Most of us have fairly traditional ideas and images in mind when it comes to weddings. We imagine the white dress, the black tux, the flawlessly arranged flowers at every turn, and a fashionable, formal set of onlookers. It’s a beautiful, tried and true setup. However, many couples also like to put a twist on the popular image and establish a broader theme for a wedding’s fashion or style, such as a masquerade or a “black tie” formal atmosphere.

One such theme that may be a bit less common, but which can be a great deal of fun for a warm weather wedding, is to design the wedding in the style of a high profile horse race. This may sound strange if you’ve never watched or attended a major horse race, but the best of them tend to be full to bursting with exciting fashion, wonderful drinks, and intoxicatingly festive atmospheres. So with that in mind, here are seven tips for designing a horse race themed wedding!

Build A Grandstand

This is an ambitious tip, but also the one most effective in cultivating a race day feel to your wedding. Horse races occur on tracks with grandstands running alongside them, and depending on the size of your wedding this can be a fun setup to imitate! Instead of sitting with their backs to the bride as she walks toward the altar, your guests can watch her walk down the “track” toward the groom, and then witness the ceremony (on a miniature grandstand of course).

Bring In The Champagne

Champagne is featured at most weddings, but you can help to create your race day atmosphere by including it during the ceremony, rather than just the reception. A popular luxury at racing events, champagne is great for a cheerful, outdoor, warm weather wedding, and will certainly keep things light and relaxed!

Suggest Oversized Hats

If there’s one signature element of race day fashion, it’s the oversized, elaborate hats many women wear to the events. Consider the upcoming Cheltenham Festival races in the UK as an example, and look back at some of the noteworthy looks that we’ve seen at the event’s popular “Ladies Day” fashion exposition in previous years. Essentially, the more elaborate the better when it comes to race day hats, and this can be a very fun aspect of your wedding.

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Offer Fashion Photo Shoots

For high-profile races, it’s not uncommon to see people (sometimes even celebrities) posing for photo shoots to show off their race day fashion. Photos are commonplace at weddings anyway, but you can easily design a race day style photo shoot for guests to enjoy. Consider putting up ad boards as we see every year at the United States’ Kentucky Derby and having guests stop by for photos!

Banners, Signs & Ribbons

The majority of high profile horse races have decorations consisting largely of banners, signs and ribbons, not to mention outstanding floral displays. Flowers will always work nicely in blending a wedding with race day style, but placing ribbons, banners, etc. along the aisles, at the altar, or around the reception can be a nice touch. Consider the national colours for these touches, as that’s often how it’s done at the races.

Create A Betting Scene

Betting is a major part of any high profile horse race. Just using the aforementioned Cheltenham Festival as an example, racing fans can look at web-based news and odds site Betfair for weeks in advance, keeping tabs on updated odds on top horses. There are even news bits and tips on which horses to bet on! This is a bit extreme for a wedding, but it can nevertheless be fun to create an amusing betting scene. You can come up with options like which bridesmaid might catch the bouquet, which way the bride and groom will lean to kiss, and so on. All of these can make things much more entertaining for the crowd.



Finally, the broadest but perhaps most enjoyable tip: bring in the accessories! Anything goes in race day fashion, but going a bit overboard is encouraged and can be a blast with formal attire. For men, it might mean the groomsmen are wearing pocket watches, or that pocket squares are encouraged for all guests. For women, going beyond the big hats mentioned previously, it might mean anything from a sparkling brooch to a particularly noteworthy pair of heels. Invite your guests to have fun with it!

All in all, it’s certainly a unique idea for a wedding theme. But it can actually be a great deal of fun, particularly for a warm-weather wedding!