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How to Plan a 1920s-Themed Wedding

Thanks to such things as the cinematic resurrection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the hit TV program Downton Abbey and the still growing popularity of all things vintage, one of the hottest wedding trends for right now—and for the near future—is the 1920s wedding theme.

In this post, we will show you our favorite moments from our favorite 1920s-inspired vintage wedding theme.

How to Plan a 1920s Great Gatsby Wedding

Pre-Wedding Elements

From the beginning, your 1920s wedding theme can and should take center stage.  There will be no mistaking your wedding theme choice when you send your save the date cards and invitations.  Be sure to choose or design invitations that are inspired by the art deco era, which means black and gold and a lot of intricate borders and shapes.

When planning a vintage wedding, your vintage pre-wedding elements should also include these traditional celebrations:

  • Engagement party
  • Bridal shower
  • Bachelor or bachelorette party
  • Rehearsal dinner

When throwing one of these celebrations (or when suggesting party tips to the hostess), here are a few ideas that might help get you started:

  • Prohibition-style engagement party—with “moonshine” drinks served in mason jars, big band music, sparklers and more.
  • Flapper bachelorette party—with flapper dresses, feather boas, plenty of finger foods and martinis, among others.
  • Tea party bridal shower—white or beige dresses, sun hats, gloves, tea sandwiches, cookies and, of course, tea.

1920s drinks

Great Gatsby Wedding Décor

Anything from the 1920s or surrounding eras is obviously perfect.  Some of our favorite ideas include:

  • Black and gold décor
  • Gold-glittered chargers
  • Oversized beaded or feathered centerpieces
  • Little bottles of whiskey as party favors
  • Chandelier/candlestick centerpieces (or actual chandeliers)
  • Sequined tablecloths

Stringing white beads around the edges of the card, gift, cake and dessert tables is a simple way to bring the theme to multiple areas of your reception.  You can also incorporate extravagant candle holders and feathered centerpieces on those tables as well.

1920s decor

Art Deco Tablescape

All great art deco and 1920s tablescapes incorporate the three main Gatsby colors: black, gold and white.  Use these colors in any combination you choose and continue that pattern across the entire room.  For example, all white tablecloths with white, gold and black plates, gold tableware and black wine and water glasses, etc.

1920s table setting

You could also choose to make each table a little bit different.  For example, some would have white tablecloths, some black and others would have table runners or linens of gold.

The centerpieces, as previously discussed, can be big, ornate and extravagant with beads, feathers or a combination of them both.

Prohibition, 1920s-themed Cocktail Hour

The entire Roaring 20s time period revolved around Prohibition, which led to countless speakeasies and other types of gatherings that basically defined the 1920s.  You can have a ton of fun with this decade and the Prohibition Era by serving up “moonshine” drinks—whether or not they include alcohol is up to you.  After all, it is mostly about presentation.  Martinis and whisky drinks were also popular back in the 20s, so you consider also serving those to your guests.

The one thing that you should not compromise on is the champagne.  Champagne towers, champagne toasts and champagne punches practically defined the types of Gatsby-esque celebrations that occurred during this decade.


1920-theme Wedding Menu

Before dinner:

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Deviled eggs
  • Finger sandwiches

The main meal:

  • Most meats and potatoes, such as lamb and broiled potatoes
  • Any vegetable combination, such as peas and carrots

For dessert:

  • Fruit cups with marshmallows
  • Pineapple upside down cake
  • Wedding cake

1920s food

1920s-themed Wedding Entertainment

The 1920s are still known for their wild, outlandish parties with loud music and lots of dancing (after, perhaps, a few too many drinks).  The most popular 1920s entertainment you could provide at your wedding reception would be a big brass band.  While those are a bit more difficult to find these days, you can always give your DJ or wedding band a list of big band songs you would like to hear during your reception.

For some song ideas, try this 1920s playlist to get some inspiration.  You can also listen to this playlist on Spotify.

1920's Themed Playlist

Other entertainment ideas would be smaller performers and entertaining acts, such as magicians, acrobats and dancers.

Late Night Chicago Wedding Menu

Keep the desserts and snack food flowing at the end of a 1920s wedding reception.  These foods might help refuel the dance floor inhabitants or provide that last bit of sugar to tame the sweet teeth in attendance.

  • Molded Jell-o
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Breadsticks
  • Fried chicken
  • Angel or devil’s food cake
  • Ice cream sundaes

ice cream sundae


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