How to Throw a 1920s Wedding

photo courtesy of Blue Rose Photography

photo courtesy of Blue Rose Photography

For some people, choosing a theme for their wedding is one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. It has to be fun, but still maintain a certain level of class. You’re looking for the perfect combination of elegance and party. It sounds like quite the tall order, but if you take a stroll through time, or perhaps the literary pages of The Great Gatsby, you will find the exact party mindset you are aiming for, the 1920s.

The Decade

Perhaps you aren’t a history buff and don’t know much about events pre-your existence. To get your gears turning, it’s important to know the 1920s had a few nicknames, including the Jazz Age and the Roaring 20s – sounds like an exciting time, doesn’t it?

It was a time when our country was growing and changing. Life became more about cities and less about a hard day’s work on the family farm. Having wealth was becoming more and more common as the cars got faster and the dresses became more glitzy and glamorous. The prohibition started, making alcohol illegal; therefore, consuming it was even more fun and exciting.

Every girl dreamed of being a flapper, dolled up for her night out with a well-dressed man. It was a time of party and excitement. If you think about the Great Depression as a hangover, you can only imagine how great the party of the 1920s the decade before was. If you embrace the culture of the 1920s, your wedding can be that same classy party.

Wedding Inspiration

F. Scott Fitzgerald has basically written a blueprint for your 1920’s wedding, and if you’re a more visual person, Baz Luhrmann directed your wedding in the film adaptation. Many people who decide on a 1920s-themed wedding turned to The Great Gatsby for inspiration, and so should you. Luhrmann created the atmosphere Fitzgerald so beautifully described: sheer class and elegance with a sparkling glimmer of fun and excitement. From the dress to the venue, you can recreate this same atmosphere.

The Dress

Sheer elegance starts and ends here first and foremost. A wedding dress capturing the 1920s is figure-forming, but not skin tight. It is somewhat sheer, but not see-through. It has sparkle, but it isn’t gaudy. It is flirty and fun, but does not come off as desperate. The perfect 1920s dress makes you both classy and desirable, it insinuates you have secrets, but in no way reveals anything.

You excite your dress by including bold colors in your shoes and hair accessories, which includes more sparkles and perhaps a feather or two. You have a lavish pearl necklace looping three or four times around your neck.

Your bridesmaids will most likely be in something resembling a flapper dress. Like your dress, a flapper dress is sheer and sparkly, but with a shorter skirt and much more fringe, the flapper dress embodies the more dangerous side of elegant fun. It is a bit flirtier and a bit more enticing. It echoes the idea of prohibition: you want it, but you can’t necessarily have it. They bring the roar to your roaring 20s.

The Makeup

Just as your dress is exciting, your make-up draws attention as well. To truly embrace the 1920s, you have to leave the subtle natural look at home. Your eyes are bold and demand the attention of every man in the room. Your eyebrows are dark and exaggerated. Your cheeks are rouged and your lips are as red and desirable as the devil himself. However, don’t go overboard. Even with your exaggerated make-up, you are still refined.

The Hair

If you already have shorter hair, you are set. Women’s hair in the 1920s was simple yet exciting. Most women had shorter hair with tight waves and curls. If your hair isn’t short and you have no desire to cut it, try to have it pinned up and tucked under so it looks much shorter than it actually is. The use of typical 1920’s headpieces, such as sparkling bands, feather accents and beaded clips, helps hold the hair in place. Your hair looks effortless. It is perfect in its simplicity, yet fun with its eccentricity. It completes your bridal elegance.

The Groom

Like usual, the men get off easy. A classic white suit jacket with pristine black pants and a bowtie scream dashing 1920s entrepreneur. Every woman will want him, but it is obvious the only match to his grandeur is your glamour.

The Venue

This is where the Gatsby inspiration really comes to light. If you have the opportunity to use a huge mansion, do it. The 1920s was about becoming wealthy and letting the world know about it. If you had money, you threw an elegant dinner party every weekend. You want your wedding to be that same elegant dinner party: crisp table linens with classic chinaware in the elegant hall which overlooks the mile-long backyard with prim and perfect landscaping.

The seating cards will match the invitations with bright, bold designs. The mantels will be decorated with art-deco trinkets and tea-lights in shimmering holders. The point of a party in the 1920s was to grab everyone’s attention and make your party bigger and better than your neighbor’s party the night before. With suited waiters passing out champagne flutes and delicate finger food all evening while your guests dance all night to a classic jazz band, you will embody what was the ideal wedding of the time.

Your wedding is one of the biggest parties of your life – and it’s dedicated to you! Make it perfect with a Roaring 20s theme and watch your guests awe at your creativity.  


by Savannah Marie