I have always felt akin to vintage style before it was “in” to do so. Vintage style to me is a return to dramatic presentation with grandeur, elegance and romance- a la old Hollywood glamour. The black, white and pewter bases with pops of red prove that “over the top” colors all mixed together aren’t necessary. Keep it simple. Simply dramatic, that is.
But the one item that stands out to me above all the aesthetics of a vintage event is that of service: things were done properly in yesteryear. Manners were paramount and this was evident in all aspects of entertaining. Timing was essential for proper presentation. Entertaining was about the visual presentation but also in how guests were treated in that it was about the experience and all facets came together to make special events that have made legendary event history over the years.
After attending the California Wedding Day bridal showcase in Los Angeles and viewing the amazing event supplier talent at this event, I thought I would share just a few of the common Great Gatsby theme wedding styles we noticed:
The Venue: sets the stage and ambiance for the whole event. Choose wisely. The Vibiana in Los Angeles was the picture perfect backdrop for the stage of a Great Gatsby Wedding. It was grand, tall and vintage. It allowed for the grandeur of dramatic tablescapes, music and a feeling of “awe” when you walked in. Because of this, it did not need to be “made over” and forced to fit the theme. The theme was naturally enhanced because of the venue. Too many times clients have a theme and then choose a venue that they have to “convert” which costs a lot of time and unnecessary expense.
It’s All About Show. Show off a little bit. Everything – even the bars- are dramatic. What would Gatsby do? Instead of a rectangular bar or multiple bars throughout the event space to assist with traffic flow, consider a large semi-circle bar with multiple bartenders to keep the crowd moving so things do not bottle neck. “Frame” the bar visually with tall scrolling posts which hold gorgeous chandeliers hanging overhead. Have the bartenders dress the part of the era: either formal wear or more casual 1920’s attire. Focus on the visual element at eye level, but don’t forget height and the space above, too. Pay attention to how you display the alcohol behind the bar and use the glassware as part of the display. Don’t forget proper ambient lighting. Lighting companies such as LBPS Events have all the expertise on what will make your event “pop” and what to highlight. Have the budget for some real oppulence? Timing a fireworks show during the champagne toast is always a good way to leave an impression on guests.
Music: To me, music is almost as important – if not more important than- wine (gasp!). It permeates and sets the feel of an event in every way. Vintage bands are plentiful – instrumental or with vocals and insist that they dress the part to contribute to the ambiance. Not sure you want all vintage music? No problem. Consider alternating a vintage band with an uber amazing DJ who specializes in getting the party going and can even blend in hip modern hits with vintage charm (a pop version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, “Chambermaid Swing” and more) to keep the energy going and get even your modern-music-loving guests dancing.
Food and Beverage: What you serve is not as important as how it is presented and displayed. Right now a “late night snack” presentation/offering at weddings is very popular. Consider tray-passed mini hot dogs (with gourmet mustards),mini popcorn cups, tray-passed decadent desserts instead of or in addition to a formal wedding cake.
It’s In The Detail: For Late- Night Snacks, have catering staff dress in 1920’s flapper outfits and pass the late night snacks from a cigarette box to guests. Have your DJ dress in period attire down to his/her toes. Consider your rentals- what are your plates and glassware like? You don’t have to do “art deco” everything, but if your budget doesn’t allow for costumed-service staff, get your detailed “punch” with the feel in your dinner, serving and glassware.
So what Santa Barbara event venues are ideal for a vintage-themed Great Gatsby wedding? There are so many, but the top picks that come to mind include several private estates actually built in the 1920’s and in which you can actually feel the vibe of the roaring ’20’s and the parties which must have taken place there; Bacara Resort and Four Seasons Biltmore have the old California feel with the opulence and grandeur necessary for a Great Gatsby themed wedding and the Four Diamond luxury wine country inn: The Santa Ynez Inn. For more ideas on ideal vintage wedding locations in Santa Barbara, contact us.