Something Old, Something New: 45 Ways to Give Your Wedding Timeless Style

ICYMI: Everything old is new again — especially for wedding decor. Give your big day a trendy and timeless vintage vibe (without breaking the bank!) with our tips.

September 09, 2019

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby

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Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: She-N-He Photography

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Courtesy of Katie Kalafat

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Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Julie Paisley Photography

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Photo By: Style Me Pretty/ Simply Sarah Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of Caroline Fontenot Photography

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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Photo By: Image courtesy of Caroline Fontenot Photography

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: She-N-He Photography

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Image courtesy of Caroline Fontenot Photography

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Liz Gray; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Liz Gray; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Skip a Standard Vase

And, use beautiful old containers instead. Antique tins, teapots, pitchers and storage containers, like this pressed-glass biscuit jar, make charming stand-ins for a modern vase while adding a hand-me-down touch of family history to your table.

See More Photos: Luxe for Less: Set a Timeless Table That Only Looks Expensive

Gift Table a Go-Go

A vintage tea cart or old wheelbarrow make a charming stand-in for a standard wedding gift table. Bonus: When the festivities are over, the couple can just roll their haul out to the getaway car.

Light It Up

Whether brass, pewter or silver, vintage candlesticks and candelabra are easy to source at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales. For a romantic, timeworn look, leave the metal's mellowed patina as-is or gently polish to restore a silvery or golden gleam.

Have Fun With Your Honeymoon Fund

Vintage luggage is not only WAY more stylish than its modern counterpart, it also provides stackable storage for any room in your home. For a playful take on a card table, display a stack of vintage suitcases with a 'Send Us Packin' sign and wrapped gift box so guests can drop in a monetary gift to speed you on your way to vacay.

Cue the Coupe

Coupe glasses (from the French 'coupé' meaning 'cut off') and Champagne have a long and storied history. Centuries before the now ubiquitous flute was the glassware of choice for sparkling wine, coupes were the only game in town. Give your wedding a regal touch worthy of the French Court by swapping standard flutes for curvy coupes. Bonus: Not only are these shorter glasses beautiful, many oenophiles prefer the full development of flavor to be enjoyed from the wider bowl.

Or, the Goblet

Vintage wine goblets are a beautiful addition your guests won't soon forget. Don't worry if you didn't inherit gorgeous glassware — you can always buy them. In my experience, estate sales are far and away the best place to score vintage dishware. Orphaned or mismatched glasses are especially good buys (often less than a dollar each) but complete sets are also a steal. Bonus: Many estate sale companies dramatically discount remaining items on the last day so, if you're a gambler, you may be able to pick up a complete set of the antique stemware you wish you'd inherited for a song.

Go for the Gold

Move over, stainless steel — it's gold's turn to shine. Gold has increasingly become designers' metal of choice for fancy flatware but, like anything that's trendy, new sets are pricey. Check estate sales, thrift stores and yard sales for vintage sets, many still in their original box, with the same golden gleam as new flatware but without the hefty price tag.

And, Bring on the Brass

Once considered dated, vintage brass trays have made a major comeback in recent years — sending prices up in pace with their rise in popularity. But, thankfully, these glittering goods can still be inexpensively found at yard sales, church bazaars and estate sales. Resist the urge to polish your newfound treasure; brass's glowing patina is key to the metal's timeless charm.

Mix Up Plates

Mismatched place settings aren't just super trendy, they're also the easiest way to display your favorite hand-me-down pieces or vintage finds — especially if you only have a few dishes from a particular set. For a pleasing pairing, combine plates with a highly detailed pattern with others featuring more open, less busy designs.

See More Photos: Love Wins: Wow Guests With a Rainbow-Themed Vintage Table Setting

And Glassware, Too

Budget-friendly and beautiful, mismatched glassware is easy to source at estate sales, with orphaned water goblets, wine glasses and cordials often available for around $1 each. To create a coordinated look, pair glassware of similar shape or color together. Design: First Comes Love Events

Sweeten the Cake-Cutting Ceremony

A monogrammed linen, hand-painted plates and an antique cake server are beautiful additions to the cake-cutting ceremony that'll add a sweet vintage vibe to your photos. Learn how to craft the colorful backdrop, below.

Get the How-To: Craft a Party-Perfect Blooming Backdrop on a Budget

Pin One On

Incorporating a hand-me-down brooch into your bouquet or sweetheart table's centerpiece is an easy way to honor the pin's original owner while working a beautiful vintage element into many of your wedding photos.

Blue + White: Can't-Miss Combo

Blue + white is the color combo that never goes out of style — it's also the most reproduced color pairing in vintage dinnerware making it easy to score beautiful, mismatched pieces like these on the cheap.

See More Photos: Luxe for Less: Set a Timeless Table That Only Looks Expensive

Or, Rock the Rainbow

Setting the table with vintage dishes and glassware makes even an everyday meal feel like a special occasion. However, unless you inherited them, buying a complete set can be pricey. Fear not, mismatched tableware is super budget-friendly — scour local flea markets, thrift shops and estate sales to pick up orphaned glasses and plates in rainbow shades to create your own colorful collection.

See More Photos: Love Wins: Wow Guests With a Rainbow-Themed Vintage Table Setting

Mix Rustic With Refined

One rule that designers always follow: contrast is key. Mixing inexpensive (AKA free!), earthy elements, like this wood slice charger, with delicate, vintage china makes the woodsy element feel more organic while, by contrast, the hand-etched details and gilt edges of the heirloom dishes take on a new level of sophistication.

See More Photos: Rustic + Refined: Set a Stunning Fall or Winter Table Setting

And, Add a Little Character

Every table setting needs a touch of the unexpected. For this rustic-chic table, we chose a vintage brass peacock, found for a steal at an estate sale, to complement the table's theme while adding a bit of golden glam. For a fun conversation starter, choose an item that represents the couple's passions or, for a sentimental touch, incorporate a family heirloom.

See More Photos: Rustic + Refined: Set a Stunning Fall or Winter Table Setting

Take an (Antique) Seat

While renting or borrowing enough gorgeous antique chairs to seat all your guests could prove impossible, sourcing just two for your sweetheart table is totally doable and is sure to have you sitting pretty on your big day.

Or, Incorporate a Cart

When renting antique chairs, also check into borrowing other vintage items, like an industrial factory cart or even mid-mod furniture or a bar cart. Throwback looks are hot so many rental providers have beefed up their inventory to include a variety of design styles. To save money, also check with local antique dealers who will often rent items at a percentage of their overall cost. Image courtesy of Our Labor of Love.

See More Photos: A Glamorous Bohemian-Luxe Wedding

Bring the Indoors Out

Vintage furniture pieces, like this buffet, are beautiful accents outdoors where the ample serving space and handy drawers make them ideal for offering up everything from cocktails to coffee.

And, the Outdoors In

Mix seasonal elements, like pumpkins, gourds and colorful leaves, with rustic, timeworn containers for pitch-perfect fall wedding decor.

See More Photos: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Cue the Candles

Nothing lends a romantic feel quite like candlelight. For a gorgeous glow, mix ivory pillars in assorted heights with vintage brass candlesticks fitted with glass votives.

See More Photos: A Classic Black-Tie Wedding at Historic Nashville Estate

And, Illuminate With Edison Bulbs

Whether you choose to add them outdoors to light up the night, bistro style, or mix them into the indoor decor, Edison bulbs lend just the right amount of soft lighting that's never harsh or unflattering so both your decor and guests will be seen in their best light.

Or, a Chandelier

The right lighting makes all the difference and can take a rough-and-tumble space, like this barn, from rustic to refined.

Add a Picture Perfect Backdrop

Get creative when incorporating vintage items into your reception as photo backdrops — like this couple did by using a friend's 1960's classic Chevy truck.

See More Photos: Romantic + Rustic Fall Wedding at a Georgia Plantation

Dust Off That Old Gravy Boat

When it comes to centerpieces, more is more. After all, why settle for a single arrangement when you can line the center of the table with several small bouquets? For this long and low arrangement, a vintage gravy boat filled with green ball dianthus, white hypericum berries and blue sea holly reinforces the table's blue-and-white theme while adding a pretty pop of color.

And, the Salt Shaker

Just remove the cap and contents of antique glass and silver shakers to create charming mini vases to place around the table.

Go Boho

Boomeranging back from the '70s, macramé wall hangings are another item that can be found at estate or yard sales for pennies on the dollar versus the cost of buying new, uber-trendy versions.

Rent an Architectural Altar

Architectural salvage shops may not come to mind when shopping for wedding decor — but they should. From showstoppers, like these old church doors, to antique lighting fixtures and seating, like old church pews, these one-time cast-offs lend a bygone charm you simply can't find in new, mass-produced items. But, that charm often comes at a cost so ask about renting the pieces for your big day instead. Many shops will rent out items at a percentage of the overall cost. Image courtesy of Cedarwood Weddings.

Or, Construct Your Own

Salvaged doors, a few well-placed hinges, a cross-brace and greenery garland come together to create a beautiful altar you can assemble yourself. Best of all: You can install (or sell) the old doors after the ceremony so nothing goes to waste.

Use What You Have

Who said the seating at your ceremony has to match? Mismatched is so much more charming and a great opportunity to offer guests really comfortable chairs rather than the not-at-all-comfy folding chairs that are usually used.

Lovely Linens

Vintage table linens aren't just gorgeous, they're often much less expensive than purchasing new versions of similar quality. You're especially in luck if you inherited (AKA free!) old lace or cotton tablecloths from family. Stains can be a problem, though, so follow our tips below to freshen them up for your big day.

Get the How-To: Antiques 101: 10 Tips for Collecting Vintage Linens

Have a Hankie

Add another pretty pattern to your table with vintage handkerchieves. Go thrifting to find them on the cheap or head to online sites like Etsy or Amazon to purchase either the real deal or new reproductions in bulk.

Add a Luxe Look With Lace

Most often used for special occasions, chargers, also known as underplates or service plates, provide both a decorative and a functional purpose by catching errant spills and crumbs. For this budget-friendly table, we saved by using lacy-looking paper doilies (costing pennies each!) as a stand-in for much more costly porcelain or china chargers. Bonus: When the party's over, the paper can just be tossed — spills, crumbs and all.

Over a Barrel

No table? No worries! Here, a pair of old wooden barrels topped by a door creates a sturdy stand-in that's just the right height to serve up an assortment of desserts.

Create Signage With Style

Antique frames are another inexpensive estate sale find that'll easily add vintage vibes to your reception or ceremony. Just add a handwritten sign for a timeless touch on your gift table, bar, buffet, guest book, or favor table, as we have here. And, don't worry about chipped finish or missing gilding — honest wear and tear is what makes antique frames so charming. Learn how to make your own plantable wedding favors, below.

Get the How-To: DIY Plantable Party Favors

Sweetly Save Their Seat

Placecards are an easy way to give your table more of a special-occasion feel. These vintage porcelain pretties (found for a steal at an estate sale) make it easy to personalize each place setting: Just write the guest's name with a marker which easily wipes off the glazed surface when dinner is done.

Nosegay, You Say?

For an extra special touch, top each place setting with a vintage teacup, punch cup or small bowl filled with a nosegay of flowers and greenery. Nosegay is just a fun name for a mini floral arrangement. Like a larger centerpiece, be sure to cut the plants' stems on an angle (to allow the stem to more easily draw up water), add floral preservative and remove all greenery below the water line to deter rot.

Bring On the Barnwood

Timeworn, farmhouse-style decor continues as a popular wedding theme — especially in fall and winter months. To create a rustic backdrop for photos or your cake or gift table, put barnwood boards to work. Check local salvage shops and online for the real deal or get a similar look with printed backdrops.

And, Cue the Copper

Antiques, like this beautifully patinated copper pitcher, look right at home as part of fall wedding displays. To preserve the copper's timeworn finish, slide a water-filled container inside the pitcher before adding fresh flowers, like these PeeGee hydrangeas.

See More Photos: An Autumnal Front Porch Worth Falling For

Upcycle Old Containers

Old wooden crates, boxes and bins are a beautiful way to add a variety of heights or corral like items on wedding self-serve areas like the dessert or favor table. Here, we used an orphaned treadle sewing machine drawer to display plantable party favors. Learn how to make your own in the link, below.

Get the How-To: DIY Plantable Party Favors

Rely on Pretty Porcelain

Vintage porcelain jardinières aren't just great for holding living plants, they're also a beautiful way to turn DIY wedding favors into a beautiful display. To create the favors, we dipped inexpensive faux flowers and succulents into plaster to create delicate mini sculptures that look like pricey porcelain. Get the how-to instructons, below.

Get the How-To: Budget-Friendly Favors: Easy Plaster-Dipped Flowers + Succulents

Make Centerpieces Easy to Munch

For fall weddings, try a fresh take on the traditional cornucopia by serving up healthy and not-so-healthy bite-size treats on a series of vintage stacked servers. No need for guests to leave the table to grab dessert at the end of the feast, the perfect ending to their meal is within easy reach.

Get Creative With Containers

Take your centerpiece beyond a standard vase and instead place it in a pretty vintage tin for an added pop of color and pattern. Protect the tin and eliminate any possibility of leaks by first placing the arrangment in a plastic or glass container that's just a bit smaller than your tin, then slide the bloom-filled container inside the tin for a guest-impressing centerpiece.

Centerpieces: More is More

Skip a standard vase and instead brighten up the center of your table with a grouping of small vintage pieces, like a sugar bowl and creamer, old apothecary bottles or punch cups, filled with an abundance of sweet smelling blooms.

Toast to an Unforgettable Soiree

Nothing tops off a party quite like bubbly and bubbly always feels more special when served in elegant stemware. For your big day, skip the plastic cups and either rent or thrift vintage flutes, coupes or tulips for a tasteful (and tasty!) celebratory cheers.

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