Red and aqua makes for a joyous and vibrant colour scheme for a vintage style wedding. I’ll share some of our decor and style choices as we look back 10 years after our big day.
All photos by Jesslaine Elise Photography.
A Vintage Wedding Theme – Red and Aqua Style
As a couple, we had discovered our mutual love of hunting for vintage and antique treasures a few years before becoming engaged. Similarly, we had both grown up with parents that collected antique things. After we selected a vintage engagement ring together, it seemed to make sense to have a vintage-style wedding too. We both wanted our wedding to feel as light and bright as possible. Therefore we decided to choose a morning ceremony and afternoon reception.
After a rejected pink and grey scheme, we settled on red and aqua. I was very much into retro red and aqua kitchen decor at the time, and the bright happy colours felt unique and fun.
If you want to read more about my love of everything aqua, check out Teal, Turquoise and Aqua.
Our Wedding Clothes
I chose a short, beaded satin dress (actually a bridesmaid’s dress). It had pockets which made it perfect for stashing vintage handkerchiefs for my tears of joy. I also wore my grandmother’s pearls which she wore on her wedding day. My bouquet was a mass of red carnations that looked like one giant flower, with the stems wrapped in aqua ribbon. My husband wore a new navy pinstripe suit with red tie and red socks.
I had purchased some very cute open-toe satin shoes and had them died aqua for the wedding. Unfortunately, there was a little mishap with water while trying them on one time and the dye ran. I ended up substituting red satin shoes which turned out great too. But I am still a touch sad about the aqua shoes that could have been.
The Setting – Planning From Afar
We had moved to Ottawa a few years prior, but all of our family lived in Western Canada. So we decided to have our wedding in Saskatoon, SK at the Bessborough Hotel. It’s a pinkish castle along the river and its age suited the theme we were going for. It was interesting to book venues and vendors from across the country though, sight unseen. We did make one trip a few months before the wedding to meet our photographer for engagement photos, have a trial hair and make-up session, have food tastings, etc.
We found a vintage postcard of the Bessborough Hotel at an antique show. Then we had it made into custom RSVP postcards to send with our invitations, fitting both the vintage theme and our location.
When we both travelled home a few days before the wedding to prepare, we had to go get our marriage license. In Saskatchewan you don’t get them at City Hall or at the Court House like in other places. You get them at jewelry stores and party planning stores. We went to the first jewelry store near our venue to get a license, and they informed us that they were all out. “Of marriage? How can you be out of marriage??” we asked, horrified at the thought that we might not be able to get married for want of a license. But luckily we phoned a party planning store who still had licenses available. I’m sure we requested they hold multiple copies for us as we rushed over. Crisis averted!
The Decor – Red, Aqua, and All Things Vintage
For the decor, we took full advantage of raiding our own vintage items, as well as those of our parents. But we also went antiquing for many specific items as well. Our parents (and a few other family members) were very invested as they lugged several vintage furniture pieces into the hotel. They definitely went above and beyond to make our day exactly what we wanted, rather than just letting the hotel handle everything.
We used a vintage suitcase as a card box (as we had to fly after the wedding, we received very few physical gifts), with some postcards and travel books inside. We also set up a blue-green typewriter as our guest book and guests typed us a message. Other items borrowed or bought included old train route advertising, an old camera, and a chalkboard.
We handmade our own programs using scrapbook paper and ribbon. I love a good polka dot!
Special mention goes to my mom for sewing hundreds of yards of bunting banner for us. I had bought all sorts of red and aqua fabrics from a Bonnie and Camille collection (not realizing that years later I’d fall in love with quilting and Bonnie and Camille fabric collections). My mom painstakingly cut out triangles, pinked the edges, sewed them double layered, and then joined them with bias binding. I love the celebratory, summer-picnic feel the banner brought.
Our parents also painted two sap buckets and two vintage columns that we used during the ceremony for flower arrangements. On the small vintage aqua table that held the register for signing, we had a vintage Sasco honey tin full of flowers.
We went to every local Value Village and thrift store to collect vintage sundae glasses in a variety of sizes for our centrepieces. I carefully wrapped them to travel home for the wedding, but we suffered a few breakages and had to make an urgent trip to Value Village for more. We used vintage price cards for table signs for our seating chart. And we gave out personalized pencils which were also used to complete a personalized Mad Lib predicting our future in 25 years.
Pie Instead of Cake
I’ve always loved making and eating pies far more than cake, and my husband has always appreciated pie. So it was the perfect choice for us to have wedding pie instead. We had four varieties of small pies and then three larger pies in a vintage pie stand to do a cutting photo.
I ordered a vintage-style apron off of Etsy to wear when serving pie to guests. Again – I love a good polka dot. I use this apron in our kitchen still.
Our photographer, Jesslaine, of Jesslaine Elise Photography was fantastic. She understood our vision completely and brought along her own props – a picnic blanket, a red vintage suitcase, and some old books. Below is one of my favourite photos from that picnic scene (although the Good Wives book belonged to my mom and was snagged from the Guest Book table).
We had also purchased an oversized red balloon for taking photos and it went well with the red suitcase. Jesslaine had helpfully brought a hair tie so that the string could be tied to that and put around my wrist. It was quite windy and there are several silly shots that show the balloon blowing in front of our faces.
To read about one of our favourite anniversary traditions, check out the post about our Anniversary Journal.
Vintage Red and Aqua Wedding
Our vintage red and aqua wedding was small, bright, happy, and felt exactly like us. Looking back 10 years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I want to hear from you. If you’re married, what colour scheme did you have at your wedding? Were they your favourite colours? Would you choose them again? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,