A very vintage wedding

Our wedding is going to be one pearl-studded, vintage-inspired day of science and literature and love.

And since weddings are, for the most part, a shining beacon of tradition, I’ve been going through vintage family photos. I started out curiously, just wanting to see how my mom, grandmothers and great-grandmothers dressed, but then a comment at A Practical Wedding got me thinking about how beautiful a display of our family wedding photos would be at the reception.

Great grandparentsI have my maternal great-grandparents’ photos from the 1930s (one set is pictured at right). I have my grandparents’ photos from the 1950s. I have my parents’ portrait from 1980 and, soon, my fiance’s parents’ photo from the 1970s. Seeing our families through the ages, making a pledge so important that we wouldn’t be here without it, has added extra weight to our day. Come November, we’ll be adding another branch on the family tree — and, in due course, welcoming children who will someday peer at our wedding photo.

The women in my family all dressed differently on their wedding days. I mean, check out Great Grandma’s rockin’ hat up there. My other great-grandmother wore a very long veil, while my mom and grandma chose shorter ones. My paternal grandmother looked radiant and sophisticated in a sleek ensemble; my maternal grandmother wore a poofy, lacy gown. Similar eras, different choices.

How do I want to look on my wedding day? I ask myself and daydream, staring at Etsy-generated favorites lists of jewelry and pouring through websites of shoes, hairstyles, makeup tips. With my vintage-inspired dress, I know I want the red lip/red shoe look. I want to look sophisticated, too, but still playful and fun. And I just want to feel . . . like me. Like me on my wedding day.

Can there be a more surreal experience?

Regardless of whether the women in my family chose short or long, lace or taffeta, there is, of course, a theme in each portrait: they’re beaming. Smiling with their lips and their eyes. And in the photo I have of my paternal grandparents, their beautiful tiered cake sits ready to be sliced on a table. Maw Maw is looking right at the camera while my grandfather, a man who sadly passed when I was young, is looking at her.

I could do with a photo like that, too.


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24 thoughts on “A very vintage wedding

  1. Oh, this makes my heart burst. I think many of my friends had all the family wedding photos displayed at the reception… I think I need to get on that if I want to get copies in time!

    • You have plenty of time, Sarah — go for it! I think it’s such an awesome tradition. And hopefully our own photos will be on display at my kids’ weddings someday. :) (Now there’s a thought!)

  2. I really really love that idea. What a wonderful way to pay tribute to all the weddings in your family! :)

  3. Can’t wait to see them altogether! What a sweet idea and don’t know if you know this but I see the resemblance of your great grandmother in you!

    • Really?! I’ve always been told I favor my dad’s side of the family, Alex . . . though sometimes I spot the resemblance on my mom’s side. I hear my great-grandmother was quite stylish, so I’ll take that as a compliment! :)

      • There is something in the look on her face and you sometimes have the same look…… It is so meant to be a compliment. She looks radiant in the picture!

  4. Gorgeous post, Meg. You’re so fortunate to have those family photos. I don’t remember ever seeing one of my grandparents’ wedding. They were beautiful people, so I wish I’d been able to see them decked out for their day. I feel a trip back through the family photos might be in order just to double-check. :)

    • Give it a looksee, Andi — you never know what you’ll find. I absolutely love pouring through old family albums . . . which gets me thinking about where all the photos I take now will end up someday. Have to make sure I print them and put them into books . . . I doubt my grandkids will still have access to my iPhone shots! :) They’ll probably have brain chips or something by then . . .

    • That’s all thanks to the care and work of my parents and grandparents, Kathy — we have quite a collection!

    • Thank you, Juju! I have a few more of those particular great-grandparents when they were just dating, and they’re darling.

  5. Love the idea of the family photos — such a sweet way to honor your family (and your fiancees?). I wore red in my wedding — my wife and I both wanted to be a little dressy, but two white dresses seemed silly, and black seemed to…formal. I wore red lace, and she wore ivory, and as we got married in October, we had a kind cranberry-and-cream motif going in our flowers. (With pink champagne, of course!)

    • Red lace and ivory . . . what a striking pair I’m sure you made, Audra. All the details you’ve shared of your wedding paint such a picture — I’m sure it was a gorgeous day. Pink champagne sounds fantastic — I’m jealous!

  6. This is such a lovely thing to do. I did this for our wedding and surprised my husband with it at our rehearsal dinner. I made it a collage and saved a space for our wedding photo. Now our daughters look at this all the time and even talk about when their wedding photos can be added to it. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • That’s an awesome idea, Sheery — I’m sure your collage was gorgeous! And how sweet that your girls enjoy looking at it, and thinking about how they’ll someday contribute. That’s just awesome.

  7. ‘they’re beaming. Smiling with their lips and their eyes’

    I’m sure you will also be wearing this piece of accessory and looking beautiful just like the rest of your family.
    Love this post, all the best~!

  8. I love the thought of incorporating your history into your wedding! I did that in a few ways with mine too. Also, when I was planning my wedding I was totally addicted to A Practical Wedding. I even have my parents wedding posted on their site in the Vintage wedding section!

    • Ack, A Practical Wedding is just the best . . . so addictive. And comforting. It’s helped me tremendously since getting engaged, mostly with just grappling with all the changes that await us. Good changes, yes — and happy changes! But changes all the same. So nice to know we’re not alone.

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