Have you ever seen a vintage wedding that you just didn’t get? I have seen weddings that were intended to be “retro” or “vintage” but I just couldn’t tell for the life of me what era they were even going for. Simply wearing your mother’s wedding dress does not make your wedding vintage. If you aren’t careful, you will simply end up with a “dated” wedding, out-of-style, no character, and nothing that anyone will remember.
If you are planning a vintage wedding it is very important that you:
1. Learn everything that you can about your era and theme.
2. Keep your decor true to that era.
3. Plan activities for your even that fit in and were popular during that era.
4. Go all out with your theme without going overboard.
Know Your Era
The first thing you need to do is to define the era in time that your wedding theme comes from. Is your wedding theme from a more recent time like the 70s or 80s? Are you trying to emulate the roaring 20s or are you looking for a 1940s theme? If you do not have a clear vision as to what your wedding theme is, your guests won’t get it either. No matter what day and age that your wedding is going to be based on, we are living in the information age. Get on the internet and do some research. Google the era that you need to know more about and learn everything that you can. To make your wedding stand out from the rest, look for those lesser known details that no one else is doing. Yet, also incorporate themes that everyone will recognize. For example, let’s say you are basing your wedding on the 1940s. Everyone knows that WWII was going on, so you should incorporate something from that. But did you know that noir films were very popular back then with femme fatale characters. Films from your era of choice are a great resource for wedding ideas. Newspaper archives can also give you some insight.
Keep Your Decor True To the Era
This is where most people miss it. If your decor does not match your theme, then you have failed to pull off your theme. Again, let me say that you need to rent some movies from your era. How do you see in the formal settings of that time?
Also, use Pinterest to research your themes. Be careful here because most people who pin aren’t historians.
Here is a checklist to make sure your decor works:
1. Your wedding dress must fit in with that time. I’m sorry but a modern wedding dress just doesn’t cut it.
2. Are your bridesmaids dresses appropriate to your theme?
3. Do your centerpieces fit in with that era?
4. What music was popular back then? I love the Black Eyed Peas, but they weren’t around in the 1950s.
5. Is your wedding cake in the style of that time?
6. Do your wedding invitations make your theme clear?
7. Food and drink? What was popular at that time?
Plan Your Activities Around That Era (What did people do for fun back then?)
Google “What did people do for fun in the ….. (your era of choice)”. Jot down anything that looks like it would be fun at a wedding reception. Swing dancing was popular in the 1920s. To my surprise, I also found out that the basic steps of east coast swing are relatively easy to learn. It only looks hard when professionals do it. You could have a dance instructor come in and teach people to swing dance. They will have fun no matter how well they do it.
These newly married couple picked swing dancing for their first dance! Which one do you like the best?
You Need To Go All Out Or Else Your Event Will Only Look Dated
Your theme needs to be crystal clear. If you only wear a vintage dress and put out one or two vintage centerpieces, your event will just look out-of-style. Most of your guests won’t get it. Go all out with your theme. Try to make everything fit your era down to the last detail. Keep in mind that the more recent your wedding era was the harder it is to pull off. It is harder to pull off a 1980s wedding than it is a 1920s wedding because people remember the 80s. Many people worry about going overboard with their theme, but more people under do it than over do it. Just make sure that still obey basic design principles and make sure everything flows together.
Did you have a vintage wedding that you were proud of?
Please send us your photos. We would love to feature your wedding here on our blog. Or are you an event planner who has experience with vintage weddings? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love for you to share your ideas with our readers.