Hi, Tim Hensel here, a wedding photographer based in Kent. To kick off 2020, I’m going to share some summer wedding ideas. In my first post, I’m going to look at creative summer wedding themes. Let’s get started.

Summer Wedding Themes

Summer wedding themes can be a creative way to bring together the visual elements of your big day. You can tie in anything from the colour scheme, dresses and the suits to the venue and the menu. Summer wedding themes can also allow you and your partner to inject individuality and fun into your ceremony, reception, or both.

With over ten years of experience as a wedding photographer in Kent, Folkestone, Derbyshire and, well, anywhere I’m needed, below are some summer wedding themes I’ve seen, heard and just plain imagined. I hope you find some inspiration here for your own big day.

Summer Wedding Themes 1 – English Country Garden

Starting with a classic for lovers of tradition, the English country garden is a favourite summer wedding theme that delivers something for everyone.

A backdrop of pavilions, shady groves, rustling foxgloves, fountains and box mazes could create an understated atmosphere that puts your guests at ease. Keep an indoor area on standby, however. The English weather rarely says “I do”.

Summer wedding themes a couple kissing on wall next to river mauve bouquet blue suit Wedding photographer Folkestone Tim Hensel copyright

Head to your local library for inspiration and rekindle your childhood memories. Leaf through the pages of classic literature. The Secret Garden, Magic Faraway Tree, Alice in Wonderland, Victorian literature and children’s poetry could throw up some unique ideas for your venue, favours and flowers.

Settings: Mazes, gardens, stately homes, country parks, crumbling amphitheatres, pump rooms.

Venue Inspiration: (Yes I’m based in Kent, but I’ve included venues from all over the UK for inspo) Liverpool’s Sefton Palm House, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Edinburgh’s Secret Herb Garden, Jarrow Hall in Tyneside, Hever Castle Gardens in Kent, Cheltenham’s Pitville Pump Room.

Favours: Mini elderflower/rhubarb/flavoured gins, home-made flower-scented lip balm, ribbon-tied childhood sweets (sugar-dusted bonbons, pastel-coloured sugared almonds).

Table Centrepieces: Porcelain teapots, jam jars, painted watering cans, cuckoo clocks, tiered cake stands.

Colour Schemes: Blues and peaches, greens and pinks, lilac and cream.

Summer Wedding Themes 2 – Rustic Coastal Camping

Ok, hear me out. Camping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But nowadays, it no longer equals going back to Girl Guide, Boy Scout-type misery. Who wants to spend their wedding night shivering in a bivouac while lying on a hedgehog?

This is the age of glamping and a trend for back-to-basics ceremonies. It’s easier than ever to find venues offering yurts, barns, domes and eco huts. Convenience is merged with the rustic by touches such as wood-burning stoves, full beds and mattresses, rugs, cushions and cutlery. In short, you can have all the romance of the outdoors, minus the discomfort.

Camping, coastal and/or forest-themed weddings keep the focus on simplicity. They can be more about spending time with family and friends, rather than bells and whistles. If this appeals, a rustic camping theme could give you a back-to-basics, sensory and beautiful wedding day.

Summer wedding themes a couple stands on a rock in their wedding clothes while waves break behind them.

Settings: Coastlines, forests, sand dunes, beach huts.

Venue Inspiration: Cornwall’s Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Fforest Coast at Penbryn Beach in north Wales, Barnutopia in Shropshire, Wilderness Weddings in Canterbury, Kent, Roulotte Retreat in the Scottish borders, beach or treehouse weddings overlooking Bass Rock, East Lothian.

Favours: Mini torches or headlamps, candles, tin cups, camping survival kits, mini succulents, marshmallows for open fires, home-made oat cakes.

Table Centrepieces: Driftwood, tree trunk cross-sections, stones, shells, macramé, upcycled tins.

Colour Schemes: Beach hut pastels, ocean blues and sandy yellows.

Summer Wedding Themes 3 – Vintage Knees-Up

Vintage summer wedding themes have become popular, but still leave plenty of room for individuality. With so much inspiration out there, it’s little wonder why.

Have fun while saving your budget by plundering the attic for thrifty threads from days gone by. Experiment with victory rolls, ¾-length wedding dresses, neckerchiefs, statement suits and horn-rimmed spectacles. Dotting your wedding venue with memorabilia such as battered suitcases and faded analogue typewriters can also add atmosphere and character.

You could also have a lot of fun with the reception. Give your guests a shindig to remember by hiring grammarphone DJs, lindyhop dancing instructors or swing bands.

Settings: Former dance halls, faded seafront hotels, art deco cinemas, lidos.

Venue Inspiration: Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom, Manchester’s Victoria Baths, Brockwell Lido, Monmouth’s Savoy Theatre, the Old Lighthouse, Dungeness, Kent.

Favours: Mini vinyl records, chewing gum, spiral notebooks.

Table Centrepieces: Analogue cameras, battered handbags full of flowers or sweets, sundae glasses filled with retro sweets.

Colour Schemes: Browns and mustards, polka dots, pillar box red, sky blues.



Summer Wedding Theme 4 – Woodland Creatures Meets Star Wars

Ok, this one I invented – foxes, flowers and picnics, but also light sabres and kidnappings. Maybe not? I’ll stick to what I do best and stay behind the lens then. As you were.

Tim Hensel.