Vintage can mean something different to every couple. For some, it brings to mind images of lace; others see hairpins and flapper skirts. From an art deco 1920s fete Jay Gatsby himself would throw to a ‘60s-inspired celebration that would make any hippie proud, there are hundreds of unique vintage wedding theme ideas.
Show off your style by picking a decade, era, or trend of a pastime that speaks to you. Need some vintage wedding inspiration? We rounded up our favorite vintage styles and 30 vintage wedding ideas that will make a statement in the modern-day. If you were born for another time or are simply enamored by it, one just may suit your fancy.
The ‘20s have a covetable essence to them. Maybe it’s the glam and rebellious nature of the new age in fashion and Gatsby-style parties. Just the mention of the ‘20s brings to mind crystal chandeliers, bejeweled headbands, and shiny vinyl floors—all things that suit a wedding. Embrace the Art Deco theme by opting for opulence at every turn—think silver and gold accents, crystal glassware, fancy fonts, and statement jewelry. If you want a black-tie wedding, this is the vintage theme for you.
Embrace the mod trend of the 1960s with a short-style dress, bright colors, and geometric prints. This theme complements contemporary venues with clean lines, as well as those with ‘60s builds like many of the resorts in popular destination wedding locales like Palm Springs. Accentuate the decade’s flair with chairs and lounge furniture from the time period, bubbly fonts, and miniature floral arrangements.
Think vinyl records, old-fashioned soda bottles, and a retro getaway car that would make Danny Zuko proud. And no, the girls don’t have to show up in poodle skirts, nor the guys in leather. You can totally achieve this vintage theme without the cheese. Focus on the elegant wedding-worthy aspects of the era, such as Marylyn Monroe style waves, Audrey Hepburn pearls, and big band music. For colors, opt for pretty pastel hues, or classic black and white with a pop of corvette red.
Consider vintage wedding decor inspired by the Victorian era, or the latter half of the 19th century. Bring in parasols for the ladies, top hats for the men, and be prepared to don a corset. As for decor, choose roses for floral arrangements, gold table decor, and fine china dinnerware. To end the night in true Victorian fashion, make your exit in a horse-drawn carriage to cheers from guests as you give a regal wave goodbye.
If none of these vintage themes are doing it for you, consider dating even farther back to Medieval times. Celebrations back then were royal and festive in nature, so consider a jewel tone color palette, crowns, and long wooden tables lined with fabric runners. A buffet feast would also be typical, so don’t shy away from plenty of meat and cheese boards, fresh bread, an array of desserts, and lots of wine. To truly take this theme home, opt for a richly-colored gown— white didn’t become the norm for brides until hundreds of years later..
The venue can be a powerful tool to shape the theme of your big day. A place with architectural significance can instantly give your wedding a vintage vibe. Embrace the era in which your venue was built (or was inspired by) and accentuate it. For instance, add plenty of fabric draping, jewel tones, and candlelight to an ancient stone castle to emphasize its regal appeal, or decorate with movie reels and serve up a candy bar to play up a retro movie theater.
The rich hues and neutral tones of a library make it the perfect intimate wedding venue. It says stately and smart in an understated way. Even if you can’t find an actual library venue, you can bring the feeling to any space. Decorate with old books, clocks, and bud vases to achieve the essence and scent of a true library.
Incorporate vintage trunks and luggage into your big day to function as wedding decor or even end tables. Globes, stamps, and luggage tags also serve as decoration ideas that are in sync with both vintage and travel themes. Tie it all together by giving guests a boarding pass invitation and sending them home with a souvenir from the wedding locale.
Music is the ultimate vibe-setter and nothing says vintage-themed wedding like a string quartet. Most string quartets can play modern music, too, but feel free to request only the classics for a truly vintage feel.
Lace is the epitome of vintage. Channel the Victorian era with a lace gown that features a high neck or ruffled tiers. Or, reach for something with beaded embellishment on top of the lace and a sheath silhouette reminiscent of a 1920s themed wedding. But don’t stop there. Lace linens will help bring this theme home and give any wedding a solid vintage vibe
From fashion, to tableware, to stationery, a great floral design is key to making your wedding look vintage. Muted tones (that match your wedding colors) and smaller prints are the most vintage in feel and are easy to come by in dresses, ties, linens, and stationery alike. Plus, whether they match or not, vintage floral colors and prints look good paired together, so you can layer as many as you like. Don’t forget to add floral motifs to your vintage wedding invitations and day-of paper goods to give them an elegant flair that is both romantic and sweet.
If you or a loved one are good at stitching, DIY some charming, personalized handkerchiefs. Include short phrases like your last name, a favorite quote, or the date of your wedding.
Evoke a period from the past by having beautiful handwritten notes—be it your vows, place cards, or wedding favors. Pro tip: Use textured paper with deckle edges for the appearance of parchment.
Whether you’re hosting an indoor affair or outdoor wedding, a vintage doorframe can add a feel of history and enchantment. Vintage, rustic weddings will especially benefit from using one as an entrance and exit or alter arch.
Handwritten (or painted) calligraphy gives invitations, place cards, and the like a romantic, classic appearance. Showcase it on your wedding signs (welcome sign, seating chart) to elicit a feeling of the past.
For an added look of vintage artistry, considering framing your larger signage. For budget-savvy couples, you can find and repurpose frames by thrifting or looking online at places like Facebook Marketplace.
Nothing says 1800s fête like a crowd shielding themselves from the sun with parasols. Paper or lace, have them available as guests walk into your outdoor reception. Just make sure they won’t block your photographer (or anyone else’s) view.
Picture this: Wedding photos of you and your partner walking back down the aisle, all smiles, the air filled with beautiful flower petals. Feels vintage and timeless, doesn’t it? Ask your florist to provide you with paper cones full of petals that you can offer to guests as they enter your reception space. Then, have your officiant instruct them to toss them as you exit.
It’s hard to find a full set of truly vintage china—pieces break or go missing over time—so it’s only right that a vintage themed wedding should have mismatched dishes. There are plenty of vintage rental companies today that make this easy. They offer a wide selection of colors and styles in everything from chargers to wine glasses that will make mixing and matching both simple and fun. This eclectic table display will not only give your wedding a proper vintage feel, but also make each place setting especially unique.
While there are tons of decor ideas that give a vintage feel, don’t be afraid to really lean into florals. Wildflowers bring visions of the ‘60s, while lavender, lily of the valley, and sprawling greenery can evoke a variety of decades.
Well worn pieces, such as raw farm tables, oxidized copper gates, and worn wood doors all add character to traditional wedding setups. Plus, you can pick out pieces specific to the decade or style of your big day. Vintage furniture can be rented, but don’t overlook pieces you may already have at home. By using your family’s own antiques, you have the unique opportunity to further personalize your wedding day.
Go for the finer details by topping your wedding cake (or dessert) with a vintage cake topper. You can buy an authentic looking new one online or purchase a truly vintage one from a variety of online shops.
Catch every guest’s eye with a beautiful gramophone used as a decor piece. Purchase a prop antique or source an authentic old one from resale sites. Then, place it somewhere it can really shine, like your DJ booth, champagne tower table, guest book table, or card table.
Gatsby—esque weddings would do nicely to include a fully stocked, dressed up bar cart at their reception. Complete with a historic cocktail or liquor, of course, such as gin (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite liquor) or the World War I sidecar. Dry weddings can even use this set-up as a tea or coffee station.
Whether you display old wedding photos and family portraits or use Champagne flutes that have been passed down throughout the generations, family heirlooms are a meaningful way to add a vintage feel to your wedding day. You can incorporate them throughout the wedding reception as table decor or keep them safe in one spot, such as near the guest book for guests to admire during cocktail hour.
Create a tablescape fit for a historic mansion by including antiquated candelabras or candlesticks in your centerpieces. Seek out those that are antique and worn shades of gold or brass for an authentic look.
Likewise, ornate chandeliers add a vintage touch to both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and celebrations. Coordinate them for a glam look or mismatch for something that appears historic.
Lanterns, like gramophones and vintage heirlooms, instantly transport people to the past. Use them to line your ceremony aisle, cluster them in the corners of your reception, or use them in centerpieces.
Dedicate a section of your reception (or the entire thing, if that’s your style) to lounge-style seating. Think a large rug, a couple couches, and some chairs. Rent furniture and period-appropriate art in your wedding colors and allow guests to use the space to sit and mingle.
Steal the night away in style with more than just a sparkler exit. A vintage car is not only a fun getaway, but also perfect for photo-ops. There’s something so romantic about sunset photos in a vintage convertible. String the trunk with a “Just Married” banner, and you’ll be riding away from your vintage wedding day in perfect step with the theme.
If one of these styles makes you yearn to be wed in a bygone era, don’t be shy about embracing the vintage vibe throughout wedding planning. When executed well, all of these styles transcend time and place, ensuring your wedding day lives on to inspire brides of future generation