In the 1950s, life in Ireland was dramatically different than life in the USA. Ireland was struggling with widespread economic hardship, but society was enjoying a nearly non-existent level of crime and the comforts of close-knit communities. Meanwhile, in the USA, the post-war boom was in full swing.
Social mores were changing – becoming more conservative in some ways, and more flamboyant in others. It was the era of poodle skirts, Elvis, and drive-in movies. Big screen hits included Father of the Bride, A Streetcar Named Desire, High Noon, Singing in the Rain, War of the Worlds and Rebel Without a Cause. Televisions programmes like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best set the wholesome tone for much of society, while I Love Lucy also reigned.
Weddings there quickly morphed from quick, simple affairs organized around the groom’s military obligations to extravagant celebrations, and so did the 50s wedding fashion. This is when the diamond became the most popular gem for engagement rings. A powerful campaign from De Beers coincided with a rapid rise in incomes and financial confidence.
ENGAGEMENT RINGS FROM THE 1950S OFTEN FEATURE ONE CENTRAL DIAMOND FLANKED BY SMALLER DIAMONDS. TWO OF THE MOST POPULAR DIAMOND CUTS IN THIS ERA WERE EMERALD AND MARQUISE.
Engagement rings from this era often feature a single diamond, but what else did the brides wear? The sweetheart neckline debuted in the 1950s, often with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. These styles are great for curvy ladies. Lacy, frilly fabrics were popular. Wedding dresses got a little shorter, with hems usually ankle, tea, or ballerina length. Bonus: it is easier to dance in these styles than in longer dresses. Rising hems also brought more attention to the bride’s shoes. Gloves were a popular accessory for brides, particularly fingerless ones which allowed them to show off those diamond engagement rings.
While vintage engagement rings and wedding rings for women are plentiful, it wasn’t until World War Two that wedding rings for men became the norm. They caught on because couples were often separated for long periods when the husband was enlisted. Men’s wedding rings older than the 1940s are harder to find.
Although some details are fun to plan, choosing a vintage theme wedding doesn’t mean your planning has to turn into history quiz. You can pick the aspects of the era that you love and ignore the others. After all, this is a celebration of your relationship. Mix and match to create an event that gives you joy! Go for a rockabilly theme or take your inspiration from Grace Kelly’s 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier. Stick with a 1950s wedding dress and vintage engagement ring or go all out with a sock hop at your reception.
An American-style 1950s wedding theme gives you a chance for a reception that rocks around the clock. Dances such as the twist, the Madison and the bunny hop are easy and fun. A diner-style menu featuring burgers, fries and milkshakes makes a stand-out change from the usual options. It’s all up to you.