Music for Your Vintage Themed Wedding

by Karen

The proposal has been accepted and the plans for the wedding are afoot. You have your dress and have chosen the bridal party. The venue has been decided on and a theme has taken shape. Next you will need music for your vintage themed wedding celebration that will enhance the theme and express your mood for the big day. So, let’s look at a timeline of various artists and music styles through the years to help you choose some vintage music for your wedding and reception. 1890-1910 This time period was a hodgepodge of music. In the late 1800s many were still listening to classical music; Mozart, Brahms, and so on. But this was also the ‘golden age’ for many composers. And the first burlesque establishment opened in 1890. During the first part of the 1900s, vaudeville was coming on the scene and opera was still holding on. However, many more exciting events were taking shape as well. Women were getting more involved in traveling music shows and African American musicians were being recognized. By 1910, cowboy songs, folk music, and orchestras were crashing into the start of the ragtime era. So, what kind of music should you play from this era for a vintage wedding? This timeframe was an eclectic mix, and it would be a great idea to incorporate as many styles and artists as possible. Here is a short playlist for you to start with:
  • Peerless Quartet, 1910, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”
  • Hayden Quartet, 1904, “Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of my Heart)
  • Bill Murray, 1906, “The Grand Ole Rag”
  • Harry MacDonough and Grace Spencer, 1901, “Tell Me Pretty Maiden”
  • Blanche Ring, 1909, “I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers”
1910-1930 Now we enter a truly fun era of music. From 1910 to the late 1930s jazz, blues, and ragtime ruled the party scene. Of course there were other genres of music out there taking shape, but the roaring twenties didn’t come so much from these places. Planning a wedding or reception with a vintage theme from this era will make your head spin; but, it will be so much fun. Here is a quick playlist to get your toes tapping:
  • Charles Harrison, 1918, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”
  • American Quartet, 1912, “Moonlight Bay”
  • Van & Shenk, 1917, “Me and My Gal”
  • George Gershwin, 1924, “Rhapsody in Blue”
  • Isham Jones, 1924, “It Had to be You”
  • Gertrude Lawrence, 1927, “Someone to Watch Over Me”
1930-1950 Oh, how to choose songs from this era! This is my favorite time for music. The dancing and fashion and fun were absolutely divine. From the early 1930s to the late 1940s Art Deco, Big Band, Blues, and Jazz co-existed for a transformation of society. Through prohibition and the Great Depression, music lent its soul to the masses. This short list of vintage music is only the tip of the iceberg and there are so many more songs I could add, of course, but, I only have so much space:
  • Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees, 1929, “Honey”
  • Glenn Miller, 1939, “Moonlight Serenade”
  • Fred Astaire, 1934, “Cheek to Cheek” and 1936, “The Way You Look Tonight”
  • Fats Walker, 1934, “Honeysuckle Rose”
  • Francis Craig, 1947, “Near You”
  • Perry Como, 1945, “Till the End of Time”
1950-1970 To some, this period is not yet vintage enough for this list. But, I couldn’t exclude it. There is so much to include from the early 1950s through to the late 1960s that has to be on this list. Your vintage wedding, no matter the theme should include music that is just great, no matter the time period it was created. A few for your list:
  • Doris Day, 1956, “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
  • Nat King Cole, 1950, “Mona Lisa”
  • Patti Page, 1950, “Tennessee Waltz”
  • Pat Boone, 1957, “Love Letters in the Sand”
  • Roy Orbison, 1964, “Oh Pretty Woman”
  • The Beetles, 1967, “All You Need is Love”
By no means are these playlists exhaustive. When planning your reception be sure to look for a few more songs from the theme era you have decided on and give the list to your DJ well in advance. Some of these tracks will be a little tough for the DJ to acquire.

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