Vintage Themed Weddings

Old Volkswagen car with a Just Married sign and rose decor

If you’re considering a vintage themed wedding, it can be hard to know where to begin. The term vintage is used loosely by retailers, but its true meaning is anything dated from the 1920s to 20 years before the present-day. Vintage weddings can mean different eras, pop culture, or trends such as The Great Gatsby, Downtown Abbey, rock & roll, rustic, Hawaiian, and more. Let’s explore a couple of these fun themes together.

A couple dressed in 1920s style walking outside

Vintage 1920s

The 1920s never goes out of style for a wedding, as it had ritzy and classy styles. The Great Gatsby, prohibition, swing, mobsters, and the Jazz Era with all its eccentricities remains popular. You can incorporate its festiveness and Art Deco style into what will become a memorable bee’s knees event without spending a lot of clams!

Attire

Bridal Party Ladies

Dress: “intermission” hemlines (above the knee) or flapper dresses

Shoes: Deco or two-toned T-bar or Mary Janes

Accessories: Long dangling jewelry, pearls, feathers, stockings with seams on back

Hats: Cloche, turbans, or flapper headbands

Makeup: Bright red lipstick

Bridal Party Gentlemen

Suits: Debonair Gatsby, Peaky Blinder gangster, tuxes with vests, sweater vests, zoot suits

Shoes: Two-toned, lace-up, wing-tips, or Oxford

Accessories: Bow-ties, knitted ties, paisley, plaid or bright-striped ties, neck scarfs with matching suspenders

Hats: Panama, fedora, straw, newsboy cap

Food and Decoration

Food: Caesar or Waldorf salad, baked ham, Hors d’oeuvres served on bread, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktails, gelatin molds, salmon mousse.

Drinks: Champagne, claret, Sidecars, Gin Fizzes, Bee’s Knees, bourbon Manhattan, lemonade, tea, mint julips.

Style: Black and gold, Art Deco

Tables named with gangster era icons such as Bonnie & Clyde, Al Capone, Bugsy Malone, Lucky Luciano, John Dillinger, Elliot Ness. Classic speakeasy cocktails would also make fun names: Gin Rickeys, Stinger, Manhattan, Rattlesnake, Manhattan, Martini Sidecar, Southside, Mary Pickford, Dubonnet Cocktail.

Entertainment

Ask guests to dress up and be the cat’s meow and place era-specific accessories at a table for memorable photos (hats, ostrich feathers, shiny headbands, long dangling necklaces, long cigarette holders, boas, silk flowers, rhinestone bracelet, suspenders). Mix up today’s music selection along with 1920s hits such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Beebe, and You Took Advantage of Me, and dance the Charleston, Fox Trot, and Jitterbug.

Alcoholic tiki drinks in souvenir cups

Hawaiian Vintage

When you think Hawaiian, do you see yourself beachfront on an island? Well, how about bringing the aloha of the islands to your home turf? You can do a Hawaiian vintage wedding anywhere that fits your location. Think about a Beach Blanket Bingo or tiki-themed wedding.

Attire

Bridal Party Ladies

Dress: Tropical flowered tiki sarongs from the 40-60s, either pencil or full-circle dresses (bright pinks, greens, blues, look for retro)

Shoes: Sandals, shoes with flower-pattern

Accessories: White shells, white plumeria, or other tropical flowers, kukui bracelet or necklace. Green maile or tropical flowered headbands. Many are available from Hawaii at competitive prices.

Bridal Party Gentlemen

Outfits: Classic Hawaiian print shirts, khaki pants, lei, or tropical boutonniere

Shoes: Tropical loafers or sandals

Food and Decoration

Food: Don’t forget the poi (fermented taro root, available in powdered form), it’s especially yummy with fish, chicken, or pork (like Kalua pig). Pair this with rice, tropical burgers, Hawaiian-style coleslaw, poke (Hawaiian version of sashimi), chicken long rice, spam, pineapple, and more. Decorate your wedding cake with surfboards, hula girls, pineapples, or tiki-styled items.

Drinks: Set up a tiki bar complete with tropical leaf plants, fish nets, shells, and a rough wooden finish. Put little umbrellas in Mai Tais and name your drinks after meaningful location (Florida tropical Flamingo orange), or use real tiki drinks, such as theZombie, Planters Punch, Singapore Punch, Coconut Punch, or Navy Grog.

Tables and Décor: Name your tables after tropical drinks or subtropical flowers, such as plumeria and hibiscus, or the islands of Hawaii. Use tiki torches to light the way or wooden or print surf boards. Use banana or other subtropical leaves and tropical flowers for table runners, with leis or grass skirts. Choose table linens with subtropical designs and place pineapples and flowers on the tables.

Entertainment

Ask guests to dress up in retro Hawaiian style or set up a table with floral or shell leis, and add floral or subtropical backgrounds around your venue. Set up a table with Hawaiian jewelry, flowers, tropical umbrellas, ukulele, and beach accessories for fun photos.

Mix an ole Hawaiian lounge-style music playlist including songs such as Kalima Walk, Tomi Tomi, Maui Girl, Wang Wang Blues, and China Boy, but don’t forget more modern music that suits you and your guests’ style.

A girl dressed in the rockabilly 1950s style in a diner with a milkshake

1950s Vintage

The post-war fabulous 50s was a time for new beginnings with growth and prosperity. There was Elvis, Doris Day, The Lone Ranger, the opening of Disneyland, and the first color televisions. New innovations and music made for fun times during this decade with classic fashions, hair styles with lots of hair spray, new types of dances, and more. What a great era for a wedding. Some new age brides and grooms might even decide on a rockabilly wedding!

Attire

Bridal Party Ladies

Dress: Shorter, tea-length dresses, ballerina dress, rockabilly swing dress, lace long-sleeved, tulle ballgown, frills, lace, and/or petticoats. Keep things ladylike and fun with feminine floral, preppy, or rockabilly designs.

Shoes: Feminine peep-toe heels, kitten heels, low-heeled pearl applique or other touches, such as flora and rhinestones.

Accessories: White gloves, floral cornered hankies, small hand-tied flowers with neat green trailing.

Hair and Makeup: Perfectly coiffed, graceful hair (perhaps with a very good hair stylist). Winged eyeliner past the eyes, eyebrow darkened with pencil, red or pink lipstick, light rouge, eye shadow matching your accessories.

Bridal Party Gentlemen

Outfits: Double-breasted suit, dinner jackets, tapered slacks. Suave and dapper styles like Cary Grant, sophisticated or rockabilly.

Shoes: Penny, driver, tassel, suede, or highly shined loafers.

Food and Decoration

Food: Fancy or floral cake. Have your servers dress up in the 50s style or present a comfort food buffet with BBQ style burgers, spam loafs, frankfurter casseroles, Jell-O salads, etc.

Drinks: Whiskey Sours, Bull Shot, Tom Collins, Bay Breeze, White Russian, Gin and Sin, Sea Breeze, or dry martinis. For non-alcohol drinks, consider pineapple and ginger ale or party punches.

Tables and Décor: Tables named after music hits such as The Tennessee Waltz, Heartbreak Hotel, Don’t Be Cruel, Young Love, Love Me Tender. Also consider cars such as the T-Bird, Bel-Air, Hudson Hornet, Studebaker, etc. Add mismatched, coordinated, or entirely eclectic china and glasses, vintage mismatched chairs, lace table runners or doilies. Add in colored vase centerpieces filled with flowers.

Entertainment

Set up a photobooth with scenese featuring a soda fountain, sock hop, juke box, antennae tv, classic grease car cut-out, or a quarter moon cut-out with fairy lights hanging above. Include lots of fun props to play with lik vintage hankies, vintage vanity cases, old 45 records, 50s hats and glasses, Elvis styled cut-out hair, soda jerk hat, small prop small bouquets, 50s bow-ties, martini glasses, and a cut-out soda fountain glass with cherry on top.

Ask your DJ to mix in new hits with oldies like Mack The Knife, Jailhouse Rock, Peggy Sue, Great Balls of Fire, Maybelline, Come Fly With Me, La Bamba, Love Me Tender, and When I Fall In Love.

Shopping for wedding supplies? Don’t forget eBay, Etsy, and outlets websites, as many sell great authentic-looking supplies and outfits. Avoid cheap-looking costumes and overpriced items. Also, there are websites with DIY invitation templates and wording advice to keep your theme going strong. Also, don’t forget to tell your guests what to expect! Get creative and have absolute fantastic event without breaking the bank.

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