioning an artist to create an ice sculpture for the occasion. Taking on the form of a fish, your favorite football team, or even a life-size representation of the two of you, –an ice sculpture can be more than just an extension of your theme. Some ice sculptures can be built to have a consistent flow of your chosen beverage running through it and doubling as a dispenser.
Water makes for an unexpected and interesting display medium. Talk to your florist about creating underwater floral displays; floating candles or lilies in glass containers; submerging items like citrus fruits, glass beads, river rocks, branches, or marbles; or even setting loose a few live fish in clear glass containers. Or create centerpieces utilizing all of these aspects for items guests are sure to love. Pair with a color scheme highlighting blues of all shades–Aquas, teals, and certain greens. You can also talk to event production and lighting companies about projecting water effects on the walls of your venue. They should have techniques available that can transform your walls into vertical reflecting pools.
Consider sending guests home with customized water, glass bottles with (perhaps personalized) messages in them imprinted with your names and the date of the wedding, or little bags of seashells so they can remember your water-themed wedding for years to come.
Whether you were born on the coast, wish you were, or simply have a love for all things wet, letting the element of water guide your wedding decisions can help you remember to stay fluid. The more flexible you are if and when trouble arises, the less stressful the process is sure to be.
Fire Wedding Theme
In our primitive past, the fire was the great uniter, bringing people together in warmth, security, and community. By taming fire we finally had the power to illuminate the night, scaring off the nocturnal dangers lurking in the shadows. We gained the luxury and safety of ceding to the appeal of her sultry embrace.
Fire is the most mesmerizing of the elements. From a roaring blaze to the flickering flame of a single candle, it’s easy to get lost in the playful allure of its movement, beauty, and power. Perhaps you’re a couple with a bit of a fiery side or one of you even hails from one of the fire signs–Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius. Whatever the case, if you’re sure you want a celebration with a little added oomph, fire is a no-fail option. While it offers a touch of the theatrical and even a hint of the dramatic, it’s definitely something a little different. Consider harnessing the element of fire for an affair that will burn bright in your memory forever.
If you live in an area with blazing summers, it may not be very difficult to translate your locale into the smoking hot wedding location of the year. However, because excessive heat is a quick and easy way to ruin your carefully applied wedding makeup and a surefire way to transform a fabulous affair into an uncomfortable celebration, you’re more likely looking for a less literally hot location.
So go figurative. Book the “hottest” venue in town or a fun local “hotspot.” Or look for a location that re-creates your favorite toasty destination–maybe sunny California, tropical Hawaii, or the beaches of Cabo. If none of these are available, consider creating one yourself. A flexible venue, the right rentals, and the perfect decoration company can bring a blistering hot New York summer day to the middle of Nebraska in winter without all of the unattractive side effects of debilitating heat.
What’s a fiery celebration without a fiery menu?
Virtually every culture has a few spicy dishes dedicated only to the bravest, or a selection of specialty smoked items. If you’re going spicy, consider offering tamed-down versions alongside their big bad brothers to accommodate both the sensitive and the resilient palate alike. Not only can you represent you and your soon-to-be’s backgrounds, but you can stick to your elemental theme effortlessly.
Another way to play up the element of fire in your food is to use actual flames. Many catering companies specialize in delicious food offerings that can double as unique displays or demonstrations like pig roastings, open-flame rotisserie or pizza ovens, or even just good old-fashioned barbecue selections.
Red is, of course, an obvious color choice for your celebration. Representing your love as well as your fiery passion, contrast red with white for an elegant pairing or consider complementing your crimson with a palette of golds, reds, yellows, or oranges. A fire-themed wedding wouldn’t be complete without romantic candlelight–and lots of it–so stock up on as many candle-fueled lighting elements as you can find–from candelabras to chandeliers. If your venue doesn’t allow open flame, you can buy flameless candles.
Depending on the ambiance you’re looking for they can come with a fake “flame” or simply illuminate from below–as if you’ve burned the candle down already. Also, consider talking to event production and lighting companies. They have fun techniques and effects that can make your walls look like they’re ablaze.
Alongside more traditional entertainment options like an emcee or DJ, fire performers can find a perfect home at your celebration. Fire eaters, dancers, and performers utilizing hula hoops or even staff are sure to offer a little extra sizzle to your already-hot celebration.
Customized matchbooks imprinted with the details of your wedding, the ever-popular but appropriate candle favor, bottles of your favorite hot sauce, or even tins of your favorite cinnamon candy are all great ways to remind guests of your celebration long after it’s over. Red sparklers are also a fun favor option, or they can be handed out before the end of the celebration in lieu of rice or confetti.
The fire has historically been a uniting entity used to keep communities warm and safe–what better analogy for your upcoming nuptials? Channel the sometimes unpredictable but always nurturing element of fire and you’re sure to have an unexpected and wonderful celebration.