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If you have an heirloom wedding dress in your family, or if you have a passion for an era long gone, then a vintage themed wedding is the one for you.
If the vintage era of your choice is one that you are passionate about, then you will already know a great deal about the customs of the time. If you are using a vintage theme wedding outfit, you might have to do some homework to find out exactly what would have been done and to get some more ideas for the look of the wedding.
Vintage themes to use in your wedding
The 1920s were a fabulous era of flappers and cloche hats. Big black Ford cars were everywhere and the music was loud and infectious. If you have an Art Deco hotel or another wedding venue in your area, use it to set the scene for your wedding. The staff should be able to advise you on suitable decorations for the event that would fit with the ambience of the rooms you have chosen.
Charleston music and the beginning of the blues were the order of the day. Think speakeasy joints and wild parties.
Your dress should be a calf-length shift dress with a drop waist. Accessorize with flat pumps, strings of beads and a cloche hat. Look at photographs of The Queen Mother getting married for ideas. Flowers would have been simple cream or white with sprays of baby’s breath and fern.
Invitations and place markers should match, and be simple and chic. Try to find a font that looks like a typewriter. Wedding favours could include sugared almonds, beads, or sepia photographs.
The forties were the war years, and this is the time of film stars and glamour. Hair was silky and curled, lips were red, and stockings were very much in evidence – if you were lucky enough to have a silk pair, you wanted to flaunt them as much as you could!
Pencil skirts and puffed sleeves on tailored jackets were the order of the day. You could of course choose a services wedding, and have everyone find some vintage theme uniforms. What an event that would be!
Your wedding dress might be heavy cream silk, flowing to the ground in true film-star style, or you might choose a pair of wide-legged evening trousers. Think Lauren Bacal and Kathryn Hepburn. Accessorise with pearls and high-fronted shoes.
Your wedding venue could be an army base, with flags and photocopied war posters. Any theatrical outfitter or party shop should be able to help you out with props. Invitations should be on a sturdy, utilitarian card. Guests should be reminded to bring their gas masks. Place markers should point out where the air raid shelters are located.
The dining table will be quite plain and limited for a services wedding, or sumptuous and elegant if you are going for the Hollywood glamour look. Dancing will either be full orchestra or jitterbug style. Wedding favours could be miniature warplanes, facsimile food coupons or silk stockings.
For a 1950s wedding, you can go all out for the rock and roll era. Think American Graffiti and Elvis. Your dress will be knee-length and almost circular, with a little colour and a bolero top. A tiny hat will be worn instead of a headdress. Your guests must be invited to come in period style – teddy boys welcome this time!
Music will (of course) be rock and roll). See if you can beg, borrow or hire a jukebox for the evening.
Favours could be vinyl records, coins from the 1950s, or photographs of your guests digitally altered so they look as if they are in vintage theme costumes. Pageboys will look cute as mini teddy boys. Girls will have frilly pastel dresses like Janet and John. Burgers and milkshakes would go down well with the younger crowd and serve a full buffet for the older people.
The swinging sixties was the era of flower power and Mary Quant. The bold bride will wear a black and white shift dress and ask all her guests to wear black and/or white. This will be the theme of the reception and can be carried through the invitations, place markers etc.
Make-up will be key to your look. Back-comb your hair and put on lots of eyeliner. The lips are pale pink. Check out Twiggy’s London Look. The music will be 60s disco. You should be able to get a tribute band to perform the music of the period.
The second alternative is to have a hippy wedding. Chill out and wear sloppy jeans and cheesecloth. Wear flowers in your hair and give them out to your guests as you go down the aisle. Have flower girls give out more flowers. Keep the theme casual at your reception venue. Throw petals everywhere (fake ones won’t wilt during the evening), light some joss sticks and put the prog rock on the record player.
Decorate the room with cut-out flowers or black and white circles.
A seventies party is always popular, and there is no reason that a wedding in this vintage era should be any less fabulous. Whether your favourite part of the decade is psychedelia, glam rock, punk or disco, make sure your whole wedding is themed from start to finish. Choose one or two key colours and use these throughout the day from invitations and flowers to accent colours in your dress and favour wrapping.
Your dress will have a high neck and wide sleeves that are pulled into a cuff at the bottom. You might carry a basket instead of a bouquet. Your make-up will feature bold eyeliner and blue eye shadow. hair is back in a bun or flicked out at shoulder length.
Bright and funky, seventies clothes aren’t hard to get hold of. All your guests should be able to join in the fun. Get some 70s posters blown up and put them on the walls and find some old photos of your family. It’ll be a blast.
By following any of these vintage themes, you will ensure that you have a great day that will be remembered for a long, long time. Take loads of photos to show the grandkids.