With wedding hashtags and Instagram-friendly photo booths becoming commonplace, it’s undeniable that for many husbands and wives-to-be, social media has had a major impact on the way we’re planning – no, curating – the big day. But if the modern wedding industrial complex has you pining for the charm of an analogue (read: smartphone free) era, it’s perfectly possible to channel your decade of choice while pulling off a vintage-inspired wedding that still feels fresh and modern.
Stage one: banish all thoughts of bunting, gloomy chintz and overly ‘themed’ décor. ‘Vintage means a lot of different things to a lot of people,’ explains Amy Hatch, founder of wedding styling and prop hire company Vintage Amy. ‘The word can often scare people as they think full on twee, which is not what I do at all. My style is incorporating authentic and elegant vintage into a wedding within a modern setting, allowing for a timeless feel.’ With a carefully chosen edit of props, colours and flowers, the end result is classic, memorable and – whisper it – irresistible Instagram bait (how’s that for a paradox?)
Below, Amy shares her advice for planning a contemporary vintage wedding, whatever the budget...
How to plan a modern vintage wedding
The simplest (and cheapest) props can have the biggest impact
'A very simple and affordable prop is a brass candlestick. Hiring these and using co-ordinating candles instantly uplifts your look. I try to avoid mixing metals for a classic feel.'
The more flowers, the better…
'I think flowers are a big part of the day and an important part of the budget, as they can really change the whole look. I like to incorporate as many flowers as possible within my wedding designs and absolutely love installations – a floral masterpiece hanging over the tables; a beautiful design on the walls of an industrial building; or flowers down the aisle.'
… But creating a striking look needn’t blow your entire budget
'If you don't have a huge flower budget, I suggest lots of loose flowers in vintage vessels dotted around the venue: think about where your guests will be for the longest period, like sitting at the tables for the wedding breakfast.'
Make sure your venue works with the era you’ve chosen
'A village hall is often crying out for a 1950s-inspired day, whilst a stately hall with wood panelling allows for elegant, soft details, and elements from the 1930s work really well.'
A more distant era makes a memorable wedding backdrop
'My clients tend to seek inspiration from earlier, more decadent eras: think stunning Victorian vintage lace and cut-glass decanters from the Art Deco period. These periods lend themselves well to be mixed with modern touches, so you do not end up with a themed or dated wedding.'
Don’t forget the cake table…
'I hate a cake on a silver base plonked on a square white creased-clothed table! I love to create 'dessert dressers' by using a vintage dressing table from my prop collection and allowing for beautiful desserts that work within your design. This creates a stand-out focal point for your guests – next on my list is a vintage bureau dessert station…'
Turn social media scrolling into fuss-free wedding planning
'Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful starting points for a wedding. It can be overwhelming, though, so it's great to create separate boards on Pinterest, then come back later and whittle them all down. Also, remember it's inspiration: use it to inspire you but create your dream day. Don't forget the new 'saved' bookmark tab on Instagram. You can save posts you've loved and then go back to look at them – you'll soon see a running theme.'
Consider a pastel palette
'I like a soft, pale palette and I think this allows for the fresh approach I prefer, rather than a bright scheme that tends to make it feel more dated or themed. I love to use lots of neutral flowers, pale blush pinks and lots of foliage like eucalyptus. Mixed with stunning aged lace, lots of cut glass and brass details create a beautiful, elegant feel for your day.
Mixing vintage style into a contemporary wedding setting is easier than you’d think
'Add vintage brass candlesticks and vintage cutlery to a table, and pop the flowers into a vintage vessel. By placing them correctly and mixing them with modern pieces – stand-out luxurious stationery, exquisite quality glasses, high-end flowers – you instantly have a look that is fresh and contemporary. My current love is this look within an industrial venue – don't be afraid to work a softer, romantic design in this kind of venue, as it really works.'
Don’t be afraid to upgrade elements of your venue that don’t work with your aesthetic
'For example, you can pay an additional amount to upgrade the chairs to ones that are of higher quality, and that work within your design. I also love to change up the crockery, cutlery and glasses. There are so many prop and china hire companies out there now, mine included, so you can hire pieces rather than sourcing all of the items yourself, which often adds up.
Start off with what you love
'It's so important to remember this throughout and keep it personal to you as a couple. By adding certain elements that are vintage, but using them in a modern way, you will not have a twee or dated wedding. From chairs to china to flowers to your cake table, really think about all of those little details (and how you can incorporate vintage into them).'
For more from Amy, head to www.vintageamy.co.uk or follow her on Instagram @vintage_amy_loves. Photos courtesy of Maxeen Kim Photography and Katie Rogers Photography; flowers from www.petalhq.co.uk and www.cabbagewhiteflowers.co.uk with cake and desserts by www.monanniecakes.com and stationery by www.sugarspicedesigns.co.uk and mangotreelondon