With rising costs in all aspects of weddings is it any wonder that brides are looking for alternative ideas. A wedding on a budget does not mean it has to be look or feel any cheaper either. If you want to go vintage then here are some suggestions that may inspire you.
There is always an expectation upon the bride and groom and their families. Whether they are aware of it or not everyone “expects” or “assumes” something. That could be just down to being invited to expecting a sit-down meal or DJ at the end of the evening. With a vintage wedding the pressure is actually taken off you. How? Because very few people will have been to a themed wedding that is styled Vintage and Vintage is so bang on trend…….here are some ideas to help:
Guest List ~ This is the most important list you will ever make, because this controls the budget for your wedding venue, food, drink and entertainment. Once you have a firm list, the one you are going to stick to and not keeping adding someone else, then you can decide on your
Venue ~ Be open minded and think out of the box as Vintage weddings are fabulous for village halls. Most village halls have a kitchen and obviously toilet, saving you more worry about toilet facilities for an outdoor marquee. Simple tables and chairs in rows, lots of bunting, candles, flowers will look stunning and some halls have a stage for entertainment, (we will get onto that one further down).
Food ~ How about an Afternoon Tea Party? If you arrange your wedding service to be about 1-2pm, by the time you have taken photos, greeted everyone it’s nearly “Time for Tea.” The idea is that all the tables are laid out with china cups, saucers and plates (called a trio), these can be matching or as now very popular mis-matched. Depending on how many guests you have coming you can cater yourself and make finger sandwiches, cakes and scones or you can hire a local caterer to make eveything for you and deliver it all on the day ready to be placed on your buffet table where guests can go back and forth for food.
Our advice if you are going to arrange an afternoon tea is this:
1….ensure you tell your guests what they are having for tea, so that no-one is under any disillusion and expecting a sit down 3- course meal.
2….If you are going to buy your own china remember YOU have to pay for it all before hand, YOU have to wash it up after and YOU have to try and sell it on and are unlikely to get your money back. Many people have used ebay, this is a good source, but the price you will pay with postage can be very expensive usually double if not treble the hire and if items are smashed in the post the seller and Royal Mail are not responsible and you cannot make a claim. Worse case scenario you can buy a whole tea set for a bargain price, it arrives and it’s in such poor condition it’s only worth putting in the bin, and you may not even get your money back! So, our suggestion is to hire all your crockery, cutlery, props, etc from a hire company who specialise in vintage parties. You may also be lucky to find a hire company who also supplies your Afternoon Tea, will also serve your food, style your wedding with you, and the very best thing is they take away the dirties afterwards and wash it all up for you. They are your Vintage Fairy Godmother!
As an alternative if you are wanting a hot meal, how about talking to your local fish and chip shop and asking them to provide your meal?
Drink ~ No-one expects Champagne so serving a Spanish Cava is just as good and there are some fabulous deals to be had. If you are lucky to have a wine warehouse near you then you can buy by the case. Decide what you are going to serve and how you are serving. Vintage hire companies may also supply the bottles for you. Try something different like Martinis or Gin Slings. Or just stick to a good cup of tea in a good china tea pot! You may not be aware, but it’s illegal to sell the drinks or have a licensed bar without a Temporary Events Notice, these can be applied for by whomever supplies your drinks. The fine is up to £20,000 or 6 months in jail for selling alcohol without any official license.
Wedding Cake ~ If your budget runs to it then you can always have a separate cake to the afternoon tea cakes. Now traditionally the top portion of a wedding cake was kept as a christening cake, (I wonder how often this happens now?) but the more tiers you have the more expensive it becomes, and then there is the worry that some guests don’t like fruit cake. We have found many couples are opting for sponge cakes, the current trend still being naked cakes. There is also a trend for a simple iced cake large enough for everyone to have a bite.
Party Favours ~ On a budget you need to consider if these are necessary. If they are make your own and stick to something very simple like traditional sugared almonds, or how about retro sweets from your school days?
Entertainment ~ If you are lucky to know someone who can ‘bang out a good tune’ on a guitar or keyboard get them to come along and play. If you know of a new local band who are very good and need some stage practice, then ask them to play and offer them a very reduced amount of cash! Otherwise you can hire vintage entertainment. There are some wonderful singers and bands with repertoires covering 20-50 years.
Wedding Cars ~ Is this a necessity? If your guests are all likely to be inside waiting for you to arrive before and after your ceremony is this really necessary? Only you are going to see the car and that’s a lot of expense. Why not use a family car or ask a friend who may have a vintage car you can borrow, just ensure it’s reliable!
Photography ~ I have seen the best photos taken at weddings by friends and family on a good digital camera or phone – pixels are so high now on smart phones they compete and over take some of the more affordable digital cameras. Ask friends to bring along a camera and take photos for you, and send them all to you so you can print them yourself and make up your own photo album. If you want to book a professional photographer you will need his services for 2-4 hours for good photos. Do you really want to spend that amount of money? Speak to local photographers as they will probably have suggestions on how you can work to a budget with them. Some will come for the whole day and take photos of you preparing in the morning, others arrive for the ceremony.
Honeymoon ~ Oh for a lovely holiday. This depends on your preference to a holiday straight after your wedding date or a few weeks later. Depending on the time you could get a good bargain holiday. Again, look outside of the box. Try a holiday in Luxor for example, visit temples, sites of ancient history, immerse yourself into the culture and sail along the Nile. Luxor is fabulous and far quieter than Cairo, and through experience it’s not expensive £1 is about 12p in Egypt so great bargains to be had! You could, of course, stay and home and sample the fabulous alternative holidays in the UK. What about staying for a week in a vintage caravan or a yurt which will really cut down your carbon footprint.
Clothing ~ if you would love a genuine vintage dress there are some super dress agencies offering stunning original pieces, some have a tailoring service to ensure the fit. You could make your own dress if you enjoy sewing. Vintage patterns are available, but be aware that american vintage patterns are at least 2-3 sizes different to British sizes and not the current one size difference. For example a British size 16 in the 1950s is probably about a size 12-14 now as women were a lot smaller in shape and had fabulous foundation garments holding everything in!
Flowers ~ Choose old vintage style, cabbage roses, hydrangeas, delphiniums, think about flowers that may have been grown in a garden and rather than have bouquets made use large glass jars or enamel jugs.
Table Decorations ~ If you are using a Vintage Hire Company then ask them if they have table decorations to hire. You could choose from shabby chic birdcages full of flowers to silver candle sticks. If you are doing it yourself then think about who is sitting where. Over the years I have seen some fabulously elaborate table decorations that looked stunning on arrival but within half an hour guests had removed them as they could not see each other or in fact the top table for the speeches! Bunting looks fabulous for a vintage wedding, whether you use the same colours or a mismatch of prints you just can’t get enough! You can also use the same fabric as table runners.
Hopefully this had given you ideas. If you would like more then visit us at
The Vintage Party Co