How to Create a Mid-Century Modern Themed Wedding

Explore the idea of a mid-century modern wedding with vintage touches and a retro vibe with our planning guide.

By The Zola Team

Mr and Mrs wedding table
Photo by Amanda May Photos

One of the greatest wedding trends is a mid-century modern wedding. This theme embraces natural influences, an emphasis on function, and elegant simplicity above all. If this style appeals to you, we’ve outlined creative wedding ideas to incorporate it into your wedding planning and see it come to life. In general, a mid-century modern wedding takes on a less-is-more approach with minimalism at the forefront.

Clean lines, earthy colors, and intentional decor and accessories all make up this concept. The result is a well-curated wedding setting that serves as an idyllic backdrop for your nuptials. However, there’s plenty of room to incorporate special touches and interpret the style in the way that works best for you.

Every engaged couple has an idea of what their wedding day will look like. By combining the preferences of each person with who they are as a couple, a vision begins to take shape. It starts with setting the scene with a well-chosen wedding venue, coordinating the wedding attire to fit the theme, and incorporating thoughtful elements for the flowers, decor, food, and drink.

Let the Wedding Planning Begin

Securing a wedding date is usually the first thing to consider after the engagement announcement. From there, all of the other wedding plans can be put into motion. The location is the next step, as you’ll want to secure a venue, especially one that’ll accommodate your mid-century modern wedding theme. Not all spaces will easily accommodate what you’re looking for in terms of architecture and space. Coordinate walk-throughs with several venues until you find the one that speaks to you.

Then, when you have a wedding date and location set, create a wedding website for you and your guests to refer back to with all the details and exciting news leading up to the big day. Not only is this a practical start to your wedding planning, but it gives everyone a sense of your style and what they can expect in terms of appropriate guest attire, accommodations, and any other pertinent information that you’d like to share with everyone who’s attending.

Choose the Ultimate Location

Since organic additions are a big part of mid-century modern, an outdoor space is typically the way to go for this style of wedding. A quaint garden, rustic barn, elegant winery, or even your own backyard are all ideal spaces for your mid-century modern ideas.

The natural foliage of these types of spaces works well with any floral arrangements and greenery used for bouquets and table centerpieces. Work with the nature that surrounds you to create the ultimate ceremonial backdrop. Keep all other decor minimal; quality over quantity is key.

Create a Minimalist Wedding Website

Zola makes it quick and easy to create your own wedding website. While there are hundreds of options to choose from, the clean lines and color blocking elements of the Peak wedding website design are chic and sophisticated without too much detail cluttering up the space. It’s a gorgeous use of color combined in an artistic way, a shoe-in for a mid-century modern themed wedding.

Another minimalistic design to consider is the Cruise. While the tropical nature may evoke a sense of a beach-themed wedding, it also works for any natural, outdoor setting. The greenery can be reflective of the non-traditional types of flower and plant arrangements you may envision for your big day.

How to Create a Midcentury Modern-Themed Wedding Photo Credit // Rebecca Denton Photography

Deciding What to Wear

The search for the perfect wedding dress is a pivotal moment for any bride-to-be. Some may have envisioned the look since they were young, while others may need inspiration before settling on the final dress. Whatever your approach may be, keep it simple and reflective of what will make you feel the most beautiful.

There are no fashion rules that you have to follow or trends to incorporate into your day. Everything down to the shoes should be a comfortable fit, literally and metaphorically.

Go Chic and Sophisticated With the Dress

There are endless numbers of wedding gowns to choose from, but certain ones speak to the mid-century modern aesthetic more than others. Consider playing with dress length, structure, and details, such as lace sleeves and sleek silhouettes.

A retro vibe, for example, calls for a tea-length dress with a full skirt and shorter veil, while a floor-length simple sheath dress also embraces the minimalism of this design concept. Also, don’t shy away from color. While bright white is the bridal go-to, mid-century modern fashion embraces softer shades such as ivory and even pale pink.

Skip the Black-Tie Tuxedo

Grooms following a mid-century modern style will skip the traditional formality of the black-tie tuxedo. While classy and elegant, it doesn’t quite align with the natural hues and setting for this style of wedding.

Light gray or beige suits feel fresh and modern, while still looking polished and suave. Plus, there are multiple options when it comes to the tie. A bow-tie, standard tie, or no tie at all are each charming in their own right. Be distinctive with a colorful, geometric pattern, or keep it natural with muted tones.

Opt for Timeless Shoes

T-strap heels or Mary Jane’s are classic shoe choices for a mid-century modern look. Rather than sticking with ivory or white, have fun with the color options and consider a soft peach, sky blue, or other muted color that completes the look. There are ways to follow traditional attire while adding in your own artistic spin. For men, tan shoes can replace the standard polished black to better coordinate with a light-colored suit.

Vintage Accessories and Chic Statements

A veiled hat, sparkly hair pins, or a flower crown are all stunning alternatives to the typical floor-length veil. Flowy hairstyles and stud pearl or diamond earrings complete the mid-century modern look. For men, a pocket square to replace or complement the traditional tie is a classy addition. Accessories are a good way to incorporate family heirlooms and work in the traditional “something blue” at the same time.

Natural Decor and Minimalistic Design

An outdoor space serves as a blank canvas to work with since many essential design details are already factored in, such as natural lighting and the flowers that surround the area. Optimize your chosen venue by adding greenery to the ceremony and reception, as well as unique touches to the bridal bouquet.

Fill Up the Space With Greenery

When it comes to sprucing up the space, go green. Wedding decor with a mid-century modern vibe includes lots of natural plant life and fresh flowers. Many outdoor venues often have this as part of the property, making any additions a bonus to the layout for the ceremony and reception.

For a simplistic, yet elegant touch, weave greenery into your bridal bouquets, table centerpieces, ceremonial arch, and table runners. Succulents, mini palms, and garlands all work well to achieve this specific wedding style and provide an unexpected twist on the traditional flower arrangements.

Simplify the Bridal Bouquet

Large, structured bridal bouquets are beautiful, but they don’t quite meet the effortlessly cool effect of a mid-century modern wedding. A handful of sunflowers, wildflowers, or tea roses are more common options for bridal bouquets. Opt for varying shades of yellow, orange, and pink to emulate a sunny day or a gorgeous sunset.

Another way to go is to skip the traditional bouquet altogether and wear a wedding day wrist corsage or flower crown instead. It should appear romantic and whimsical, if not a little unconventional. With any of these alternatives, the idea is to keep the flower count minimal and focused on earthy tones.

How to Create a Midcentury Modern-Themed Wedding Photo Credit // Dani Fine Photography

Food and Drink Details for the Reception

Choosing an on-theme menu allows you to have fun with what you eat and drink during your celebration. Classic cocktails such as vodka gimlets and old fashioneds are crowd pleasers. Food-wise, choose from an elegant, sit-down dinner menu of steak and sides, or make it more casual with fondue pots, appetizer options, or smaller plates.

Then, of course, there’s the cake. A simple, multi-tiered white cake with minimal adornment sounds sublime, but if you’re looking to break from tradition, consider a “naked” carrot cake. Do-it-yourself baking may also be a great option, so how about homemade pies that allow you to include your personal favorites?

Incorporate Playfulness into the Day

There is a lax appeal to a mid-century modern style of wedding. Nothing is undone, but the details—from the breezy outdoor setting and the color scheme to the informal menu—are uncomplicated with a lightness to the entire aesthetic. Your wedding will feel like a step back in time with all the benefits of a modern day affair. Let yourself be inspired by a glamorous era in history where cocktail hour was a must and a bespoke style made everything seem effortless.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you get started when planning the wedding of your dreams. The essence of a mid-century modern themed wedding comes down to the details, since everything serves a specific purpose and is chosen to contribute to the comprehensive vision for your celebration. This style of wedding inspires couples to scale back on quantity and focus on the quality of location, attire, and decor that they want included as their married life begins.

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