1940's Swing Era Wedding Theme Ideas

Written by elizabeth mackey
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1940's Swing Era Wedding Theme Ideas
1940s Wedding Theme Ideas (wedding rings image by Shawn Stallard from Fotolia.com)

If you are considering any themed wedding, you must decide the degree of authenticity that you want to include, especially a 1940s era wedding.This time period was marked by war, meaning young couples often married in a hurry and as cheaply as possible. Out of this need, house weddings became the rage as did Big Band receptions. When considering a highly authentic 1940s wedding, the style and decorations should revolve around a single word: simplicity. Colours should be simple with lots of white and a single accent colour. Black is usually a winner in this case. But remember, it is your wedding so make the theme work for you.

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When choosing a themed wedding, invitations become incredibly important. Not only do they officially invite your guests, but they prepare your guests for the theme so that no one arrives feeling out of place. Keeping to the theme of the 1940s, your invitations should be simple. A cream base with simple black lettering is a workable option or you could include a photo from that era somewhere on the invitation. The choice is yours. However, alongside the basic information in a wedding invitation, you must include the attire expected for guests. This is important so the theme can be enjoyed by everyone.


If you would like to modernise or adapt the house wedding idea for a bigger guest list, consider using a sizeable vintage house on a summer evening. This will allow you to either be inside or outside, using simple flower arrangements with lots of candles and wedding lights as your decorations. This simple, yet elegant, ambience will provide the perfect background for your choice in authenticity with the wedding attire and the reception. However, if you are feeling historical, you can always recite your vows on a WWII battleship with a few friends and family to celebrate. Use a version of the 1940s ceremony theme that is most comfortable for you. After all, the most important part of that day is saying "I do," not where you say it.


For the couple wanting a swing era wedding theme, Big Band music is a must. If you prefer to hire a D.J. for your wedding reception, pick music specifically from the 1940s or modern interpretations that do not stray too far from the original sound. While searching for a suitable band in your area may be difficult, live Big Band music will guarantee your guests a swingin' good time at your wedding.


A 40s themed wedding reception should generally be a party. Considering the location of your reception can also determine the degree of authenticity of your theme. You can choose an airport hanger or a local VFW and decorate it with 1940s war memorabilia. This, along with the Big Band music, will give your guests the feeling that they have stepped into a movie.

Female Attire

When it comes to the wedding dress, you have a couple of options. If you want a formal dress, think long and slim, with satin and organza as your main fabric choices. Another option for the dress is the suit. Many women wore classic 1940s suits in white because they often married so quickly. Short gloves and a hat with a small veil typically accented the suit. If you want to be truly authentic, look for vintage wedding dresses or suits, suit or dress patterns, or vintage store address on the Internet or in the phone book. Also, if you decide to have a Big Band reception, you can always find a swing era dress to change into while you dance your first married night away. The perfect accessory to any dress you choose for you 1940s wedding--red lipstick. This is a must, as is perfectly coiffed hair, which can most likely be done by your own hair stylist.

Male Attire

Depending on the authenticity of your wedding, the attire choice for men will vary. If you want an authentic wartime theme, then the wedding party and guests should opt for military uniforms. If, however, you want more of a formal wedding without the war theme, pinstripe suits are the answer. Another possibility lies in light and white seersucker suits if your wedding is outside in the summer. This stays true to the era while being practical for summer heat.

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