cassette tape with 22the 80s22 written on it

'80s-Themed Wedding Ideas: 29 Options We Love

Nov 6, 2023
By Wedding Spot

Do you dream of disco balls, wide leg pants, and finger pointing on the dance floor? Then you need to boogie away from the more traditional wedding themes and plan a totally rad 80s themed wedding instead! In this guide, we’ve included 48 ‘80s-themed wedding ideas for everything from decor to food to entertainment to help you plan the perfect party. Get ready to get jiggy with it, courtesy of our in-house and guest expert tips!

29 ‘80s-themed wedding ideas for your dream day

As we’re sure you know by now, weddings don’t just happen. Countless hours go into creating these special days, and the same can be said for themed weddings. Whether you and your soon-to-be spouse are ‘80s babies, met at an ‘80s-themed bar, or just really like the decade, keep reading to discover a wide range of ideas to help bring your vision to life. We cover ideas for invitations, decor, the reception, your attire, and even the venue as a whole.

We’ve compiled the following tips, ideas, and suggestions based on interviews from wedding experts, our own experience with 80s-themed disco parties, and some fabulous examples we’ve seen across the world wide web. Pick one (or a whole bunch) to fill out your theme! 

How to plan an 80s-themed wedding

1. Lean heavily into decor. To kick off our first handful of 80s themed wedding ideas, Wedding Spot spoke to John Anderson, the Co-Founder and Executive Editor for Life Line Wedding via email to get a fresh perspective in the mix. Here’s what he had to say:

“An 80s-themed wedding is a fun and unique way to celebrate your special day!” Anderson says. “To make sure your wedding looks and feels like a real blast from the past, start by setting the scene with classic 80s decor.”

You can start with the basics. “Balloons, banners, and other ingenious decorations can also be used to create an ‘80s atmosphere in any venue,” explains Anderson. Just be sure to add “chromatic prints and bold colors for that iconic 1980's flair.”

Also, we know from personal experience as party planners that disco balls can be notoriously hard to find and source. So opt for mirrored touches such as mirrored flower vases or centerpieces to save yourself the headache!

2. Enjoy popular foods from the decade. “When it comes to food,” notes Anderson, “there are plenty of delicious dishes that perfectly embody the '80s spirit. Think retro appetizers such as baked brie topped with apricot preserves, or cheese logs rolled in pecans or walnuts—definitely worthy of celebrating a special occasion!”

You can also accompany these with themed napkins that have fun 80s prints or find some authentically vintage ones on Etsy.

Serving a full meal at the reception? “For entrées consider serving fried chicken fingers dipped in honey mustard dip or shrimp cocktail served with lemon wedges on the side.”

And for dessert? “Classic vanilla cupcakes decorated with brightly colored sprinkles.”

Tia Mula, a wedding vendor and founder of the wedding and lifestyle blog LIVE&WED, told Wedding Spot that an 80s arcade-themed snack bar would be a huge hit as well! “Offer up some of the decade's favorites like popcorn, nachos, and icy slushies.” We suggest offering this up later in the evening as a midnight snack or as a DIY-style buffet for the kiddos during dinner.

3. Ask for bodacious attire. One of the common pitfalls of themed weddings is forgetting to communicate your expected dress code with your guests. According to Anderson, “guests should be encouraged to dress up according to their favorite 80’s style: think shoulder pads, bright neons, glittery fabrics and glamorous hairstyles!”

If they’re really feeling stuck suggest some “time-honored classics like puffy sleeves dresses for women (paired with statement jewelry) add that perfect touch of nostalgia for this decade. As for men—ask them all [to] wear bow ties or suspenders, along with high-waisted pants [with] stirrup socks tucked under loafers.”

By sharing these tips, your wedding guests will feel more comfortable dressing to theme, meaning you’ll get some extra fun wedding party photos out of it! “And don't forget about a pure white cardboard sneaker shoe cover either!” says Anderson.

4. Add vintage entertainment to your reception. So what can you really do at an 80s-themed wedding to bring in that nostalgic feeling? Anderson says it takes two elements to set the tone: music and photo booths.

“To really spice things up at your '80s themed wedding, have some throwback 80s music playing throughout the night from artists like Madonna, Prince, Cyndi Lauper and The Go-Gos. Everyone will know how serious you are about embracing this nostalgic theme!”

Also, “a photo booth complete with props is another nice addition—it'll make sure all attendees will remember this special evening forever!” swears Anderson. Disco balls are great but don’t forget about boomboxes, red and blue 3D glasses, and the colorful headbands you know Jane Fonda would enjoy.

5. Surprise guests with vintage sweets. You can bring back some iconic childhood snacks like Fruit Roll-Ups, Tangy-Taffy and gummy bears. Or look for sodas created in the 80s as a fun soft drink at the reception. Vintage soda stores like the Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles offer blast from the past flavors and rare beverages that could bring that extra special something to your themed wedding!

6. Incorporate 80s slang. This can be used anywhere you need to write text for your wedding. Think invitations, websites, bar signage and more! Create some custom signage with phrases like ‘Totally Radical’ or ‘Let’s Get Physical’. Also feel free to steal some slang when naming your custom cocktails. 

‘80s-themed wedding ideas for invitations

7. Cassette mixtape paper invitation. We are in love with these ‘80s cassette mixtape invites. A nod to the music decade, these realistic cassette tapes are a super-fun way to introduce your guests to your quirky wedding theme.

8. Playable cassette mixtape. Take it a step further by using an actual, playable cassette tape as your wedding invitation. Create a killer 1980s playlist, your wedding night playlist, or just some of your favorite songs as a couple.

Decor ideas for your ‘80s-themed wedding

9. Album cover backdrops. Consider creating a backdrop for photos using old-school VHS tapes or album covers from iconic singers from this era. Guests can pose with the celebrities featured or you can customize a photo cutout for your friends and family to stick their heads through and pretend to be some of the most iconic figures from the decade!

10. Use neon signs. Neon signs are a really fun way to add ‘80s flair without being over the top. There are many companies that have pre-made neon signs with phrases like “Till death” and “Happily ever after,” or offer options to customize the text with your last name or wedding hashtag!

Also, if your venue features some bright colors, but you want to amp up the neon even more, simply add some bright, colored LED lights or LED candles around the venue. They’re 100% venue-friendly and reusable long after the celebration has ended.

11. Try color blocking. The 1980s had a lot of bold colors that were emphasized with color blocking as opposed to blending. Pull this fashion trend into your decor with your table linens, escort cards, and more.

12. Limit your color palette. To avoid your wedding looking like a themed birthday party, limit your color palette to two bold main colors rather than splashing neon everywhere. It will elevate the aesthetic and make sure it’s wedding-appropriate rather than costume party (unless that’s the vibe you want, of course!).

13. I want my MTV. With the creation of MTV in 1981, the decade was centered around music and music videos, so be sure to incorporate music into your decor. Whether it’s cassette escort cards, boombox coasters, vintage MTV logos, cassette centerpieces, or anything in between, add some musical elements to really elevate your ‘80s theme.

14. Utilize geometric details. Art of the 1980s used a lot of geometric shapes, bold colors, and color blocking, so you will absolutely want to incorporate these into your wedding decor. Consider adding funky shapes to your tablescape, patterns into your linens, or even a geometric dance floor.

15. Go with arcade vibes. In addition to music, arcade and video games were super popular in the 1980s. From Pacman to Space Invaders to Centipede, add some 8-bit style images to your wedding decor, napkins, signage, cake, etc.

‘80s-themed wedding ideas for the reception

16. Have an 80s Prom-themed reception. A theme within a theme? You betcha! Dustin Sitar from The Groom Club told Wedding Spot that an 80s Prom-themed reception is a great way to celebrate in style.

“Instead of traditional tables and chairs, you could have guests seated at small round tables with balloon centerpieces, just like at a high school prom,” says Sitar.

“The bride and groom could have their own special prom king and queen table. For entertainment, you could hire an 80s cover band or DJ to play classic hits from the decade.”

And don’t forget to get your guests in on it! “Guests could also be encouraged to dress up in 80s prom attire, complete with big hair, shoulder pads, and colorful tuxedos. It would be a fun and nostalgic way to celebrate the couple's love while also paying homage to the 80s.”

And just think of how amazing the photos will be!

17. Do a glow stick send-off. Wedding Spot also chatted with wedding planner Amber Hansen, who suggested that the grooviest possible post-reception send-off is a glow stick filled salute! Use a glowstick wedding arch or have a DIY glow stick bar everyone can dive into. 

18. Have a vintage pizza party vibe. During the reception as your evening is coming to a close, have a bunch of pizzas delivered as a midnight snack for guests. This is when you can use the more camp-y looking plates and cups to create the ultimate pizza party.

19. Create a video game lounge. Create a wedding experience your guests will never forget with a video game lounge. You can choose to set up vintage Nintendos or bring in arcade games. Either way, we promise this will blow your guest’s minds and bring them back to the decade.

20. Hire an ‘80s cover band. Hiring an ‘80s cover band for your reception music will immediately create the perfect nostalgic atmosphere. Make sure to interview the band before hiring them, read their reviews, and even watch any YouTube videos they have of their performances.

21. Use cars as props. Pretend you’re in the 80s classic Back to the Future by renting a car for your reception that is a blast from the past! Classic 80s cars work as great photo props before your reception or even during a cocktail hour. You may even want to drive the car away from your reception at twilight to capture some moody and romantic photos on film. 

22. Make any cake 80s. When it comes to your wedding cake, it's always a great idea to opt for something that ties in with the look and feel of your special day. You could go for a more classic cake design that celebrates memories from the era. Think classic cartoon characters like Rainbow Brite or He-Man paired with bold colours that give your cake an eye-catching finish.

Or you could use 3D printing technology to create something totally custom. For example, why not have a simple white fondant cake decorated like a Rubik's Cube?

Attire ideas for your ‘80s-themed wedding

23. Work in metallics. We’re big fans of metallic tablecloths for 80s themed wedding ideas because they add character and oh so much shine to any tablescape. You can also encourage your wedding party to use metallic accessories or include metallic ribbons for your floral arrangements. The options are truly endless, but don’t forget to include this important 80s themed element in at least one statement-making placement!

24. Play with patterns. The best 80s themed wedding ideas take inspiration from the era and try to replicate what was trending then rather than using gimmicky party store themed items. To that end, we highly suggest playing with patterns, especially for your wedding party.

To coordinate the bridal party, match your maids in bright pastel tones, mixing and matching patterns (swirls, plaids, and butterflies all work) and colors to capture the wild creativity of the era.

For grooms and groomsmen, why not go with vintage-style suits or trousers with bold colors and large shoulder pads, paired with fun and funky accessories like ’80s inspired ties and pocket squares.

Vintage and thrift stores are gold mines for these types of items if you are willing to put in the effort way ahead of time!

25. Puffy sleeves. Puffy sleeves were a big part of 1980s bridal styles. Here are some options that give you the puffy sleeve essence while still having a modern gown.

26. High neckline. One of our favorite wedding gown trends of the ‘80s was the high neckline. Check out these stunning options if you’re looking to incorporate this trend into your big day.

27. Padded shoulders. Designers have taken the concept of shoulder pads from the 1980s and modernized them in the form of fashion-forward wedding dresses like these:

28. Lace sleeves. Lace has never really gone out of style and will always create a romantic silhouette for every bride. We are obsessed with these three gowns that are sure to add a touch of the ‘80s to your wedding day look.

29. Headpieces. The ‘80s were full of super-funky and sometimes over-the-top headpieces. These toned-down bridal options will be sure to add a bit of the era into your wedding style, without looking costumey.

Put these ‘80s-themed wedding ideas to good use!

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to incorporate the 1980s into your venue, decor, invitations, reception, and wardrobe, fine-tune the details with these 57 wedding planning tips and tricks.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.