Magazines and websites are bursting with the latest trends in wedding ideas and themes - and just trying to sift through them can be as overwhelming as actually planning an entire wedding! So take a deep breath, relax and consider this: some of the most unique wedding ideas can be found by looking back to fashions and trends of days gone by.
If you're considering going the black-tie route, how about an Art Deco 1930s look? It was an era that is reminiscent of elegant Hollywood-style glamour, and you'd be surprised at how much you can accomplish on any budget, large or small.
And for something completely different: what could be more fun than a wedding that evokes the spirit of the groovy 1960s, a time of "peace, love and understanding" - could there be a better theme to start off your married life?
Whether you're going for funky or formal, here are some suggestions to help plan your idea of a retro wedding:
Polaroid Instant Photo Guest Books
Capture every moment of your wedding day with Polaroid instant pictures and hand-written sentiments from your guests! Polaroid instant photo guest books buck the digital trend and are all the rage among brides today.
Polaroid cameras and photos are definitely retro, and they're making a new age' come back because unlike digital or 35mm photos, the Polaroids develop instantly. When they're combined with notes from all your friends and family the instant photo guest book becomes a memento filled with memories that will last forever!
Hint: Put a couple of outgoing friends in charge of taking the photos and making sure that all your guests write something in your instant photo guest book. They can either circulate during the reception taking the pictures and getting the notes or you can set up a table for guests to visit. And be sure to have a back up camera and plenty of film for "do-overs"!
The Honor of Your Presence is Requested
Retro Wedding Invitations
Set the tone you're trying to create from the start with wedding invitations that reveal the theme you've chosen for your wedding. Custom designs can be easily accomplished with just a few keyboard strokes! Display 1930s-era sophistication with heavy, cream-colored paper stock and deco-style type fonts which can be further accented with period clip art. For your 60s-style invitations, use paper stock in the pastel colors that were popular then - or go all-out and have tie dyed invitations! Think about including flowers in the design as well. These can be printed on the invitation itself - or how about adding some dried wildflowers inside the invitation envelope?
Hint: You can order custom-designed stamps from the Post Office that will reflect the mood you're trying to convey before your guests even open the invitation envelope! (Some suggested examples: New York's Deco Rockefeller Center or Empire State Building, vintage cars, a yellow happy face icon, even a Grateful Dead logo) Dressing the Part
Retro Bridal Ware
There's no need to wear a bandana or headband or go barefoot on your big day, but a lace dress (mini in length if you dare!) will evoke the hippie era nicely, as will a floral headpiece and bridesmaid dresses in pastels or bright floral prints. If you want an early 60s look, consider a cocktail dress or Jackie Kennedy-style sheath with a white pillbox hat and a netted veil. For a Deco glamour wedding idea, sleek and satiny 1930s-era dresses can be found in vintage dress shops or even at flea markets or thrift shops (there are vintage clothes and used clothing boutiques all over!) They can also be custom made using new or vintage fabric and old patterns - these are often reissued by pattern manufacturers or easily found on eBay.
Hint: When planning your retro wedding, eBay and other shopping websites are terrific resources for all sorts of period bridal ware, decorations and inspirational wedding ideas.
Wedding Day Cup Cakes
Nothing says retro like a tasty, frosting-topped cupcake. You loved them as a kid, and now they're back in vogue as the height of food fashion. Delicious, colorful cupcakes can be served as the main wedding dessert attraction, substituted for the traditional wedding cake or in addition to a conventional wedding cake. Stack them like a skyscraper or arrange them in a circle to make a peace sign. Cupcakes can easily be decorated in day-glo icing colors for your 1960s look or with silvery accents for a Deco finish.
Hint: Make sure there are enough cupcakes so that your guests can take one home to enjoy later!
A Few of my Favor-ite Things
Retro Wedding Favors
Since your wedding is the start of your own personal love-in, treat your guests to some retro style wedding favors like love beads or peace sign jewelry. Or how about putting together a custom-made CD of classic rock tunes? For the 1930s wedding theme idea, linen handkerchiefs for both men and women will add a nice vintage touch. Or DVD copies of your favorite old comedy movie are sure to delight your guests - and the cover can feature you and your groom in place of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn for a fun reminder of your own classic romance!
Hint: If you're making custom CDs as favors, take a picture with you and your husband-to-be in some vintage clothes to use as cover art to remember the day's unique wedding idea "old is new"!