The Maximalist Wedding Guide: Go Big or Go Home
You’ve likely heard of minimalist weddings. The popular trend focuses on stripping down the excess and celebrating the core elements of a wedding: Love, partnership, family, and gratitude. But what if you could still celebrate all of those things while going over the top with your decor, entertainment, and overall theme? You can. Enter, the maximalist wedding trend.
If you’re getting married and dream of having a wedding to top all weddings, then you’re in luck: Maximalist weddings are in! But what is a maximalist wedding, exactly? Why is it a hot wedding trend right now? Are you interested in planning one? We’re here to help answer all of those questions.
What is a maximalist wedding?
The opposite of minimalist weddings, maximalist weddings embody the celebration of excess. As opposed to the “less is more” design approach, maximalist weddings embrace doing more, more, more! No colors are too showy and no textures are too bold in maximalist design. In fact, bright attire, big hair, and blinding bling are celebrated parts of modern maximalist wedding fashion.
From the theme and decor to the dress and the food, many engaged couples are attracted to the style, freedom, and bold energy of modern maximalist weddings. Maximalist weddings give everyone in attendance a chance to really let loose, indulge, and soak in all the best life has to offer.
The maximalist wedding trend
During the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings across the globe were privatized or postponed indefinitely. Lockdowns hit the U.K. especially hard with long, strict closures. Many designers and professionals in the wedding industry saw business slow or shut down completely. Savannah Miller, the British-American bridal fashion designer, spent 2020 operating from her home. She described her experience to British Vogue, explaining what it was like to see bridal fairs canceled worldwide, essentially killing her wholesale business for the year. Once weddings started being rebooked and new orders started coming in, Miller told Vogue, “... people are going to be so ready to party, and if you’ve been someone planning their wedding in lockdown, it’s going to be even more intense.”
Rosie Bess, an accomplished fashion stylist and event designer with Beatnik Bride, explained the post-pandemic shifts in wedding fashion in a March 2021 interview with Love My Dress. Bess explained, “After such a sad and frustrating halt to weddings over the past 12 months, what we needed more than ever was an excuse to get creative and remind everyone that this will pass, and exciting things will come.”
19 maximalist wedding ideas to go above and beyond
Do you want a wedding that doubles as an out-of-this-world party? Let maximalism inspire the reception. Are you hoping to throw the most elegant affair your family and friends have ever attended? Think “maximalism” when planning the menu, crafting on-brand cocktail recipes, booking food service, and selecting entertainment.
Below, we’ve included tips and tricks to help engaged couples incorporate maximalism into every aspect of wedding planning. Find inspiration to help plan a wedding that exudes happiness, joy, and freedom of expression.
Venue ideas for a maximalist wedding
1. Consider large spaces with a variety of event setup options. Throwing a maximalist wedding gives engaged couples the freedom to experiment with just about every aspect of “traditional wedding planning.” Don’t feel constricted by traditional ceremony setups (like theater-style with a middle aisle) or reception seating arrangements. Pick a wedding venue that has a variety of table sizes and setup options, a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, and a passion for hosting unique weddings.
2. Search for a wedding venue with pre-existing decor. Striking architecture, bold wallpaper choices, grand interior design, unique style, and other eye-popping venue additions provide an excellent canvas upon which to paint a maximalist wedding. Booking a venue already dripping in extravagance may help cut down on future decorating costs as well.
3. Tell venue managers what you’re looking for, and ask for their advice. Look for venues that have experience hosting maximalist weddings. Be clear about your vision and expectations upfront, and look for venues with a similar appreciation for indulgence. Not only will this help you weed out venues that won’t fit the wedding style early on, but you’re also likely to encounter a variety of potential wedding vendor recommendations along the way. Ask about decoration restrictions, setup fees, deposit requirements, and request to see a sample contract before confirming.
How to incorporate maximalism into your wedding theme
4. Make your invitations pop. Wedding invitations are the first real peek that guests have at the theme and style of the affair. Add maximalist flair to your invitations with a unique and stylish design to give guests a glimpse of what’s to come. Experiment with texture and use acrylic stationery instead of traditional paper, or choose invitations with a unique shape. The “Maximalist” is a chic invitation style from Papier and Co. With a rounded top, the Maximalist is both modern and architecturally stimulating. Consider adding laser engraving, lace detailing, or crystal embellishments to greet your guests with glamor.
5. Inspire guests with a daring dress code. The dress code for a maximalist wedding shouldn’t really be a “code” at all. Instead, cheer on guests to wear whatever they want (within reason, of course). Encourage bright colors, fun patterns, and make a statement with wedding attire — the louder, the better!
6. Create a helpful wedding website centered around the theme. On the dress code page of your wedding website, provide photos and links to help guests come up with their own ideas. If a portion of the event will take place outdoors, where terrain and weather elements can be a factor, use the dress code page to inform your guests ahead of time.
Maximalist wedding ideas for the ceremony and reception
7. Dress to impress and awe guests. Maximalist couples should embrace vibrant colors, bold prints, embroidery, feathers, a variety of textures, or any other design elements their heart desires. Feel empowered to step away from traditional gowns, the standard tuxedo, and cohesive wedding party attire. Show off tattoos, piercings, and other body art if you have it. Wear a sunflower crown or daisy chain if the mood strikes. Maximalism embraces self-expression, so express yourself!
8. Make an extraordinary entrance. Arrive at your maximalist wedding in style and make an unforgettable entrance that wows your wedding guests. If your wedding venue is on a beach or lake, consider arriving by boat. Are there horse and carriage services nearby? Look for luxury car rental services and roll up to the aisle in a red Lamborghini if that’s more your style. Research unique services available nearby and plan an entrance your friends and family will be talking about for years to come. Consider including a grand bridal party entrance to shine some light on the team that helped get you to the altar.
9. Astound guests with awe-inspiring wedding entertainment. Look for a large brass band, choral group, or other unique musical performers. Don’t end your entertainment planning after you’ve booked a band either. Come up with a few out-of-the-box wedding entertainment ideas to leave guests in awe. Research local acrobats, dancers, fire jugglers, snake charmers, or other cirque-style performers to provide once-in-a-lifetime entertainment. Reach out to local universities and dance studios in your area for performer recommendations. Artists and performers tend to form tight-knit communities and often have excellent recommendations for performers with very specific skill sets.
Maximalist wedding ideas for decor
10. Mix-and-match patterns, colors, textures, styles, and other design elements. Who wants cohesion, anyway? Have fun with it!
11. Use flowers of many colors, styles, types, and sizes. Flowers are the perfect opportunity to save some money on maximalist wedding decorations. There’s no need to be matchy-matchy in maximalist design, so experiment with a wide variety of flowers and foliage. Create a blend of traditional wedding flowers and contemporary blooms. Don’t be shy; invite both roses and orchids to the wedding if the mood strikes. Shop in-season flowers to help cut costs. Partner large filler flowers — such as sunflowers, alliums, or dahlias — with smaller blooms for aesthetically-pleasing and affordable arrangements.
12. Create bold and elaborate table settings. Turning away from the instinct to create order and symmetry is tough for many of us. Allow yourself to reject those natural instincts and celebrate a bit of chaos when planning your maximalist wedding. Don’t censor any impulses; try out any intriguing combination of table decor that comes to mind. Play with different centerpiece ideas, explore unique combinations, and look for one-of-a-kind pieces. Create unique, show-stopping table settings by experimenting with different styles, patterns, and textures. Towering vases, oversized floral arrangements, and bold plating designs can all be used in maximalist wedding design.
13. Use vibrant textiles. Drape chairs in bright, bold fabrics or layer dining tables in a mix of different fabrics. Shop craft store clearance sales and check thrift shops regularly to find unique textiles.
Maximalist wedding menu ideas
14. Craft complex cocktails. Offer wedding guests intricate cocktails that include a variety of ingredients and embrace the spirit of mixology. Consider adding a beverage that comes with a show, but make sure you have the space, the tools, and the bartending staff to accommodate your thematic wedding drink ideas first. Galaxy Cocktails display vibrant colors that change during the mixing process, creating a visual treat for guests at the bar. Offer guests the Professor’s Poisoned Apple, a boozy beverage that looks as dramatic as it sounds. Bright red and using dry ice to exude a fog-like emission, this drink brings a little theater to any maximalist wedding.
15. Open up the bar. If not otherwise specified in advance, guests attending a maximalist wedding will likely be expecting an open bar wedding. Making endless maximalist cocktails will require experienced bartending professionals. Factor high alcohol expenses into your wedding budget, and let the service staff know what to expect well in advance so they can prepare.
16. Serve dishes that ooze excess. Be bold and inventive with your wedding menu choices. Incorporate intricate plating, bold color choices, and lavish ingredients to create intense dishes for your wedding guests. Overload the senses of attendees with explosive flavors, unique textures, and unexpected menu surprises. Mix and match cuisines and service styles, and provide your friends and family with a meal they’ll never forget.
17. Top off your maximalist wedding with a towering treat. When it comes to the size of the cake, feel free to go BIG. Don’t be afraid to stack the cake up high. We absolutely adore this eight-tiered confectionary masterpiece dubbed, “The Showstopper.” The cake, created by A Bake Shop, embodies the perfect blend of maximalist extravagance and elegance.
18. Kick cake decorations up a notch. Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to designing a maximalist-inspired wedding cake. Think of the cake as a sculpture — a visual centerpiece to delight your guests. Choose an exotic or abstract design that embraces color, clashing patterns, or even graphic prints.
19. Bake bountiful brownies for a maximalist dessert on a minimalist budget. If your budget doesn’t allow for an oversized or highly-decorated cake, serve wedding guests indulgent individual desserts dripping in maximalism. Whip up maximalist brownies packed with chips, nuts, icing, candy, and any other goodies you can think of.
Frequently asked questions about maximalist weddings
What is maximalism?
Maximalism is a style, primarily referenced in regards to design, which promotes the idea that “more is more.” Maximalism embraces mixing a variety of artistic elements including color, texture, shape, as well as putting lots of objects on display. In her 2021 interview with Vogue, White Arrow’s Keren Richter explained, “Maximalism is the art of more-is-more; layered patterning, highly saturated colors, ample accessories and art (likely hung ‘salon-style’), and a real sense of playfulness and bold gestures.”
Are maximalist weddings expensive?
While you could certainly throw a maximalist wedding on a budget, taking advantage of crafty wedding decor hacks and strategically negotiating vendor prices, it probably won’t be as simple as throwing a minimalist wedding. Depending on your budget, there’s always the option to try incorporating maximalist touches in your wedding instead of going all out with the theme. Encourage guests to wear bold outfits, choose unique colorful decorations, or book a venue with an interesting design to work in maximalist wedding elements without overextending your finances.
Are there any famous maximalist weddings?
One of the most over-the-top celebrity weddings we can recall, the 2018 wedding of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra was a maximalist affair for the ages. The nuptial celebration took place over three days, included multiple ceremonies, and spanned religions. Chopra stunned guests in a sheer custom gown by Ralph Lauren. Decorated in lace, crystal beads, Swarovski crystals, and mother-of-pearl paillettes, the dress took over 1,826 hours to create! In true maximalist fashion, Chopra took her look to the next level by donning a 75-foot-long tulle veil.
Now you know all about maximalist weddings!
Looking for more ways to give you and your guests an unforgettable experience? Check out our guide of 33 ways to wow your wedding guests on your big day.