Intimate wedding themes
With loads of historic inspiration
Small, intimate weddings can pack one-of-a-kind appeal. All it takes is heartfelt ideas to pull it all together, and interestingly some of the best wedding themes come from historical inspiration. From vintage to retro, from Victorian to Gatsby, here’s a look at historical wedding themes (and historic wedding venues) that will give your big day that intimate appeal.
A vintage wedding theme
Think antiques with feminine, romantic touches. This theme doesn’t hinge on a particular era, but rather ties nostalgic, eclectic inspirations together to create a simple but sweet wedding. The Chanler at Cliff Walk is the perfect setting for a vintage wedding in Newport, Rhode Island. The 1873 boutique hotel gives guests a glimpse of Newport’s Golden Age when subtle beauty was appreciated.
- Essentials: Antique furniture, glass bottles, delicate china and vintage lettering
- Textures: Lace, burlap, pearls and linen
- Colors: Muted colors, like pink, peach and Tiffany blue
A Victorian wedding theme
This theme incorporates vintage touches but hones in on a time when Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain. Voluminous dresses and cinching corsets dominated the fashion scene, creating a memorable era. In Baltimore, Maryland, you’ll find an intimate location for your Victorian wedding – Hotel Brexton, featuring a revival of British architecture from the same period.
- Essentials: Delicate china, ornate umbrella, lace gloves and tall centerpieces
- Textures: Lace, pearls and linen
- Colors: Pastels like pink and peach, but mixed with ivory and gold colors
A steampunk wedding theme
A steampunk wedding puts a punk twist on the Victorian theme, marrying fantasy with industrial flare to create an alternative British era. The addition of cogs, gears and clocks makes for a more edgy, imaginative wedding. To pull off this wedding, you’ll need a distinct location, like The Lenox in Boston, Massachusetts. The Lenox’s breathtaking Dome Room literally drips with Victorian touches, while the hotel’s trendy décor, infamous sign and metro location give The Lenox a modern feel ideal for any steampunk wedding.
- Essentials: Corsets, bustles, top hats, tailcoats, gears and clocks
- Textures: Lace, leather, velvet and metal
- Colors: Rusty colors, like gold, brown and black
A roaring 1920s wedding theme
A glamorous, prosperous time in our history, the 1920s brought a whirlwind of cultural change – stylish women, new innovations, jazz music and Hollywood glamour. So it’s no wonder the 1920s lends inspiration to many of today’s classiest weddings. The history of one of our very own historic hotels, Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, Massachusetts – is intertwined with this opulent time. The Tudor-style mansion, which rose up out of the Gilded Age, offers up an elegant ballroom, covered Rose Terrace and stunning Berkshire views for a roaring 1920s-themed wedding.
- Essentials: Champagne tower, dripping pearls and vintage bottles
- Textures: Feathers, diamonds, sequins and beads
- Colors: Black, white and gold
A rustic wedding theme
Moving through time, we encounter our next wedding theme: rustic inspiration. This theme is heavy on natural-, farm- or lodge-inspired elements. Rustic weddings suit intimate venues, creating a down-to-earth mood in the quaintest of places. The Inn at Leola Village, Est. 1867 features rustic tobacco barns as picturesque wedding venues. It also drums up a wild time in our history, pulling from the Old West and southwest spirit of America. One of our favorite southwest locales is Santa Fe, New Mexico, where La Fonda on the Plaza adds its own charm in this Pueblo-style wedding venue.
- Essentials: Wood accents, hay bale seating, cowgirl boots and whiskey barrels
- Textures: Wood, stone and burlap
- Colors: Brown with a vibrant accent color, like yellow, orange, pink or red
A southern-themed wedding
There’s nothing sweeter than a wedding that oozes with southern hospitality. This theme blends rustic and vintage together like cold tea on a summer day. For that reason, mason jars are an absolute must (whether you fill them sugary drinks or floating candles). So head south for your wedding, where the accents are just as endearing as the décor. Give the Nottoway Plantation a try. This venue in White Castle, Louisiana is the South’s most magnificent remaining antebellum mansion.
- Essentials: Mason jars, cotton centerpieces, wooden signs, colorful hydrangeas and bright sunflowers
- Textures: Wood, burlap, beads and billowing curtains
- Colors: Rustic, bright or pastels
A retro wedding theme
Our last wedding theme brings us to the 1950s when another wave of iconic fashion and memorable music hit America. This retro wedding theme still draws on historical inspiration, but with a modern sort of flare. Usually a monochromatic wedding theme, the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware, serves up the perfect dance floor – a black-and-white checkered ballroom in the Brantwyn Estate.
- Essentials: Bottled Coke, retro straws, diner signage, polka dots, knee-length dresses and dainty gloves
- Textures: Glossy, vinyl and cotton
- Colors: Black, white and the ever-important cherry red
Happy planning, and if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our story on the meaning behind the most common wedding colors.