For many modern brides and grooms, it's the perfect vibe for a wedding.
Baz Luhrmann's "Great Gatsby" film remake rekindled interest in 1920s style, and on television, even the prim Granthams of "Downton Abbey" have left staid Victoriana for high-spirited dance clubs.
Think creamy linens, lawn parties, Jazz Age music. Champagne coupes, gilded details, and Old Hollywood hair and makeup. Dancing.
The goal is to find "that happy medium between being completely poised but also letting loose," says Shira Savada, Real Weddings Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Gowns of the '20s featured sequins, fringes and other embellishments, but the cut was usually simple. Dropped waists and low backs defined the formal silhouette. Necklines weren't overworked, and most dresses were either sleeveless or given a little lacey cap sleeve, evoking the look of a slip dress, whether full or tea length.
If you're having a dress made, don't go for bright white, Savada says. Keep it within the vintage aesthetic — vanilla, ivory, or the palest of pink, canary or blush.
Jeweled headpieces, perhaps with lace, more sequins, rhinestones or feathers, might take the place of a veil, although Savada suggests brides can do both. "Pairing a bejeweled headband with a veil is a timeless but nostalgic look."
Many bridal retailers have good selections of vintage-inspired dresses.
Grooms and groomsmen might look at three-piece suits in linen or light-colored wool for summer; for a more casual affair, consider a striped blazer, even a boater style hat, and suspenders. For winter, navy or charcoal-gray wool, or a tuxedo. Bow ties bring the look home, although a necktie in a prep-school pattern would also fit the style.
And if gentlemen want to take things one step further, add a pair of two-toned brogues, light-colored oxfords, or patent-leather formal wingtips for the tuxedo.
Set the stage
Invitations can set the tone with a vintage font — Park Lane, Gatsby, Nite Club and Atlas Regular, among others — and Art Deco details. Use the same typography for table cards and other signage in the reception space. Create your own, or employ a designer.
For a summer wedding, a venue with big gardens and open space works well for an elegant, Gatsby-esque lawn party. Linens, strung lighting and blankets on the grass provide an easy, relaxed background in which guests can feel comfortable, while you add as much luxury as you like with other elements, such as food, drinks and live music.
Croquet was the game of the moment back then, but other old-fashioned lawn games like badminton or bocce could amuse both younger and older guests.
For an indoor wedding, decorate with vintage suitcases, globes, gramophones and cameras.
Savada recommends touches like embroidered handkerchiefs; engraved silver pieces, such as lighters and tie clips; and those remarkable cars.
With a pleasing palette of blush, peach and ivory, add silver and bronze metallics and touches of bling with easy, shimmery materials like charmeuse and voile, gilt-encrusted ribbons, pearls and beading. Glossy black accents add drama.
Try silver-spangled mesh table covers, and candelabra dripping with pearl strands. Scrounge flea markets for inexpensive brooches and necklaces to trim napkins and cutlery. Lacy tablecloths are easy to find in antique stores. And peacock and ostrich feathers add flourish to floral displays.
Pin vintage family wedding photos on ribbons, clothesline-style, or decorate buffet tables with photos of old-time stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, Rudolf Valentino and Greta Garbo.
Compiling a playlist from the era will get everyone in the mood. If it's within your budget, hire a jazz band with a singer. Use an old-fashioned microphone for speeches.
Serve swanky beverages popular during Prohibition, like gin rickeys, mint juleps and champagne cocktails. A champagne fountain has the right Gatsby-esque vibe.
On the sweets table, offer petits fours and cakes embellished with Art Deco designs and edible gold leaf, on vintage silver serveware.
Consider setting up a black-and-white photo booth with props including feather boas, long necklaces, straw boaters and newsboy caps. Silent films projected on a wall might provide additional atmosphere.
Favors could include souvenir champagne glasses, silver cocktail sticks, mini flasks for the fellows, and stretchy beaded headbands or bead strands for the ladies.
Instead of a standard guest book, set up a vintage typewriter and a stack of paper so that well-wishers can type up messages for the bride and groom.
Wind the festivities down, perhaps, with a final flourish of metal foil confetti, a la Luhrmann's "Great Gatsby" revelries.