Planning a 1920’s event

Click  here to see pictures of my 1920’s themed wedding



I’m fascinated by the 1920’s, the literature, the clothing…the era of the silver screen, silent films, prohibition, speakeasies and a time when women thankfully shed their rib crunching corsets for loose fitting dresses with boyish cuts and short hemlines, rebelling against their Victorian parents values.  I loved it so much I got married and had a roaring twenties wedding theme.  I love the idea of tea dances, women no longer needed to be chaperoned around, quite a shift…..and the make up they wore was very distinct, a real reference point for make up artists.  I own my own vintage crockery hire business so I just went for it and had a lovely afternoon tea for our wedding breakfast, you can see the images on this blog.  The inspiration was Clara Bow and the beautiful Louise Brookes (below).

Louise Brooks


Adam and I dancing to 'Top hat white tie and tails' on our wedding day

Adam and I dancing to 'Top hat white tie and tails' on our wedding day

I remember not being a real fan of Jazz when I was younger but now I love it, so much so it was my first dance when I got married (my feet had got a bit sore by then!).  And the more I immerse myself in that era the more I find myself listening to it.  Commonly known as the Jazz age, Jazz, Ragtime and Broadway musicals were features of 1920’s music.  Jazz gained popularity in America and worldwide by the 1920s. Nothing quite like it had ever happened before in America. New exuberant dances were devised to take advantage of the upbeat tempo’s of Jazz and Ragtime music.

By the mid-1920s, jazz was being played in dance halls and roadhouses and speakeasies all over the country. Early jazz influences found their first mainstream expression in the music used by marching bands and dance bands of the day, which was the main form of popular concert music in the early twentieth century.  The below clip gives you a look at the Charleston, deemed wholly inappropriate at the time! together with a dance lesson, check out the cheeky flapper dancing on the roof of a car.

And if you get stuck try these downloadable instructions here.

Why not tune into the following free 1920’s radio station here a 24 hour per day Big Band and Old Time Radio service that is geared toward the preservation of nostalgic broadcasting. The hits from the 20’s to the 40’s are aired in their original form, and some have been digitally enhanced. This station is available for streaming through iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media players.   If you have speakers to add to your computer you can listen to this during your party.  If you’re having an afternoon tea, this is perfect background music and won’t cost you a penny but will give you a great atmosphere.

You could hire a band?

The Charleston Charlies!

The Charleston Charlies!

The Gershwin Gang!

Decorating your venue

There are many different ways to bring a twenties influence to your venue.  A simple and effective way  is the use of Peacock Feathers and Callia Lilies in floral displays.  Tea parties were all the rage so have some vintage crockery centrepieces or let an afternoon tea do the talking.   The twenties style was known as ‘Art Deco‘ and you can derive plenty of influence from that.

I may be alone here but….I decorated my venue with strategically placed Cottingley homage fairies…why not? bath tubs filled with booze….

I made these from old bottles and a few fairy cut outs

I made these from old bottles and a few fairy cut outs

Here’s some Art Deco crockery and cake stands (I made) to go with my afternoon tea….

Deco Tea sets of mine

Deco Tea sets of mine

Beautiful table setting for an afternoon tea.....

Beautiful table setting for an afternoon tea.....

Art Deco Style Trio set

Some other fun ideas here as well, just let your imagination run riot, watch 1920’s era films and just go for it…

Black & White colour theme
–  A Speakeasy Bar
– Flappers & Gangsters
– Silent Movies
– Jazz / The Charleston / The Black Bottom / The Lindy Hop
– The Great Gatsby
– Cotton Club / Ragtime Band
– Art Deco / Aviation (think Biggles)
– Long Pearl Necklaces / Headbands / Feathers / Cloche Hats

1920’s Make up & Hair – look like a flapper

This is the only tutorial you need to get that look.  Word of caution though….PRACTICE!  And if its your wedding day, put emphasis on your eyes only or your lips, not all of it as the tutorial shows you……it was for black and white photo’s, in colour you’ll look a bit scary!

Smoldering eye make up

Smoldering eye make up

The Fashion

To get a very comprehensive look at flapper fashion, including accessories click here and meantime forgive me whilst I ramble about the picture below!

Colleen Moore in Flaming Youth

Colleen Moore in Flaming Youth

This picture, which looks as if it were taken yesterday was actually taken in 1923, see the pudding bowl haircut and that dress!   Colleen Moore was starring in ‘Flaming Youth’ written by F. Scott Fitzgerald  who wrote of her: “I was the spark that lit up FLAMING YOUTH, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble”.

There are a number of amazing shops out there that stock gorgeous beaded dresses at a snip.  LeLuxe Clothing is my favourite.

5 responses to “Planning a 1920’s event

  1. Pingback: 1920’s Wedding Make up and a chill session at the Lido « Clarabows Blog

  2. Robert Bailey

    I love your website! I have been a fan of 20s music, movies and fashions for more years than you have been alive, but I must say your knowledge of the period is exceptional.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Robert! I can’t help myself, what an exciting and groundbreaking era it was. I’m watching some Louise Brooks films this back holiday weekend and sewing some 20′s style hats….joy!

  3. Aina Barcelo


    First of all congrats on your fantastic wedding! It’s delightful!
    I love the idea of the bottled up fairies. I would like to do a similar thing and have been looking for these cut out fairies but cannot find them anywhere! Where did you find the cut outs??

    Thank you very much!


  4. Donna

    Love the website- getting married in September 2012 in 1926 home with 1920s theme. Sepia photos, garter flasks etc. House is huge and will be turned into speakeasy for the weekend. Any ideas for food, favors ?

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