How To Style A Gatsby-Inspired Wedding

There’s no doubt that the roaring twenties are back. What with tv hits like Downton Abbey bringing the glamour of the jazz era to the small screen, we were already primed by the time Baz Luhrman’s movie version of The Great Gatsby came around earlier this spring.

Short, slinky bobs, effortless drop-waist dresses and sparkling jewels from head to toe; there’s very little not to like about this vintage revival. Conjuring the romance of a by-gone era, it also makes the perfect design style for a wedding. So why not incorporate a few Art Deco touches into your big day with some Gatsby-inspired hair, make-up and fashion?


Though Carey Mulligan certainly pulls off a dramatic pout in the Gatsby film, 1920s make-up can also be subtle and elegant, depending on what you prefer for your big day. Think pastel hues and rose-based tones, rather than bronzer or heavy foundation. Illuminate the skin with a light-reflecting base and choose shades like lilac and smoky grey for the eyelids. Frame with black eyeliner. You can find a red lip shade which suits your skin tone, but lighter tones like peach or pink work equally well, especially if you’re going heavier on the eyes.


You may not want to go for a drastic cut for your wedding, but there are plenty of ways you can recreate that sleek 1920s look. The so-called ‘faux-bob’ is popular on the red carpet right now and makes for a beautiful up-do for your wedding. Just part your hair low to the side, curl in sections with a hair straightener and pin each section as you go. Once the whole head is done, remove the hair grips; you can either brush through to create a softer style and loosely pin at the nape of your neck, or re-pin the defined curls for a more structured feel.

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Finally, make sure you set it all off with a glamorous hair-piece. Jewelled bands, vintage tiaras, peacock-feather fascinators or just a couple of demure diamond clips; whatever you go for, the trick is to let the hair accessories do the talking.

Wedding outfit

Here comes the fun part! The great thing about shopping for a 1920s wedding dress is that you can find an authentic second-hand one, ideal if you’re on a budget. Alternatively, browse the racks for something which mixes contemporary styling with period detail. Look for lace and sheer fabrics, embroidery and beading and even a few fringes, if you’re so inclined. This said, you can look just as stunning in a simple waterfall gown such as these vintage-inspired designs by Jenny Packham.

For the footwear, think Mary-Jane style straps and buckles, in silver or neutral tones to compliment, not overpower your outfit. The low heels and round toes will be much more comfy on the dancefloor, too!

Dressing the set

Don’t forget that you can add as many extra touches as you like to pull off the 1920s-theme with extra pizazz. Why not send out monogrammed invitations à la Jay Gatsby or have your place-names decorated in an old-fashioned cinematic style? Or set out crystal wine glasses and antique-look silverware for the tables. And though you may not be able to swing a wedding at Highclere Castle, you can sweep up to your venue of choice in a 1920′s Buick and hire a jazz band for the reception. When it comes down to it, it’s the details which will help shape the vintage wedding you’ve been fantasising about.

What other periods inspire you when it comes to wedding style?

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Catherine Lewis is a wedding and events planner based in London.

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