Old School Romance - Vintage Wedding Venues
As wedding are such important and personal occasions, everyone wants the same thing – for their big day to be unique. But where can you turn for inspiration when it seems like it’s all been done before? Luckily, with the rise of vintage and retro fashion it’s actually never been a better time to turn to the past for ideas and have a vintage or retro-themed wedding.
The first thing you really need to consider when planning a vintage-style wedding is the venue. Your wedding venue is a backdrop for the whole event and can make or break your theme. For example, a chic 1920s flapper-style wedding would look out of place in a featureless modern hotel. Think of your venue like a movie set or a stage. Once you’ve got the right venue, it will only take small touches to create the right effect for your chosen era, such as:
- Vintage tea sets, cutlery and glasses
- Wedding favours and invites to match your wedding era theme
- Classis cars & transport e.g. red double-decker bus, Jaguar, Mini, Vespa scooter
- Venue decoration e.g. bunting, Champagne glass fountain, jukebox
- Cakes and floral arrangements designed specifically in a vintage style
So, which decade should you choose? Here are some ideas:
In a decade dominated by the Second World War and rationing, “make do and mend” wasn’t a trendy eco concept, but a way of life. Many grooms got married in their service uniform and brides sometimes wore suits with a similar military air. Even so, the 40s evoke old-style Hollywood glamour and style.
For a 40s feel choose:
- Alluring silhouettes, sweetheart necklines, full-length skirts
- Long gloves, seamed nylons, hair styled in pin curls and “victory rolls”
- Military or utility style or pinstripe suits for the groom
- Swing jazz and big band music
Best venues for a 1940s theme: Mansion houses, marquees, rural barns.
New Look 50s
As celebrity weddings go, they don’t get much bigger than the marriage of Hollywood film star Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. While Kelly’s ball gown-style dress was an elaborate creation of antique lace and silk taffeta fit for a princess, 50s brides were also choosing “new look” style ballerina-length dresses.
To give your wedding the 50s look go for:
- Prom-style dresses with nipped-in waists and mid-calf length a-line skirts
- Peep toe shoes, bolero jackets, polka dots and pearls
- Dark blue, brown or charcoal grey suit for the groom, and a hat such as a fedora
- Rock ‘n’ roll
Best venues for a 1950s theme: Country estates, historic hotels, contemporary barns.
Synonymous with “hippies” and youth culture, the 60s was full of diverse fashion trends that you can adapt to give your wedding a retro vibe. A 60s theme is extremely flexible and great if you’re planning a more relaxed celebration; but don’t worry, the groom doesn’t have to dress like Austin Powers to make it work.
Some ideas for a 60s themed celebration:
- A-line mini dresses, traditional “princess” style dresses or hippie-style maxi dresses
- Flower garland or pillbox hat with net face veil, bouffant or beehive hair
- Mod-style suit with narrow lapels and tie or a Beatles-style collarless suit for the groom
- 60s Brit pop, Motown and soul
Best venues for a 1960s theme: Barns, marquees, contemporary city venues.
These are just some ideas from a few decades you could choose from. You could go for the 1920s or ‘30s, or even the ‘70s or ‘80s instead – the past is your oyster!
Article by Jemma Williams of Country House Wedding Venues
Images Courtesy of -
St Paul's Walden Bury: Pearl Pictures
Trafalgar Park; Paul Rowland Williams
Bartholomew Barn: Hector Photo
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Read other Wedding Advice articles