massive cake and decor for maximalist wedding

The Maximalist Wedding Guide

Nov 30, 2021
By Wedding Spot

You’ve likely heard of minimalist weddings, where the focus is on the core elements of the event with only a handful of decorations. But if you’re a “more is more” type of person, 2023 is your year! Over the top, elaborately-designed weddings are in right now. If that sounds like you, then you’ll love the maximalist trend.

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. And despite what you've heard, maximalist weddings don’t have to be loud, cluttered, or even extremely pricey.

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.

If you want a more understated ceremony, but a big booming party for the reception, you can make that work! Maximalism works for the ceremony and the reception, or whatever combination of the two you’d like. People who gravitate toward maximalist weddings love fun, bold events that embody a go-big-or-go-home mentality, and want to create a truly memorable experience for themselves and their loved ones to share.

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24 maximalist wedding ideas to go above and beyond

Sure, more is more. But how do you pull off this vibe without going overboard? And really, is there really such thing as going overboard with a maximialist wedding?

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. If you want to really go big, you could even execute a mid-event shuffle and debut a completely new design for your reception!

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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. Ask venue managers 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. Having clear expectations will help you find the ideal space, and you'll also be able to weed out the others that won't fit the bill. Before you sign anything, ask about the various details of the contract, such as the deposit requirements and decoration restrictions that may interfere with your larger-than-life vision.

Incorporate maximalism into your wedding design

4. Establish your overall theme. Choose a central theme that will guide all your wedding planning decisions and maximalist choices. Really anything from galaxy-themed weddings to winter wonderland-themed weddings can be done in either a minimalist or maximalist style. It all depends on your design choices. The theme you choose for your maximalist wedding could be a specific color palette, a cultural tradition, or a particular era in history. This will help you stay focused and make sure every element of your wedding works together.

5. Make your invitations pop. Invitations set the tone for your wedding, as the first element of the event that guests see. Add a bit of dazzle to your invitations with an eye-popping design. You can also experiment with using acrylic stationery or choosing invitations with unique shapes. 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.

6. 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!

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7. Create a helpful wedding website centered around the theme. A wedding website should be centered around the theme, and it should feature photos and links that will help guests find the information they need. If the event will be held outdoors or you want to provide examples of your dress code, use your website to let guests know in advance.

Maximalist wedding ideas for the ceremony and reception

8. 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. Maximalism embraces self-expression, so express yourself!

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9. 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.

10. Book 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.

11. Show off your skills. Going big or going home might involve the your own talents or those of your loved ones on your special day! Can you dance, sing, play an instrument, or perform poetry? Now might be the perfect time to showcase what you or your bridal party can do! Just make sure to give them plenty of rehearsal time beforehand.

12. Light up the night sky. One of the coolest things you can do at a maximalist wedding is to make the exit as grand as the entrance. That is why we recommend a grand send-off, like a professional fireworks display, laser lightshow, or premiere-style spotlights outside of your wedding venue. Your event should go out the way it came in: spectacularly.

Maximalist wedding ideas for decor

13.  Mix-and-match patterns, colors, textures, styles, and other design elements. Who wants cohesion, anyway? Have fun with it! Mix and match patterns, textures, and materials to add depth and interest to your decor. Our favorites include velvet linens, metallic accents, and patterned wall coverings. Also, a maximalist wedding is a great opportunity to incorporate bold and bright colors. Whether you choose a monochrome color palette or a rainbow of hues, be daring and go all out.

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14.  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.

15.  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.

16.  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. If you’re working with a rental company, ask to see their entire inventory. It might house a rarely-used showstopper.

17. Have a statement piece. A maximalist wedding is all about creating an over-the-top atmosphere. Consider incorporating larger-than-life floral arrangements, hanging installations, and unique lighting elements to make a statement in your wedding space. Ceiling décor is a great way to impress your guests, but elements with their feet firmly on the ground can stun as well.

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18. Customize unexpected items and spaces. Don't overlook the small things that can make a big impact at your wedding by choosing creative decor pieces. Think about incorporating unexpected elements like themed menu cards, custom dance floor decals, and elaborate place settings.

Maximalist wedding menu ideas

19. 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.

20. Open up the bar. If not otherwise specified in advance, guests attending might 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.

21. 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. Please your guests’ palates 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.

22.  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.

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23.  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.

24.  DIY your dessert table. 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. Cookie tables are even regional traditions in some parts of the American midwest.

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.