How To Incorporate Authentic 1930s Elements Into Your Wedding Decor

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by SampleBoard

Embarking on a journey through time, a Vintage 1930s Wedding beckons us into an era steeped in grace, glamour, and the echoes of a world overcoming the challenges of the Great Depression.

The 1930s, marked by economic hardships and societal shifts, witnessed the emergence of a wedding style that encapsulated resilience and timeless sophistication.

As couples sought solace and celebration amid global uncertainties, they crafted ceremonies that mirrored the elegance of the times.

Influenced by the glamour of Hollywood, the enduring impact of royal weddings, and the prevailing cultural aesthetics, a Vintage 1930s Wedding became a tapestry woven with Art Deco intricacies, luxurious fabrics, and a return to refined traditions.

In this exploration of the Vintage 1930s Wedding, we unravel the threads of history that shaped this distinctive era, delving into the fashion, decor, and nuances that continue to inspire couples seeking a celebration wrapped in the timeless allure of the 1930s.

How Royal weddings influenced wedding trends

The 1930s marked a distinctive era in history, encapsulated by economic hardships, societal shifts, and cultural changes that profoundly influenced the landscape of wedding styles.

Emerging from the aftermath of the Great Depression, couples sought refuge in timeless elegance and a return to sophistication.

The impact of global events and the influence of iconic figures, including royal weddings, played a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetics of 1930s weddings.

During this period, wedding fashion, decor, and traditions underwent a transformative journey, reflecting both the resilience of individuals navigating challenging times and an enduring desire for grace, opulence, and a timeless romance.

In this exploration of 1930s wedding style, we delve into the influences, trends, and nuances that defined an era where love and celebration persevered against the backdrop of historical upheavals.

Royal weddings during this era, particularly those of prominent European royalty, influenced wedding styles in several ways.

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Here's a look at how royal weddings impacted the wedding style of the 1930s:

1. Elegance and Sophistication:

  • Royal weddings set the standard for elegance and sophistication. Brides in the 1930s sought to emulate the refined and polished look showcased in these grand ceremonies.
  • Wedding attire became more glamorous, with brides opting for luxurious fabrics, intricate lace, and tailored silhouettes.

2. Influence on Bridal Fashion:

  • The bridal fashion of the 1930s saw influences from the wedding dresses worn by royal brides. Women sought dresses with regal features such as long trains, fitted bodices, and sleeves.
  • Lace, which was a prominent feature in many royal wedding gowns, became a popular choice for bridal gowns in the 1930s.

3. Emphasis on Headwear:

  • Royal brides often wore elaborate headpieces and veils. This influenced 1930s brides to prioritize headwear as an essential part of their wedding attire.
  • Juliet cap veils, tiaras, and headpieces adorned with pearls and crystals became popular choices.
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4. Use of Luxurious Fabrics:

  • Royal weddings showcased opulent fabrics, including silk, satin, and velvet. This emphasis on luxurious materials influenced the choice of fabrics for wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses in the 1930s.
  • Brides sought dresses that exuded richness and glamour, even if they had to make do with more affordable alternatives.
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5. Bouquet Choices:

  • Bouquet styles from royal weddings often featured cascading arrangements or large, opulent bouquets. This trend influenced 1930s brides to choose larger bouquets with a mix of flowers.
  • Roses and lilies, frequently seen in royal wedding bouquets, became popular choices for bridal bouquets in the 1930s.

6. Formal Wedding Themes:

  • Royal weddings set the tone for formal and grand celebrations. This influence was reflected in 1930s weddings, with couples opting for more formal ceremonies and elaborate receptions.
  • The use of formal invitations, detailed table settings, and grand floral arrangements became more common.
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7. Incorporation of Tradition:

  • Royal weddings often adhered to traditional ceremonies and customs. This emphasis on tradition influenced 1930s couples to incorporate more traditional elements into their weddings.
  • Ceremonies were often held in churches, and wedding vows followed conventional formats.

8. Impact on Decor:

  • The grandeur of royal weddings influenced the decor choices of 1930s weddings. Couples sought to create a sense of opulence through the use of elaborate centerpieces, candelabras, and fine china.
  • The color palette was often inspired by royal events, with gold, silver, and rich jewel tones being popular choices.

9. Popularization of White Weddings:

  • The trend of white weddings, popularized by Queen Victoria in the 19th century, continued to influence wedding styles. Royal brides in the 1930s often chose white or ivory gowns, inspiring brides of that era to embrace the tradition of wearing white.

10. Media Influence:

  • The media played a significant role in disseminating images and information about royal weddings. Magazines and newspapers covered these events extensively, influencing public perceptions and wedding trends.
  • Brides looked to the media for inspiration, and the glamour of royal weddings shaped societal expectations for what constituted an ideal wedding.

While the impact of royal weddings on the 1930s wedding style was undeniable, it's important to note that societal and economic factors also played a significant role in shaping the choices of couples during this era.

Despite the challenges of the times, the influence of royal weddings persisted, contributing to the enduring fascination with elegant and timeless wedding styles.

Setting the scene for a Vintage 1930s Wedding Theme

Transporting your wedding into the enchanting era of the 1930s involves creating an atmosphere of glamour, sophistication, and timeless romance.

Here's how you can set the scene for a Vintage 1930s Wedding Theme:

1. Venue Selection:

  • Choose a venue with a rich history or architectural elements that echo the elegance of the 1930s. Ballrooms, historic hotels, or vintage theaters with Art Deco designs are ideal.
  • Consider venues with intricate moldings, crystal chandeliers, and grand staircases for an authentic feel.
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2. Color Palette:

  • Opt for a sophisticated color palette. Gold, ivory, and champagne can be primary colors, while deep jewel tones like burgundy, emerald green, or sapphire blue can be used as accent colors.
  • Incorporate metallic accents, such as gold or silver, for a touch of glamour.
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3. Invitations:

  • Use art deco patterns and motifs for the invitation design. Think about incorporating elements like geometric shapes, gold foiling, or embossing.
  • Choose elegant fonts and consider a combination of black and gold or navy and gold for a classic touch.
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4. Attire:

During the mid-1930s tight fitting flowing bridal gowns in slippery high sheen fabrics were popular. Dresses were often made of satins in silk or rayon.

The most used colors were ivory, cream, pinkish white, or pale blue-white. The gowns were imitations of the glamorous evening dresses worn by Hollywood movie stars.

Cowl necklines, curved trains with long medieval sleeves were the main features of the dresses. The bridesmaids often wore similar styles with Juliet caps and large bouquets of roses completing the picture.

  • For the bride, look for dresses with sleek lines, bias cuts, and minimalistic embellishments. Consider gowns with open backs or low-cut necklines.
  • Accessorize with a Juliet cap veil, long gloves, and a bouquet of calla lilies or orchids.
  • Grooms can opt for tailored suits with wide lapels, and a classic fedora can add a vintage flair.
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5. Hair and Makeup:

  • Experiment with 1930s-inspired hairstyles like finger waves, pin curls, or a sophisticated updo.
  • Red lipstick, defined eyebrows, and soft eyeshadow can complement the vintage look.
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6. Decor:

  • Use Art Deco elements for decor, including geometric patterns, mirrors, and metallic accents like gold candle holders.
  • Consider incorporating elegant drapery, such as satin or velvet, for a luxurious touch.
  • Display framed black and white photos of iconic 1930s personalities or fashion.
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7. Floral Arrangements:

In the 1930's, the bride sometimes carried a small handbag instead of a bouquet. Although roses were popular at the time the most popular flowers were the Madonna lily.

  • Choose flowers that were popular in the 1930s, such as gardenias, lilies, and roses.
  • Arrange flowers in tall, sleek vases or opt for cascading centerpieces for a touch of drama.
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8. Music:

  • Select a jazz or swing band to set the tone for the reception, playing music from iconic artists of the 1930s.
  • Incorporate a mix of danceable tunes and romantic ballads to capture the spirit of the era.

9. Photography Style:

  • Work closely with your photographer to capture the essence of the 1930s through lighting and editing techniques.
  • Experiment with black and white or sepia tones for a vintage, timeless feel.

10. Cake Design:

  • Choose a wedding cake with art deco-inspired designs. Consider incorporating geometric shapes, metallic fondant, or edible gold leaf.
  • Opt for classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet.
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11. Transportation:

  • Arrive in style with a classic car from the 1930s, such as a white vintage Rolls-Royce, 1934 Auburn 851, or Packard
  • Consider a vintage-inspired getaway car adorned with ribbons and florals.

12. Entertainment:

  • Incorporate entertainment options like a dance floor with an art deco-inspired checkerboard pattern or hire swing dancers for a lively performance.
  • Set up a photo booth with props and accessories from the 1930s for guests to enjoy.

13. Guest Experience:

  • Provide guests with a program that includes interesting facts and highlights from the 1930s, adding an educational and immersive element to the celebration.
  • Offer a signature cocktail menu featuring classic drinks from the era, such as the Sidecar or the French 75.

14. Table Settings and Details:

  • Use vintage-inspired table numbers and place cards with Art Deco motifs. Consider adding elegant touches like crystal candelabras or antique silverware.
  • Incorporate velvet touches, such as table runners or chair covers, to evoke a sense of luxury.

15. Personal Touch:

  • Infuse personal elements into the decor, such as family photos, heirlooms, or items that hold sentimental value and tell your unique love story.
  • Create a timeline display that highlights significant moments from your relationship against the backdrop of historical events from the 1930s.

16. Favors:

  • Send guests home with favors that evoke the era, such as small bottles of classic perfume, vintage-style bookmarks, or personalized matchbooks with your wedding date and names.

17. Photo Opportunities:

  • Designate specific areas for photo opportunities with vintage props and backdrops, such as a vintage suitcase or an art deco-inspired frame.
  • Set up a photo booth with accessories like feather boas, hats, and gloves for guests to channel the glamour of the 1930s.

By carefully incorporating these elements into your wedding planning, you can create a captivating and immersive experience for you and your guests, capturing the elegance and charm of the 1930s.

How Films Influenced 1930s Wedding Trends

The release of "Gone with the Wind" in 1939 marked a cinematic milestone that not only captivated audiences worldwide but also left an indelible mark on fashion, including wedding styles.

The film, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and its aftermath, showcased lavish costumes and romanticized the elegance of the antebellum South.

Dresses with high necklines, standup collars, and padded shoulders with full skirts imitating fashions from the 1860s were becoming popular.

But the movie released in 1939 saw lavish ball gowns the full skirts with crinolines panniers worn by Scarlet skyrocket in popularity.

In wedding dresses, bustles emphasized the hips and backs, and long trains were attached from the center back.

This cinematic spectacle had a notable impact on fashion trends, and its influence extended to the realm of weddings in the late 1930s.

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1. Return to Romanticism:

  • "Gone with the Wind" contributed to a revival of Victorian-era fashion, characterized by intricate lace, ruffled collars, and full skirts.
  • This Victorian revival introduced a sense of romanticism that resonated with brides of the late 1930s.

2. Lace and Ruffles:

  • Wedding gowns began to feature more lace details and ruffled embellishments, drawing inspiration from the elaborate costumes worn by characters like Scarlett O'Hara in the film.
  • Brides embraced dresses with delicate lace sleeves, high necklines, and voluminous skirts reminiscent of Victorian-era silhouettes.

3. Influence on Wedding Veils:

  • The film showcased stunning, dramatic veils, inspiring brides to choose longer, more intricate veils for their weddings. Cathedral-length veils and those adorned with lace or floral appliques became popular choices.

4. Rich Fabrics and Opulent Details:

  • Inspired by the opulence depicted in "Gone with the Wind," wedding dresses began to feature rich fabrics such as satin, velvet, and silk.
  • Brides sought gowns with opulent details, including beading, embroidery, and intricate patterns reminiscent of the Victorian era.

5. Gone with the Wind-themed Weddings:

  • Some couples embraced the allure of "Gone with the Wind" by incorporating themed elements into their weddings. This might include color palettes inspired by the film or subtle nods to the Southern charm depicted in the movie.

6. Victorian-inspired Accessories:

  • Bridal accessories took on a Victorian flair with the incorporation of cameos, pearls, and gloves. Brides adorned themselves with accessories that echoed the romantic aesthetics of the Victorian era.

7. Influence on Wedding Decor:

  • The Victorian revival extended beyond attire, influencing wedding decor. Couples embraced more ornate and detailed decor elements, including lace tablecloths, floral arrangements in antique vases, and candelabras.

8. Cultural Impact:

  • The film's impact on popular culture extended to weddings, with couples and designers drawing inspiration from the on-screen romance and historical elegance depicted in "Gone with the Wind."

9. Legacy in Bridal Fashion:

  • The influence of the Victorian revival in the late 1930s had a lasting impact on bridal fashion. Elements such as lace, ruffles, and romantic silhouettes continued to be embraced in subsequent decades.

In summary, the release of "Gone with the Wind" towards the end of the 1930s sparked a Victorian revival in fashion, leaving an unmistakable imprint on wedding styles.

Brides, enamored by the romantic aesthetics showcased on the silver screen, embraced the intricate details, opulent fabrics, and timeless elegance reminiscent of the Victorian era, creating a bridal landscape that mirrored the cinematic allure of this iconic film.

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Ensuring A Smooth And Safe Celebration

When planning your wedding, it’s important to not only focus on the aesthetic details. But also consider practical matters such as safety and insurance.

Hiring a wedding planner can help ensure your special day runs smoothly and all necessary precautions are taken. In addition, it’s important to consider insurance for any unexpected events or accidents.

Another essential aspect to consider is transportation for both you and your guests. Opting for a classic vintage 1930s white wedding car adds to your special day’s overall theme and aesthetic.

While also ensuring that everyone arrives safely and on time. Though it’s not fun to think about accidents on your big day, insurance for the car you use shouldn’t be forgotten.

And if the worst happens, get a reputable car accident lawyer.

It’s important to keep in mind all these aspects. So your wedding day is not only beautiful but also safe and worry-free.

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The glamorous 1930s gave way to the drab 1940s.

Even though the lavish ball gown wedding dress was for a limited time popular in the 1930s the era is more known for the glamorous white satin and glitter of movie star style.

Therefore a 1930s wedding theme with white figure-hugging gowns, white cars, and white Madonna lilies with lots of glitter and shine would be more authentic.

Ready to design your own vintage 1930s wedding? Jumpstart your creativity by combining images quickly and easily into digital mood boards on!

Author: Rosena MacFadzean for