As a vintage lover it seems only natural to bring your passion for by-gone eras to your wedding day. But how do you successfully pull off a vintage wedding? Rebecca Hoh-Hale describes how she planned her own vintage nuptials.

I am a firm believer in your wedding reflecting your personality, style and life together as a couple. In fact surely there isn’t another day when this is more important. If you don’t wear modern clothes the rest of the time, why compromise on the day when your outfit is going to be looked at the most?

If you find interiors from another era the most beautiful, why surround yourself with silver balloons and white cloth-covered chairs on your special day, just because that’s the wedding ‘norm’? No reason!

As a lover of all things vintage I knew early on touches from the Twenties, Thirties, Forties and Fifties would play a part in the styling of the day. But I admit, it’s harder than you think, with suppliers, not to mention friends and family, giving you puzzled looks when you say you want strawberries and cream served in tea cups or flowers displayed in chipped enamel vases. So here’s my guide to planning a vintage wedding and staying (semi) sane.

The bride’s outfit

I wasn’t sure what era my dress was from but it had just the right milk-maid look I was going for. Made from organdy and customized by my mum with a bustle of VV Rouleaux flowers, pearls and lace to add the woodland nymph factor.

I bought it from a lady called Flic, who was exhibiting at the Frock Me Vintage Fashion Fair. The Fair has an absolute wealth of old wedding dresses from many eras, as well as hats, gloves, veils, parasols and the like.

I was lucky enough to get my veil as my ‘something borrowed’ as well as something ‘old’ from a family friend of my fiancé’s. So it’s always worth asking around within your family, as many people have vintage pieces hidden away in the attic that will add an extra piece of personal history to your outfit.

For the party in the evening, I changed into a Vivien of Holloway dress. If you don’t know about Vivien and you like Fifties style, particularly Rockabilly, then you need to make a trip down to her shop above a motorcycle workshop in Camden, London.

Her dresses are beautifully made in great fabrics in the authentic style.  I customized mine with ‘John’ in a heart on my bum, of course.

I enlisted a friend to do my victory curl inspired ‘do’ using the great You Tube tutorials out there and topped it off with a pill box type hat with a veil from This Shop Rocks on Brick Lane.

We also added a line on our invitations, inviting people to join in with the vintage theme in their dress if they liked.

Not everyone did and they all looked gorgeous of course, but it was lovely to see people giving vintage a go on the day. I would highly recommend giving people the option including a list of vintage shops.
Vintage crockery, decorations and other style pointers

Using lovely old chintzy crockery is a great touch to show your vintage side, and charity shops, eBay, auctions and car boot sales are always winners when looking for this type of thing.

But on our day we mixed this type of crockery with standard white, supplied by our caterers, as we ran out of time finding enough to cater for 130 people. This mix can work well to tone the look down if you think people might genuinely turn there nose up if they just don’t ‘get’ it.

Crockery, such as milk jugs and tea pots as well as jam jars and tea cups look lovely as flower displays on tables covered in polka dot or gingham table cloths.

We also gave each table the name of a loved-up couple from a by-gone era such as Elvis and Priscilla, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Romeo and Juliet, Sid and Nancy and so on. The table plan was home-made on a vintage Vermouth advertising poster

If you are channeling V-Day celebrations, English Country fetes or street parties for your deco, these styles are quite simple and home-made looking in their nature, as they would have been back in the day.

Using this as a guide, I got both mum and mum-in-law on the case making bunting in chintzy, polka dot and union jack patterns to strew about. Ribbons in trees, as well as tin signs and paper lanterns all fit into the vintage style too. I went a little oriental as I’m half Chinese, so throw in all your influences.

While everyone is relaxing and mingling, play some music from your favourite era, it will have your gran remembering those tea dances she went to.


My lovely father-in-law papered some MDF boards with vintage style wallpaper to use as display boards for framed family wedding photos, dating back to the Thirties, which is a poignant way of showing how your day fits into the grand scheme of things.

I did have loads of fun collecting things over the months before the wedding and still have almost everything left as well as many new pieces.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, stay strong in your convictions, stick to your guns. People will love it on the day even if they protested in the build up, and seeing everyone enjoying a unique day, styled in the way you love, is the best reward. Other than the start of your marriage of course.

4 Responses

  1. Aoife

    What an amazing wedding! Your dresses were just gorgeous (as is your man 😉 ) and you look stunning. Love what you did with your day!

  2. Sheila Brady

    You look amazing, thank you for sharing these precious moments. Bountiful Blessings for both of you in the years to come!