The decade of the 1940’s was an elegant, but somewhat tragic one, having been plagued by the Second World War until 1945. Still, there was an ambience of fun, celebration and excitement, particularly since most parties in the first five years were held in honour of soldiers and were usually the only opportunities that they got to see their wives and / or girlfriends amidst isolation and combat. So, these times were characterised by an intense sense of romance too. Using such a wartime reunion theme for your wedding will lend it a natural sense of love at all costs.
Set the tone long before the day by designing your Save-the-Dates and invitations using imagery and designs that reflect this era. Because jazz music and big brass bands were very popular during the 1940’s, using these as a design theme will work very well (e.g. musical instruments, music notes, famous performers, etc…), as will the colours, bottles or bubbles reminiscent of champagne.
This era saw flattering, classic styles that accentuated the curves of the natural female form. Satin and silk were favourite textiles, and are always perfect options for wedding dresses. Brides would wear white, ivory and even vintage-looking beige dresses. Long, pointed sleeves and lace detail up to the neckline were popular features. Fur was very fashionable during this decade, and your wedding dress, as well as the attire of the bridesmaids, maid of honour and wedding guests, will be ideally set off by donning a faux fur shawl, bolero, scarf or coat. On the other hand, because of the war efforts, many women took to wearing knee length pencil skirts with tailored jackets that came down to their waists. This may be a suitable option for the bridesmaids and guests too.
Gents often wore their military uniforms to important events, such as weddings (even their own). However pinstripe suits were also very popular, giving men a distinguished, elegant look.
Shoes with high, spiked heels gave 1940’s ladies a real sense of femininity and prestige. Seamed stocking and netted veil hats as well as long gloves are great bridal accessories. They will also help you to feel and look as graceful as the era itself.
Hair and Make-up
Long, curled hair that hung below the shoulders was uber popular in the 1940’s. However, any formal event had ladies pinning their hair up into gorgeous, compact up-styles. Fringes were seldom seen.
In terms of make-up, the 1940’s were a time of the return to a natural look. The skin was kept flawless with foundation and powder, while cheeks were coloured using roses, reds and intense pinks. The eyes were highlighted with a thin pencil, black or brown mascara and shadows of greys and muted browns. Eyebrows made their return (thank goodness) and lips were painted to look full and soft. Nail polish was as bright as it needed to be to match the outfit of the wearer. It was applied to the entire nail except for the half-moon at the base and a tiny sliver at the top.
To create an authentic 1940’s theme to your venue, include the following items in your décor:
- Helium balloons that are released onto the ceiling above the dance floor.
- A disco ball above the dance floor.
- Fairy lights strung in the room, over doorways, in the garden, and so on.
- A bubble machine.
- Brass musical instruments (as focus pieces, or smaller models as centrepieces on the tables).
- Photographs reminiscent of the war or aviation.
- Antique photographs (of you, as a couple, or of the guests). These make fabulous guest gifts after the event.
The 1940’s were characterised particularly by big band music, but also by jazz. This type of music makes for great dancing and partying amongst young and old alike. Include the following artists in your repertoire for a fantastic night of boogieing:
- Louis Armstrong
- Fred Astaire
- Nat King Cole
- Bing Cosby
- Dorris Day
- Duke Ellington
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Guy Lombardo
- Glenn Miller
- Mills Brothers
- Cole Porter
- Frank Sinatra
Photo Credit: http://chicvintagebrides.com/