Planning a desert themed wedding? Fantastic!
I want to help you infuse passion into your special day.
To make your research easier, I have gathered and created over 100 practical ideas (from details to big decisions) covering:
- desert themed wedding invitations,
- colors, decors and centerpieces,
- desert themed favors,
- ceremony and clothes,
- party details, cake toppers,
- and much more!
All you need to create an unforgettable desert wedding!
This article contains affiliate Links (see Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Theme, venue and colors
The Desert wedding theme
Beaches and Forest are more traditional wedding landscapes. But choosing a desert theme can be very elegant and stunning.
Desert themed wedding are becoming increasingly popular.
With earthy tones, natural material and simpler aesthetics, they have a lot of charm.
And you can enjoy various variations related the this theme:
- Sand dunes
- Rocks and mountains
- Succulent - see ideas specific to succulent themed weddings
- Arabian : Arabian nights
- Cowboy - see ideas specific to cowboy themed weddings
- Safari - see ideas specific to safari themed weddings
- Indian (Native American)
Should you choose Native American or Mexican elements, be sure to do so with respect and avoiding cultural appropriation.
One of the first decision to make it the color scheme since stationery, flowers, decors and all will be relating to that decision.
If you don't have any ideas, I recommend you look at invitations in the next section and see what appeals to you most.
- earthy tones with terracotta, desert yellow, ocher, rust, burnt orange...
- and add copper or gold accent
- You can also complete with some succulent greens or blue-greens
Special venue ideas
You can have a desert themed wedding anywhere. It is all in the decor.
However, you can consider venues that fit best with your theme, such as:
- desert outdoor venues with mountain or dune background
- succulent gardens
- overall simple and modern venues without lots embellishments
Careful: I list a lot of ideas, but don't go overboard with your theme!
Desert themed wedding invitations
The invitations and the stationery are some of the most important ways to convey the xx theme of your wedding and how special it will be.
Design Elements to take into consideration to be in accordance with your theme are:
- The drawings or pictures -
Simple geometric shapes
Famous desert rock formations
- The font -
Simple front without too much drama
- The shape -
Again, stay simple and geometric
- Special desert theme related words -
No suggestions - I will keep thinking
Here are some inspiring examples.
Most have complete suites of desert themed wedding stationery.
Once opened, click on personalize to add your wedding's information :
Minimalist and abstract
Simple and abstract invitations with earth tones such as terracotta.
They transport you to the desert world without being too obvious.
Or you can go with invitation which have desert landscapes on them.
Sahara / Arabian Desert themed wedding
If your idea of desert is more like the Sahara, you can choose inspiration from the Arabian Nights stories. If this is your choice, head to the Arabian Nights themed wedding article (to be published)
And if your favorite part fo the desert are the Succulent. You can choose a succulent themed wedding (see article) or do a combination of both.
SAvannah / SAfari
If your version of a desert, is one in African admiring the animals, I recommend you head to my article about the ideas for a Safari themed wedding.
Or you can opt for themed but classic stationery options with your picture in xx .
Here are some beautiful examples :
Don't forget to consider, as applicable, the:
- Save the date
- Wedding invitations
- RSVP cards
- Bridal shower invitations
- Rehearsal dinner invitations
Stickers for the envelopes
The details can also be important.
When the person received the invitation, seeing a special themed sticker or a wax sealed at the back of the envelope can already trigger excitement!
Here are some examples:
Other formal invitations
You can also have fun in relation to your proposal to be groomsmen, bridesmaids, best man, maid of honour, ring bearer, flower girl...
Here are some examples:
Desert wedding decors
Desert themed centerpieces ideas
It is with centerpieces that you can have a lot of fun around your theme.
I have tried to collect ideas that you can order, personalize or make yourself.
- Terrariums with succulent plants
- Natural colors / material vases with dried pampas grass
- Colorful pots or vase
- A cactus shaped vase
- Faux bull skulls - that you paint or not
- Camel statues
- Candles (see next section)
Candles & holders
You can also set up candles to add to the ambiance.
You can consider 3 types of candles to decorate your wedding:
- Candles with desert theme drawings, and your wedding date
- Candles with a picture of you in the desert, and your wedding date
- Simple candles just for lighting and mood
And if you don't want to risk of fire, but do want the ambiance, consider some flameless candles:
Table decor elements
The rest of the elements on the table can also be chosen around your theme.
But don't go overboard.
Always remember to remove one accessory when you are finished.
Consider choosing themed:
- Napkins in accordance with your stationary,
- Themed name card holders
- Themed Table numbers or names
- Table runners with tribal textiles or natural textile and earthy tones
- Napkin rings with natural fabrics
- Terra cotta dishes
If you keep your plates and glass simple you can have fun with the napkins!
And if your centerpiece decor remains simple, you can opt for a themed table number sign:
Decors for the rest of the rooms / venues
The table is not the only place where you can have fun with the decor.
All around the events, you can include small touches of desert decors such as:
- Persian rugs
- Tribal textiles
- Wedding arch with succulents or teepee-shaped
- Macrame decors
Greet your guests with a themed welcome sign:
And consider adding a backdrops to a wall, that an also be a place for cool pictures of the guest:
Succulents are the most adapted to the theme.
Ceremony and clothes
Officiant & program
If you are not going the traditional religious route, you can have fun with the officiant and the ceremony program.
Create wedding programs in the same theme as your stationery
And, if it takes place on a hot summer day, why not print your wedding programs on hand-fans!
Dress and clothes
Choose the dress you really want. This should not be about the theme, but about you. Wear what makes you happy!
If you are getting married in the desert, don't forget to check out the planned temperature and choose a dress that is appropriate.
Your outfit can be relaxed, boho, or ballroom. Since the desert themed decor remains simple, all styles can work with it.
With this theme short or long can both work well.
Keep the dress simple and light with earthy tones.
Think about the comfort of your bridesmaid
Groom and Groomsmen
Black does not really work well with this theme.
You can go for:
- a dark blue suit or a green that goes well with some of the green blue succulents or the night sky
- a brown suit to represent earth
- or you can break from dark and go towards a terracotta suit, or another earth tone.
You can keep the clothes simple so that everyone feels comfortable and beautiful, but go a little wilder with accessories.
For the women, consider:
- hair vines
- feather headpieces
- gemstone jewelry
- themed jewelry
For the men, consider:
- cactus themed socks - fun but discreet
- tie clip
- desert adventure accessories
Succulent are great in all wedding bouquets, even if your theme is not succulent.
You can have only succulents with some of them cascading if you want.
Or you can combine with flowers:
No special suggestions for the ring itself.
But for the ring bearer to carry the rings, you can have fun:
Desert themed vows ideas
If you are writing your own vows, you can include some xx related words or sentences, to make the audience smile and your partner swoon.
Here are some ideas:
- “The magic of the desert is hard to define.” - Henno Martin. It is the same with our love.
- I will follow you up the dunes, and through barren landscapes, during a drought and when we found an oasis
- See desert quotes to inspire you
Fun desert wedding photo ideas
Now, it's time to take pictures of the couple and the wedding party.
You will, of course, start with the classic pictures, but then you can also have fun.
Here are some ideas:
- sunset pictures
- playing with shadows
- having sand fall from your hands or around you
- in front of the backgrounds listed in the decor section
Desert wedding ideas for the party
Transportation between the events or just for the last 500 yards can be related to your theme. You can make a grand entrance!
You can consider a 4WD truck.
Creating a fun seating chart is one of the easiest way to include your theme in your wedding.
Here are some ideas for desert themed seating charts:
- name the tables after famous deserts - Sahara, Atacama, Wadi Rum...
- or simply add themed decorations to your seating chart:
Or you can keep a traditional-looking seating chart:
Cake shapes and desert cake toppers
With the cake, you can also have a lot of fun around your theme:
Option 1 - Traditional cake with decor
You can have traditional cakes but with:
- a few desert related decors such as cacti..
- Or you can personalize a traditional cake topper with your photo, names or desert themed designs
Option 2 - Theme-shaped cake
You can have a cake in a fun shape but with a much simpler topper so that it is not overwhelming:
- in the shape of a cactus
- in the shape of sand dunes
Food / Menu
No specific suggestions in terms of food.
The menu can be printed on beautiful themed stationery:
If you are a bridesmaid, groomsman, or a parent of the happy couple, you may have to give a speech.
A great wedding speech makes people say ohhhhhh and laugh.
The ohhhh part will come from personal stories about the couple.
But to make the audience laugh, the theme can be very useful.
Here are some jokes you could include:
Don't forget to have a guest book for people to write you special message you will enjoy reading and re-reading later in life.
You can go with a traditional guest book or you can imagine something more unique and creative.
- guests can write on cactus themed guest books
- guests can write on cactus sticky notes and placed them on a board creating a cactus forest
- guests can write on cactus themed advice cards
- guest can write on kraft card and hang them in a display with cactus paper clips
Activities - Entertainment - Music
And finally, to keep everyone entertain, you can plan for fun activities during the wedding.
Not all of them have to be related to your theme, but a few could be.
Here are some examples:
- A trivia challenge around deserts
- A "ranger station" to learn about desert ecosystems and animal prints
- Themed photo booth with props and the backdrop I listed earlier
- Henna station to get temporary cactus tattoos
- Get one or several boards (chalk or white) to create desert related word search games
- Get bliss advice from guests - leave a card at their seating place for them to write pieces of advice
Registry / wedding gift ideas
A registry is a curated list of gifts that a couple creates to make the wedding gift experience easier and more guided for their guests.
It is rarely related to the wedding theme and is more focused on building a home together.
You can create a traditional registry, including:
- entertaining furniture or tools (bar cart, wine decanter...)
- home decor
- garden and outdoor cooking supply
These can be created at:
- traditional shops
- on Amazon - see their Wedding registry system (which allows you to list from everything on the store!)
- online registries with cash options
- honeymoon registries
Don't forget to select products with various price points.
Or you can register for cash.
Or you can ask for a few gifts specific to your passion / theme:
- donation to protect a reserve
- cash towards the purchase of a 4WD or camper
Favors for desert wedding theme
Desert themed favors
It can be really fun to create favors that are products related to your xx theme or at least decorated with your themed designs or pictures.
Classic personalized favors
Or you can opt for the more traditional favors but that you personalize around the theme or just with pictures of you and the date of the wedding.
- match box (the perfect match)
- photo block
- hand sanitizer (spread love not germs)
- candy box
- mint box (mint to be)
- liquor bottle
- chocolate bar
Favor boxes and tags
Once again, you can personalize with a picture of your (themed or not) and find a box with decors related to your theme.
Here are some examples:
Other wedding events
Bridal showers and Bachelor Parties
The showers and parties don't have to be related to your theme.
But if you want to carry out the theme, you could consider:
- desert glamping weekend
- spiritual retreat in the desert
- hiking adventure
The rehearsal dinner doesn't have to be related to your theme.
But if you want to apply for it as well, you can use all the ideas already listed in this article.
Once again, the honeymoon doesn't have to be related to your theme.
But you can keep enjoying your passion.
You could consider:
- Chile and the Atacama Desert
- Morocco and the Sahara Desert
- Jordan and the Wadi Rum Desert
- Mongolia and the Gobi desert
- Southern Utah