How to theme a vintage-inspired wedding

One of my pet peeves is when I hear people talking about “vintage” as if it’s one specific trend. “Vintage” is on its way out, apparently – well, then it’s been on its way out for a very long time – mainly because the people who say they’re sick of vintage-inspired wedding probably couldn’t tell you what they mean by “vintage”. Today I thought we could explore some of the routes you can go down if you want to plan a vintage-inspired wedding – and why there’s so much diversity in the vintage wedding world, nobody should ever be sick of it! Please note these are just a few of the many ways you can style your vintage wedding, there’s a whole world of originality out there!

How to theme a vintage-inspired wedding

By decade / era

This is one of the easiest ways to style a vintage wedding in terms of deciding on the décor – because when you’re styling around a specific era, there are endless resources for inspiration out there and you can either choose to modernise themes from the time or to try to emulate the authentic feel of that decade. The most popular eras t0 style your wedding around seem to be the twenties and fifties, but why not break the mould and have a sixties or eighties-themed wedding? What about a Victorian era or period wedding? The world is your oyster.

Top tips for planning your wedding by decade / era

Gather authentic photos of celebrations, outfits and houses from that era alongside wedding magazines.
Don’t be too cheesy – if you do commit to an era-inspired theme you don’t want your wedding to look too much like a fancy dress party. It’s a really, really fine line to tread – putting a modern twist on the theme can instantly give it that much-needed touch of class.
Be consistent across the theme – from the styling, to the guests’ clothes, to the music, to the food – for that extra “wow” factor!

A bride in a 20s-inspired dress – full feature here

By Hollywood icon

This is slightly trickier to achieve and requires a great deal of imagination as it will have no template whatsoever. Love Marilyn? Audrey? Elizabeth Taylor? James Dean? Why not base your wedding theme around them? Gather pictures of them, their clothes, the movies they starred in, their homes, their parties, and take elements from those to create an atmosphere of your favourite Hollywood icon.

Top tips for planning your wedding by Hollywood icon

Be really creative. For example, an Audrey Hepburn-inspired wedding could include an opulent “wedding breakfast at Tiffany’s” complete with lots of sparkle. If you’re stuck for ideas start a mood board on Pinterest (or a paper scrapbook, old school) and just include images you feel evoke the spirit of the celebrity you love!
Again, the risk is turning the theme into a fancy dress party. Don’t invite your guests to dress up as said celebrity, but ask them to dress as if they’re attending a party hosted by said icon. Incorporate elements of their look into your own outfit, but without emulating it completely, to really dazzle.

Image source

Opulent vintage

I hate trends. But if I didn’t hate trends I’d let you know that the opulent vintage theme is a really big trend this year. Think chandeliers, strands of crystals, candelabras, fine glassware, stunning roses and peonies – extremely elegant but with a vintage twist. The most beautiful 1940s and 1950s glamour-inspired dinner party. While this sounds like an extremely big-budget day (and it can go that way) a lot of these items can be hired – even faux pearls can be sourced really cheaply at places like Primark – draped elegantly over flower arrangements and around the venue, nobody will know the difference.

Top tips for planning your opulent vintage wedding

It’s easy to confuse vintage glamour with plain bling. Don’t think diamantes, think crystals, antique brooches, silver flower urns, long crystal vases.
Go the extra mile by styling smaller areas, for example setting up a beautiful dressing table, complete with antique perfume bottles and jewellery, a chaise longue and other smaller seats for guests to enjoy some quiet time.

Image © Emma Lucy Photography – Emmy Shoes at the Designer Wedding Show

Country chic

This is the theme that keeps on giving – you can pretty much go anywhere with it, fabulous florals, hay bales, lace, white distressed furniture, shabby elegant designs. This is what a lot of people think of when they are talking about vintage weddings – and while it’s been a hot trend for a few years now, it’s still well worth looking into as it’s an absolutely gorgeous and timeless theme.

Top tips for planning your country chic wedding

Have fun rolling your sleeves up and doing some DIY! From doily bunting to little, rustic favours, this theme can really bring out your creative side.
Find a common motif to link everything together as a rustic, country theme can look a bit mismatched. For example, I used the same fabrics for all my craft projects for my DIY day.

My rustic wedding – image © Satureyes

Tea party

Last, but by no means least, where would we be without the fabulous vintage tea party? Yes, china, bunting, suitcases, lace, doilies, pearls, scones and jam, cucumber sandwiches and a fantastic photographer to capture it all!

Top tips for planning your vintage tea party wedding

As much as I hate to say it, don’t try to source china for hundreds of people from car boot sales. It’s fun for the first weekend but it takes serious commitment. Then you’ll end up buying things that you later decide don’t go with your theme and you’ll end up (like me) with a house full of china you don’t need. Use a hire company, it usually works out a similar price as car boot sale pros are getting wind of this vintage trend, and it’s much less hassle for you on the day and in the run up.
Set up a vintage tea parlour area with soft seating. We did it and everyone was so grateful for the quiet and comfy place to sit!

Image © Cotton Candy Wedding Photography – Full feature here

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