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How to Plan a Beautiful Travel-Themed Wedding with Ease

How to Plan a Beautiful Travel-Themed Wedding with Ease

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Love to travel and planning your dream wedding? Find out how to plan a travel-themed wedding that people will be talking about for years! Scroll to see how I planned my own travel-inspired wedding in Seattle!
This post about how to plan a travel-themed wedding was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

This summer, my husband and I will be celebrating our 13-year wedding anniversary. And one thing I loved about our big moment (without bias whatsoever!) was how we pulled off a travel-themed wedding.

We are truly amazed by how much our life has changed in these 13 years: I quit my job, we had a baby, my husband changed jobs within his company a few times, we moved, I launched this blog, we had another baby, and I launched 2 more websites.

In between all this, we managed to travel to Hong Kong, Thailand, Mainland China, Italy, Greece, Maui, Kauai, Disneyland, Vancouver, Victoria, Sonoma, Mexico, Walt Disney World, New Zealand, Fiji, and numerous local trips.

So you would understand that out of all the possible themed weddings we could think of, travel was the most fitting one for us. Even if we redo this now or when we reach our golden anniversary, we’d do it all again.

If you’re thinking of doing the same thing for your big day, scroll down to get ideas from how we did it more than a decade ago. Whether you’re getting a wedding planner or doing DIY, you can recreate this with ease.

We usually spend our anniversary looking back at the fun times we had at our Seattle wedding in August.

We love to travel and it’s something that we wanted to incorporate into our wedding theme. I’m a big fan of vintage travel posters and memorabilia so that was a great jumping off point.

Below, I have outlined how we created a travel themed wedding.

Seattle Wedding Venue: The Museum of Flight

The first thing we nailed down was our Seattle wedding venue. Because of our shared love of airplanes, we decided to hold our wedding at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.

We had the wedding ceremony and reception overlooking their Great Gallery of planes, which made for a fun photo backdrop.

The Museum of Flight is one of many Seattle wedding venues that we researched when planning our travel-themed wedding. #wedding #weddinginsp #travelthemedwedding
We held the ceremony and reception in the event space overlooking the Great Gallery at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
What was extra cool is that our guests were given free admission to the Museum of Flight the day of our wedding. So, guests from out of town came and explored this aviation museum earlier in the day.
 
And since the Museum of Flight was closed during our wedding festivities, our guests got to explore the Great Gallery during our cocktail hour.
 
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Travel-Themed Wedding Invitations: Vintage Airline Tickets

We wanted our wedding invitations to reflect the travel theme of our wedding, so I designed them using vintage airline tickets as the outline. I also incorporated a Hawaiian wedding theme since that has been a big influence on my life.

Our RSVP card featured a vintage Hawaiian travel poster image.

Photo of Travel-themed wedding invitations and rehearsal dinner invitations. #weddinginvitations #weddinginsp #travelthemedwedding
We created our travel-themed wedding and rehearsal dinner invitations and printed them at Costco. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We also had small cards for our rehearsal dinner boat trip, using a vintage travel poster for the graphic. We wrapped them up in shimmery gold paper and mailed them in bright blue envelopes. And we found some travel-themed stamps!

Seattle Wedding Rehearsal Dinner: Argosy Cruise

We had a lot of family travel from out of town to attend our wedding, so we wanted to make sure to thank them by inviting them to our rehearsal dinner.
 
Keeping our travel theme, we rented an Argosy Cruise boat and sailed around Lake Union.
We spent our Seattle Wedding Rehearsal Dinner on an Argosy Boat cruise around Seattle. It added a special flair on our travel-themed wedding. #seattle #cruise #argosy #seattlewedding
Summertime in Seattle is especially perfect for a boat cruise around Lake Union with views of Mount Rainier and Downtown Seattle. Photo credit: Argosy Cruises

What we appreciated most about our Seattle cruise was that our guests got to mingle before the wedding. Since we rented this private Seattle cruise, everyone was a wedding guest.

This was also a fun way for us to chat with our guests before the wedding and for both families to get to know one another.

Travel Themed Wedding Place Cards: Tropical Theme

Photo of travel-themed wedding place cards. #wedding #placecards #weddinginspo #travelthemedwedding
We found blank place cards with tropical flowers on them, which aligned with our travel-themed wedding. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
We incorporated the tropical wedding theme into our place cards so they would be cohesive with the rest of our items, including our wedding programs, guest book, etc.
 
We found blank cards online and had a family friend hand write each name for a more personal touch.
 
[irp posts=”4035″ name=”Bring Old Hawaii to Life With Hands-On Activities at Maui Nei Native Expeditions”]

DIY Wedding Guest Book: Vintage Hawaii Postcards

On one of my visits to Kauai, I picked up several different vintage Hawaii travel postcards at gift shops. We scattered them on our guest book table with pens and asked guests to write their well wishes on the postcards.

It was such a hit that a few guests took extra postcards home as a wedding favor!

Photo of vintage Hawaiian postcards used for a travel-themed wedding guest book idea. #diywedding #weddingguestbook #weddinginspo #travelthemedwedding
Vintage Hawaiian postcards are a fun way to get guests to participate in a guest book at a travel-themed wedding. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley

After the wedding, we put the vintage Hawaiian postcards in a Hawaiian-themed photo album. The album has clear sleeves so we can see the image on one side and the message on the other side.

Another idea would be to incorporate them into vintage Hawaii home decor.

DIY Wedding Program: Vintage Hawaii Travel Theme

Since we also had a Hawaiian wedding theme, we put one of my favorite vintage Hawaiian postcards on the cover of our wedding program. I chose an off-white paper for the vintage travel theme wedding feel.

Photo of our DIY wedding program for our travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #weddingprogram #vintagetravel #travelthemedwedding
I designed our wedding program myself using my favorite vintage Hawaii travel poster as the graphic and then printed them at Costco. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung
I printed our DIY wedding programs at our local Costco. They were able print them quickly for a fraction of the cost of other print shops. We asked relatives to hand out the programs as people arrived at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Hawaiian Wedding Music: Seattle Area Musicians

It was important to me to have a Hawaiian wedding element to our travel themed wedding ceremony. I’ve been a hula dancer most of my life and the Hawaiian culture has been a big influence on me.

Since we didn’t want a Hawaiian destination wedding, we thought we’d bring Hawaii to Seattle!

Photo of Hawaiian musicians playing the Hawaiian Wedding Song at our travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #hawaiianwedding #travelthemedwedding #diywedding
Aunty Iwalani Kamahele and Uncle Tiko Ka`eo performed the Hawaiian Wedding Song as I walked down the aisle. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
I was lucky enough to know some amazing local Seattle Hawaiian musicians who were available to sing before and during the ceremony. They sang the Hawaiian Wedding Song when I walked down the aisle.
 
I loved having this traditional Hawaiian wedding element.

Ceremony: Time Capsule

Photo of a wedding time capsule at our travel-themed wedding in Seattle #seattlewedding #timecapsule #diywedding #weddinginspo
We included a time capsule as part of our wedding ceremony. Everything is more fun when a hammer is involved! Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
As part of our ceremony, we created a wedding time capsule to be opened on our 5th wedding anniversary. We included photos of our travels, love letters to each other, and special wine to drink.
 
All the items were placed in a wooden wine box and we hammered it shut with real nails and a hammer. It added a fun, unexpected element to our ceremony.
 
As it turned out, I was pregnant on our 5th anniversary, so the wine was saved until later.
 
[irp posts=”1771″ name=”5 Ways to Make Your Maternity Photos Pop”]

Wedding Flowers: Tropical Hawaiian

Photo of Hawaiian flowers used at a travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #weddingflowers #diywedding #seattleflorist
This gorgeous tropical Hawaiian bouquet by Contemporary Floral is tied into our travel theme. Photo credit: Lucas Mobely
My cousin owns an amazing floral company called Contemporary Floral in the Seattle-area and when I told her about our travel themed wedding, she created gorgeous centerpieces highlighting stunning tropical Hawaiian flowers.
 
This added a much-need pop of color to our venue and tied in the tropical travel theme. I also wore purple orchids in my hair.

DIY Wedding Photo Booth

Photo of wedding photo booth props for a travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #diywedding #photobooth #seattlewedding #travelthemedwedding
Our wedding photo booth props included Hawaiian leis, hula skirts, cowboy hats, boas, bow ties, and more. They were displayed in a vintage reproduction suitcase I found at Marshall’s. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley

I’m a sucker for fun photo ops, so I was determined to create a wedding photo booth for our travel-themed wedding.

I had a blast finding fun props and displaying them in vintage reproduction suitcases I found at Marshall’s. I found most of the props at our local party supply store and dollar store. The rest I made.

To keep the travel theme, we had grass skirts, feather boas, silk leis, cowboy hats, etc.

Wedding Reception: Hula Dance

I’ve been a professional hula dancer for 25 years. It’s traditional for brides to dance a hula for their husbands at their wedding reception.

This was not only a great way to emphasize our travel theme, but it also added a unique element to our wedding reception.

Photo of a hula dance at a Hawaiian travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #hawaiianwedding #weddinginspo #huladance
As a wedding surprise to my husband, I danced a special hula dance for him to the song “In This Life” by world-famous Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
I practiced for hours in secret and gave my husband the heads up right as we walked into the reception for the first time. It was a total surprise to my husband and our guests!
 
And 9 years later, guests are STILL talking about it!

Hawaiian Wedding Cake: Tropical Flowers

Photo of a Hawaiian wedding cake topped with orchids for a travel-themed wedding in Seattle. #weddingcake #weddinginspo #travelthemedwedding
We added purple orchids to the Hawaiian wedding cake for the tropical travel element. Photo credit: Lucas Mobley
We went with a small wedding cake from Creme de la Creme for the cake cutting ceremony and then got a large sheet cake of the same flavor.
 
This way, the caterers were able to pre-slice the cake and serve immediately after we cut the cake, eliminating any wait.
 
We asked the florist for a few extra orchids so we could keep with our tropical travel theme wedding.

Wedding Dress Change: Chinese Cheongsam

Photo of a bride in a Chinese cheongsam at a travel-themed wedding. #cheongsam #chinesewedding #travelthemedwedding
Near the end of the wedding reception, I quickly changed into a Chinese Cheongsam, and we hit the photo booth! Photo Credit: Lucas Mobley
To celebrate my husband’s Chinese heritage, I changed into a Cheongsam during our wedding reception and our nieces changed into Chinese silk pajamas.
 
Not only was it a nod to my husband’s culture, but it was also much cooler than my layered wedding dress in the August heat!

Extra Fun: Send Wedding Invitations to White House and Disneyland

When we realized we had some extra wedding invitations, we decided to send one to the White House and one to Disneyland.

We sent them about 2 months before our wedding and we received both greetings back in time to display them at our wedding. It added another travel element, which was fun!

Photo of Disney wedding announcement and announcement from the White House for a travel-themed wedding. #weddinginsp #weddingidea
We displayed well-wishes from President and First Lady Obama and Mickey and Minnie Mouse at our wedding photo booth. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The White House sent us an official greeting from President and First Lady Obama. It’s a lovely feeling to find a letter from the White House addressed to you personally!

Disneyland sent us this congratulatory autographed photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They also sent us a couple of celebration buttons, which were a nice touch. We also received a certificate from Cinderella and Prince Charming.

[irp posts=”1717″ name=”Disneyland with Toddlers: Tips + Itinerary”]

Additional Ideas to Add a Travel-Themed Wedding Element

  • Table numbers could be destinations rather than numbers (i.e. Paris, London, Venice.)
  • Postcards could be used instead of table numbers or in addition to table numbers.
  • The menu could consist of food from one region or from many regions. Additionally, the cake could be a traditional wedding cake from another country.
  • The music could be from a particular country or a global mix.
  • You could have a world map and invite guests to mark where they traveled from to get to the wedding. This is great if your guests are from out-of-town. Additionally, you could have guests mark where they went on their honeymoons.
The list is endless! Have fun planning your travel themed wedding!

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Travel inspired wedding

Travel-Themed Wedding Wrap-up

Weddings can be very anxiety-inducing, and there always seems to be a lot on the checklist. But with this guide, I hope you got many ideas from my own wedding to make yours a beautiful one – or even better!

Don’t forget to choose a color scheme that reflects your favorite destinations, use an Instax camera for instant memories, and find ways to incorporate a unique cake topper. These are just a few ways to make your wedding as memorable as your journeys.

From wedding décor like vintage suitcases and luggage tags to a seating chart with table names inspired by travel locations from around the world, your travel-themed wedding will hopefully leave you swooning over it for years to come.

How to plan a travel-themed wedding. #weddinginspo #travelthemedwedding #weddingtheme

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Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

Saturday 4th of July 2020

Awww I love this so much! We were supposed to get married two weeks ago, but we've had to postpone it. This has really inspired me to start planning it again though. We are mixing a travel theme with things we love like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings. I LOVE the postcard idea, and I just adore how much effort you put in to celebrate both your cultures.

marciecheung

Monday 6th of July 2020

I'm so sorry to hear that! Hopefully your wedding will be even more special once the world is a bit healthier.

Emily

Saturday 7th of April 2018

This is so sweet. I love how this wedding really tells the story of the couple!

marciecheung

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Thanks! It was us in a nutshell :)

Ana

Saturday 7th of April 2018

What a fantastic creative way to have a wedding Marcie! I'm dreaming of a destination wedding whenever I get married, but you provided some great tips to think about if that doesn't happen. I loved all of your ideas from the vintage postcards, to the time capsule, the special dance, to the location for the wedding. I pinning this post for future reference and on a group board to share. Thoroughly enjoyed your post - Thanks so much for sharing your special day and creativity.

Daisy

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Aww this is such a super fun and fabulous wedding idea!! I absolutely love all of your creative and fun ideas that brides can use!

marciecheung

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Thanks so much! Wedding planning can be so overwhelming, so just sharing what we came up with!

Erica

Saturday 7th of April 2018

That's amazing that you're a hula dancer. Your travel themed wedding looked fabulous.

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