Before we look at vintage wedding food ideas, we have to define what a vintage wedding is. The definition of the word vintage is the year or place in which wine, especially wine of high quality, was produced. The part of this definition that applies to Vintage Weddings is to identify what era your wedding theme is going to be based on. A 1920’s style wedding offers up different foods than a 1950s-themed wedding. If you want a truly vintage style menu for your wedding, don’t mix vintage eras, but stay true to the theme you’ve chosen.
The most popular eras for vintage weddings today are the 1920s, 1940s and 1950s, so for this blog, we’ll look at ideas for those three decades.
Vintage Wedding Menu Ideas
The 1920s was an era of dramatic changes known as the Roaring 20s and the Jazz Age, and motion pictures were introduced. It was an age of prosperity and offers a wide variety of options when planning your vintage menu.
- Finger foods: deviled eggs, tea sandwiches, mushrooms stuffed with pimientos, shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon canapés
- Salad: You can make this optional because according to food historian Krishnendu Ray, at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, “many thought salads to be effeminate and French,” and so they were missing from the menu. Salads did make a comeback though with the invention of the Caesar Salad made from romaine lettuce, Romano cheese, bread, olive oil and some eggs.
- Entrée: Baked Ham soaked and rolled in liquor and breadcrumbs served with celery stuffed with cream cheese and red pimentos, carrots and peas, and potatoes with cheese.
- Dessert: Walnut bread or caramel custard
If you go with a big band theme your menu will be different than choosing an afternoon tea which highlights a buffet of cakes paired with tea served in mismatched cups. During WWII, with rationing, food served at a wedding would be limited, but 1940’s American cuisine offers a wide variety of tasty menu options. Here are a few options to inspire your choices:
- Salad: Mix cooked green beans cut into 1 in. lengths, diced cooked potato, and a large lettuce shredded. Decorate with sliced tomato and a few chopped spring onions
- Soup: Wartime pumpkin soup, cream of potato soup, or clam chowder
- Entrée: Deviled chicken served with sweet and sour carrots
- Dessert: Cola Marsh Ice (made with marshmallows, cola, salt and lemon juice and sliced for best presentation), or banana shortcake
In the post WWII 1950s things changed. We had drive-in theaters, TV dinners, beatniks, I Love Lucy, and society loved to dance.
- Salad: the 1950s was the era of salads made with Jell-O. For your menu consider molded Jell-O made with cottage cheese and canned fruit. Greens salads should be made with iceberg lettuce served with French dressing or a vinaigrette.
- Appetizer: Deviled eggs, fondue, or fruit skewers. For a more casual wedding serve up celery and Cheese Whiz
- Entrees: Roast or Swedish meatballs, with mashed potatoes and corn or green beans. For a casual wedding individual pot pies are a good choice. For something between casual and elegant, serve steak with fries.
- Dessert: Fruit cup, or ice cream banana split.
Jordan Almond Wedding FavorsJordan almond wedding favors are a common tradition that crosses decades and carries a special meaning. Make this tradition compatible to your wedding theme by packaging them in era-specific small glass bowls or decorative boxes, but be sure to include a small card that explains the meaning of the candies with your guests using this traditional poem:
Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife –Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
These ideas just begin to scratch the surface of vintage dining. Once you know your wedding theme, decide on dishes keeping with that theme. The main goal should be to keep it fun. You want your guests to feel like they are at a celebration.