Whether you're integrating cherished heirlooms like your family's exquisite china or showcasing a timeless piece from a fashion house you've always admired, there's a unique charm in embracing elements of the past with rich histories.
So, if you're a fan of marrying (pun intended) the modern with the nostalgic, having a vintage wedding theme may be right for you.
When it comes to your vintage-themed wedding, it's all about mixing the best of both worlds—old-school charm and modern vibes. And, by incorporating vintage elements into your wedding ceremony and wedding reception, you're not only embracing the era and its sentimentalities that suit your personalities, but you're also promoting sustainability with your thrifty — and potentially thrifted — choices.
That's why we've gathered 14 vintage-inspired and vintage wedding ideas, and key elements, to consider in your design and planning. Whether you're a fan of the roaring twenties or the groovy seventies, there's a vintage style for everyone.
How to Incorporate a Vintage Vibe into Your Wedding
1. Choose Your Outfits Based on the Era You Want
Your journey into the vintage era begins with, obviously, your attire. When it comes to what you're wearing day of, consider thrifting your wedding outfits (for a much more cost-effective approach) or choose vintage wedding styles that suit the era you want.
If you're going for something more Victorian a la Bridgerton, you could opt for any type of lace wedding dress. Or, for example, if you're trying to exude the 1950s in your wedding, you may opt for a cinched waist, higher neckline, and full skirt when it comes to your wedding dress. Or, if you're a fan of the 1970s, you could consider swapping out the traditional veil for the popular bridal hat of that era. But if the 1980s hold a special place in your heart, you could go big and bold with statement sleeves.
For grooms, a timeless tuxedo or a sharp, well-tailored suit with classic accessories like suspenders and a bow tie will add a touch of vintage charm.
2. Create a Timeless Setting with Vintage Wedding Decorations
Transport your wedding guests to a bygone era by infusing your venue with an abundance of vintage charm that reflects those years. Whatever era you're wanting to embrace, let your creativity shine through in every detail.
Maybe you're thinking of vintage wedding decorations that exudes the groovy '70s (disco balls, anyone?). Or maybe you're hoping for more of a "Summer of Love" era with a '60s vibe and have daisies as your floral choice. Whatever you want, choose pieces that bring you joy on your special day. Some vintage wedding decor ideas you could consider are:
- Antique Furniture: Set the stage with vintage chairs, tables, and love seats. These timeless pieces can be the focal point of your ceremony or reception, adding a touch of rustic elegance.
- Delicate China and Glassware: Scour thrift shops and antique stores for mismatched sets of delicate china and glassware. Each piece tells a story and adds a touch of nostalgia to your table settings.
- Lace Tablecloths and Doilies: Layer your tables with lace tablecloths and doilies for a touch of romance and vintage elegance. They can be mixed and matched for a shabby-chic look.
- Candleholders: Antique candleholders, candelabras, and lanterns can create a warm, romantic ambiance. Consider using them as centerpieces or to line your aisle.
- Vintage Signage: Incorporate vintage-inspired signs with calligraphy or typography reminiscent of a different era. These signs can be used to direct guests, display your menu, or add a personalized touch to your decor.
- Old Frames and Mirrors: Vintage frames make for charming displays for photos, seating charts, or other wedding signage. Not only are they great for guest selfies, but mirrors can also be decorate to have your wedding hashtag, any QR codes, or even your seating chart.
- Weathered Wooden Crates and Barrels: Vintage wooden crates and barrels can serve as unique elements for both decor and functional purposes, like holding flowers, drinks, or wedding favors.
- Vinyl Records: For a touch of 1950s and 1960s flair, use vinyl records as table centerpieces or even as creative placeholders.
- Tea Sets and Silverware: Vintage tea sets, silverware, and cutlery can lend a sense of refinement to your dining experience, creating a timeless and elegant vibe.
Thrift stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces are excellent sources for finding unique vintage pieces at a fraction of the cost. You can also explore your family's attic or ask friends if they have any vintage items you can borrow.
3. Floral Arrangements: Soft and Romantic Blooms
Elevate your wedding atmosphere with carefully chosen flower arrangements that capture the charm of different eras and styles. For example:
- Retro Glamour: Embrace the bold and vibrant style of the 1950s with large, colorful blooms like peonies and garden roses. Think hot pinks, vibrant reds, and lush greens.
- Victorian Romance: For a touch of old-world elegance, choose fragrant, delicate blossoms, soft pastel hues, and cascading arrangements to capture the timeless romance of the Victorian era.
- Boho Chic: Embrace a bohemian vibe with wildflower-inspired arrangements. Mix and match an array of blooms like daisies, sunflowers, and eucalyptus to create an unstructured, natural look that's perfect for your wedding.
- Art Deco Opulence: If you're drawn to the sophistication of the 1920s, consider orchids, calla lilies, and ferns. Art Deco-inspired bouquets often feature bold, geometric shapes and monochromatic color schemes, such as black and white or gold and black.
- Rustic Simplicity: Create a rustic vintage look with flowers like sunflowers, daisies, and lavender. Incorporate natural elements like twine, burlap, and wooden accents for a countryside feel.
- Mid-Century Modern: Channel the sleek and minimalist style of the mid-20th century with single-variety arrangements, such as all-white lilies or calla lilies.
Work closely with your florist to select the blooms and color palettes that best capture the era or style you envision.
4. Vintage Invitations: Setting the Tone
Your vintage theme should be evident from the very beginning. Choose vintage-style wedding invitations that feature fun or elegant fonts or beautiful calligraphy, color schemes, and motifs from the era of your choice.
Whether it's art deco or bohemian, your invitations can introduce your guests to the time-travel experience they'll enjoy at your wedding.
5. Arrive in Style with Classic Transportation
Make a grand entrance by arriving at your wedding venue in style. Vintage cars, such as a classic Rolls-Royce or a VW Beetle from the 1960s, can be a charming addition. If you're going for a more rustic vintage feel, consider a horse-drawn carriage. Your choice of transportation can be both a practical and delightful nod to the past.
6. Have Music That Fits the Era
Selecting the right era-inspired music can enhance the atmosphere of your wedding and provide a memorable experience for your guests. Whether you want to transport everyone to the roaring twenties, the swinging forties, or any other vintage period, the music you choose will be the soundtrack to your romantic journey back in time.
- Roaring Twenties Jazz: To immerse your guests in the lively atmosphere of the 1920s, consider a live jazz band featuring sultry saxophones, smooth vocals, and swinging rhythms, encouraging everyone to hit the dance floor in style.
- Swing Era Big Band: If you're drawn to the vibrant, big band sound of the 1930s and 1940s, a swing era big band can bring that sense of nostalgia to life.
- Rock 'n' Roll Revival: Embrace the rock 'n' roll era of the 1950s with classic hits that'll get everyone twisting and jiving. Consider a rock 'n' roll band or a DJ who can spin the tunes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard for an evening of high-energy nostalgia.
- Motown Soul: The Motown era of the 1960s is known for its soulful and uplifting music. Invite a soul or Motown band to perform the timeless hits of artists like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder.
- Disco Fever: If you're looking to capture the disco era of the 1970s, a DJ or a disco tribute band can keep the dance floor alive with the funky, groovy tunes of that time.
- Rock Classics: For a vintage wedding inspired by the rock classics of the 1960s and 1970s, bring in a rock band that can cover iconic songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. This music will add a timeless edge to your celebration.
- Classical Elegance: If you're leaning toward a more refined and timeless ambiance, consider classical music performed by string quartets or soloists.
7. Capture the Nostalgia with a Video Guestbook
Hiring a photographer who specializes in vintage-style photos is a must. They can capture your day with a soft, romantic, and slightly faded look reminiscent of old photographs. It's also a great way to capture all the fun moments and attention to detail put into your wedding.
You can also elevate the memories of a fun-filled day, by incorporating a Video Guestbook into your wedding reception. With Celebrate.buzz's video product, guests can just scan a QR code that you can put on a large poster in high-traffic areas or as postcard-sized cards on their individual seats. Then, they can just record their message on the spot or upload a pre-recorded video clip.
The best part? They don't have to just leave you well-wishes, they can also capture candid moments and highlights throughout the day that you can incorporate into the final video montage.
8. Have Vintage Games and Entertainment
Keep your guests entertained during the reception by setting up vintage games based on the era you've selected. If you've embraced a Victorian style or an outdoor wedding, you could set up games like croquet, bocce, or a ring toss.
However, if you've decided to pursue a 1920s theme, you could introduce casino tables with blackjack, poker, and roulette for a Gatsby-style gambling experience.
9. Feature Some Signature Cocktails
Elevate your wedding guests' cocktail experience by curating a special vintage-inspired menu that reflects the charm of your specific era. Need some suggestions?
- The Old Fashioned: Transport your guests back to the early 19th century with the timeless allure of an Old Fashioned. A blend of bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, bitters, and an orange twist, this cocktail exudes sophistication and simplicity, making it an ideal choice for a vintage-inspired wedding.
- Vintage Champagne Cocktails: Elevate your champagne toast by offering a selection of vintage champagne cocktails. You can even make it fancier by incorporating champagne towers in your reception.
- Gin Fizz: Transport your guests to the 1950s with a Gin Fizz. This refreshing drink features gin, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda. It's a symbol of post-war optimism and a delightful choice for those seeking a taste of mid-century elegance.
- Sidecar: The Sidecar cocktail, with its blend of brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, harkens back to the glamorous days of the 1920s. Its tart and tangy flavor profile is a crowd-pleaser and a charming nod to the Gatsby era.
- Prohibition-Era Cocktails: Consider offering a selection of cocktails that were popular during the Prohibition era, such as the Mary Pickford (rum, pineapple juice, grenadine, and maraschino liqueur) or the Bee's Knees (gin, honey, and lemon juice). These choices add a dash of rebellion and intrigue to your vintage-inspired celebration.
10. Plan Your Food Around the Era You Choose
Indulge your guests with a culinary journey through the vintage era you've chosen. For a 1920s-inspired affair, create a Gatsby-inspired wedding spread with elegant canapés, oyster bars, and champagne towers, capturing the opulence of the Jazz Age.
If you've decided to embrace something with a bit more of a 1950s vibe, serve up nostalgic comfort foods such as mini burgers, milkshakes in retro glasses, and an array of colorful jello molds.
For an '80s-themed celebration, infuse bold flavors with a gourmet twist. Offer guests a playful take on popular '80s snacks, from gourmet popcorn to mini tacos and sliders. The dessert spread could feature neon-colored candies, themed cupcakes, and a dessert bar boasting treats like rice crispy squares and "funfetti-inspired" sweets.
If you really want to take it back old school to the Victorian era (if you're a fan of Bridgerton, we get it), craft an elegant high tea experience. Present delicate finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and an assortment of pastries like petit fours and fruit tarts, arranged on vintage-style cake stands.
Whatever era you've chosen for your vintage wedding theme, these culinary delights not only tantalize the taste buds but also transport guests through time, embracing the flavors and elegance of each vintage era.
11. Decide on Your Vintage Wedding Favors
Celebrate your big day with era-inspired tokens for your guests! Transport them through time with funky sunglasses echoing the '70s vibe or peace sign pins, subtly nodding to the peace and love movement of that era. Or for the 1920s, consider gifting mini bottles of bubbly or champagne gummies to evoke the spirit of the roaring twenties. Another option is to offer elegant art deco-inspired keychains or sleek black and gold feather pens, reminiscent of the Gatsby era's sophistication.
Or, if you've decided to go for a 1980s theme, you could gift your guests with retro arcade game magnets or mini Rubik's Cubes, adding a touch of fun and nostalgia to your wedding celebration.
A vintage wedding is a magical journey into a world of fun, elegance, romance, and nostalgia. From attire and decor to music and keepsakes like a Video Guestbook, every detail can be infused with vintage charm, creating an unforgettable day.
With these 14 vintage wedding ideas, you can ensure your wedding day is a celebration of the past, the present, and your love story!