How to Plan a Westworld Wedding Ceremony
This page is an educational resource for couples exploring the idea of having a Westworld inspired wedding ceremony.
This page is an educational resource for couples exploring the idea of having a Westworld inspired wedding ceremony.
There's something about Old Western films that fill you with an overwhelming nostalgia for a time that you never experienced, yet somehow feel like you know. What is it that we love about them? Is it the lawlessness of the land? The unfettered, tortured romances? The parasols and pearls? The square-jawed cowboys? All of the above? Whatever it is, it has intoxicated generations of men and women alike.
That heartstring-yanking appeal of the "wild west" is central to the plot of Westworld, a futuristic cautionary tale of man's unyielding desire to relive the ever-elusive good ol' days without facing the consequences. And while we can't really bring the era of the Old West back from the dead (and shouldn't try, if we learned anything from Westworld), we can surely indulge in a little harmless fantasy. And why not add a little of that magic to your wedding day?
At AMM, we're big supporters of couples that seek to break the traditional wedding mold with unconventional wedding themes. After all, your wedding is supposed to be about you and your partner's special brand of love (and shared obsessions!)
So, while we wait in feverish anticipation to for the upcoming season our favorite dark sci-fi epic, we dedicate the newest edition of our cosplay wedding guide series to couples that live and die for Westworld. Whether you want to go all out in full Westworld costume, you want to pay homage to the series with a few subtle details, or you're just dreaming of an Old West style hoe-down, you're guaranteed to find some ideas that will inspire you to have the country-themed wedding you didn't know you wanted.
It's a smart move for any couple to hire a wedding planner, but especially for those that have chosen a unique theme. Yes, it will be a fairly substantial investment, but the time and stress you will save with the help of a seasoned pro will be well worth it. Wedding planners are dedicated to helping you find the businesses in your local area that will be able to accomodate special requests that are key to making the theme come together. They also facilitate communication with all the third party vendors involved before and during the wedding, so you can sit back and relax.
If you are trying to keep your budget down and there's no room to hire a wedding planner full-time, there's another option. Some wedding planners offer consulting services in which they give advice by the hour for a fraction of the price. You'll have the opportunity to do so some brainstorming with someone who's experienced in bringing elaborate events to life and gain some tips to take with you as you continue your planning solo. You can find pros in your area on WeddingWire.
The venue that you choose for a specially themed wedding is obviously a crucial element. Even with the most detail-oriented costumes and carefully coordinated color scheme, your western theme will seem downright odd in the banquet hall of a modern hotel.
If you live in the Los Angeles area (or you're down for a destination wedding), you can actually get married at Paramount Ranch! Its iconic white chapel can be seen in Season 1 and has also been used as a backdrop in many old Western films.
But no worries if you can't make the trip, because regardless of where you live, chances are there are a myriad of good alternatives in your area.
There are also dozens of venues in every state that have embraced the antique, "Old West" look that would be perfect for a Westworld wedding. Renovated barns and ranches with onsite photo ops like old saloons and horse stables have become ubiquitous thanks to the current popularity of the country aesthetic with modern brides. All they need is a little of your personal touch to transform them into Sweetwater lookalikes (but we'll get to those details later.) You can use venue-finding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire to search for venues in your area that fill the bill with key words like "barn" and "rustic."
A third option is to search for little towns near you that have preserved their original layouts and buildings from the 1800s. If you happen to live in the same state as one of these towns -- e.g. Bandera, Texas; Silverton, Colorado; Goodsprings, Nevada; and Oatman, Arizona, just to name a few -- bringing your wedding to their historical streets will really make it feel like you're on the real Westworld set.
Next, we'll make some suggestions for your color scheme, which you'll need to have at the ready when choosing your flowers, wedding party attire, cake and other decor.
The color choices in Westworld are very intentional, perhaps the strongest example being Dolores' blue dress, which is thought to be a nod to icons like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, fellow innocent-hearted female lead characters. The color is also meant to pop against the desert landscape of Utah, where they partially filmed in Season 1.
Our recommendation is to pull from the colors of the desert: white, light brown and sky-blue as the pop of color. You may also consider a navy blue and/or black, which is also frequently used in the characters' costumes. Like we said, this is just our suggestion, but we leave the decisions to your artistic interpretation. To hand pick your shades, check out Bridestory's comprehensive guide; it will walk you through the process.
Now we're getting to the good stuff. Your wedding invitations will be the first sneak peak of your theme to your guests. (We can already envision the classic all-caps Old West lettering!) There are a few routes you can choose here.
Etsy sellers offer premade templates that they will customize for you. These invitations from Ooh La La Posh Designs are almost too perfect. When you start the ordering process online, you will be prompted to provide your desired message. The designer will send you a draft for your review before making you a final digital version. Once you approve it, you will receive a high quality .jpg file which you can have printed at your local print shop, where you can choose the paper. This option is our recommendation because it's not too time consuming or expensive.
You can also go the traditional route of hiring a professional wedding invitation designer in your local area, which your wedding planner can hook you up with. If you really want to get specific with the lettering and find the perfect distressed paper, this is a good way to go, but it will run you a pretty penny -- in the range of $1000-3000 dollars.
If you want to be thrifty and you or a friend is handy with a design program, you can make your own invitations. There are tons of Western fonts available online that are free for non-commercial use. When you find one you like, just click the link to start the download, then open the .ttf file. Once it's done, you'll see the new font pop up in your regular font lists in your Adobe and Microsoft programs. We'll leave the rest of the design work to you.
An extra touch that would go with any of the above options would be to wax seal your envelopes like they did in Victorian times. You can watch YouTube videos on how to use a wax seal kit. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can have a stamp made from this png file of the maze design seen throughout Season 1 to use as your stamp's design.
After you've sent out your invitations, you're almost ready to tackle the aesthetic decisions that will really define your wedding day. But before moving forward, think about exactly what kind of Westworld wedding you and your partner want to have.
Do you want to go into full cosplay as the characters, or forego costumes altogether and just leave some subtle hints in the details that only your Westworld-loving guests will be able to notice? Or something in between?
Our recommendation is to avoid feeling like you must rigidly adhere to historical accuracy of the Victorian era that the park is based on, unless of course, that's your M.O. After all, Westworld isn't a true Western. As show creator Jonathan Nolan said, "This isn't taking place in the 19th century. It's taking place somewhere else -- some time else." So, feel free to take creative liberties. Our one recommendation is to pick one style and aim for unity, so you and your wedding party don't end up looking mismatched.
We'll help you get the ball rolling with some suggestions for attire, starting with the bride. The options run the gamut! If you're thinking about going for a screen-accurate cosplay as Delores, this seller makes a quality version of her classic blue dress. If you're a seasoned cosplayer with intermediate sewing skills, you might consider trying your hand at creating your own interpretation. Worst case scenario, you can always purchase a dress. (Just make sure you've left yourself plenty of time to do so.)
If you want to pay homage to Delores' classic Season 1 look without going with such a literal interpretation, this lace number has an antique vibe with a modern silhouette in her signature baby-blue shade.
Of course, you can always keep with the Victorian era theme and opt for a white dress, foregoing a literal cosplay. For a more structured -- and sexy -- look, check out this white corset dress (and it's wallet-friendly price tag.) Alternatively, you could even emulate model Karlie Kloss' wedding look, where she rocked a much more casual country-inspired gown. Details on where you can find the very same dress are available here.
For the bridesmaids, there are a couple of ways to go. Remember, the style should be in the same general style as the bride's gown. You could go all-out with corseted costumes that pay homage to the lovely ladies of Mariposa, Clementine and Maeve. This Etsy seller, LaBelle Fairy, creates custom designs based on the myriad of different corsets she makes, and has excellent feedback from her customers. One of these corsets paired with a petticoat would also make a good foundation if your bridesmaids are down to dress in full cosplays of Clementine and Maeve. You could also find a perfect dress for the bride here, if you didn't love any of the above options.
However, as an alternative, dressing your bridesmaids in classic, simple lace gowns will give a vintage vibe without running you such a high price tag. These lovely yet casual knee-length lace dresses come in a muted navy that would complement a more casual Karlie Kloss-eque bride.
Dressing the groom and the groomsmen in costume will be an easier feat, as the clothing worn by most of the male characters is easier to find in store and online.
For the groom, the obvious sources of inspiration that come to mind are Teddy and William. Teddy's most memorable look is his charcoal gray jacket and a slightly lighter gray vest, matching pants and a chocolate-brown cowboy hat. William's get-up is quite similar, but is a bit warmer, as he prefers to wear shades of tan and brown. He's usually seen in a tan jacket and a deep brown vest, gray pants and an off-white cowboy hat -- the hallmark of the good guy in an old Western.
For the groomsmen, you could draw inspiration from either of these two characters, or from the outfits of the Man in Black, Logan, Hector Escaton, or Lee Sizemore. Extra touches could include pocket watches, bolo ties and boutineers in your wedding color scheme for extra country-western pizazz.
This cowboy wear website Cattle Kate sells authentic western-inspired men's pieces that you can mix and match to create almost any of the above named characters' looks. You can find almost everything you'll need here from pants to vests to suspenders and cowboy hats. You can also check around your local area for brick-and-mortar western wear stores where you can actually try the clothes on. Rural areas are often home to these kinds of mom-and-pop retailers, so if you live in an urban area, you may have to take a drive to do some investigating in your nearby small towns.
When thinking about costumes, don't forget about the officiant, as they'll be front and center during your ceremony. Depending on your officiant's physical characteristics and preferences, you could dress them as any character from the show you choose, but we love the idea of portraying the devilish patriarch of Westworld himself, Dr. Ford.
His classic charcoal suit, matching button up vest and trademark silver pocket watch make for a perfectly formal and easy-to-achieve get-up for your officiant. Because the look is fairly standard menswear, you'll be able to create it at any suit rental store or business wear outlet. Screenshot a photo of Ford's look on your phone and the retail clerk will be able to help you emulate it.
The way you decorate your venue will serve to complement your wedding party's attire and really pull the entire theme together. This is also your opportunity to sprinkle in those easter eggs that your only Westworld-loving guests will understand -- as wll as any other Victorian touches you might want to add for fun.
Photo booths and photo stations have become super popular with modern weddings, and are excellent additions to theme weddings. For your guests who aren't dressed up, providing props for a photo booth (or setting up a backdrop and putting your photographer to work with a polaroid camera) will allow them to participate in the fun and go home with their own tangible memory of the day that they'll keep forever. Set up a prop table with the following accessories and any others that pop to mind:
There are countless articles online, like this one, with photos of country western decor that will help you choose cake, flowers and other decorations that will complement your theme, but the rest is up to you!
We hope we've kickstarted your brainstorming process and have encouraged you to pull the trigger on the Westworld wedding of your dreams. The AMM team wishes you a love that outlast Delores' lifespan, filled with only violent delights (and no violent ends.)