Whether you’re planning a wedding or like the idea of having a fancy birthday party, I think that a vintage theme is perfect for summer events. When I visited the Glemham Hall vintage wedding fair I was struck by how many of the decorating ideas would work perfectly well for a garden party or a wedding anniversary. Even an afternoon tea with friends could be elevated to a special gathering with just a few vintage-inspired touches. Today I’m sharing some of the photos I took at the event and I hope it’ll help provide a little inspiration when you come to plan your own wedding, baby shower or anniversary party. Adopting a vintage theme can also be a thrifty way to throw a party, as none of the elements needs to match – in fact, the more mismatched your china is, the better! Cobbling together some old jars and tins out of the attic, filling them with pretty blooms and hanging a length of floral bunting is more than enough decoration to hint at a bygone party theme.
In terms of entertainment, I love the idea of using an old record player to provide the background music while you enjoy the party. A cracking record of old songs is a charming soundtrack to a vintage party and you can still buy vinyl records at very low prices in charity shops or at car boot sales. Finding a record player might be more tricky, but ask around your friends and family to see if someone has one stashed away that you could borrow for the day. Failing that, it is possible to hire vintage record players, and even ancient gramophones!
You can see from these photos that achieving a vintage look is all about florals designs and plenty of ‘English country garden’ flowers, so if you or a member of your family has a blossoming garden, the flowers for your party can be completely free! And remember; one hydrangea head fills an entire jam jar, so you won’t need many to decorate your venue or to use as a centrepiece on your dining table.
Keep an eye out for plain tablecloths that you can jazz up with pretty patterned plates. Chipped crockery or mismatched cutlery only add to the vintage effect, so you can pick up everything you need secondhand from a car boot sale or charity shop. Serving food on vintage cake stands makes everything you cook look even more impressive so grab a couple of ceramic or silver platters too!
In terms of lighting, you can’t get more thrifty than candlelight! Here a couple of old candelabras are lighting the dinner tables, which add a sense of grandeur to the simple place settings. Of course, you could go all-out with a chandelier hanging above your dining table, but that might be an expense too far if you’re planning a party on a budget. Consider the trend for Edison filament light bulbs if you fancy something a bit retro. You could use the bulbs to illuminate your event and then use them in your own home afterwards. And everyone you know has a pack of fairy lights in their loft from Christmas, so ask them to bring a string of lights to the party and make the venue sparkle. I hope my photos have given you some inspiration for your own birthday party, wedding or anniversary. Let me know what other decorations and ideas you have for creating a vintage theme on a budget by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.