10 tips for holding the perfect vintage wedding

Bride Claire wears a vintage dress bought from an online auction in France and Rebecca has styled her using inspiration from the early 1900s.

Pulling off a vintage wedding is about more than just buying a decades-old wedding gown and sporting a mid 20th-century up do.

It’s about channelling the grace and elegance of a bygone era and, most importantly, paying homage to the past.

“When it comes to vintage weddings, it’s about telling a story,” says Rebecca Paris, who runs The Girl in the Green Scarf, a specialist vintage hair and make-up artist and stylist from Melbourne. “That’s what I love about true vintage weddings, every piece, from the 70-year-old, lace wedding gown to the intricate, Old World broach given to you by your Grandma, has its own history and when you put it all together it paints a beautiful, very unique picture.”

Rebecca, a qualified hair and make-up artists, has worked in the beauty industry for more than 20 years and eight years in the fashion industry but she specialises in vintage weddings and says her services have never been more in demand than they are at present.

“I’m a hopeless romantic who loves happy endings,” says Rebecca whose vintage store is based on a 1960s hair salon. “Since I was a little girl I’ve loved vintage and it’s really heartening to see so many others feel the same way.”

Rebecca says that holding a vintage wedding should be a very personal experience, one that draws on a couple’s own past.

“Yes, you can buy new things that look older and there’s nothing wrong with that, but to me, vintage is about a connection to the past, preferably your past, so it’s much nicer to incorporate things that are truly connected to your own history, such as items from your childhood or your parents or grandparents. It’s about being connected to the past, your past.”

Where to start?

“Start with something that matters to you,” says Rebecca who fell in love with vintage as a child after being given a Queen Anne teacup. “Do you have items that tell a story about your family or your past? Perhaps you have an heirloom that you can put on display or maybe some old photos or a particularly special piece of jewellery that has been handed down through the generations?

“Begin with that and build your wedding around it.”

1. The dress
If you don’t already have a vintage dress or can’t find one, opt for a vintage-inspired gown though there are several wedding dress vendors who sell real vintage gowns. Of course, if that doesn’t work, keep an eye out at your local op-shop or online for the perfect vintage wedding dress.

2. Your groom’s clothes
Grooms are luckier when it comes to the vintage look since adding less commonly worn items such as braces and bow ties can instantly add an air of days gone by, as do Seersucker suits.

3. Vintage hair and makeup
You can’t go wrong taking a leaf out of the books of silver screen icons from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, stars such as Great Garbo, Hedy Lamarr, Lauren Bacall and Jean Harlow, as well as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

4, A versatile photographer
Wedding photographers are a wonderful, creative bunch and when it comes to vintage weddings, you want them to be able to capture the feel of your day. Try to tell a story in your pictures rather than opting for the standard shots and poses.

5, Pick a theme within vintage
Hold up! Isn’t vintage a theme? Yes, yes, it is but going with a theme such as ’40s wartime America or Gatsby helps focus your decisions. Within vintage there are so many options and that can affect what you choose as style of wedding dress, the music, your hairstyle and even your food!

6. Don’t forget the table setting
One of the loveliest ways of bringing a vintage touch to your tables is to include a hotch-potch of plates, rather than one single place setting that is the same for everyone. Collect old cutlery and crockery (silver is always an excellent choice) and looks more homely and intimate. Vintage bottles as vases add a lovely touch as do large silver trays.

7. The flowers
You can’t go wrong with large tea roses, but if you’d prefer other, more modern flowers, you could opt to put them in silver teapots. Be creative and the key is simplicity, so you don’t need to worry about ornate designs.

8. Vintage props – everywhere
From frames containing old family photos, to old cameras and even typewriters, pepper the reception with lovely old items. Dress the space with vintage items. A quick search on Pinterest for vintage wedding ideas will do the trick!

9. Arrive in (vintage) style
Don’t forget your ride! Ensure you opt for a classic vintage vehicle to arrive at your ceremony in vintage style!

10. Do it yourself
When it comes to vintage, it’s about homemade, from the table decorations to the food. Homemade bomboniere such as jams or biscuits or even tea sachets add to a feel of wholesome simplicity.

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