Vintage Wedding Reception Decor Inspiration


If you’re a lover of the vintage look, it may be easy for you to envision your wedding fashion, photography style, or ceremony setup. But what to do about the reception? How do you continue to carry the look and feel of vintage style through your wedding from beginning to end? Today, I’ve put together some ideas and inspiration, with the intention that you will take these suggestions, scour your local flea markets and online vintage vendors to find unique and aged pieces for your own wedding decor!

  • Find a well-worn leather journal that hasn’t been written in and use it as your guest book. It will be fun for the guests to leave well wishes among the weathered pages, and fun for you to display in your home for years to come (versus a formal, satin clad cookie-cutter guest book).
  • Thrift stores are a great place to find quirky books of poetry or readings for your wedding. Find meaningful poems or passages, and have them copied or torn out (depending on the age and value of the book) and framed at each table. Choose romantic, funny, or reflective writings that will make great keepsakes or additions to your wedding scrapbook.
  • This one’s a little bit more of an investment, as vintage typewriters that are in working order can cost anywhere from a few bucks to a few hundred. If it’s within your budget, consider setting one up at a table in the reception for guests to “sign” your guestbook and leave you a congratulatory message or advice for your marriage. I guarantee that, in the day and age of iPhone and Blackberry typing efficiency, there will be no shortage of laughs over the hunting and pecking it will likely require to leave a coherent type-written note!
  • Gone are the days of the boring old church-shaped frilly box whose sole purpose was to receive wedding cards at the reception. Get creative with your search for an unexpected vintage container to use instead; perhaps a funky old mailbox, Victorian bird cage, or even a small vintage suitcase. Make sure you tie a pretty tag on, with ribbon perhaps, to let guests know to leave their cards in your cage or case.
  • Ditch the dinky disposables; why not leave vintage film or Polaroid cameras loaded up and ready to go on a few tables for guests to enjoy taking their own photos with? It’ll take you back to the days of waiting to develop the film to see what comes out! Plus, they just look cooler than white, plastic single-use cameras.
  • Your guests might be expecting a classic car for an end-of-evening exit, but consider surprising them with a vehicle that makes up in vintage style what it lacks in speed or size– a Vespa or vintage motor scooter! In many areas, these can be rented for the occasion just like limousines.

I hope these ideas inspire you to start your search for fabulous vintage touches for your wedding day. Do you, or have you seen, an unforgettable vintage detail at a recent wedding? I’d love to hear it!

If you have questions on this or any other wedding related topic, please post for me here on the wedding blog or send me an email to susan(dot)southerland(at) Also become a fan on Facebook (search: Susan Southerland Secret) or follow me on Twitter (@Susansoutherlan).

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