Today's Bride

Top Trends for a Tropical Wedding


The tropical wedding has become one of the most popular themes this summer! From big, bold flowers and bright colors to backyard luau barbecue and games, we love the excitement of this theme! If you want to have a destination wedding right here in Ohio, find out what’s needed to create the perfect tropical wedding!


We often say that the invitations are the first impression guests have of your wedding, so you want to make a statement! Let them in on the theme so they have an idea of what to expect when it comes to attire and food.

Tropical Wedding | Beacon Lane | As seen on

Beacon Lane

Bright colors are a must when throwing a tropical wedding. You want to give off the vibe that you are living the island life. Incorporate bamboo, colorful flowers, palm leaves, and tropical fruits in your designs!

Tropical Wedding | Sanaz Photography | As seen on

Sanaz Photography

Your theme should be consistent throughout your stationery. The save-the-dates, invitations, programs, escort cards, and menu cards should all have a similar feel and design aesthetic. Talk to a stationery specialist to create a consistent look that exudes excitement and adventure!


Tropical Wedding | Allison Kuhn Photography | As seen on

Allison Kuhn Photography

A lot of times, couples seem to forget about decorating their ceremony space. When you’re having a themed wedding, it’s extremely important that every aspect of that wedding conveys the theme. When setting up your ceremony, choose wooden or bamboo chairs that are reminiscent of the beach, and line the aisle with magnolia flower petals, sand, or palm leaves!

ceremony arch

Tropical Wedding | Krista Mason Photography | As seen on

Krista Mason Photography

When you’re getting married in Ohio, it can be a bit difficult to evoke an ocean-like vibe (unless you’re on Lake Erie, of course). Creating or renting a unique arch and customizing it to scream “tropical” is a great way to portray your theme in a big way. The small details are important when it comes to decor, but having one big piece – like a ceremony arch – can convey your theme in a more clear and obvious way. Create an arch using driftwood or bamboo, or cover a rented arch in ferns and palm branches or draped white or aqua fabric. This will become a statement piece for the theme and direction of your wedding decor.

Flowers and Big Leaves

Of course, one of the most important aspects to creating that tropical vibe is the flowers. Islands like Hawaii and Maldives are bursting with bright colors in every shade. There’s no need for a color scheme with a tropical wedding; every color will be represented.

Tropical Wedding | Rustic White Photography | As seen on

Rustic White Photography

Tropical Wedding | Paula Player Photography | As seen on

Paula Player Photography

Choose common island flowers like Protea, Hibiscus, Alpinia, Calatheas, Frangipani, Lilies, and Magnolias. Before falling in love with an arrangement like this, you should know that having a bouquet of flowers that aren’t in season can get costly. Talk to your Florist to see how much you can expect to pay, or if they have any cheaper replacements that would embrace your tropical theme.

Tropical Wedding | Krista Mason Photography | As seen on

Krista Mason Photography

Big leaves are a vital piece to creating that tropical vibe. If you do nothing else to convey your theme, you should incorporate palm branches and philodendron leaves into your decor.

Table settings

The first step in setting the perfect reception table is the base. While renting and using bare wooden tables gives an organic feel to the event, white linens create clean crisp lines and a blank canvas, and may be a cheaper option.

Tropical Wedding | Aaron and Jillian Photography | As seen on

Aaron and Jillian Photography

Tropical Wedding | Krista Mason Photography | As seen on

Krista Mason Photography

From there comes the dishware itself. Gold and copper accents are more popular right now than silver or platinum. Plus, they fit with the tropical theme well, as the color and gleam mirror the glow of a sunset. Use big philodendron leaves or a bamboo plate as a charger, and keep the rest simple with clean, white plates.

Tropical Wedding | Sarah Street Photography | As seen on

Sarah Street Photography

If you have assigned seating, add a sea shell or a leaf with calligraphy names on each plate. If you’re allowing guests to sit where they please, consider a menu card or a colorful, origami napkin. Finish the table off with a simple centerpiece. Because the tropical theme is so loud by itself, your accent and decor pieces should be subtle and thoughtful. Place a bowl of sand and sea shells or water with floating magnolia flowers at the center, or add a bright pop of color with sea glass vases.

Guest interaction

Tropical Wedding | Sara Richardson Photography | As seen on

Sara Richardson Photography

More important than any decor piece or bouquet is the celebration itself. You want to enjoy your wedding reception and celebrate your new marriage with your closest friends and family! If you want to extend your theme to the reception activities, we have a few fun ideas.

First, create a unique guest book! An Adirondack chair or surf board offer plenty of space for your guests to leave sentimental messages and are object you’ll use – and reread – often! You can also provide tropical-inspired photo booth props – like coconut shells, hula skirts, and leis – to create a memorable and hilarious scrapbook.

If you’re getting married outside, designate a dance floor by surrounding it with tiki lights! They’ll give off a beautiful glow and convince your guests they’re partying in Hawai’i. You can also have a few big bonfires (with permission from the city and venue) where your guests can sit and mingle.

Want to make this the event of the year? Hire professional hula dancers or haka performers for live entertainment!

While this list is not conclusive, we hope it will inspire you to create your own ideas! After all, this is your wedding. Customize the essential must-haves to a tropical wedding – like bold colors, big leaves, and bright flowers – to create a wedding theme that’s all your own.



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