8 ideas for a retro-inspired wedding

Transport your guests to a bygone era

There’s a unique charm in stepping back in time to celebrate your love. A retro-inspired wedding day is the perfect way to pay homage to a bygone era and add a touch of uniqueness and old-fashioned revelry to your special day. From vibrant color schemes to vintage cakes and classic photo booths, discover eight ideas that will inspire and transport you and your guests back in time.

1. Invitations that set the tone

Wedding invitation with vintage Gatsby theme

Set the tone for your wedding day with a retro-inspired wedding invitation infused with nostalgia. Look to vintage, script-style fonts that were popular in the mid-20th century to contribute to the overall retro feel. Color-wise, consider dropping hints at the palette you’ll be referencing on the big day. Sepia, muted tones evoke the elegance of vintage postcards and photography, or bold pinks, mustards and orange hues evoke the disco era of the 70s. Add subtle touches like faded textures or distressed edges to create the illusion of time, giving guests a teaser that they’re going to take a step back through the decades.

2. Capture the moment

Wedding reception polaroid photo section for guests

Photo Credit: @emmgrcephotography

Choose a photographer that understands the nuances of capturing retro-style photography, whether through expertise with film cameras or their abilities in post-production. For the day itself, scatter a handful of disposable film cameras across the reception tables, encouraging guests to contribute their unique perspectives. Consider a dedicated, retro-inspired backdrop or vintage photo booth for you and your guests to capture photos.

While they're at your booth, have a guest book on display for loved ones to leave their words of wisdom, and fill the pages with your sentimental photos.

Add a retro touch to your wedding décor by curating props that transport guests back in time. For a 1920s Great Gatsby vibe, consider art deco motifs, feathered centerpieces and opulent gold accents. Celebrate the era of disco with mirrored ball installations, brightly-colored dinnerware and quirky candelabras. Or for a bohemian 1970s feel, incorporate earthy tones and rattan accents by way of seating and lighting.

4. Retro-inspired color scheme

A couple in vintage colored suits walk a crossing in New York

Photo Credit: @justinecastlephotography

Delve into the vibrant palettes of different eras to find the retro-inspired color scheme that’s right for you. For a 1950s-inspired theme, think pastel hues like soft pink, mint green and powder blue. Or capture the spirit of the swinging sixties with energetic colors like magenta, mustard yellow, golds and greens. If the seventies are your era, you’ll be looking to experiment with earthy tones like olive green, burnt orange and harvest gold.

Whatever decade you look to for inspiration, experimenting with unique color palettes, reminiscent of a particular moment in time, will infuse nostalgia and personality into every detail of your big day.

5. Classic wheels

Newlyweds in front of vintage car overlooking city view

Photo Credit: @nicoletteplett

Arrive and depart in unforgettable style with a vintage car that complements your chosen era. Consider a classic convertible Cadillac or a Volkswagen Beetle. Not only will a classic car add a dash of retro glamour to your special day, but it will serve as a unique backdrop for photos.

6. Dress the part

Newlywed couple hold each other in front of large green double door on stone pavement

Dive into the fashion archives and get creative with your wedding day look (or looks!). Think about the iconic silhouettes of the 1950s tea-length dresses, with cinched waists and full skirts, or the short, sleek, and minimalist lines of 1960s mod fashion. For a more relaxed, bohemian ensemble, look to the flowy fabrics and billowing sleeves of the seventies.

Tuxedos can embrace the timeless sophistication of the 60s, with slim lapels and skinny ties, or the counterculture era of the 1970s with exaggerated patterns and bold fabrics. Don’t forget the finishing touches; get experimental with bridal hair accessories, quirky pocket squares and vintage jewels.

7. Playlist through the ages

Bride and groom dance under disco balls in low lit rose colored ballroom

Photo Credit: @bloomweddingsuk

The ultimate time machine, curate a wedding playlist that spans the decades. From soul music to rockabilly and disco anthems, your choice of music can encompass a variety of genres and eras. A versatile playlist will resonate with different generations and set the stage for a lively celebration.

Elevate your big day’s sweet showpiece with a vintage-inspired wedding cake. Incorporate classic elements such as lace detailing and intricate piping, and a color scheme that matches that of your décor. A vintage cake is a both a delightful treat for your guests and a kitsch, nostalgic addition to round off your retro-inspired wedding day.

Whether it’s through color scheme, décor, fashion or food, infusing a retro aesthetic into your wedding day celebration will create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. Let the nostalgia flow and embark on a journey through the decades and celebrate your love in timeless style.

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