Wedding Decor

12 Vintage Wedding Ideas for Modern-Day Couples

By Samantha Iacia, February 4, 2019
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Samantha Iacia
12 Vintage Wedding Ideas for Modern-Day Couples
Red Poppy Vintage Rentals

These vintage wedding ideas are perfect for couples who want to combine the romance of a bygone era with a bit of contemporary flair.

We've rounded up some of the prettiest vintage wedding ideas to showcase the latest take on this popular wedding style, which has changed so much over the years that it's sometimes hard to keep up. What once meant overly niche, thrift-inspired decor (soda pop bottles, typewriters, and rockabilly-inspired accents) has now transformed into a totally sophisticated aesthetic. The latest take on vintage wedding style is perfect for couples who want to create a storybook romance vibe on the big day — get ready for soft color palettes, elegant candles, and more. 

See why we're loving these modern-day vintage wedding ideas below.  

Precious and Blooming Floral Design

Season

Vintage wedding style looks beautiful year-round, although you can use your wedding season to inspire the decor, venue, and color palette that you choose for the big day. Envision a springtime vintage wedding filled with pastel flowers and antique furniture or a glitzy winter wedding in a vintage ballroom.

VOWS Wedding & Event Planning

Venue

Vintage wedding style is fairly versatile, which means that you won’t have to worry about sticking to one particular type of venue. Traditional wedding venues, such as ballrooms, country clubs, hotels, and even castles are always classy options and work for vintage wedding ideas that err on the formal side. If you'd prefer a vintage wedding with modern undertones, consider getting married someplace more relaxed, such as a vineyard, countryside garden, or even a barn. 

Another twist on vintage wedding style is to host your big day at a historic or retro venue — for example, a glamorous Art Deco hotel, a funky mid-century modern theater, or a charming old farmhouse. 

East West Vintage Rentals

Color Palette

Just like any wedding theme, your color palette is crucial for completing your vintage wedding ideas and overall aesthetic. First, you'll need to decide whether you want your vintage wedding to reflect a specific decade or if you simply want to create a romantic setting with subtle nods to the past. If you don’t have a specific decade in mind, then stick with pastels and neutrals, such as blush, mint green, light blue, ivory, and gray. These colors create a soft vintage aesthetic with Old World romance vibes

You can also have a vintage wedding theme with brighter colors, as long as you've got the right combination! Bring a dramatic vibe to your vintage wedding by pairing sleek colors such as gray, navy blue, and silver, with bold hues like fuchsia, lavender, and plum. We're loving how this vintage wedding theme inspo pulls it off.

Otherwise, you can look to the specific decade you're using for a bit of inspiration. If you love The Great Gatsby and 1920s style, pair metallic gold and silver with muted tones, such as mauve, ivory, and taupe. For a touch of Old Hollywood glamour, channel the 1940s and 50s with red, black, and white. Bolder colors, including yellow, orange, bubblegum pink, and turquoise give off a mod 1960s vibe, à la Twiggy. If your style errs on the bohemian side, choose earthy tones like olive green, taupe, and mustard yellow for a 1970s hippie-chic twist.

The Market at Grelen

Decor

The great thing about vintage wedding ideas is that they're always evolving, so in the end, this style can become whatever you dream it to be! Traditional vintage wedding decor combines playful and delicate details, such as lace, pastel floral prints, chinoiserie, tea cups, strands of pearls, and decorative bird cages. This creates a slightly feminine, shabby chic aesthetic that you're probably quite familiar with by now, thanks to Pinterest and the like. 

The latest take on vintage wedding style is a more toned-down approach that blurs the line between old and new. It's less about using actual vintage items (we've seen enough stacks of vintage suitcases to last us a while), and more about bringing a timeless, ethereal vibe to your big day by using pieces that bridge the gap between past and present. For example, mixing details like antique candelabras and heirloom glassware with modern pieces, such as rose gold vases or gauzy table linens. 

Chancey Charm

If you’re focusing on vintage wedding ideas that are inspired by a specific era, try to find authentic pieces from that time or items that are very close replicas. You'd be surprised by how many vintage designs are still relevant today, like the recent resurgence of 70s-inspired rattan furniture that's trending with the bohemian wedding set.

Even if your vintage wedding is inspired by a specific decade, it's important to aim for a balance of old and new decor. You’ll want the space to feel planned out and tasteful, not vintage gone wrong. Mix in a few contemporary elements here and there to keep your wedding grounded in the 21st Century. Some of our favorite trends that work well with vintage style include watercolor details, hand-dyed silk table runners, calligraphy signage, and greenery garlands.

Dana Reid Calligraphy

Stationery

Floral motifs, lace details, vellum, wax seals, and ribbons are all popular vintage wedding ideas when it comes to wedding invitations. We love the idea of personalizing your stationery with a monogram or family crest to really make things official. Don't have a monogram or crest? Your wedding stationer will be able to create a custom design or refer you to someone who specializes in that realm. 

If your vintage wedding decor is tailored to a specific decade, your stationery should also reflect the style of that era. Pull inspiration from cards, posters, artwork, and other ephemera from that time and design your invitation suite from there. And don't forget about stamps! Choose a vintage-inspired design from the post office or, if you're up to the challenge, source actual vintage stamps from Etsy, flea markets, etc. (just make sure they haven't been used already or they'll be invalid). 

Stacy Bauer Photography

Flowers

If you’re having a vintage wedding, it’s best to stick with flowers that veer toward classic and timeless. You’ll want to avoid any arrangements that come across as too trendy.

Some of our favorite flowers for vintage weddings include garden roses, peonies, anemones, calla lilies, and astilbe. If you’re carrying a bouquet, cascading bouquets and pageant styles give off a regal, vintage feel. Personalize the arrangement by adding vintage-inspired accents, like brooches, pearl strands, an embroidered handkerchief, or long ribbons.

For a more unique look, ask your wedding florist to display arrangements in centerpiece vessels such as antique pitchers, retro candy tins, or even a collection of bud vases. For an Old Hollywood glam vibe, use crystals and feathers in the centerpieces for an instant dose of drama.

Claire Pettibone

Attire

If you’re wearing a wedding dress, look for designs that feature classic elements in a modern way. Lace gowns are ultra-fancy and romantic, making them a staple choice for vintage wedding style. We love a figure-hugging fit-and-flare silhouette like the one pictured above — it's modest without feeling matronly. Bridal sleeves are another one of our favorite vintage wedding ideas, and we're so glad that they're finally back in fashion. Whether you opt for cap sleeves, off-the-shoulder, puff sleeves, or full-length sleeves (princess vibes, anyone?), we can't deny this chic trend.   

Looking for something more whimsical than lace? Swiss dot wedding dresses are a lovely choice for the lighthearted bride. Lastly, in order to really play up the vintage wedding vibe, wear a short dress! A tea-length style taps into retro 50s and 60s fashion and gives you the opportunity to show off a fab pair of shoes. 

Daidri Smythe Photography

Suits and tuxedos should also be worn in relatively classic styles, although groom trends like navy blue and and textured fabrics aren't out of the question. A white tuxedo jacket is very Casablanca-esque if you're having a black-tie dress code

Along with your suit or tux, your accessories are just as important when it comes to nailing a dapper look. Bow ties are one of the most popular vintage wedding accessories (old-school suspenders are another vintage-inspired fave). Like any tie, it's important to choose one that's appropriate for your venue and wedding season. 

Red Poppy Vintage Rentals

Cake and Dessert

A big component of vintage wedding style is embracing tradition, and that means serving a wedding cake. Create a drool-worthy dessert display by showcasing your wedding cake atop a vintage buffet adorned with greenery, flowers, and candles.

Pastry Shells

Favors

Keep your wedding favors simple and give your guests personalized sugar cookies, which are always a hit. Who can resist a yummy take-home treat? 

Kruse & Viera Events

Grand Exit

No vintage wedding is complete without the newlyweds being sent off in style. Sparkler send-offs are super popular these days, especially for evening weddings, but they're more of a trend rather than a vintage throwback (thanks, millennials). Ask your venue if your guests can toss birdseed, rice, confetti, or flower petals instead for a more authentic vintage feel. 

Lastly, hire a vintage car to whisk you away when the wedding is over — think of all those classic movies with the couple waving goodbye as they ride happily into the sunset. Not only will a vintage car be the finishing touch to your big day, but it makes a great "Just Married" photo op. 

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