Preparations (70) Ccsz

A Roaring Twenties Rendezvous

Brides Take a Page from the Past with 1920s-Themed Weddings

By Rebecca Padgett // Photo by Black & Hue Photography


Glistening gold drips from the art deco decor. Champagne towers overflow and flasks of moonshine are slyly passed. Women in beaded, jewel-tone dresses dance to a live jazz band with men in their dashing tuxedos. The party is in full swing, but all eyes are on the bride — not Jay Gatsby.

Since the release of the lavishly revamped “Great Gatsby” in 2013, couples have written favorable endings to Jay and Daisy’s story with their own 1920s themed weddings. The extravagance and luxury of the period have moved from the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest work to wedding venues nationwide. Northwest Florida may be far removed from the hustle and bustle that characterized New York City in the Roaring ’20s, but high glamour can still be achieved here.

When wedding planners look past the region’s unmatched blend of beautiful beaches and wildlife and think “big city,” they’re likely to be drawn to Tallahassee. The capital city is booming with urban enhancements but retains much of its past.

“If you walk around downtown Tallahassee, it is like a movie set recreating the 1920s with brick buildings, wrap around balconies, gas lamps, magnolias and live oaks,” said Jay Revell, executive director of Tallahassee Downtown.

“Your entire wedding weekend could revolve around the ’20s theme in downtown,” he continued. “The groomsmen could gather and smoke cigars on the balcony at the Governor’s Club, then be fitted for tuxes at Nic’s Toggery. A bridal brunch could take place at one of the many historic homes or The Double Tree. The ceremony could occur at the chain of parks under the sparkling lights hung from live oaks and then the couple could ride off in a vintage car down the brick streets.”

The Edison restaurant, formerly the city’s electric and light plant, occupies a building constructed in 1921. The magnificent brick structure no longer provides power to the city, but instead provides residents with captivating ambience and innovative cuisine.

“The building lends itself to the Roaring ’20s theme with its brass and copper fixtures, the mirrors, the lighting, the exposed brick and the speakeasy-style bar with Prohibition-inspired cocktails,” said Melinda McDaniel, director of special events at The Edison. “If you choose the ’20s theme, we are equipped to bring you the elegance and carefree spirit of that time period.”

A venue brimming with history yearns to be filled with sparkling gold accents, peacock feathers, steamer trunks, vintage chairs and couches, cut-glass decanters and antique books.

And one must, of course, dress the part. For the bride, a vintage lace dress or beaded drop waist gown accompanied by pinned curls and pearls. Her flappers — otherwise known as bridesmaids — would look ravishing in jewel-tone dresses. Satin headbands adorned with feathers or long strands of pearls make for vintage accessories. As for the gentlemen, they’d look rather dapper in tuxedos, bowties and slicked back hair — and don’t forget the personalized flasks concealed in their pockets.

Remember that alcohol is a luxury and a self-indulgent secret. Libations might include champagne towers, bathtub gin and under-the-table moonshine. Guests might nosh on hors d’oeuvres served on gold platters or be seated for more formal fare.

“For a 1920s-themed menu, I envision extravagance,” said John Minas, The Edison’s executive chef. “Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, flat iron steak with Delmonico potatoes, lobster tails with butter sauce, mussels, clams and caviar. Old-school French desserts were popular, and a flambéing meringue would be a fun touch.”

Whether you are looking to go all out, as a true Gatsby would, or just add a touch of beloved vintage to your big day, this classic look has staying power. As Fitzgerald once said, “I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.”