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Essential Tips to Plan a Vintage Wedding

Sujata Iyer
Planning a vintage wedding can be a lot of fun, true. However, there are certain pointers which, when kept in mind, can make the whole process a lot easier and streamlined. Here, we share some of those pointers with you.
"If you've found a space you love but they don't offer weddings or at least don't advertise that they do, just ask! Sometimes it's just that no one has ever asked them or they have only done a few weddings."

―Wedding Planning Association of Australia Website
It is no secret that planning a wedding is one of the most monstrous tasks one can undertake. And while there are professionals who make it all seem like a breeze, the truth is that there are so many details and intricacies involved that it is quite easy to get overwhelmed. 
Throw in a theme as complex as vintage for the wedding and you better be prepared for some serious work. Not to scare you, but the deal with planning a vintage wedding is that you either get it right or wrong. There's no in-between.
However, this does not mean that the planning cannot be fun. In fact, the more sure you are about the fact that you want vintage as your wedding theme, the easier it will be to plan it. So, with this first tip, let's delve into the world of all things vintage and explore the various facets that such a wedding will demand.

The Preliminaries

Here are some preliminaries that you need to decide so as to get a clearer picture about what your wedding will look like.
  • Do you want to go for a classic vintage theme or do you want a melange of retro and classic vintage? While vintage will have touches of the early 20th century, a retro-inspired wedding will have those of much later years.
  • Once you decide the sub-theme, decide on the exact year or decade that you want to focus on.
  • The next thing you should decide is the scope of the theme. Do you want everything in your wedding to coincide with the theme or do you want little whispers of the theme throughout.
  • Next, from the year that you pick, decide on the colors that you will use. For a classic theme, fresh and/or muted colors like apricot, cranberry, cream, blush, mint, etc., will work. For a retro-inspired theme, think rich and luxurious tones like black, navy, silver, gold, ivory, crimson, etc.
  • Do you want your guests to pay heed to the theme (read: dress up as per the theme) while attending, or will it be limited only to the wedding party?
  • Conduct your own thorough research on the year/s you select to make the planning much easier.

The Stationery

Once you've picked the year, the ease of getting on with the rest of the planning will depend on your research and your choices. To give your guests a hint about your wedding theme, pick your wedding stationery accordingly.
Whatever year you've picked, study the use of fonts, colors, paper, and lingo that was prevalent then to get an idea of what your save the dates, invites, and other stationery should look like. While incorporating these elements, it can be quite tempting to cram in all the wonderful styles you come across.
Don't! It may render your stationery over-the-top and loud, when you should be aiming for classy and fun.

Psst! If you want your guests to be dressed in accordance with the theme, inform them about this in the save the dates so that they get enough time to prepare. Take it a step further and also give them names of rentals where they can get costumes from.

The Venue

It was common practice in the yesteryear to hold weddings in homes and then move out to the garden for the reception. If that's possible with you, then nothing like it. You could also go rustic with a gorgeous barn wedding. If not, then ballrooms with high ceilings are your next best bet.
If you're still not feeling the vibe you want for your venue, then ask around at heritage buildings if they allow weddings to be conducted. Another option that most couples forget to take into account is restaurants that have a vintage theme. Take a look at them, and see if they'll let you hold a wedding.

The Décor

Here's the biggie: coordinating everything on display at the wedding with the theme you so eagerly picked. The trick to perfecting wedding décor, vintage or not, is to pick the colors first and then pick the items. The rule of thumb you should follow is to pick 2 brights or darks and 1 neutral to balance the overall effect.
Once you've picked the color, the items shouldn't be that difficult. Keep in mind the color of the venue while deciding on the color. Also, remember to check what was trending in the year that you picked, and pick colors accordingly.
Again, the chances that you'll be overwhelmed with the plethora of ideas floating around off or online, are more than high. You love those monogrammed burlap favor pouches and the wild flower bouquet that a woman on the other side of the country used on her wedding day and put up on the Internet.
But you've already promised your grandma that you'll be giving away her homemade jam as favors (thumbs up, BTW!). The sheer number of stuff out there is bound to make you confused as heck. One of the most-often repeated tips to plan a vintage wedding minus all the melodrama is that you must learn to be extremely organized.
Instead of liking ideas one day and forgetting about them the next, make a note of every idea for every aspect that you like, and on a pre-decided date, sit, look at all of them, mix and match ideas, and pick a winning combination.
Another great idea is to pick a venue that already has touches of the theme that you've picked. This way, you'll save a lot of time and money as regards to the décor. Here are some items and ideas you can never go wrong with:
  • Books, candles, antique lamps, and flowers in cups, vases, or watering cans as table décor
  • Bunting all over the place
  • Hired vintage furniture to set the mood
  • Paper pom-poms as venue décor
  • Combination of cotton and burlap
  • Gramophones as the focal point of any area
  • Stacks of vintage suitcases

The Attire

It won't make sense if your entire wedding venue is perfectly accented with vintage flair and you walk down the aisle in a dress which has a very modern cut and style. You will need to really really hunt around for truly vintage gowns. Ask your grandma if you can modify hers and use it. Look online for vintage gown dealers.
There are a lot of wedding planning websites that can direct you towards such vendors. The absolute must-haves in the attire for the bridal couple are:
  • A sexy pin-up inspired hairstyle
  • Pearl jewelry
  • Suspenders and hat for the groom
  • Lace; in shoes or dress or gloves
You could even look up what your favorite style icon.

The Food

Now this is really a matter of personal preference. Most couples will opt to pick contemporary food even after opting for a vintage theme. You could do the same. And if you still want even the food to be within the scope of the theme, you can always opt for using interesting methods of presenting the food. 
For instance, use striped straws in the drinks you serve. Keep polka-dotted napkins for the guests to use. You can take it a step further and find out what the popular foods of the era were and have one or two of them included in the menu.
You could even ask someone in your family for a recipe from the era, have it prepared, and make it the highlight of the menu. As far as the cake is concerned, we suggest opting for a simple homemade cake as was the trend.

The Entertainment

A vintage-themed wedding will be incomplete without reminders of the glorious music of the era. Ensure you have the lilting tune of a trumpet or saxophone in the background. Hire a jazz band if you must. Get your hands on a gramophone in working condition and play songs that were popular then. 
Since circus entertainment was also big back in the day, you could even hire performers as entertainment. The Charleston, Heebie-Jeebie, and the Shimmy were quite popular dances then. Use one of them for your first dance and encourage guests to follow suit.

The Favors

The Internet is your best friend when it comes to vintage-themed wedding favors. There is just so much stuff that you can get inspiration from, you'll be spoiled rotten for choice.
  • Mint tins or tins with candy
  • Edibles like hams, honey, marmalade
  • Matchboxes with vintage photo covers
  • Fancy letter openers

Inspiration You Can Use

Here's a slideshow full of inspiration waiting to be drawn from for both styles of a vintage wedding: classic and retro-inspired. Enjoy it!
To top off the grand success that your vintage wedding will be, make sure you have a getaway vehicle that measures up to it. Get away on a cute tandem bicycle for a classic vintage affair or in a vintage car for a retro-inspired wedding. Whatever you pick, do it in style. After all, what's a wedding without some oomph, right!?