Summer is finally here and that can only mean one thing… wedding season is in full swing!
Whether you’re getting hitched abroad, or are just a couple of wanderlusters at heart, a travel theme can be a fun and simple way to personalise your special day.
My partner and I tied the knot in 2015 and really enjoyed coming up with adventure-inspired details to surprise our guests throughout the day.
We did most of the crafting ourselves and I’m going to share some top tips and advice on how to create the travel-themed wedding of your dreams… without breaking the budget.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to share some of our own travel-themed wedding snaps for inspiration. Huge thanks to Wedding Photographer Bristol – Albert Palmer (and all-round genius), who managed to capture the detail and emotion of our day so perfectly.
Pinterest has completely transformed how people plan their weddings these days and should be your essential first stop for ideas and inspiration. From styling the venue to choosing an original wedding gift, there is literally nothing that Pinterest can’t rustle up. Set yourself up a wedding board, start pinning… and be prepared to lose some serious hours of your life!
Rock My Wedding is also a great place to read up on real-life weddings and to find out about recommended suppliers in your area. Do a quick search on “travel” to have a peek at other couples’ travel-themed weddings for ideas and inspiration.
Ebay is an oldie but a goodie for finding bargain buys on all your DIY needs – from decorative luggage tags to custom-made stamps, you can source some great travel-inspired purchases if you’re willing to put in a bit of time and research.
Preloved is also worth a browse to find some great value pre-owned items and decorations. Top tip: List your own used items for FREE, after the wedding, to earn yourself a bit of money back!
From save the dates right through to the after-party, here are some fun and easy ways to add a hint of wanderlust to your big day…
This is your chance to give your guests their first glimpse into the theme of the day and there are lots of original ways to add a touch of adventure to your wedding stationery. Old typewriter fonts and airmail style edging can go a long way to creating a simple but effective vintage travel-themed look.
We used Kraft luggage tags and twine to create rustic “save the date” invites. A pack of 150 luggage tags will set you back by just £8 from Hobbycraft and these can be used for all sorts of other details, including place cards and seating charts.
For our formal invitations, we worked with local designer From Sally With Love to create beautiful bespoke wedding stationery. I really can’t recommend Sally enough for her friendly and creative approach to the whole process – from designing beautiful, tailor-made stamps to hand-drawn maps, she really brought all our ideas to life.
As guests arrive at your venue, why not surprise them with a bespoke distance sign-post that pays tribute to some of your favourite destinations or places that are important to you as a couple? You can be as creative as you want with this – just don’t forget to signpost them to the bar!
Finding the right readings for your wedding ceremony can be tough – I searched high and low to find something alternative that captured our adventurous spirit without sounding cheesy!
In the end, we happened to stumble across Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road‘, which quite perfectly summed up everything we wanted to say in the most beautiful and poetic way.
“Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we both shall live?”
Other travel-inspired readings that are just plain lovely include Dr Seuss, ‘Oh, the Places you’ll go!’ and the beautifully written ‘Patagonia’ by Kate Clanchy.
Any couple that loves travel enough to want a travel-themed wedding, will probably also want a travel-themed gift! Arranging surprise getaways can be a pricey addition on top of everything else, so why not keep it simple with a personalised travel-inspired gift that your partner can treasure forever?
A framed print or canvass of your partner’s favourite travel photo can be a lovely, thoughtful way to capture your shared passion. Photobox often have deals on prints and can bring your photos to life within a week.
Etsy also provide a wide range of beautifully hand-crafted gift ideas, from watercolour city skyline and map prints to personalised passport holders and keepsake boxes.
If you’d rather stick with a traditional gift idea, such as a watch for him, or jewellery for her, why not personalise your gift with an engraving of an inspirational travel quote or a date and destination that is particularly important to you?
It’s all in the detail, as they say, and a travel-themed wedding gives you free reign to add in some alternative and creative touches to the overall look and feel of your wedding day.
To start with, we stocked up on some vintage maps from local markets (I sourced ours from Beware of the Leopard Books at St Nick’s Market in Bristol) One easy DIY trick is to buy yourself a heart craft punch (available from Hobbycraft for £4) and create your own heart-shaped map confetti, which you can use to decorate the guest tables or wherever else you want!
We also used these maps to create vintage confetti cones for our guests, as well as map-bound mache letters of our initials (£2.20 each from Hobbycraft).
I fell instantly in love with Alicia Bock’s adventure-inspired card collection and displayed them in a beautiful, shabby chic, heart-shaped frame from Ebay (£12.95). Top tip: These cards are great to keep and frame afterwards too!
We worked with local supplier The Vintage Hire in Gloucestershire to hire out a range of other beautiful and unique items, such as vintage explorer-themed books and globes. This worked out so much cheaper than buying these item ourselves and took some of the hassle out of the planning process.
The Card Station
“Less is more” when it comes to your card station and we hired out some beautiful, vintage suitcases to hold our cards and gifts, personalised with luggage tags and bunting.
As a nod towards our honeymoon, we decorated the inside of the suitcase with some vintage Hawaiian postcards; a bargain at just £6 for a pack of 10 from Ebay.
The Seating Plan
My partner had popped the question at the Grand Canyon 18 months earlier, so it seemed only fitting that our seating plan should somehow reflect our All-American road-trip where our wedding journey had all began.
We kept it simple by enlarging and framing a map of Western USA and using luggage tags with red and white airmail twine to pin a number of iconic locations as our table names.
For the guest tables themselves, we used a free app called Polamatic to transform our holiday snaps into cute polaroid pictures, which we used to identify each table name. We decorated the rest of the tables with jam-jars of wild flowers, mercury glass candle holders and wooden lanterns to create a cosy, rustic look.
We were lucky enough to have a bridesmaid / baker extraordinaire in our wedding crew who baked up a delicious three-tiered chocolate oreo fudge cake with vanilla icing for our wedding cake!
To add a hint of travel inspiration to her heavenly creation, we crafted our own vintage map bunting, topped off with a single rose for a fresh and simple look.
The Guest Book:
We scrapped the traditional guest book idea for something much more fun and asked our guests to suggest an idea or adventure for our bucket list that we could complete together in our married lives.
From swimming with sharks to going on an Arctic safari, we absolutely loved reading everyone’s suggestions and are slowly working our way through the list! (not quite sure that travelling to the Moon is doable just yet – but, hey, it’s good to have a challenge!)
Top tip: This can also make for a creative 1st wedding anniversary gift. I got back in touch with our lovely stationery guru From Sally With Love and asked her to create an info-graphic print of all our bucket list ideas that we could frame in our home. A perfect gift for ‘paper’!
By the time dusk falls, your guests may have had one too many proseccos to remember all the details… but there are still some simple ways to add a bit of fun and creativity to your evening shenanigans!
We were jetting off to Hawaii the next day on our honeymoon, so to get everyone in the “aloha” spirit, we bought some colourful hula garlands from Ebay (£3.99 for 12). These went down a treat with our guests and made for some great, colourful party photos!
So there you have it, 10 simple ways to add a touch of adventure to your big day. Are you planning a wedding and want some advice about how to incorporate your love of travel into your special day? I’d love to hear from you!
All photos by “Wedding Photographer Bristol – Albert Palmer” – check out Albert’s blog to see more of his stunning work.