Photo: Abby Jiu
Shopping for the beautiful dress ... picking out the perfect venue … planning a menu that will wow your guests …
There are so many fun parts to planning your wedding day!
Before you start picking out bridesmaid dresses and oohing and aahing over floral arrangements, it’s a good idea to decide on a theme. With a theme in mind, it’s much easier to narrow down your choices, stay focused, and come up with a clear vision for your big day.
Not sure which theme to go with?
One that we’re loving right now is Edwardian. It’s vintage, it’s romantic, and it’s the perfect look for an unforgettable wedding day!
If you’re searching for vintage bridal inspiration from the early 1900s, here’s everything you need to know to throw a fabulous Edwardian wedding.
What Is the Edwardian Era?
No idea what the Edwardian era is?
If you’ve ever seen Titanic, Finding Neverland, Mary Poppins, or Downton Abbey, you already know more about the period than you might realize.
The Edwardian era lasted from 1900 to 1914, when King Edward VII sat on the British throne.
Okay, enough history. Let’s talk about Edwardian fashion.
We’ll admit that most of what we know about Edwardian-era fashion comes from Kate Winslet. Picture any of her flawless Titanic dresses or any of her Finding Neverland blouses, and you’ll have an instant image of Edwardian fashion.
The Edwardian era is a great theme for a wedding because it offers the perfect blend of romance and decadence.
Edwardian style is gorgeous countryside estates and lavish garden parties where everyone is dressed to impress. It’s tiered lace dresses with pearl jewelry and parasols (nothing screams Edwardian more than a parasol!). It’s beautifully set tablescapes with endless food courses, tons of flowers, and gilded centerpieces.
Here’s how to make this theme work for your wedding day:
Choose an Edwardian-Inspired Venue
An outdoor venue is the ideal location for an Edwardian wedding. Be it a quaint cottage with a sprawling flower field or an opulent estate with stone pathways and fountains, outdoor venues with lush gardens allow you to turn your reception into a stunning garden party, a la Downton Abbey.
To make an outdoor venue look and feel truly Edwardian, rely on the natural backdrop of the trees, flowers, and grass. By adding a few romantic details, such as a runner down your wedding aisle, you can turn any lush outdoor space into a stunning Edwardian wedding venue.
Prefer to have your wedding indoors?
If you live in or near Rhode Island, you’ve got it made; the historic Newport mansions are the epitome of Edwardian architecture and the perfect backdrop for an opulent estate wedding.
If you don’t have access to an Edwardian-era venue, don’t worry — a Victorian-era venue will fit perfectly with the Edwardian theme!
What to Look For in an Edwardian Wedding Dress
You can’t have an Edwardian wedding without an Edwardian wedding gown.
From a billowy cotton lawn dress accented with pearls to a couture bridal dress with a high neck and long sleeves, there are all sorts of Kate-Winslet-inspired movie looks that you can use as inspiration for your bridal gown.
Wow your spouse-to-be in an off-white lace wedding dress with a ruffle neckline. Or, opt for a flowing white wedding dress in soft chiffon with lace inserts.
With details such as puffed sleeves, bow bustles, pearl jewelry, and beaded accents, you can easily be the most beautiful Edwardian bride of all time!
Prefer to wear a gown that’s authentic to the period?
You can find vintage wedding dresses on Etsy, as well as dressmakers that can customize a vintage-inspired design just for you.
When it’s time to shop for bridesmaid dresses, look for lightweight, flowing dresses with vintage-inspired details, such as lace bodices, loose cap sleeves, blouson tops, and beading.
Set a Stunning Edwardian Table
To host a reception in true Edwardian style, you’ll need lots and lots of food. A traditional Edwardian wedding menu could be as many as 14 courses long.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you serve a 14-course sit-down meal, as that would take hours.
But there is a way to make your menu more decadent and still give your guests plenty of time to mingle, drink, and dance:
Consider setting up food stations (including a grand dessert display) and having your wait staff pass hors d’oeuvres. You can also end the meal with a traditional fruit-and-cheese course, as was the custom back in the day.
Go over the top with your tablescapes, as well. Accent your tables with oversized floral centerpieces. Use vintage dishes for your place setting. Add texture with your linens by choosing antique lace napkins or table runners.
Don’t be afraid to include gilded accents. Gold or bronze candelabras, metallic table numbers, and gold-rimmed stemware can add a warm, inviting feel to your reception.
Edwardian Décor: It’s All About the Flowers
Photo: Layered Vintage
Party stores didn’t exist in the Edwardian era, so rather than outfitting your wedding with paper or plastic decorations, decorate with what they did have in the early 1900s:
Flowers — and lots of them!
No Edwardian wedding is complete without colorful flowers. Carry big, bold bouquets down the aisle. Pot ferns or blossoming stems in tall vases throughout your ceremony space and reception. Decorate your tables with towering floral centerpieces or end-to-end floral arrangements down the center of each table.
The more flowers at your wedding, the more of an antique Edwardian vibe it will have.
Related: 15 Mother of the Bride Corsage Ideas
The trick to pulling off an Edwardian wedding is to stay as true to the time period as possible. With a gorgeous Edwardian dress, a venue filled with flowers, and tons of food, you’ll make your wedding guests feel like they’ve taken a step back in time.