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Motown Themed Weddings: A Retro Return To The 60's

Updated on June 20, 2016

So many themes and (hopefully!) only one wedding! How is a couple ever going to choose? There's the oh-so-trendy Indian theme wedding all the celebrities are doing now, the Victorian wedding that's trending all the way into 2015, the fairy tale themed wedding complete with pumpkin coach...but they all sound pretty pricey, don't they? Well, here's a theme that's fun, easy to pull off, trendy, the all important retro, and easy on the wallet...the Motown themed wedding! A bride I'm working with is pulling some Motown elements into her reception as a way to honor her father who loves Motown music. Her DJ has his list ready of the top 100 Motown songs, plus a list of favorites complied by her father with absolutely no explanation of why they were needed (it's a surprise for him!), and even a Motown-themed candy buffet! However, these things are just small nods to an amazing era. I say go all out and plan a fantastic Motown-themed wedding with all the trimmings...can you dig it?!

Black & White Color Theme

What other color scheme could be more perfect for a Motown themed wedding than black & white? Television in most homes was black & white, the civil rights movement was in its heydey, the photography was in many cases still black & white, it just makes sense. Black & white would be perfect for the bride and groom's attire as well as the rest of the wedding party.You could always throw in a little aqua or pink for good measure and as a contrast color, but basic black and white...that's where it's at!


Save The Date & Wedding Invitations: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

A great idea for your Save The Date cards is cards that are made to look like 45 records. You could design your own if you are graphically inclined using the Motown record label as your inspiration or there are some sites online that will design them for you. They'd be a great way to show your guests in advance what the theme of the wedding is, so they could be practicing their dance moves like the HitchHike, the Monkey, the Pony, the Frug, and the Mashed Potato! Or they could be shopping for that great vintage dress or suit to wear!

You could make your own invites from black & white cardstock with a piece of thin velvet ribbon and a pretty silver button to set them off or incorporate your favorite Motown song into the wording of the invite. How about "Endless Love," "When A Man Loves A Woman," or "It Takes Two." What about "You Can't Hurry Love" for the couple who no one thought would ever tie the knot? For your RSVP cards, you could use "I'll Be There." This is a theme you can have some real fun with since they were so many fabulous love songs during the Motown era.

Make Your Own Motown Invitations!


60's Style Wedding Dress

Channel your inner Diana Ross with a mini dress or a simple A-line full length wedding dress with a scalloped, boat, or round neck with an empire waist. A-lines are flattering on almost everyone, if you're thin, they make you look thinner and if you're on the chunky side, the empire and A-line together hide a multitude of sins! Sixties fashions were very classic. They loved small stand-up collars on their dresses and short jackets. Lace was very popular for wedding dresses, the old fashioned tablecloth kind of lace as well as very expensive looking and heavy satin. Other than the mini, they really weren't into showing a lot of skin. Veils were short and flyaway or if long, had a long lace border edging them. If the dress had three-quarter length sleeves, as many 60's dresses did, the bride wore short gloves. If wedding dresses were sleeveless, they wore above the elbow gloves. You could add a fun pop of color by wearing colored shoes and matching gloves with your white wedding dress. Search thrift stores for dresses that would work with alterations or there are some places on line that sell vintage wedding dresses. If you know someone who sews, there are also plenty of wedding dress patterns still out there.

Retro Wedding Wear for the Groom

So the bride and bridesmaids are taken care of and are styling in their empire dresses or full circle skirt swirl dresses, but what are the men wearing? Use pictures of the Motown guy groups from the 60's as your style inspiration. Pants for men by today's standards would be considered too short, very straight legged, and slim fitting. Jackets were also short and worn with white shirts and very thin ties or bow ties. Shoes were very shiny lace-up oxfords or slip-ons and sometimes two-toned.


The Motown Themed Soda or Candy Buffet

If you were a kid in the 60's, there were tons of what we called then "penny candies", called that because, shock alert! they only cost a penny! There are companies that sell retro candy from the 50's, 60's, and 70's in bulk that would be a fabulous way to stock your Motown-themed candy buffet. The theme of your candy buffet could be "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" or "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch"!

Back in the day, before soda was put into cans, so it acquired that tin can taste, soda was put in glass bottles. You saved the bottle and traded it in at the store for a few cents, so you could buy some penny candy with the money or save up for that new bicycle. It was the ultimate in recycling! A cute idea to go with the candy buffet or as a stand alone is a soda buffet. Many companies sell the 6 oz. or 12 oz. bottles of soda like Coke, Nehi and Fanta grape or orange, or even root beer. It's colorful, fun, and you could even give bottle openers as wedding favors!

Here are some great retro candies you could include in your Motown candy buffet:

Candy Necklaces

Bubble Gum Cigars

Candy Cigarettes

Caramel Creams


Necco Wafers


Mary Janes

Boston Baked Beans

Double Bubble Gum


Fruit Stripe Gum

Sugar Daddy

Tootsie Pops

Teaberry Gum




Motown Wedding Favors

Besides the bottle openers I suggested to go along with the bottled soda, cat-eye sunglasses would be a fun favor, or if you're doing the candy or soda buffet, you could skip favors altogether. Although a CD of your favorite Motown songs would be nice, there are copyright infringement issues to be considered when you are downloading songs to make your own CD for distribution, even if it's not a CD that will be sold. So think about that one before you do it. A fun thing to do in lieu of favors would be to set up a photo booth with records all over the walls, (Xerox copies is fine), and some 60's props like pillbox hats, cat eye and hornrimmed glasses for guests to dress up in and mug for the camera. You could even use a Motown record as your guest book, having guests sign in silver or white fine point paint marker.

60's Wedding Cake Topper

Your Motown Inspired Wedding Cake

Sixties style wedding cakes were nowhere near as elaborate as cakes are today.They rarely had color and the cake topper was the traditional bride and groom, bells, or birds. Fondant was pretty much unheard of for the time and buttercream frosting was used instead. Sometimes more elaborate cakes might have fountains or staircases winding around the sides, but the general design was white on white with lots of icing roses.

No More Wedding Bell Blues

Retro weddings are so popular right now and Motown is at the top of the list of fun and fabulous wedding themes. With a little thought, research, and inspiration "My Guy" and "My Girl" can tie the knot at a wedding that will be talked about by their friends for years!


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    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Samantha, you are incredibly talented. I love the black invitations and am glad to give you a shout-out! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Samantha Prendergast 

      7 years ago

      The black invitations are made by me xx lots of fun making something a little different.

      I love Motown and the whole feel of it its fab xxx

      Really nice article.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, RBS. If I could ever find my handsome second time around prince, I'd do the same!

    • profile image

      RedBone Spice 

      8 years ago

      I'll be using some of these ideas for my 10TH Wedding Anniversary this August 2012. My husband and I love Motown

      music. Great article.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, HTodd. Love the Motown theme! Thanks for reading!

    • htodd profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great post..nice

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Marsha, me too. I won't tell if you won' t! Thanks gor stopping by.

    • Marsha H profile image

      Marsha H 

      8 years ago from My Retro Kitchen in NY

      Too bad I didn't read your hub before I got married... I'm a Motown music fan.

      (Don't tell anyone, but I know all the words to most Motown songs.)

      Great Hub. And a big +vote up :)

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, MRK, glad you stopped by!

    • mrkterhune profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article, Thanks for sharing.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, Uniquewriter, glad you enjoyed it!

    • uniquewriter profile image


      8 years ago from London.UK

      Very very well done. Beautiful article.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      You just named one of my favorite songs of all time. It used to be on my phone as my ring tone! And btw, guys viewpoints are welcome here!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hi diyweddingplanner, forgive the lower case, i'm trying to speak softly, being as i'm a lone man amongst women here...but i just wanted to suggest one more song from the motown pantheon - maybe a little edgier than your excellent list - but every bride is entitled to a little 'r-e-s-p-e-c-t' isn't she? if you wanna take a quick look, i've recently loaded a hub about getting married (no, really, i have..)and included a clip of aretha demanding it as only she can...perfect for the reception (imo). don't want to clutter your hub with a link, but if you go to my profile you'll find it this whole motown thing btw.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, Silvie! Haven't seen you around for ages!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Loved this Hub! Great Job.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Thanks, Tess! I think we both would love to have this one if we could get a do-over!

    • Tess45 profile image


      8 years ago from South Carolina

      I think this is my favorite hub so far! Awesome job. Voted you up!


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