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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Rodell

Vintage wedding practices worth reviving

When was the last time you scoured through old family photographs? Everyone should take the time to sit with elders in a family to look at old photos. There is much to be learned from them such as traditions and practices no longer in use. Those sepia-toned and black and white images could hold inspiration for your wedding. Here are a few vintage wedding practices worth considering and reviving:

The Livingroom Wedding

Livingroom weddings were quite popular with couples on a budget or couples getting married with little time to plan something more involved. The reasons were many: military deployment, pregnancy, and even age. Older couples, as well as younger couples, married in a living room. A modern take on the livingroom wedding is the couple hosting a cocktail party that turns into a wedding and reception. Another modern take is the couple who uses an occasion such as New Year’s Eve to host a party that becomes a wedding and after-midnight reception.

Marrying in the Pastor’s Study

It was not unusual for couples to meet with their pastor or clergy before (and after) a worship service for a quiet, private wedding in the presence of immediate family and/or their witnesses. These weddings were generally followed with a light reception in the fellowship hall or a dinner at someone’s house. Very simple and very personal. Your modern version could involve having a friend perform your ceremony followed by a brunch reception at home or in the private room of a restaurant, keeping your gathering intimate yet memorable.


Elopement is the grandparent to the destination wedding. Someone in your family or my family went to the Justice of the Peace or to City Hall in a city abroad or in the United States, married, honeymooned, and then hosted a reception back at home at a later date. You have the option of traveling anywhere in the world, marrying, and then hosting a lavish celebration upon your return. Complicated work lives make this a great modern option.

The Post-honeymoon Open House

Newlyweds returning from their honeymoon would host an open house or house-warming in their new home to thank family and friends for supporting their union. Some would invite their clergy to bless their home followed by a party that was given mid-day or at dinnertime. Guests brought belated wedding or house-warming gifts and a good time was had by all. Your modern interpretation can be as casual or as opulent as you choose.

The Punch and Cake Reception

Sounds too simple, right? Well, it worked many years ago, especially for couples with either a small budget or who had a lot of people to invite to their weddings. Cake and punch directly after the wedding in the church fellowship hall or at someone’s home enabled the couple to greet their guests, give them sustenance, and save time for rest before leaving for their honeymoon. It was all quite dignified and no one expected more. A modern twist is to do the same and host a reception or formal dinner for the guests who are intimates later in the evening.

These are but a few vintage wedding practices but there are many more. As you go through those family photographs, ask your elders for details and about the traditions they inherited. Who knows? You might discover a few things that you can incorporate into your wedding plans. You can retain me, I always have a few handy and ready to execute.


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