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1940’s War Wedding – How to plan your own?

September 10, 2010

So now we have seen the 1940’s war wedding and the types of style that are common for the time it is time to consider how you would go about planning a 1940’s war wedding, but remember it is your day, so only do what you want to do, the following are just suggestions for you to consider.

Is a 1940’s war wedding right for you?

The 1940’s war wedding is a great idea if you are on a tight budget, as we have seen weddings at this time were thrifty, so you can cut down on a lot of your expenses by having a early 40s themed wedding.  How far you wish to take this is up to you. Of course, as with all weddings there is also no limit on the amount that you could spend either!

If your partner is in the forces then again, this could be perfect to combine a part of him and his service in the big day.  For example he could wear his uniform, as can the best men.

With any theme wedding though, it is important to remember that they will only work if you take a fun approach to your big day and plan it together.  Some people say it is not possible to combine war and a wedding, however you are not embellishing the war with this style, you are enacting a period where the most important things were love and loyalty above expense and over the top glamour.  Holding onto each day and cherishing those you love was a big part of the period.  It is about hope for a happy future and what more is a wedding about than the love and desire to share a life?

Choosing a location

Before you go too far with your wedding planning it is best to select your location.  It can drive the date and influence the number of guests that you invite.  Most places have an upper limit on the number of guests, but many also have a minimum.  The best idea for location would be to use an aircraft hanger, however it is not accessable to all.  The key thing to remember is that you need space, the 1940’s war wedding was all about celebrating love and life so you will need plenty of room to dance.

Any venue can be done up to suit your theme.  Make sure to choose a colour scheme early too, black and white was classic, but browns and muted colours were also very popular because they could be reused.  Add a touch of brightness with flowers (see the reception).

Wedding invitations

With a location and date set, you can create your wedding invitations, be sure to include indications that your wedding is themed.  You may or may not want your guests to participate in the theme, but you will probably want to let them know what to expect.  If you are going military then include some military design to the invitations.  For more general, include images of big band instruments or even photos of you and your partner that have been made to look like vintage shots.

De Soto 1941 Convertible Art Deco Classic from Cars for Weddings in Australia.


Limos are out for this wedding.  Instead you cannot go past a vintage car (at least to get you to the venue), try a Rover, a Cadillac, a De Soto Convertible or Packard Sedan.

The Wedding

An old church would be perfect for this style of wedding as most occurred at the local church.  Alternatively a garden wedding, somewhere with flowers would also work well.

The Reception

Probably the best area to really bring home your theme and the sky is the limit here.  Some of the best ideas are:

  • Create little army style dog tags to place on the table.
  • Use candles or older style lamps in the centre of the tables.
  • Decorate the centre of the table with fresh flowers (many friends and family would have brought flowers for the bride from their garden, so this is a nice touch).
  • Depending on the time you have and access to the wine you will serve, you can create your own vintage labels to apply over the top of the other wine labels.

For your music you will need to have some sort of swing band.  A great idea is to hire a swing teacher for a few hours after everyone has had lunch or dinner to teach everyone a few of the moves!  Alternatively the bride and groom can do a few lessons prior to the wedding.  However the most important thing is to have enough space to dance.  Your band should be able to suggest music, but there is a wide variety of 40’s music available on the web if you do a bit of research.

40's style wedding cake from St Simons Elopements

The Cake

For your cake, remember this was the time of the war, so do not go over the top!  A one, two or three tier cake is the maximum if you are staying in theme.  Most cakes would have been decorated with flowers or with a couple on top.

The cake to the right here embraces the big band and dancing feel of a 40’s wedding.


Here are some links to some more inspiration for planning your 1940’s war wedding:

  • Ruffled Blog – Has an example of a vintage wedding, though it is more late 40’s, however the cake is beautiful and I love the table decorations!
  • 1940’s wedding notebook – Lots of ideas and inspiration for a general 1940’s wedding.
  • WWII Wedding tribute – This is an actual tribute wedding and the report in the paper along with photos.

Tomorrow will be the last in our serious of 1940’s war weddings where we will look at Bridal wear.

One Comment leave one →


  1. Create Your Own Wedding

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