Plan Your Vintage Wedding: Wedding Advice

Morning my loves, I have the most fantastic post to share with you all today! Absolutely invaluable advice on how to plan your vintage wedding, in fact, it’s also great advice for wedding planning in general. The lovely Bec from Plan Vintage {wedding}, goes into great detail on how to execute your perfectly planned vintage nuptials… and this lady is an EXPERT who really knows her stuff!

Plan Your Vintage Wedding: Wedding Advice

Hello to all you lovely WTW readers, I am super excited to be here! Huge thanks and hugs to Sonia for inviting me to write for you. Now before we start I’d like to dispel some vintage wedding myths that have been around for a while and seem to be gathering pace.

Dispelling the Myths

“You must have a knowledge of vintage style & design”

Unless you are immersed in vintage from day to day, this myth will touch a nerve with you. That nagging voice in the back of your head will be saying ‘you don’t know enough, how on earth will you put a whole vintage wedding together?’

You have my permission to tell that voice to SHUT UP! No one has the rulebook on your vintage, retro, alternative wedding. Have a vintage wedding because you want one, it’s that simple.

“You must love vintage before you even get engaged otherwise you will be ‘jumping on the bandwagon”

How many full scale eight hour parties have you planned in your life and invited all of the people who mean the very most to you? Oh and throw in a three or four course dinner party, a dance party, a legal ceremony and a ton of tradition and expectation for good measure. So even if you have never been interested in the vintage look in your life before, you have my permission to jump high in the air and land squarely on the bandwagon, go for it!  

“You must have a theme!”

This is one of THE most frustrating and just plain wrong pieces of advice I hear all the time. There is nothing worse than feeling you have to push and squeeze the idea you have for your wedding into a box to fit this era or that theme. Feel free to draw on influences and styles from past times, without reproducing a full on Twenties scene from ‘The Cotton Club’! You can just dabble in a little vintage this or a touch of retro that.

 How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Dulcet & Dapper}

“You must choose pastel colors”

Pastel colors are a super sweet way of running vintage essence through your wedding decor. But, vintage isn’t all blush pink and mint green.  One of my favorite weddings I put together for a client was dripping with rich, luscious jewel tones of ruby red and deep purple. More retro than vintage in the true sense of the term but I never stick to the true sense of the term anyway! 

“Vintage is just a passing fad”

Now as long as I have been involved in vintage weddings, I have heard this one!  And my answer is always the same. It never was a trend.  If vintage is a passing fad, how do you explain the amount of vintage specialist shops on and offline that have sprung up? There’s no doubt that wedding styles come and go but you can still add an Era Chic twist to most wedding styles if that’s what you want.

 So, what is a vintage wedding anyway?

The word vintage has grown over the last few years so it encompasses not only wedding design but also sums up the feel that many couples want for their day…intimate, personal, handmade, family….

I firmly believe the turbulent times we have all lived through in the last decade have made many of us re-evaluate what’s really important, resulting in a much stronger connection to our roots and histories. Nostalgia brings comfort and familiarity in ever-changing world and the world of weddings is no different.

What style of vintage wedding can I have?

How are the styles defined and what are they called?  

Vintage weddings fall into two main styles, Rustic Vintage and Classic Vintage, with lots of variations along the way!

Rustic Vintage

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Claudia McDade Photography via Style Me Pretty}

Garden, picnic, DIY, quirky, homemade, backyard, barn, farm…Rustic Vintage encompasses all of these styles to an extent and many of them overlap, a little or a lot!  It’s not about giving your wedding style the right ‘label’.  Instead it’s about pulling in the influences and details you love and weaving them into your own wedding vision.

The nostalgia of rustic vintage brings to mind the long, hot summers of childhood and binds family members together in a casual, relaxed joyous celebration with vintage touches here and there to immerse guests in the feeling of Summer days gone by…

A rustic wedding lends itself perfectly to a quirky, homemade feel for your food and decor. Be careful not to over-clutter but rustic weddings are all about the details – homemade chutney favors, handmade windmills, ribbon wands, paper pom-poms and my favourite…bunting. 

Hire in some statement vintage furniture like velvet couches or beautiful chairs for an afternoon tea and use what nature has provided to create your aisle and ceremony space. Make your wedding part of the natural surroundings rather than jarring with the environment.

Use nostalgic details to conjure up feelings of long, lazy picnics of childhood summers. Blue and white enamel bowls, soda bottles, wicker baskets and glass jars. Fill vintage jars and bottles with wild flowers and abundant fruit, reminiscent of your surroundings. 

A simple, homemade cake bursting with seasonal fruit and local cream…nothing better..

Make your guests feel cherished by sending them off in to the night clutching your homemade edible favors.

So what’s new in Rustic Vintage for 2013?

Picnic weddings {and ceremonies} are coming through as hot trends, along with New Wave Vintage, which favors pops of bright, juicy color paired with vintage-esque fonts and chevrons.

Classic Vintage – Era Defined

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Kate MacPherson Photographer}

Era defined weddings like ‘Twenties theme’ or a ‘Fifties Wedding’ are as popular as ever. The ‘roaring Twenties’ is trending strongly for vintage weddings in 2013 thanks to the popularity of TV shows like ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and designers like Johanna Johnson showing stunning Twenties styles for the coming season.

Avoid your wedding look tipping over into fancy dress by using subtle details to capture the essence of the time you are wanting to evoke. Direct copies of era details will jar with the elegance of your wedding design by looking too ‘clumsy’. Instead choose more modern designs with an era-chic twist or essence, with one or two authentic pieces to ground the look.   

Choose a focal point for your vintage wedding design, like a show stopping Twenties-inspired gown and have all your other decor details compliment your focal point, being careful not to overwhelm it. 

How Do I Plan a Vintage Wedding?

It’s not everyday you organize something as huge and seemingly complex as your wedding! How can you become a planning and design expert overnight?

Follow this quick, step by step guide to make planning your vintage wedding a breeze!

The Venue

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Vintage Patina Rentals}

Finding the right venue has to be one of the biggest headaches when starting your planning and the one that can cause the most angst and hand wringing.  If you can find your ideal venue quickly and easily, you will be able to look at the rest of your planning with excitement instead of a feeling of ‘ok, now what?’

Start by looking for unusual venues:

  • Restaurants – often overlooked, some restaurants have the most perfect, amazing decor that can solve many of your decor headaches instantly.
  • Heritage buildings, music halls, theatres and art galleries – open your mind and you could discover the most amazing vintage venue.
  • Hotels – look for super-stylized decor to evoke a retro feel for your wedding.

The more the existing decor is reminiscent of your styling ideas, the less decor you will need to bring in.  The less decor you need to bring in, the more precious time and money you will save.  When the existing venue decor is close to what you are already thinking of, the more time and money you will have to play with the smaller, fun details.  Get the initial vibe right and then have a ball playing with the details!

Did you know?

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.


  • Carefully consider if you want your ceremony and reception at two different venues as your final choice can affect timing and make it tricky when your wedding party, guests and vendors have to move between two places.  
  • The easier it is for your vendors to reach the venue and make their deliveries, the more time, stress and money you will save.  
  • Set up a wedding website and include as much detail on there as possible for your guests, particularly if your venue is tricky to find or access.  
  • Be very wary of extra reception fees that can crop up that you were initially unaware of.

The Paper Suite {Save the Dates, invites, seating plans, place cards…}

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit}

Spend some time choosing your paper suite design carefully to set the tone of your wedding, giving guests an inkling of what to expect. Choosing a bold retro or vintage design will reinforce the look of your wedding and give your decor and colors a strong direction.

The Colors 

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Snippet & Ink}

So you’re trying to work out what you love, what your ‘wedding colors’ will be and how to put them together…it’s enough to drive a bride mad!  

If you just don’t know where to start, use this wedding planner trick that always works for me.

  • Hop onto the net and pull in images of art or design to create an inspiration board with colors you love or a feel that makes you comfortable or happy.  
  • To identify your color palette – pick two main colors from the images you’ve chosen and one neutral such as white, cream, latte or nude.
  • Look at the tone of the two main colors  – are they brights, pastels or toned down, grey based colors?  Maybe they are they different shades of just one color or ombre. 

 The Décor Design 

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Emma Case Photography via London Bride for Dashing Magazine}

Looking for some style inspiration?

Choose an era you adore, the Fifties for example, and then choose a style icon from that era whose look you love and will inspire you to build your look.  

For the boho bride, think Brigitte Bardot or maybe Farah Fawcett will fit the bill if you adore the Seventies look.

Once you have settled on the look of your wedding and chosen your color palette,  select your decor items and make a plan for sourcing them. Get the big picture in place first by choosing your tablescape, wedding cake, flowers and lighting before moving onto the finer details like favors.  

The Gown

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit BHLDN}

Is your gown going to be retro-crazy or classic vintage chic?  

Leave yourself plenty of time and head space to find your gown and bridesmaids outfits, not forgetting your groom and his boys!  Whatever you decide, remember that while your gown will take centre stage, make sure it works in harmony with the rest of your decor.

Set a budget range before you start looking for your gown so you can focus on what you can afford rather than what you need to stretch to if you find something outside your budget.  Take into account all of the potential costs such as cleaning and alterations so you have a realistic idea of what you will end up spending.

How Much Will my Vintage Wedding Cost?

The icky, sticky subject of budget.  

Awww…I hear you cry!  Do we have to? We want to drift round the net drooling over pastel paisley bunting and polka dot bridesmaids’ gowns!

I know, I know but before we can get lost in the details you need to know how much you have to spend on the details {and everything else}. 

There is no denying that planning any wedding, vintage or not, can be hard on the purse strings.  It feels like as soon as you utter the word ‘wedding’ the cost of everything doubles or triples…sigh.

But there are ways you can cut the cost and add the vintage touches that you adore…it doesn’t all have to be grand venues, swathes of David Austin roses and a vintage-esque Vera Wang original!  

Before you do anything with your wedding budget, get straight to the bank and open a bank account just for your wedding expenses.  Start putting money aside in this account and pay all your wedding-related expenses from there. This means less chance of spending on impulse when you find that ‘must have’ set of cool paper pom poms!

                                                             How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Dandy Bread and Candy}

Settle on a figure you are both comfortable with, then add an extra ten percent and you have your budget range.  The extra ten percent is your budget buffer and if you are prepared for the fact that you may go over and into the higher range, you will have already provided for it, lessening your stress.  You will also be very reluctant to go over the top of your range and will do so only for very good reason.

Then make a list of all of the elements of your wedding and number them 1 to 10.  Rate each element in order of importance, 1 being ‘I will just die if I don’t have…’ and 10 being the least important.  When you get overwhelmed by all the options out there and are tempted to impulse buy, go back to your priority list to focus your spending in the areas that are most important to you. 

What should I be careful of?

There are five mistakes I see couples making time and time again.

Over Complicating

It’s so easy to lose sight of the main reason for planning all of this hoopla. The more events, locations, guests and decor you add, the more complex your wedding will become and the harder it will be to plan and coordinate. Each time you are tempted to add another pre-wedding event or another location to the list of things you have to oversee, stop! Ask yourself if the outcome will be worth the extra time and effort it will take to arrange it.

Over Spending

If you truly want to rule your budget, rather than the other way around, make creating your wedding budget the very first thing you do after you get engaged. I know it’s not a sexy thing to do but once you have your budget nailed down, I guarantee the rest of your planning will be smoother and more enjoyable and you won’t spend half the time with that horrible, nagging, churning feeling when the subject of money is mentioned or those final invoices start to arrive.

Over Dressing

It is very easy to try to bring in everything you love and every decor idea you have seen over the months. This is a sure-fire way to end up with a confused and over-dressed wedding.

 Too much ‘stuff’ will make you guests feel lost in the wedding and they won’t be able to fully relax and enjoy the day. If there are too many signs and chalkboards with instructions and messages, too much decor and overwhelming tablescapes it can feel claustrophobic.

Each time you make a decor choice, ask yourself if it fits with your original vision. If it doesn’t, resist the temptation to make the purchase. Make a plan for purchasing your decor within your budget and stick to it.  

How to plan your vintage wedding!{Image credit Gideon Photography via Ruffled Blog}

Over Stressing

When you start planning how to put your wedding together, also make a plan for how to keep yourself together. Don’t let the wedding suddenly take over your life and relationships. Have a wedding-free day once a week when you and your fiancé don’t discuss the wedding at all. It’s also good to set aside some wedding-free time with your friends when the subject is banned and you purely concentrate on your friendship and catching up. Make the planning part of your life but don’t let it take over your life or your relationships.

Over Thinking

Does it seem strange to advise you not to think too much about your wedding planning? There is a difference between planning and then over-thinking, second-guessing and driving yourself crazy. Each time you re-visit a decision you’ve made or decor you’ve chosen, remember this. There will always be other choices you could have made. There is no one right choice. If you change one part of your decor it can have a knock on effect on the overall look you wanted in the first place. If you loved something enough to have it as part of your wedding, don’t keep looking at other options. Move forward and try not to always be thinking ‘what if’.

So there we have it! A quick and easy guide to planning your vintage wedding.

I’m happy answer any questions you have if you need a hand! But in amongst all the planning and budgeting and decor, the most important thing is to stay true to the vision you and your Groom have and focus on creating a day you will both love. 

Happy planning

Bec from Plan Vintage Wedding xx


Thank you so much Bec for sharing this with WTW readers!


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