Photo: Les Amis
If you’ve ever seen the 2013 Great Gatsby movie, you know two things:
One, Leo DiCaprio gets better with age. Two, Mr. Gatsby knew how to throw a helluva party!
And that might be the reason why so many couples are having Gatsby-themed weddings.
The 1920s was an era of exuberance. People had a freewheeling sense of spirit. And even though it was the era of prohibition, they figured out plenty of ways to party and get their drink on.
If you want your big day to look and feel like a lavish ‘20s bash, this one’s for you.
Here’s how to throw a Great Gatsby wedding!
Your wedding invitations will give guests their first glimpse into your celebration.
To keep with the Gatsby theme, use a vintage font. Add geometric patterns and Art Deco details. Keep it chic with a black-and-white motif and metallic gold or silver accents.
Let your guests know that it’s a 1920s theme and encourage them to dress the part (if they want to). The more people that get into the theme, the more authentic your reception will look and feel. You can bet that a few of your aunts or girlfriends will come dressed like jazz-era flappers!
Choose a Wedding Venue With an Art Deco Vibe
Photo: Explore Charleston
Where you say your vows and dance your first dance will make (or break) your Gatsby theme. After all, Mr. Gatsby threw huge, over-the-top parties, so a barn venue or a beach setting isn’t the best choice.
Pull off your roaring reception by choosing a venue that was actually built in the 1920s or 1930s. That way, the building alone will have some of those distinctive Art Deco architectural elements.
If there isn’t a 100-year-old venue in your budget (or in your town), consider going with an industrial-chic venue instead. Industrial venues typically have minimalist décor, so you can bring in all sorts of decorations and lights to make it feel like your very own seaside mansion.
Prefer to celebrate outside? You can turn any chic outdoor venue or garden into a decadent, Gatsby-like backyard bash. Just decorate with lots and lots of string lights.
At the end of the night, set off fireworks, just like Jay Gatsby would do!
Get Your Look Right
Photo: Virgil Bunao
There’s a fine line between wearing vintage couture and looking like you’re wearing a costume from a period piece.
Instead of buying a vintage wedding dress, look for a new gown with vintage-inspired accents. There are plenty of contemporary bridal designers who embrace 1920s glam in their collections. Just look for dropped waist silhouettes, beaded backs, and draped cap sleeves.
As for your headpiece, keep your veil simple, but elegant. And if a veil just isn’t your style, wear a draped pearl headband, a fascinator with feathers, or a glitzy rhinestone hair accessory instead.
Planning to have an autumn or winter wedding? You can really elevate your look by accessorizing with a faux fur stole.
When it comes time to shop for bridesmaid dresses, look for beaded gowns in geometric patterns, sequin fabrics, or even feathers and fringe. Any of those details will give your bridal party a glamorous 1920s vibe!
Whether your wedding is going to be black-tie formal or daytime chic, your groom and groomsmen have lots of options. For a formal event, stick to classic tuxedos. If you’re planning to have an outdoor event in the summer, opt for a vest, shirt, and bow tie combo.
Hire the Right Band
Aside from the fashion, nothing defines the 1920s more than the music. If you want your party to feel authentic, hire a band that can play jazz, ragtime, and all of the best dance jams from the Roaring ‘20s.
Don’t want to do the Charleston all night? If you really want to keep with the theme (and have the coolest wedding playlist ever) hire a band with a Postmodern Jukebox vibe that can play current songs in vintage style.
After all, this entire event is about mixing the old with the new!
Add Some Glitz
Photo: David Bastianoni
The Great Gatsby era was all about decadence and being over the top, so be prepared to decorate your venue with a lot of embellishments.
Think ornate crystal chandeliers. Plumes of ostrich feathers. Strands of pearls draped around your centerpieces (lots and lots of pearls).
And don’t forget the champagne tower. There’s nothing more Gatsby than a pyramid of champagne glasses filled and flowing with bubbly.
Sparkling metallic elements are practically a requirement if you want to pull off a Roaring ‘20s wedding reception. So whatever you do, don’t skimp on the glitz.
If you really want to feel like you’re at the party of the century, shoot off a metallic confetti cannon over your dance floor. Yes, confetti will get all in your hair (and possibly down your dress), but the photos will be amazing!
Indulge With Decadent Dishes
Photo: Katie Harmsworth
Mr. Jay Gatsby had the best of everything and treated his guests to a five-star experience every single time he threw a bash. And we can only assume you want to do the same.
Make sure to keep the food and drinks flowing from the start of the cocktail hour to the last moments of the reception. Gatsby wouldn’t let his peeps go hungry or thirsty, and neither should you.
You can even get the bar roaring by adding a few 1920s cocktails, such as sidecars, gin Rickeys, and old fashioneds. The bottom line is this: don’t skimp on the booze. Prohibition is long gone!
Rent a Vintage Car
Photo: Sarah Ingram
The cars of the Roaring ‘20s were SUPER cool. Rent a classic car so you can arrive and leave your wedding in true vintage style!
There are classic car rental shops all across the country. Look for one near you that has a vintage Rolls Royce, a Ford Model A Deluxe Roadster, a Duesenberg, or a Studebaker. After all, it’s not every day you get to peel off in a fabulous vintage ride.
Related: How to Pull Off a Retro Wedding
A Great Gatsby-inspired wedding is an excellent way to make your celebration shine above all of the others you’ll attend this year.
Whether you’ve got a Gatsby-sized bank account or you’re working on a tight budget, we know you’ll be able to pull it off. You got this!