Alright, Wonderstruck readers. The next step back into history that we are making is back into the Jazz Age of the 1940s. This is a great decade to place your themed wedding! Bebop, swing, Rosy the Riveter, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, and so many other iconic people, places, and notions are definitely inspiring as you plan your 1940s Jazz-themed wedding.
The most important thing to know about 1940s fashion when you are planning your wardrobe, is that you can go for two slightly different styles: during-the-war fashion, or post-war fashion. The biggest difference between the two is that during World War II, fabrics were rationed and so the motto of “less is more” was practiced – giving way to women having shorter skirts and being able to show off more legs! Post-war fashion was more expensive, stylish and feminine, using much more expensive fabrics in higher quantities. Either way, it’s your wedding so you can mix and match the during-the-war fashion with the post-war fashion as much as you care to.
Wedding dresses would often have Gibson sleeves, a sleeve that ended in a point, high necklines, a sweetheart shape, and especially in the late 40s, extra long trains and lace sheathing on the dress. The dress shown here is an example of a classic silhouette and style of a 1940s bride.
Brides, pair your dress with a chunky necklace and drop earrings (make sure they sparkle!), cork wedges or peep-toe pumps, and a hat with a short veil and glittery hat pin. Grooms, if you are a soldier, perhaps embrace the military uniform on your big day. Or for a non-military look, suit up in some high-waisted slacks, suspenders, a vest, and a bowtie. Or a double-breasted suit in a plaid or bright color. For your shoes, it’s no big surprise that Oxfords are still the style in this decade. Wingtips or ballroom dancing shoes will also work. Definitely wear some snazzy socks that will peep out from under your slacks as you dance the night away. Keep your hair slicked back and gleaming all night, or cover it up with a fedora!
If you want some more great inspiration for your wardrobe, check out Casablanca and Citizen Kane, two of the greatest films of all time and both from the 40s. We love Bogie’s dinner jacket!
Incorporate some popular toys from the 40s by placing them on your tables so that your guests are entertained during the natural lull that occurs after the ceremony is over and before the party starts. Magic 8 Balls, Silly Putty, Slinky, and Scrabble all originated from that decade and will add some great amusement, and hopefully some fantastic photographs. If you are really into Scrabble, like we know many of you are, there are about a hundred crafty things you can do with those word tiles and use them in your decoration, like place cards, napkin rings, bowl fillers, various signage, etc.
Since your theme is Jazz, decorate using sheets of music. Wrap your bouquets in them, use them as place mats, and underneath your table settings, create garlands. Seriously, endless possibilities with sheet music. Your table decorations can be incredibly simple with clean linens on round tables, and a single candlestick in the middle of the table. This will evoke a jazz club atmosphere.
Okay, the part you’ve been waiting for: Music. Obviously, you’re planning a Jazzy Forties wedding, so you must love jazz music from the era! Great 1940s jazz standards to mix into your playlist on your big night: standards from Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Cole Porter, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and so many more greats. Having a live band, or even a solo piano player, would especially make your Jazzy Forties wedding party exceptional. Our pick for the couple’s first : The Very Thought of You as sung by Billie Holiday. It’s divine.
What are you favorite ideas for a 1940s Jazz-themed wedding?