While bridal magazines understandably promote the idea that a wedding is an occasion on which to spend a substantial amount of money, the reality is that money is tight for many people. Fortunately, it’s perfectly possible to organize a fantastic wedding on a limited budget. The key is to spend the money where it matters, for the rest use imagination and the help of the people who matter.
Vintage is basically a catch-all term for anything which isn’t really new but isn’t really old enough to be considered antique (i.e. less than a hundred years old). For practical purposes, it usually means anything between the 1920s and the 1980s. This includes a huge range of fashion styles from 1920s flapper to 1980s fun which means that there’s something for all tastes and budgets. You can either pick a specific period or just go for an overall vintage look.
Once you’ve decided, the internet is a great place to look for clothes and the key point is to avoid searching on the word “wedding” and be very careful searching on the word vintage. These will have been identified by the seller as being suitable for that market and will be priced accordingly. Basically you need to rummage for those bargains, just like you do in the real world.
This is the bit that really matters and fortunately it’s easy to do on a budget.
Music: Although a friendly DJ may be the ideal choice, these days’ home music systems or even portable MP3 players and good speakers can produce party-standard sound and there are plenty of CDs from the vintage era to play or use to make playlists.
Food: It’s up to you whether or not you recreate food from whatever period you choose (although it’s worth noting that vintage food is not necessarily veggie-friendly) but tables can easily be decorated with mementos from the period, many of which can be made for free.
Try looking up images which represent the key points of the decade and printing them out, glue them to card and add a strip of card at the back for a stand. Depending on your budget you could buy some vintage tableware, even if only a few key pieces. They can always be resold afterwards.
Photos: these are a key part of any wedding and this is one part of the wedding where hiring professional help is often worthwhile, if you can afford it. If your budget is really tight, then it may be worth asking around to see if someone knows a friendly photographer who’s open to barter.
While it may be too much of a challenge to set up a photo area with vintage props, it’s worth double-checking it to remove (or cover) anything which is obviously out-of-period.
There are plenty of quality companies which cater for vintage wedding car hire which may be the most practical solution and possibly the only feasible solution for older members of the wedding party. There is, however no law says you have to go by car so if your taste is to go by some other means be it horse, bike or roller skates, then it’s your wedding and your choice.
Kit MacLean escaped the London rat race to be a freelance writer and translator in a quite part of Scotland. She is very good at budget events, partly out of inclination and partly out of necessity. When not working she enjoys playing poker and being taken for walks by the dog.