How to Plan an Ancient Roman-Themed Wedding
Looking for a unique wedding theme? Why not to get inspired by the most powerful, influential classical empire that existed from 750 BC until almost 450 AD, the ancient Rome. Romans influenced many aspects of our modern society, from architecture, religion, democracy and even weddings. Yes, you read it right, weddings! So many customs that the Romans used have carried down to today. From the engagement parties to the wedding cake, special dress for the bride and veil, Romans had it all. The bride was also like today picked up and carried into her new family’s house by her husband, cute right?
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Today, we will be talking about the Roman weddings and customs, and how they influenced today’s weddings. But that’s not all, we will be also helping you with planning your Roman themed wedding. From the wedding cake, to the venue, to the decorations and bridal dress, we covered it all!
Great Bath by Amy Sanders Photography [photo: www.bathvenues.co.uk]
The ancient Romans were deeply rooted in tradition, and wedding was no exception. It was followed by a very strict format. The ceremony was always at the home of the bride’s parents, where her father, two close friends and the priest would celebrate the marriage, and sacrifice the animal.
Today, you don’t need to sacrifice the animal, but you can marry on the most beautiful locations in Rome. From the Saint Peter’s basilica, to the ceremony over the Roman Forum…
Are you on a budget? Don’t worry, we found the perfect location for you. Just a couple of hours from London and dating back nearly 2000 years, The Roman Baths and Pump Room offers some of the most stunning and iconic wedding venues in the UK. It consists of the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious empires of the ancient world. Best of all, it can accommodate anything from an intimate ceremony for two, to a large reception for several hundred guests.
2. Bridesmaid Dress
Bridesmaid dress [photo: First Bridal Bouquet]
Like today, Roman brides also had bridesmaids. One of their main duties was to get rid of the evil spirits. To do that, they were wearing similar dresses to the bride’s. Unable to tell which woman was the bride, the spirits would leave them alone. The bridesmaids mostly opted for light pink and light lilac color, they were really popular back then, like millennial pink today.
If you really want to follow ancient Roman fashion exactly, you will need at least five bridesmaids, in light pink dresses, with an up-do hairstyles that look similar to the bride’s, and a small bouquet also in a light pastel color to match their dress.
We found the perfect one at First Bridal Boutique. It is simple, elegant and lightweight. The dress features sweetheart neckline, spaghetti straps and off-the shoulder sleeves which creates a soft and romantic look atop a long extra length skirt.
3. Roman Crowns And Wreaths
Laurel Wreath [photo: Amore Bride]
The flower crown is probably the most popular bridal accessory, especially when it comes to boho brides. But this trend is not so “new” as you may think. Wearing flowers and leaves as a headpiece dates back to the ancient classical world. Firstly worn by the Greeks, then by the Romans, flower crowns were worn for festivities and celebrations. They were made from a variety of materials such as myrtle, ivy leaves, flowers, gold, silver.
Probably the most popular is laurel wreath. This wreath is a symbol of victory and honor, and was originally used to crown winners of Olympic Games as prizes.
Having these kind of wreaths would be such a unique detail on your wedding. We found the perfect one on Etsy by Amore Bride.
4. Wedding Decorations
Wedding Decor [photo: www.modwedding.com by Andie Freeman Photography]
If you can’t have your wedding in Rome, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a charming Roman atmosphere. If possible, rent a tall Roman columns, or if you are creative enough, you can make them yourself from large cardboard tubes (there are plenty of great examples of this on Pinterest ). Drap the venue in white cloth and have cushions instead of chairs. We really love the idea of the naming the tables after Roman Gods and Goddesses, it is so unique…. and for the centrepieces you can use alabaster statues of the relevant God surrounded with draping ivy and grapes, cool right?
Wedding Decor [photo: Wedding Chicks by Sara D’Ambra Photography]
Another centerpiece idea would be to use large bowls of fruit: apples, pears, grapes, etc.
5. Groom Outfit
You can’t have a Roman wedding without a toga. It was the mark of the male Roman citizen, and favoured dress of Romulus, Rome’s founder. It was usually made of a white woolen piece of fabric, which was carefully folded and draped on the body. There are few types of toga, and every type represented a citizen’s rank in the civil hierarchy. Togas were required to be worn by all citizens for formal public events like weddings, festivals, or the gladiatorial games.
And it would be the perfect as a groom outfit for Roman themed wedding. Opt for a floor-length tunic or toga, trimmed in gold, purple or red. Add Roman sandals for footwear and a laurel wreath for a headpiece. And it will look amazing!
6. Entertainment Ideas
Entertainment Wedding [photo: pixabay]
Once the ancient Roman wedding ceremony was over, the wedding party would begin with meal and music, just like today. Jugglers, magicians, acrobats, poets were in charge for entertainment and instruments like lute and lyre for music.
For your wedding you can have musicians playing during the meal (think flute or guitar!). With beautiful sounds of harp and guitars playing in the background while holding a glass of most delicious wine, you and your guests will feel just like Caesar.
7. Jewelry, Jewelry, Jewelry…
Unique wedding ring by Jim Dailing
Roman women took really good care about their looks and gave a lot of attention to it, so it’s no wonder that they used jewelry as their main accessory. But we have to state that it was not just used for making them look more pretty. In ancient Rome, jewelry was more than that. Romans believed that jewelry protects from evil forces, and every shape and material had different meanings. Each piece was differently made and brought to perfection. Wealthier women even additionally decorated their dresses with buckles and brooches.
For the most part, they wore jewelry made of aquamarine, opal and emerald. They mostly adorned earrings, necklaces and rings. Their love for accessories was so grand, that they even used pearls for decorating their dresses. Because of all that, a big emphasis is put on jewelry when it comes to ancient Rome. Earrings, bracelets and rings are a must. Choose the ones that fit the theme, made from gold and different rocks.
Makeup by War Paint International
As mentioned before, Roman women took really good care of their looks. They made creams and other cosmetics. They even had a book in which was described how to properly apply make up. Although they bleached their hair with various concoctions and use a pen to emphases their lips and eyes, we definitely don’t recommend it. Nor using their methods. We suggest neutral make up, in which skin looks healthy and sunlit, and eyes accented with fake eyelashes and eyeliner. Use bronzer to achieve a sunlit look. Accent your lips in natural shade, or with trendy lip gloss. In case you will have a professional make up artist taking care of you, don’t forget to inform him/her about your wedding theme and make sure you have examples of your desired look ready.
9. Wedding Cake
Wedding Cake [photo: Carrie’s Cakes]
Although we don’t really know what kind of cakes they had in ancient Rome, we believe that they were sensational. They consumed a lot of fruit like grapes and figs, so we assume that they were the main ingredients along honey and olive oil. As for the ancient Rome theme, we always somehow link it with gold, golden patterns, golden laurel crowns…So we suggest something in gold color. A perfect example is a cake from Carry’s Cakes. It is made beautifully, and it reminds us of ancient Rome.
We offer you another great idea. Painting the cake with ancient Rome theme. Interesting, right? You can find great examples of this cake on find your cake website. Laura Ciccarese does it perfectly.
10. Wedding Dress
Wedding dress [photo: www.kateedmondsonbridal.co.uk]
Light, relaxed and airily. Choose finest and sensual materials (satin, silk). If you followed the wedding of Beatrice Borromeo and Prince Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Hannover and her second husband Stefan Casiraghi, then you saw how Beatrice looked like an empress from ancient Rome. Gorgeous wedding dress, flat sandals and loose hair decorated with flowers. She made a perfect impression. This is the reason we suggest you opt for lighter materials. Kate Edmonson has a perfect dress in this style named Lillana. It has a perfect deep neckline, and stressed waist. There won’t be a need for too many accessories with this dress. Only loose hair decorated with flowers and ancient Rome styled jewelry. Perfect!
11. Wedding Invitations
Invitations [photo: www.invitationsbydawn.com ]
In a sea of different invitation designs, it’s always a problem to find the one. It’s important to stick to the theme when choosing. We suggest designs that will remind of of ancient Rome. Golden laurel leaf, fruits like grapes and figs, or olive branches. These elements will highlight your wedding theme in a subtle way. website called Invitations by dawn caught our eye with this perfect example. Watercolor greenery is a minimal invitation printed on a high quality paper. It is minimal, it has only two branches and a beautiful font. And we must admit that the price is really good.
12. Welcome Wedding Sign
Welcome sign [photo: Etsy]
For the last few years having a welcome sign is a must! Not only that you welcome your guests with it, but it’s a great decoration detail as well. With ancient Rome wedding it’s always good to use olive branches. A combination of gold and green always looks great and will fit perfectly with the theme and the venue. You can make the signs yourselves if you’re creative, or you can order them on various sites. It’s important that is unique, handmade, and that it reflects your personality.
13. Personalized Wine Labels
Cool Wine labels [photo: Etsy]
We all know that wine is the oldest drink, and that Romans adored it. We can freely say that in ancient Rome wine was flowing as much as rivers. They left a lot of writings about wine, and amphoras throughout the Mediterranean, and they drank it as much as 2 liters per day! They mixed the wine with water, various spices, and they even added snow. Wine was worshiped, but also available to the poor. And because of the Roman’s love for wine and the wedding theme, we presume that the wine will flow like rivers at the wedding too. So we suggest to make personalized wine labels. Write your names, wedding date, and wine type while following the theme. Not only that wine will make them happy, but the labels will leave your guests speechless. Our recommendation: website evermine.
14. Scent of the Wedding
Natural Scented Candle Trio [photo: www.sarahhornebotanicals.com ]
We can achieve a lot with a scent. It can bring us back to a place where something impactful or nice happened to us. For example, a smell of mother’s cakes on Christmas morning, a smell of the sea when you first got into it, or scent of a person you love, and the first time you kissed. Right? Because of that, we suggest that you pick out a scent for your wedding that will always remind you of it. And not just you, but your guests. Rome reminds us of summer, fruit, fresh oranges, so we suggest Sarah Horne candles. Not only they smell beautiful, but they look great as well.
If you're on a budget, read our article 17 Creative and Budget-friendly DIY Wedding Ideas to help you save money on your wedding.
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