Bohemian Wedding Style

Published date: 6th May 2019

Given the definition of Bohemian is pretty much not conforming to convention, guidelines for a Bohemian wedding would seem to be a contradiction in terms. If you are looking for a rule book you shouldn’t be thinking about Boho style.

That said, there are certain elements common to many weddings dubbed Bohemian by the press and trade. And there are things which would disqualify a wedding from belonging to this most uncategorical category, so we hope that the ideas below will help if this is the way you want to go.

Bohemian is how artists, actors, writers and musicians of the yet to succeed (impoverished) type have been described for a century and more, though it’s not necessary to be arty to belong to the clan. The lifestyle tends to mean helping your friends, making do with simple things, a lack of ostentation, enjoying life, and being creative. A real Bohemian wedding is then likely to be fun and not to cost a fortune.

The setting is not going to be a grand religious building, though a country church would fit the bill, as would a penny-plain registry office. But then so too would a ceremony outdoors or nearly so – so why not consider a barn, a lodge in the wilds, a country inn (with beer garden) or a beach event – though it’s not really Boho to do this at a 5-Star resort. For the DIY version if you have family or friends willing to lend a large garden for the day, there is something very right about a tented reception. Think desert sheik or gypsy king not classic marquee (though the same people may be able to supply the structure).

The seating beneath that tent should on no account be a set of identical plastic chairs. It may even be cheaper to buy junk-store dining chairs than rent from a big company, or try to rent an eclectic selection from a junk-store or two. Likewise with assorted tables, which should be decorated with candles and flowers, the candlesticks again a jumble or sizes and styles.

Colours at a Boho wedding can go two ways: the brightest oranges, reds and purples, or muted woodland tones. And materials tend towards the ecological and natural – so recycled paper for the invites, or no paper just emails.

Flowers are important to the Bohemian bride. Small is beautiful as regards the bouquet; a crown of flowers instead of a veil is frequently chosen to adorn her head. And as to dress floaty rather than the totally incongruous full meringue, or very often vintage 60s or 70s nodding towards the hippy movement, paired with sandals of course.

The groom is rarely seen in a suit at a Bohemian wedding, and should a tie be worn (generally it will not) the thing will not be tight to the throat. He’s unlikely to have a jacket – the shirt-sleeve look is big, maybe Ben Sherman blue or a lumberjack number, with his chinos/jeans/coloured cords held up with braces. If he’s a proper Bohemian he’ll already have the beard at one end and some well-loved boots or brogues for the other.

Every Bohemian has musician friends, so why not ask them to play at the ceremony and/or the reception? They’ll probably do it for free food and drink! Dancing of the wilder sort being obligatory by the end of the evening – a Ceilidh or square dance more or less guarantees participation, stumbles and laughter – that drink may well flow somewhat liberally.

Convention is to be flouted by the Bohemian couple, so it’s likely she’ll make a speech as well as he; bridesmaids will have different outfits; and the cake won’t be the multi-tiered (too often flavourless) cliché but a simple (and tasty) alternative, probably home-made.

These being very relaxed affairs there are few things that, even were they to go wrong, could spoil the day, but the one that could ruin a guest’s is not being told about the nature of the event and dressing inappropriately, so make sure the invites specify Boho-style – arriving dressed for a royal garden party could make Uncle Stanley and Aunt Marge feel a bit out of place.

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