Five Vintage Wedding Theme Tips

We spoke to Kirsten Butler, AKA The Little Wedding helper, for her take on Vintage Weddings; turns out there's more to it than bunting and second hand china!


Kirsten Butler 'The Little Wedding Helper' with Wedding Picnic Hampers
Image courtesy of Frances Taylor Photography


Hi, I’m Kirsten Butler, aka The Little Wedding Helper. It’s my belief that every wedding needs an extra pair of hands, pulling together all those finishing touches, and making your wedding venue décor shine as much as you do. Although I’m a vintage girl at heart, and I love the ‘make do and mend’ attitude that has swept the nation, I am still a little cautious when I hear the word thrown around.


What is a vintage wedding?

A vintage wedding doesn’t begin and end with bunting and second hand china. It’s about picking beautiful pieces from the past such as your grandmother’s dressing table, your father’s first watch or wedding photos from generations past. Weddings are a time to celebrating family, the family we make for ourselves and the family we are marrying into. Celebrate that! Celebrate your friends! Make it unique, make it memorable, and make it you. It’s time to get personal!


Vintage Framed Wedding Photos
Image courtesy of Albert Palmer Photography


1. Choose an era

Thanks to the internet, inspiration is never hard to come by and it makes vintage wedding styling so much easier. Sites like Pinterest allow you to collect different images and group them into periods; the hard part will be choosing which aesthetic you like the most. Some of the most successful wedding décor has a consistent tone throughout and what better way to achieve this than by making sure you know your Roaring 20s from your Swinging 60s.


1950s Vintage Wedding Props
Image courtesy of Dawn Wilkins Photography


2. Consider hiring props

Now, I have a question to ask you. Are you really going to reuse all 150 teacups that you plan to source from car-boots across the country? If you are, great! I don’t envy you the washing up though. On the other hand, if the thought of your home heaving with all the gorgeous vintage items you simply couldn’t resist turns your knees to jelly, hiring is for you. I not only have crockery, but also cutlery and props such as mid-century bicycles and hand embroidered tablecloths all for hire. And the best bit? I’ll wash them up for you!


Vintage Wedding Tea Set
Image courtesy of David Brewin Photography


3. Use family possessions

There’s something magical about the old saying ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ and it’s the perfect way to incorporate those sentimental touches that will have your nearest and dearest tearing up. As well as being an intimate touch, using unusual items like your aunt’s favourite blue dressing table or borrowing your brother’s collection of vintage toys to style the tables will ensure every photo taken will be that little bit more personal.


Birds & Flowers Themed Vintage-Style Wedding Cake & Props
Image courtesy of David Brewin Photography


4. Hire a stylist

When it comes to vintage weddings, it’s the details that make the difference. A stylist can work independently, or alongside your venue co-ordinator, to pull together all those final touches on the day. A stylist is more visual than a planner and just as able to work alongside florists, stationers, and wedding venues.


Styled Vintage Wedding Breakfast


5. Avoid gimmicks

Although having a typewriter instead of a guestbook may seem like a good idea in theory, 100 guests queuing to leave you a simple message will take forever and ruin the atmosphere. And what if the ink runs out? Gramophones are beautiful, and certainly one of the most effective ways of bringing the past alive, but are they suitable for providing the evening’s entertainment? Somebody has to wind it up or remember to change the song.


Vintage Typewriter Wedding Reception Prop
Image courtesy of Albert Palmer Photography


Remember the practical as well as the aesthetic value of each item. It’s much easier (and quicker) for guests to write you a personal message and drop it into a gorgeous vintage suitcase and when it comes to music, why not surprise your guests with a swing band, or an a cappella trio? Failing that, iPods were invented for a reason!


Vintage Typewriter & Bureau
Image courtesy of Ed Peers Photography


One more word of advice - breakages. Most hire companies include the chance of damages in their costs, but what if grannie’s favourite crystal vase gets broken? Think about the risk your wedding poses to any furniture, jewellery, toys (you get the idea) that you’re choosing to include. Who could forgive themselves if a family heirloom was destroyed?

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