How to Choose the Perfect Vintage Wedding Theme

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by SampleBoard

Creating a wedding day with all the elegance of yesteryear is very much in vogue. The wonderful thing about a vintage wedding theme is the endless choices available.

You can have a uniquely individual celebration for your special day and it can also be a very eco-friendly affair when old items are reused.

When I think of vintage I see an old-fashioned church, a beautiful old-fashioned garden or castle, a delicate romantic setting with beautiful china, crystal glassware, masses of old-fashioned roses, antique furniture, and vintage cars.

The bride is dressed in a beautiful recycled wedding gown originally worn by her mother or grandmother.

Image credit: chicvintagebrides.com

Introduction to the Term 'Vintage'

A vintage wedding theme could be based on the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s eras. The terms vintage, antique, and retro are often used incorrectly.

When buying clothing or items labeled as vintage, antique, and retro it is important to know the difference. I thought I would clarify the terms here.

Clothing created after the 1920s to early 1980 is considered vintage. Garments created before the 1920s are referred to as antiques.

However, 1960s and 1970s casual wear is often referred to as retro clothing. Clothing created after the 1980s is just known as secondhand.

As a rule of thumb, anything less than a quarter of a century old is not considered vintage.

Image credit: smp.gd

The History Behind the Vintage Era

You can quickly identify a wedding dress to a particular era by remembering some key feature/s. For example the drop-waist dresses of the 1920s.

Sleek full-length bias-cut silk gowns were popular in the 1930s. Nipped-waisted full-skirted dresses were in vogue in the 1950s.

During the 1960s psychedelic prints in man-made fabrics like polyester, miniskirts, and rounded Peter Pan collared shirts along with short-length empire line dresses were considered trendy.

Bohemian, gypsy, peasant-style dresses were all the rage in the 1970s. Power suits with gilt buttons, wide shoulders, and nipped-in waists are from the 1980s and were also popular in the 80s with sequins, beads, and studs.

Image credit: weddingforward.com

How to Create a Vintage Wedding

Creating a vintage wedding is like unlocking a hidden treasure chest filled with nostalgia, elegance, and timeless charm.

To embark on this enchanting journey, start by infusing every aspect of the celebration with intricate details that pay homage to bygone eras.

Begin with the venue selection; opt for an old-world location such as a rustic barn adorned with delicate lace curtains or a stately manor brimming with antique furniture and ornate chandeliers.

The bride's attire should exude grace and sophistication – think flowing lace gowns reminiscent of the 1920s or tea-length dresses adorned with dainty floral patterns from the 1950s.

Creating a vintage-themed wedding involves incorporating elements from a specific era or combining styles from different periods to achieve a timeless, romantic ambiance.

Image credit: brides.com

Here's a guide to help you plan and execute a vintage wedding:

1. Detailed Era Research

  • Immerse yourself in the details of the chosen era. Understand the fashion, lifestyle, and cultural nuances to ensure authenticity in your wedding elements.

  • For example, if you're opting for a 1920s theme, think Art Deco, flapper dresses, jazz music, and Gatsby-style opulence.

2. Invitations and Stationery

  • Use aged or parchment-style paper for invitations to give them an antique feel.

  • Consider incorporating vintage graphics, monograms, or illustrations that reflect the chosen era.

  • Utilize calligraphy or fonts reminiscent of the period.

3. Attire and Accessories

  • For the bride, consider a dress with lace details, a dropped waist, or a silhouette typical of the chosen era.

  • Incorporate heirloom accessories like a vintage veil, family jewelry, or a borrowed handkerchief.

  • For the groom, a classic suit with details from the era, like a bow tie or suspenders, can evoke a vintage vibe.

Complement this dreamy ensemble with carefully chosen accessories like heirloom jewelry or delicate birdcage veils and the timeless charm of tanzanite jewelry, adding a contemporary yet elegant dimension to complete the vintage vision.

Image credit: brides.com
Image credit: imgfave.com

4. Hair and Makeup Styles

  • Work with a stylist who specializes in vintage hair and makeup.

  • Experiment with finger waves, victory rolls, or a classic updo for hair.

  • Consider a timeless makeup look with red lips or softer tones, depending on the era.

5. Venue Selection and Decor

  • Choose a venue with architectural features from the chosen era, like Victorian mansions, Art Deco ballrooms, or rustic barns.

  • Enhance the atmosphere with vintage furniture, candlesticks, and subtle lighting to create a romantic ambiance.

  • Incorporate elements like vintage suitcases, typewriters, or antique frames as decor pieces.
Image credit: hitched.co.uk

6. Floral Arrangements

Immerse guests in an atmosphere that transcends time through decor choices such as mismatched china sets, antique candelabras draped in soft candlelight, and whimsical floral arrangements featuring roses, peonies, and baby's breath blossoms adorning every corner of the venue.

  • Select flowers that were popular during the chosen era. Roses, peonies, and lilies are timeless choices.

  • Arrange bouquets and centerpieces in vintage containers such as silver vases, teapots, or antique pitchers.
Image credit: joelandjustyna.com
Image credit: brides.com
Image credit: madelinerosephoto.com

7. Music and Entertainment

Music plays a pivotal role in setting the mood; consider hiring live musicians playing nostalgic tunes on instruments like pianos or violins to transport everyone back to simpler times.

  • Hire a band that specializes in music from the era, or create playlists that include iconic songs.

  • Consider dance styles like the Charleston, swing, or waltz, depending on the chosen period.

  • Incorporate unique entertainment, such as a magician or vintage-inspired photo booth.

8. Photography Style

  • Work closely with your photographer to achieve a vintage look in your photos.

  • Experiment with sepia tones, soft filters, or black-and-white editing to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

9. Cake Design

  • Collaborate with a baker to design a cake that reflects the vintage theme.

  • Consider details like lace patterns, edible flowers, or a cake topper that complements the era.

10. Favors and Guestbook

  • Personalize vintage-inspired favors, such as small jars of honey, vintage-inspired keychains, or customized candles.

  • Choose a guestbook that fits the theme, like a vintage typewriter for guests to leave messages.

11. Transportation

  • Rent a classic car or a vintage-style carriage for a grand entrance or exit.

  • Consider the transportation as part of the overall visual appeal.

12. Timeline and Coordination

  • Coordinate with vendors to ensure they understand and embrace the vintage theme.

  • Develop a timeline that reflects the pace and style of the chosen era, including the ceremony, reception, and any additional events.

13. Memorable Details

  • Incorporate personal and meaningful details, such as family heirlooms, vintage photographs, or items that tell your unique love story.
Image credit: junebugweddings.com

14. Flexibility and Creativity

  • Don't be afraid to mix elements from different eras if that suits your vision.

Image credit: junebugweddings.com

15. Guest Experience

Delight your guests' taste buds by offering classic dishes inspired by different decades.

Perhaps serve retro cocktails like martinis or old-fashioned lemonades alongside delectable finger sandwiches filled with cucumber and cream cheese or miniature quiches straight out of grandma's recipe book.

By paying attention to these details, you can create a cohesive and enchanting vintage wedding experience that transports everyone to the era you've chosen, leaving lasting memories for you and your guests.

Image credit: weddbook.com

Conclusion

To successfully create a vintage wedding it is best to select one particular era although you can add contemporary items.

Often the wedding dress can dictate the theme for the whole wedding for example a drop-waist 1920s dress belonging to a family member may be offered.

Or a particular style of wedding dress may have appealed to the bride since she was a young girl.

Although I did not have a vintage-themed wedding I had always loved the simple sweetheart neckline satin dress styles of the 1930s. I had my wedding dress designed and made in that style.

The setting, the cars, the style of cake, the bridesmaids, the groom’s suit, and the flowers will work best if they echo the selected theme be it 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, or 1970s.

It will also make it easier to organize and make decisions if you stick to one era. Vintage-themed weddings do have a wonderful whimsical, nostalgic romantic elegance about them.

Author: Rosena MacFadzean for SampleBoard.com – concept creation online

Vintage Wedding Theme
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