In search of a wedding motif that’s original, glamorous, and brimming with character? Use these inspiring vintage wedding ideas to add tons of old-time flavor to your big day!
Follow our advice and your guests will be taken back in time, and flabbergasted as well as intrigued, by your historically rich wedding decor, attire, and accessories.
Get your vintage wedding on its way with these fun and creative vintage wedding ideas.
Vintage Wedding Invitations & Stationery
Let your stationery set the mood for the celebration ahead. Choose stationery with trendy vintage typography and calligraphy. Pieces with art deco, art nouveau, or mid-century modern design elements will really add to your wedding’s retro motif as well.
Take a look at different design styles, fonts, and colors that were popular during the era your vintage wedding is borrowing from. Incorporate those aspects into your wedding stationery.
Consider adding a few of your favorite black and white photos or snapshots cast in antique filters to vintage wedding invitations, save the dates, and thank you cards. You can create your very own vintage wedding stationery set from scratch on WeddingPaperie.com and include all of the vintage design elements mentioned here.
Tuck your stationery pieces into brown envelopes and complete the old-time look with a rich wax seal and vintage stamps.
Vintage Wedding Decor
If you and your partner are lovers of all things vintage, you may already have a few nifty decor pieces on hand that you plan on showing off at your wedding.
If that’s not the case, you can find beautiful vintage pieces online, at flea markets, auctions, or even thrifts shops that you can use to spruce up your big day.
Another option is to purchase new decor items that possess elements of vintage design. Here are a few simple accessories you can use to give your wedding an old-fashioned look.
Colored Glass: Vintage colored glasses, cups, and vases will add a pop of color to your big day.
Vintage Containers: Fill vintage vessels, like demijohns, milk glasses, tea pots, and old pitchers with beautiful bouquets.
Candles: Candle light will not only add to your vintage theme, but it will also cast a soft romantic glow upon your venue.
Phonograph & Live Music: If you can get your hands on an old-school music player, use it to play music at your vintage wedding. Or, hire a live band to play old-time music throughout your wedding reception.
Yet another option is to hire a professional piano player to play throughout your ceremony and reception. Old-time music will really add to your wedding’s atmosphere and vintage theme!
Retro Furniture: Incorporate pieces of retro furniture into your wedding. These can be simple items like authentic milk crates, wooden photo frames, and fancy pillows to extravagant pieces like vintage lounge seating, lace curtains, and chandeliers.
Old Books: Place a small stack of vintage books, along with a retro vase filled with colorful flowers, on your guests’ tables. They can enjoy admiring the retro pieces of decor and they can even page through them if they get bored!
Lanterns: Lanterns will add soft, romantic light to your venue. Choose to go with hanging lanterns or you can also set them up on tables throughout your venue.
Vintage Wedding Dresses Through The Decades
From the modest loose fitting gowns of the 20’s to ultra feminine, cinched waist, full skirted wedding dresses of the 50’s — the wedding dress has evolved much throughout the decades and taken on many gorgeous shapes, cuts, and colors. Choose to wear an authentic vintage dress or you can purchase a new gown that features some of the vintage characteristics mentioned below.
Because each decade has its own distinctive style, selecting one that is right for your big day may be a bit overwhelming. Here are few different styles that were very popular throughout the decades that you can use for inspiration.
Unshapely Dresses of the 1920’s: Wedding dresses of the 1920’s typically were very loose, ankle or knee length garments with delicate cap sleeves. Some featured elaborate bead work while others were very simple and plain.
Silk Satin Gown of the 1930’s: Nothing influenced fashion more in the 1930’s than Hollywood. Starlets were often seen wearing slim fitting satin gowns, sparkly accessories, and feather and rhinestone hair pieces.
These styles soon crossed over into mainstream culture; and, in effect — slim fitting, silk satin wedding gowns were a major trend of the 1930’s.
Luminous Rayon Satin Gown of the 1940’s: Long, shiny rayon satin gowns — with broad shoulders and slim waists — became the most sought after wedding dress of the 1940’s.
Rayon replaced silk during this decade because silk was needed to construct WWII parachutes and other war materials.
Nipped Waist Lace Gowns of the 1950’s: Several new wedding dress styles were introduced in the 50’s. Shorter dresses (or tea-length gowns) became popular once again along with cinched waists and large, puffy skirts.
Although feminine characteristics such as these were very popular during the 50’s, showing a lot of skin was not. Wedding dresses often featured high collars and long or three-quarter length sleeves.
1950’s Wedding dresses also took on a new material: lace; an item that was rare and hardly used in fashion during wartime in the 1940’s.
Mini Wedding Dresses of the 1960’s: The biggest development in terms of 1960’s fashion was skirt length. Hemlines jumped from the below the knee cut of poodle skirts to the upper thigh cuts of the miniskirts and mini dresses.
The ultra stylish and short cut soon made its way into wedding culture, and 1960’s celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Sharon Tate, and Mia Farrow all paraded down the aisle wearing an ultra stylish and short mini wedding dress.
Vintage Wedding Accessories: Headpieces, Veils, Gloves
Wedding accessories have evolved in many different ways throughout history. Although today accessories such as hats, gloves, and even veils are often cast aside by the modern bride — these items were pretty much considered wedding necessities in the old days.
Adding simple vintage hair pieces, hats, veils, or gloves to your wedding ensemble will really complete your retro look. Here are several vintage wedding accessories that were very popular throughout the decades; they will be sure to add a touch of bygone beauty to your vintage wedding garb.
Cloche or Cap Veils of the 1920’s and 1930’s: These elegant head pieces fit over the forehead — as a hat would — and featured a long and graceful veil which would cascade along the wearer’s back. Check out some modern renditions of the Cloche or cap veil on GlendaloughManor.com. Kate Moss incorporated a beautiful cap veil into her 2011 vintage wedding ensemble.
Wreath Headpieces or Hakus of the 1920’s: Flappers popularized the wreath headpiece — which consisted of velvet and gilded leaves sewn to a grosgrain or velvet ribbon headband.
The beautiful fabric crown flattered all types of facial features and shapes. The lovely accessory added detail to early twentieth century brides’ simple wedding ensembles and helped tie their entire bridal outfit together.
Over the Elbow Gloves of the 1920’s: Over the elbow opera length gloves were a huge part of 1920’s formal fashion.
Half Crowns of the 1930’s: Headpieces of the 20’s morphed into brilliantly shaped half crowns with large star flowers in the 30’s.
Flowers of the 1940’s: It was a trend in the 1940’s to pin real roses into your hair. Fake flowers were also piled high atop headpieces and veils.
Skull Cap Headpieces of the 1950’s: Skull caps are very small hats — that are about half the size of regular hats — that became very popular in the 1950’s. They were often worn for formal occasions and came in a variety of colors and shapes. Some were decorated with elaborate beads and feathers. Others were plain and simple.
Finger-less Bridal Gloves of the 1950’s: Finger-less bridal gloves made of lace, tulle, or satin became popular bridal accessories during the 50’s.
False Eyelashes of the 1960’s: Although false eyelashes were worn since the 1930’s, they really became popular during the 1960’s — when big, made-up eyes were the fashion.
Vintage Wedding Ideas — Good Luck!
Hopefully these vintage wedding ideas give you the inspiration you need to plan an unforgettable retro themed wedding. Enjoy indulging in your favorite decade’s history and incorporating its trends, beauty, and charm into your big day. For more great vintage wedding ideas, take a look at our full collection of customizable vintage wedding invitations.