Someone recently asked me what “vintage” means. After all, fashion that can be described as “vintage” can span decades. In a modern fashion (and certainly wedding) context, vintage usually means anything from the past, typically between the 1920s and 1970s.
So I thought I’d take you back in time, decade by decade, to show you the different decor and fashion tips that can be borrowed from another era to achieve that vintage wedding feel.
There are several ways to do a 20s theme. You can make Art Deco the main focus with black, white and red accents, or you can opt for a more glitzy speakeasy theme, with gambling tables, snuff boxes, trilbies, flapper dresses and decadent pearls, crystals and feathers.
Hire a band to play jazz or 20-style dance music and teach everyone the Charlston!
When styling your 1920s-themed wedding, fashion is a big part of getting the look. In the 20s, long veils and covered foreheads were in style (think cloche hats for guests), so for 20s-inspired brides, a long, vintage veil is a must. Where vintage weddings are concerned, a subtle nod to the past is usually enough, but if you’re going for a full theme, you’ll need a dropped wasit and unfitted bodice dress. Boutiques like Abigail’s Vintage Bridal and The Vintage Wedding Dress Company supply both authentic and replica 1920s dresses. To go for the more traditional and authentic 20s look, think along the lines of the pictures below. (RH image © Elli Dean and dress from Abigail’s Vintage Bridal)
If the full on veil is a bit much for you and you’d like to go for something more subtle (while making a 20s statement) why not try a vintage-inspired headpiece? For example, the Brooks headband from Flo and Percy would be the perfect touch.
Image © Flo and Percy
The great thing about a 20s theme is that it also gives you the freedom to show off your fun side and go for a dazzling flapper dress. The sequin detail and low waste makes it a really handy maternity dress for early pregnancies as well.
Images © Ju Mitchell (L) and Modern Vintage Weddings (R)
Bouquets in the 20s were generally very very big and filled with roses and Calla Lilies – like this:
You can either emulate that in a modern bouquet like these beauties from Waterlily Pond (image © Genevieve Stevens Photography)
or go for something with a modern vintage twist, like this gorgeous crystal bouquet from Love Bouquets (image © N Cadman Photography)
Or if big bouquets aren’t your thing, try a nod to the 1920s look with a simple hand-tied bouquet of Calla Lilies, like this from Philosophy Flowers. (Image © John Morris)
Generally, think Art Deco, think feathers, beads and glamour. To really sparkle, go for a venue with a big crystal chandelier!
Build an old-style booth (I’ve yet to find one this authentic but if anyone could help me I’d be much obliged) and put a vintage filter on the photos. For added effect, leave trilbies, pearls, feathers, headpieces, cloche hats, wigs and other 20s style accessories in a battered suitcase for your guests to have fun with!
If you’re going for traditional understated glamour, a single calla lily in a tall vase (incorporating pearls) should do the trick. However, if you’re not a fan of understated, a 20s theme means you can have some real fun with feathers and crystal garlands (image © Jesse Lysse)
You can also use beautiful antique bowls and soft pastel colours for a modern take on the 1920s centrepiece, like this gorgeous arrangement, also from Waterlily Pond (Image © Stefanie Tam Photography)
Despite the post-war era, cakes were still decadent with flowers, ornate details, thick icing and a rich fruit filling.
As we know, the wedding cake has come on along way since the above (despite being exceptionally gorgeous) and a modern take on the vintage wedding cake can be more refined, spectacular and, of course, can be filled with any flavour cake you like!
You can also use your imagination, either going for a replica 20s cake like this gorgeous Gloria cake by Restoration Cake
Image © Carla Thomas Photography
Or going for the Art Deco look like these gorgeous cakes (L) Cakes By Shelley and (R) a bit of luxury with GC Couture
Next time we’ll be featuring 1930s inspiration – if you have relevant product pictures please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org