Weddings are events that are steeped in tradition. In fact, it’s difficult to celebrate one of these momentous occasions without including at least a few nostalgic nods to the past. Perhaps it’s for this reason that so many couples opt for a vintage wedding that has a rustic theme. From the attire to the wedding décor, some of the most elegant modern weddings are decidedly historic. Decorating with vintage-inspired touches is an incredibly popular wedding day trend that doesn’t appear to be going out of style any time soon.
Read on to gain insight into why modern brides are opting for rustic weddings and learn how you can easily incorporate a distinct sense of old-world elegance into your own big day.
Why Rustic or Vintage-inspired Weddings?
Rustic weddings have been growing in popularity for the last decade and continue to be incredibly popular. In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was trendy to throw an opulent, modern wedding that featured cutting-edge design schemes and contemporary touches. Sleek ballroom weddings with bright lighting, bold colors, and shimmering décor was the norm at the end of the 20th century. Starting in the mid-2000s, however, rustic-chic weddings took center stage. Suddenly, frayed edges, reclaimed wood, mismatched décor, and barn venues not only became popular – they became something of a cultural phenomenon.
One reason for this change comes from a place of extreme practicality. The economic crash and subsequent recession that occurred in the later part of the 2000s made Americans more conservative when it came to their spending. Instead of no-expenses-spared weddings and lavish receptions, brides and grooms wanted low-key affairs when they decided to tie the knot. It’s for this reason that the idea of a simple-yet-tasteful wedding with antique touches, imperfect rustic décor, and old-fashioned elegance was appealing. These weddings were pretty, but they were also pragmatic enough to feel appropriate during tough economic times.
There is another very important reason that rustic weddings became a must-have for brides during the last decade – the internet. Before the age of smartphones and apps, brides-to-be relied on glossy magazines to learn which wedding trends were currently in style. These trends were carefully curated by wedding professionals who set and decided what trends should appeal to the masses. When the website Pinterest debuted in 2010, however, it quickly became the popular go-to place for everyday women to get style tips and learn about wedding trends. It also allowed the public to decide what was popular and what was not. Soon, thousands of users “re-pinned” pictures of tastefully decorated rustic weddings, causing the idea of vintage or rustic-chic weddings to spread like wildfire across all platforms and become a must-have wedding trend.
In addition to being fashionable, there’s a sense of romanticism from bygone eras that remains in our cultural consciousness. With so many marriages ending in divorce during the late 1990s and new millennium, the idea of a couple staying together forever became somewhat of an old-fashioned concept. Couples wanted a way to tap into the love stories of their grandparent’s and great-grandparent’s eras – a time when love could seemingly overcome all obstacles.
Wedding Dresses and Hair Accessories
The bride’s attire is one of the most exciting parts of any wedding day. Because it is such an important component, the style of nearly the entire wedding revolves around what the bride chooses to wear. If you are looking to throw an effortless rustic wedding with vintage-inspired touches, the wedding dress and accessories are a great place to start.
In a way, all white or ivory wedding dresses are a nod to the Victorian era. In the early part of the 19th century, brides attended their nuptials wearing simply the nicest dress in their wardrobe. Because white dresses got dirty easily and were not very practical, not many women owned them in the first place. When Queen Victoria walked down the aisle wearing an opulent white ballgown at her wedding in 1840, however, that all changed. Suddenly, Victorian era brides wanted to follow in the royal’s fashionable footsteps and white dresses slowly but surely became the norm for brides in Western countries.
If you are looking for a wedding dress that is decidedly Victorian in design, take a cue from Queen Victoria herself. The young queen said “I Do” wearing a silk satin ballgown that featured lace motifs, an open neckline, and flouncy sleeves. Today, it’s easy to find a wedding dress that features similar design elements. Ballgowns are still one of the most popular bridal gown silhouettes. Wedding dresses with sleeves have also increased in popularity since Kate Middleton’s royal wedding in 2011. A satin gown with a full skirt, long sleeves, and touches of lace will make your look both on-trend and decidedly Victorian in design.
If you are looking for a rustic-chic look that is slightly more relaxed, a bridal gown inspired by the early 20th century is another excellent option. Wedding dresses during this time period often featured an easy-to-wear sheath silhouette, a sheer sleeve, and layers of vintage lace. Their inherent effortlessness and lack of structure makes them casual, comfortable, and perfect for rustic weddings. Authentic reproductions of these gowns maintain a beautiful, vintage essence, while modern interpretations are borderline bohemian in design.
When it comes to accessories, a veil is a must-have for any Victorian or rustic-inspired wedding. Cathedral-length veils trimmed in antique lace maintain an air of old-world elegance, yet look perfectly at home when worn in a contemporary rustic wedding. For something a bit more impactful, a Juliet-veil is the perfect pick. These historic veils feature a chic cap that covers the entire head and is attached to a long, floor length veil. They are also frequently adorned with embellishments or lace appliques to add even more elegance and detail. These veils were originally popular in the 1920s and 1930s, however their rarity and modest appearance allows them to add a beautiful accent to vintage or vintage-inspired wedding dresses from any era.
Rustic & Vintage Wedding Décor
When planning a rustic wedding, it’s easy to fall into the trap of simply using burlap and mason jars. While incredibly common, there are more exciting and unexpected pieces of décor that that turn your wedding and reception into a vintage wonderland. Flowers, accent pieces, and even lighting choices all lend a hand and help create a picture-perfect Victorian or rustic affair.
The Victorian era was one of opulence and elegance. Incorporate this feeling into your wedding day décor by including gilded scrollwork, opulent accents, and luxurious fabrics. Golden or brass candelabras dripping with crystal accents make the perfect centerpieces – especially if your venue also allows you to fill the room with candlelight. Brooches were incredibly popular accessories during this lavish era. Use authentic vintage pins in unexpected places – like on your napkin holders or in your bouquet – for an inventive way to pay homage to this era. Velvet also adds texture and luster to your wedding decorations. Velvet ribbons tied around your flatware or the backs of your chairs adds even more elegance to your reception space.
If you prefer a wedding with antique touches that are slightly more rustic in design, consider visiting an antique store to find authentic items that can serve as charming accent pieces. A vintage suitcase from the 1920s makes for cute card table display. Instead of a guest book, have your guests leave you a note by typing a sweet sentiment on a working vintage typewriter. For an even grander way to add rustic elegance to your venue, consider adding large-scale furnishings. A seating area comprised of floral settees, rustic chairs with velvet upholstery, and steamer trunks is eye-catching and incredibly beautiful. Décor rental vendors in your area should have a large selection of antique items to choose from, all which will add extra dimension to your already stunning day.
Victorian Era Table Settings
Your tablescapes are one of the most important components when it comes to your wedding décor. To give them an authentically vintage appearance, decorate them with table settings straight from the Victorian era. Antique flatware, plates, water goblets, and other components will add an extra layer of elegance to your wedding reception. For a decidedly rustic look, don’t be afraid to use mismatched floral china to create effortless and bohemian tablescapes. The Victorians were also obsessed with proper etiquette, so be sure to brush up on the strict rules they had when setting their tables to give your guests a truly authentic Victorian dining experience.
Small touches will also add extra elegance to your table settings. A Victorian tea pot could serve as an elegant and unexpected centerpiece. Or, serve hot beverages after dinner using an authentic antique tea service to add extra charm. Flowers were another important and prevalent component when it came to creating appealing table settings in the Victorian era. Don’t be afraid to go a bit over-the-top. Victorian arrangements featured plenty of greenery and hanging vines in addition to tightly massed flowers in a wide range of contrasting colors.