My little, old-fashioned DIY wedding

For all thee old souls getting married, you don’t have to sacrifice your vintage soul for a modern-day wedding. DIY or buy the right decor to suit your un-modern tastes.

Bride and Groom sign on back of chair, Little Swan Lake Winery
our wedding at Little Swan Lake Winery (Photo by Brandee Douglas)

My husband and I both enjoy digging for antique treasures at flea markets and estate sales. We fell in love in Europe, both with each other, and with the historic architecture and countryside villages. When he proposed and we considered our wedding day style, old-world charm was at the top of the list. After a couple short months of planning the budget-friendly details, we enjoyed a vintage, romance-filled wedding day that suited us both perfectly.

Follow Native Gypsies’s board Native Gypsies Vintage Romance Wedding on Pinterest.


Since we were having a small wedding where everyone was a close loved one, I didn’t see the need for formal invitations. Rather than traditional invites, they were designed to look like postcards from the early 1900s. In my home, I have framed postcards from Europe from my relatives who sent ornate, cursive-written notes to the states. If you want something non-traditional for your wedding invites, consider what type of graphics and art you and your partner are drawn to. Designer and fellow Native Gypsy Makie designed the cards based on this French postcard-style inspiration I shared with her.


native-gypsies-vintage-postcard-wedding-invite-inspiration vintage-postcard-wedding-invite-inspiration-native-gypsies

Native Gypsies Bride: Brooke Ziegler (vintage postcard inspired wedding invitation)
Front of our vintage-inspired postcard wedding invitation
Postcard inspired wedding invitation (back of card)

The Venue

Out of a whole world of options to choose from, we chose to get married nearly in our back yard.

Church of the Good Shepherd Blue Earth MN
Photo by Ana Ankeny Photography

The historical society in our county gave us a tour of several of their buildings (all of which I’d like to host an early 1900s costume party in), and we chose a church built in 1872 for the ceremony. The dark wood and stained glass windows in the church were deep and romantic, setting the mood for our winter wedding.

Church of the Good Shepherd Blue Earth MN Ziegler Hussey Wedding
1872 Historical Church Minnesota wedding

For our reception, we picked a country barn winery we have visited a few times to listen to local music. It was the ideal setting for a hearty meal, foot-stomping guitar music and our small, intimate wedding party. Plus, the farm girl in me can’t pass up a good barn.

Little Swan Lake Winery
Brooke’s wedding at Little Swan Lake Winery

The Decorations

Since both the ceremony and reception hall were so charming on their own, we didn’t need (or want) to do much to enhance their beauty. I mixed antiques from my home (and the homes of the women in my family) with DIY craft projects.

wedding ceremony sign-in table

At the sign-in table at the ceremony, a frame that read “Please sign, write a note, or whatever floats your boat”. I painted the inside of the back of old frames with chalkboard paint, and wrote messages in cursive with chalk marker. Instead of a guest book, we framed a few photos (that would fit into our wedding album) of us from our engagement shoot that friends and family could write messages on. This saved both money for a guest book, and space in our home to keep it in after the wedding.

The card box (shown behind frame) was created by my niece, who gifted it to us as a memento box for keepsakes after the wedding. I was originally planning to use a bird cage salvaged from a barn, but even old junk (close to my heart) can’t beat a DIY craft from family.

mason jar dried floral arrangements
mason jar dried hydrangea floral arrangements

All of the table floral arrangements were created by my mother. I was supposed to create them with her, but in true Ziegler fashion, she finished them hours before my planned arrival. The women in my family and I collected dried flowers from our yards for the wedding. Since dried hydrangeas can be messy, my mom placed any shed petals into the base of the mason jars. My eco-conscious mind felt guilt-free about the waste-free table decorations.

The tea cups held tea light candles, and telephone pole insulators were spread amongst the tables for decoration.

Japanese Lanterns from my home: tasty decor

Even the owner of the winery was intrigued by the Japanese lanterns from my backyard. They are tasty little treats to eat in the Fall, and they retain their bold orange color when dry. The above photo was taken at my home several weeks before the wedding, when I was eating the lantern berries as quickly as I was drying their husks for floral arrangements.

vintage wine charms from Joann Fabric
Joann Fabric vintage wine charms

For wedding favors, all the guests received a natural product-filled goodie bag and decorative chalkboard wine charms.

Grandma’s hats

My grandma’s vintage hats (used as a centerpiece on the larger tables) were a hit among the flower girls (and a few of the adult guests as the night went on).

Click to read the Native Gypsies DIY Flower Girl Wedding Garter how-to

Speaking of these cute little flower girls, I crafted Roaring 20s style flower girl garters for them to wear. My Great Gatsby bridal garter was so beautiful, I thought it a shame that it was hidden. See my vintage romance wedding dress and accessories, that matched the setting for our old-fashioned wedding.

vintage paper frames

To display photos at the reception, we used vintage paper frames (from my parents home) and attached snapshots to clothespins clipped onto an old muntin bar window (from my sister) wrapped with twine.


The curtains at the winery were made from strips of fabric attached to a strip of twine (serving as the curtain rod), so I made a white DIY shredded curtain strip to place behind the head table. Since the head table ended up not backing up to a wall, I placed the white ribbon curtain (shown in venue overhead image of Little Swan Lake Winery earlier in this post) above a walkway.

DIY shredded ribbon curtain

This curtain came from a bedroom at our house, placed by the previous owner. I’d taken it down when the bedroom received a makeover, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw the curtain out. This is why I hate to throw things out. You never know when your trash will have the opportunity to become treasure again. Because this was already a curtain (complete with rod pockets to slide a rod, stick or twine through), I didn’t need to tie each shredded ribbon panel to twine. Big time saver!

Hauling the decorations down to the venue with my family.

My original idea was to bring mismatched antique dish sets for the dinner, but my (not-quite) china from home didn’t make the final cut when we hauled our decorations down to the winery.

Amboy Cottage tea cups

We were still able to use antique cups (which we brought in to the venue from our favorite local cafe) for the soup portion of the meal.

While we compromised on some of our wedding ideas (ie. I wanted to get married in my dad’s woods in winter and everyone but my dear dad thought I was crazy), we were able to have the wedding we both wanted and never wanted to end. We didn’t worry what was or wasn’t perfect (it’s never going to be perfect). We reused and upcycled antiques, which both fit our style and was budget-friendly. And most importantly, we enjoyed ourselves!

After the wedding festivities were over, we were completely exhausted and utterly happy. I wish you all an exhausting, loving wedding day filled with immeasurable happy moments.


*Thank you to Chuck Hunt and the Register for sharing our wedding story.






About Brooke ↞ Farm girl with a gypsy heart. Life-long obsession for junking and all things vintage. Working on on being a wife & mama, our next travel adventure, enjoying the little moments, colorful salads and a healthy earth. ↠ Read About BrookeRead more posts by Brooke

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