13 Tips for Styling a Beautiful Vintage Wedding

Whether you're planning a rustic chic soiree or a Great Gatsby-inspired evening, make sure to cover all your bases.
by Andrea Fowler
  1. 1. Vintage Style

    The bare bones of vintage revolve around antique details, lace and some weathered accents. The key to pulling off beautiful vintage decor is to style these old-world elements in such a way that the venue looks aged in a charming fashion—not too upcycled or faux-antiqued.

  2. 2. Venue Influenced Décor

    A vintage wedding theme can be applied to almost any type of venue. Let your chosen space help fine-tune your specific style (secret garden vintage, vintage glam, rustic vintage). A ballroom would be well suited for a Gatsby-inspired art deco celebration for example, while a refurbished barn would be perfect for something more rustic or antique in style.

  3. 3. Vintage-Themed Stationary

    White and gold vintage-themed wedding stationary
    photo by Connection Photography

    Your save-the-dates and invites set the tone for the celebration, so pick something that gives your guests a little sneak peek of what's in store. Since your vintage style may be made up of mismatched details, consider highlighting one of your wedding colors or a motif you plan to use in other design elements to create a sense of consistency.

  4. 4. Best Blooms

    Romantic bouquet with dusty miller, roses, and eucalyptus leaves
    photo by Clary Photo

    Choose a bouquet that speaks to your vintage style. Loose bundles of wildflowers, baby's breath and craspedia billy balls are charming, while blush pink roses, hydrangeas and dusty miller give an arrangement a more romantic and timeless look. Want serious bonus points? Ask your florist about period-specific flowers or bouquet styles that are more closely associated with the vintage time period you've chosen.

  5. 5. An Antique Boutonniere

    Antique locket boutonniere
    photo by Paper Crane Photo

    The best blooms for the groom's lapel may not be blooms at all. Draw inspiration from your venue to style a unique look, such as a clean pocket square or watch for a formal soiree, or a casual broach for outdoor festivities.

  6. 6. Incorporate Family History

    A vintage wedding wouldn't be complete without a few intimate family details. Whether it's displaying old family photos on an escort card table, wrapping a piece of lace from your mother's wedding gown around your bouquet, or finishing off your bridal look with heirloom pearls, incorporating a detail of sentimental value brings a new meaning to the idea of vintage.

  7. 7. Live Music

    Live brass band at wedding reception
    photo by Dave Robbins Photography

    To really set the mood, welcome guests to your nuptials with a cocktail hour and a live brass band (complete with a retro stand microphone!). Get the best of both worlds by hiring a DJ to take over the party tunes for the reception or after party. Yes, you can listen to Duke Ellington and Usher in the same celebration.

  8. 8. Vintage Tablescapes

    Mercury candle votives and antique glass centerpieces
    photo by Vitaly M Photography

    Neutrals like ivory, silver and beige look beautiful on a vintage tablescape with pastel accents or colored glass centerpieces. You could also opt for flowerless centerpieces and instead use antique details like stacks of old books, clocks or birdcages. For a more glamorous feel, consider mixing and matching different heights of mercury glass candle votives.

  9. 9. Adding Ambiance

    How you want to illuminate your space really depends on the venue itself. Classic crystal chandeliers would be a beautiful addition to a ballroom, while market lights woven through bare wood rafters look humble and charming in a barn. Candles are the obvious go-to for a vintage theme, but double check with your venue coordinator to make sure they don't go against any safety regulations. And then have lots on hand so your guests can see their steak.

  10. 10. Elegant Sweets Display

    Antique furniture dessert table
    photo by Ashley Slater Photography

    A dessert table is a great opportunity to create a focal point and impress your guests—both with the yummy treats and the amazing décor. Nostaligic cookie jars, antique tables, old school petit fours and other bite size desserts are a welcomed addition to your cake. This idea of "stations" could work for your cocktail hour too—especially if you don't plan to have passed appetizers.

  11. 11. Accessorized Lounge

    Reception venue antique furniture lounge
    photo by Ashley Slater Photography

    Pull together your décor with one decked out vintage-inspired space—a lounge! Fill the space with velvet loveseats, arm chairs and overhead chandeliers. An old school vanity (complete with antiqued mirror) with a sweet display of snacks or parting favors is a fun and functional addition.

  12. 12. Champagne Tower

    Champagne coupe tower
    photo by Megan Moura Photography

    Signature sips continue to be a highly-anticipated detail of weddings. It speaks to both the couple's style and the theme they've chosen for their nuptials. To complete the old world vibe of the evening, chose a cocktail that's best served in a coupe—the iconic champagne glass of the 30s—such as a Manhattan or sidecar. You can even amp up the live entertainment a notch by hiring a mixologist dressed in true speakeasy fashion. Going for something more casual? Serve guests a specialty cocktail in mismatched hobnail style glasses.

  13. 13. Creative Send Off

    There are so many fun options for a vintage send off. Try classic confetti or white rice; birdseed or dried lavender for a rustic affair; or paper planes for a true old-school feel. Your guests will have a blast tossing your pick, while you newlyweds make a quick getaway in a vintage set of wheels.

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