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A theme for your big day is essential to tie everything together and give your wedding its own identity. It will help you to choose all of the wedding elements and will be a lasting memory for your guests. A retro theme is a popular one for weddings as it’s fun, characterful and chirpy.

8 Ideas for a retro wedding

Here are our top tips to create your very own retro wedding.

1. Fifties-style wedding dress
Your wedding dress is one of the most effective ways to embody your wedding theme. Fashion is synonymous with its era and can be so iconic for a particular decade. For a retro wedding, your key wedding dress style is a calf or ankle-length dress with a full, A-line skirt, sweetheart neckline and a slim belt or sash around the waist. Lace is the ultimate retro fabric and looks beautiful against your skin if you choose a halter neck or cap-sleeves. Underskirts will help create that full look popular in the ‘50s, while tiny fabric buttons down a long sleeve will add that retro edge.

2. Wedding accessories
Why not make the ultimate retro style statement with delicate white gloves with tiny buttons along the wrist? Complete your retro wedding dress with some simple court shoes in a soft pastel shade worn over some pale white tights. If you’re getting wed at year-end, opt for a long-sleeved bolero, in contrast to your delicate dress.

Your veil choice should be either a birdcage veil or a shoulder veil a la Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (in fact, this entire wedding look should be your wedding inspiration). Finally, bows are your best friends for a retro wedding look; choose a dainty bow headband, a delicate silk bow clip, or choose a bow feature on your heels.

3. Retro drinks and food
Hark back to the good old days in a Grease-inspired way by serving guests glass bottles of Coca-Cola, 7UP and cream soda with straws. Line these colourful bottles up on a striped tablecloth and source a few retro soda advertisements to hang above the table (you can buy these online, at flea markets and vintage shops). Give your guests a treat by setting up a candy station with glass jars full of bright sweets for guests to help themselves to in a pick-and-mix fashion. Prawn cocktails make the perfect retro starter and ice-cream sundaes for dessert, with milkshakes for the kiddies.

4. Bridal hair and beauty
It’s all about the bold, defined lips and the liquid eyeliner here, ladies. Think Dita Von Teese’s red lips and defined brows, Gizzi Erskine’s beehive and Zooey Deschanel’s perfect eyeliner flicks. Don’t go overboard with the tan and try to keep your base make-up even and natural. Accentuate with a blush, hot pink or red lipstick and get to grips with false lashes to really highlight your eyes. It’s good news if you’ve got a sweeping side fringe or fuller fringe as this will perfect the ‘50s look with a small beehive and low bun. If you’ve got long locks, then your perfect option is screen siren retro waves, or if you’re feeling brave, victory rolls.

5. Wedding lingerie
Release your inner pinup girl and let your retro wedding theme be part of your wedding night look too. Dita Von Teese is your inspiration here as no one works this look quite like her. Be brave with suspenders, frilled French knickers and a balcony bra, longline bra or corset. Or keep it sweet with a satin lingerie playsuit with a lace trim. Blush and black is a pretty yet sexy retro lingerie choice. Finish the look with some beads and a delicate lace or silk kimono.

6. Retro wedding bouquet
Large and flamboyant bouquets aren’t really in keeping with the 1950s retro vibe, so it’s delicate, neat and small bouquets that you should be looking for. Think about binding the stalks with ribbon or fabric and securing with a bow and a brooch or how about a bouquet made entirely of pretty brooches and pearls? The ideal shape for your wedding bouquet is a ‘mushroom’ with a relatively small handle and rounded head that’s almost dome-like. You could incorporate feathers into your bouquet or ornamental, porcelain flowers too.

7. Retro groom
Give your hubby-to-be a retro makeover for the big day. For the groom, a simple suit is all it takes – just a standard blazer jacket, suit trousers, a shirt, long tie and smart shoes. A pastel suit is your ideal option, perhaps a powder blue. Or if your man isn’t so brave, then pale grey or light brown are perfect options too. Slicked-back hair with a side parting will look oh-so-retro on your fiancé, as will pastel, tan or light grey pointed leather brogues.

8. Retro bridesmaids
Matching bridesmaids will achieve your ‘50s wedding look and will really solidify your theme. Bridesmaids with matching shoes and dresses will achieve some really striking wedding photos with you in the middle of your ladies. Again, pastel shades are your friends here, so blush, pastel blue and peach will all look divine, as would a floral print. Knee-length A-line skirts, court shoes or Mary Jane heels and matching bouquets will give your bridesmaids a real retro feel, especially if they each wear a ‘50s-inspired headpiece.
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