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Something Old: Renting Vintage For Your Wedding

Minnesota’s vintage collectors offer an array of rentals that add charm, history and whimsy to modern-day weddings.

Chances are most brides-to-be have heard the phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” In fact, most have probably recited the poem at some point during the wedding-planning process, ensuring that each requirement was satisfied by, well, something. But in a world where newer is better, where does today’s bride find that something old? Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who can pull off wearing your grandma’s wedding gown, or perhaps you inherited an engagement ring from your great aunt. If you’re not so lucky, don’t fret, for there’s a new trend in town—vintage rentals. 

“The recession has made people nostalgic for simpler times,” says Amanda Ryan, owner of Lime Canary Vintage Rentals in Minneapolis. Indeed, in a society that thrives on mass-produced everything, it’s getting harder to find decorative items with character—items that add a unique touch to your wedding day. But think beyond a lace veil here and a piece of costume jewelry there. In fact, think outside the hatbox and infuse every facet of your fairytale day with extraordinary pieces that will leave a lasting impression on you and your guests. 

Turn back time
If you’re wondering whether vintage rental is right for you, consider your wedding theme, location and your own tastes. “Naturally, if you want a modern, streamlined wedding, vintage rentals probably aren’t the way to go,” says Sarah Dreher, owner of On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals in Minneapolis; if that’s the case, there’s always your great-aunt’s engagement ring for that something old. That said, Dreher believes that vintage décor and furnishings can fit into a wide variety of settings, as long as you find the right pieces. Ryan agrees, adding, “Pieces from the past allow brides, family and guests to connect on another level. They see old items that might remind them of their own past and stir up memories. That’s a great element to have at a wedding.” 

Besides making your guests feel warm and fuzzy, vintage pieces lend themselves nicely to making your own wedding-day dreams come true. “There is something so magical about vintage-themed events,” says Caitlin LeVesseur, owner of Antique Door Vintage Rentals in Minneapolis. “It’s as if you’re stepping out of reality back into a place where time moves slower. There’s beauty in every detail, and there’s a sensation of undeniable romance. As little girls, we play dress-up and put ourselves in that fairytale. We dream of meeting our Prince Charming and turning that fairytale into reality. I live for creating that magical place, that fairytale, for the bride.” 

Sit a spell
The word “vintage” often conjures images of old jewelry or one-of-a-kind garments, but there’s a plethora of antique finds that add a special touch to ceremony and reception décor. “One of the biggest trends I’m seeing is using vintage pieces to create lounge areas,” Dreher says. “This typically includes an antique sofa, a couple of chairs, a coffee table and interesting tabletop items that reflect the couple.” Ryan believes such lounges help facilitate one-on-one conversations. “Brides want to create intimate seating areas that encourage guests to sit down and talk to one another,” she says. “I’m also seeing very eclectic designs and styles as brides are mixing and matching all kinds of pieces to create interest.” 

If you love the idea of a vintage lounge but are a tad wary of what, exactly, you’re getting yourself into, rest assured—most pieces are lovingly restored. “My favorite find is ‘Millicent,’ a loveseat I rescued off of Craigslist,” Ryan says. “She had a beautiful frame, but her upholstery was shabby and torn. Now that Millicent has been reupholstered in black velvet—every girl needs a little black dress, after all—she is a chameleon and looks great in a farm setting or a grand hotel ballroom.” In fact, Ryan says many of Lime Canary’s treasures are suited for any theme in which a vintage vibe is desired. “That’s the reason I love vintage so much,” she says. “It’s versatile and can create an intimate feel for guests, whether they’re in the endless outdoors or in the confines of a hotel.”

Charmed, I’m sure
Vintage isn’t limited to loveseats and coffee tables—brides can rent a myriad of items including tables, sofas, doors, windows, pillars, wood crates, typewriters and books. “One of my current favorites is old mason jars,” LeVesseur says. “I use them for everything from flower vases and lanterns to drinking glasses. The best part of antique pieces is that there are no set rules as to how to use them—you can let your creativity run wild.” In addition to mason jars, LeVesseur also likes to fill vintage washtubs with ice and use them to hold bottled beverages.

And don’t forget about dinnerware, another sought-after vintage item. “My collection of vintage mismatched china plates is probably my most popular item,” Dreher says. “They are a practical necessity and allow brides to have the vintage feel without blowing the budget.” 

You can even go vintage with another rental necessity—transportation. “Brides use our buses, most of which are classic Twin Cities transit buses from the 1950s, to transport the wedding party and guests from the ceremony to the reception,” says Tom Klein, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul. “The wedding party likes the fact that most people arrive on time for dinner; guests like that it’s one fun, big, continuous party.”  

Whether you dip your toes into vintage with a few carefully chosen pieces, or dive head first into a full-fledged vintage theme, one thing is certain: Your “happily ever after” will be one-of-a-kind.

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