11 Stages of Planning a Vintage Hollywood Wedding

With showbiz’s most glamorous event, the Oscars, taking place on Sunday, I’m donning my glad-rags and dreaming of opulence. If you too are wishing for a spectacular wedding, oozing with the charm and splendour of old Hollywood, then read these stages of planning, as stardom awaits you…

Stage 1: Designing Your Backdrop

Such a momentous occasion demands a dramatic backdrop. Whenever I visit the theatre I am instantly captivated by the magic and romance that lingers in the air. Theatres tend to have a certain ambience that conjures up images of grandeur and luxury. They make magnificent venues and many can be surprisingly versatile to suit your set-up. Sweeping staircases and exquisitely ornate balconies provide excellent opportunities for photography, all you need to perfect is that striking pose for your moment in the spotlight.

Stage 2: Ticket Your Exclusive Event

A great love story deserves an audience. You could put your groomsmen to work and turn them into real ushers (complete with engraved flash-light wedding favours), or have a Hollywood inspired seating plan to enable your guests to find their seats. Alternatively, you might prefer vintage movie ticket stubs or even Oscar shaped cookies – you could even nominate each guest for their own special award. Let your guests in on your theme from the moment you send out your save the dates or invitations. The earlier you tell them your theme, the more time they have to get excited with you about it. Besides, an event this glamorous requires time to select the perfect costume…

Stage 3: Pick Your Designer Dress

Ruffles, feathers or sleek duchess satin, you shouldn’t be afraid to use texture to add drama to your gown… after all, you are the star of show and a Hollywood starlet must have a dress that wows!

Stage 4: Let the Champagne Flow

An A-list party requires a bottle or two of fizz. Whether your budget enables you to sip Dom Perignon or swill sparkling Cava, you can highlight to your guests that the time for celebrating has truly commenced by pouring your own champagne tower. Watch as the bubbles flow like a cascading waterfall; this glamorous feature will certainly grab attention.

Stage 5: Have Fun with Feathers

Aren’t feathers fabulous? If you looking to create a style that is more audacious than whimsical, then feathers are a superb way of enhancing an Oscar inspired theme. They can be used to make elaborate and chic centrepieces or add texture and softness to a bouquet.

Stage 6: Get Your Leading Man Suited and Booted

Dress a man in a tailored suit and they are instantly more swoon-worthy. When I first met my husband, I loved that he loved shopping! Then I learnt that his approach was quite different to mine: If he liked it, he’d buy it. No wondering if there would be something better in another shop, only to return to buy the first thing you tried on at the end of the day. Your husband-to-be may well be in his element when it comes to self-styling, but he might appreciate a little gentle encourage to experiment with different fabrics, styles and colours before selecting the perfect attire. (You wouldn’t try on only one wedding dress, would you?) Suits made from different fabrics each will have a unique texture; a Hollywood inspired wedding in winter may be the perfect opportunity for dressing in a rich velvet, whereas a vintage celebration in the spring might be better suited to a cool cotton two-piece.

A double-breasted suit suggests glamour and heritage and it will set your groom apart from every other male guest at your wedding who will most will likely be wearing a single-breasted jacket. There are many variations of buttoning on a double breasted suit, but for a classic streamlined look, most men will look suave in a 6 buttoned jacket with two rows of 3 buttons visible on each side. Finally, an Oscar inspired wedding demands that it is a black tie event; your groom could complete the look with cuff-links (a romantic gift from you perhaps?) and a perfectly proportioned bow tie.

Stage 7: Assemble Your Gift Bags

How perfect would these personalised hip-flasks by Hair of the Dog be, as token thank-yous for your ushers. They match the theme brilliantly, just make sure your groom presents them after the ceremony! Alternatively, Coca-Cola bottles, like Hollywood, are a fantastic emblem of LA. A better value favour for the budget conscious, you could adorn them with ribbon or striped straws to infuse a bit of glamour. Think creatively of ways that you might use packaging as a way of incorporating your theme too; for example, pop-corn cartons are the perfect size to hold an awkwardly shaped gift and can easily be designed to compliment your colour scheme.

Stage 8: Set Your Scenery and Props

You have a spectacular venue, you and your groom both look magnificent, but how do you extend the theme into the decor and entertainment? Weddings are fun, they are a chance for family and friends to unite and enjoy a giggle or two together and it’s great when these moments can be captured on film. Photo-booths have proved popular recently and are the perfect opportunity for your guests to get into character and role play in front of the camera – the Oscars are all about the acting after all sweetie.  If you’d prefer not to hire an actual booth, then it only takes a little imagination to assemble some interesting props and a retro or Polaroid camera in an area set aside for snapping. There is nothing to stop you using props in your professional photos too – these vintage movie show reels for example are a great way to set the scene.

Stage 9: “Cut” (the Cake)

A traditional tiered design or individual cupcakes, as a focal point of many weddings your Oscar inspired cake should make an impression. These Hollywood themed cake-toppers (available from The Wedding Outlet) are another great way of placing the happy couple in the limelight.

Stage 10: Hire a Chauffeur

A stretch limo might be adequate transport for today’s celebrities, but for Hollywood icons like yourselves, you will probably prefer a vehicle with a little extra class and pizzazz. The stars of yesteryear would have made their entrance and exeunt in either a Rolls Royce, a classic 1930s Buick or, perhaps the ultimate in luxury auto-mobiles, a Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe. Well, if it was good enough for Miss Hepburn…

Stage 11: Write Your Acceptance Speech

I often think it surprising how many Oscar winning actors struggle with the acceptance speech. You’d have thought that public speaking and controlling emotions would come naturally to those in a profession where using their voice to entertain an audience is the norm. However, it would seem that for some actors, a script is vital!

Which is probably why at just about all of the weddings I have ever been to, everyone from the father-of-the-bride to the best man has stood up and pulled a script from some unseen pocket or hideaway. But if the thought of addressing a room full of people leaves you feeling more nervous than wing-walking in your wedding dress, you might fancy hijacking Tom Fletcher’s idea: singing. At his wedding to his childhood sweetheart, Giavanna Falcone, he was too nervous to deliver his groom’s speech in the traditional way, so he turned it into song. Accompanied by backing choir, he thanked his friends and family for over 14 minutes. You can watch the full speech here. I hope you’ll agree, it truly was an Oscar-winning performance.


Images Courtesy of: Gigglesnaps Photography, Olympia Entertainment, Corlis and Gray Photography, Andrew Buscemi Photography, Orange Turtle Photography, Andrew Coates, Letterbox Ink, Harerra Photography, Your Unique Scrapbook, Debbie Baile Collins, Katy Melling Photography, Elizabeth Craig Photography, Peter Michael Dills, The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, Jenny Packham, Justin Alexander, Allure Bridal, Sophia Tolli, David’s Bridal, Aire Barcelona, Zen Photography, Donna Crain, Amy Stone Photo, Maloman Photographers, Bryce Covey, Jennifer Livingstone, Jennifer Bowen Photography, Ross Oscar Knight Photography, Photogen Inc, Hair of the Dog, Paco and Betty, Trpy Grover Photographers, Paper and Pancakes, Thatchers Photography, Always with Cake, Pink Cake Box, Darin Schnabel, Weddings at Keswick, Dorset Wedding Cars

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