Retro Beach It

My husband’s grandma was a dear lady and a woman we’re just now truly discovering through the journals, pictures, and letters she left behind.

Betty Boone Barler Barnhill Clark was altogether fabulous in her day- lounging around the patrician corridors of DC and Miami in the maillot of the moment, languishing poolside whilst the bulbs of Town and Country popped around her. Her journals literally say: “in Town and Country . . . again.” Like- what a draaag, Betts. (wink)

Her lifestyle got me to thinking about all things retro beach, vintage boardwalk, old Miami . . .

So here’s your background music:

Gotta love LaVern.

I imagine Betty’s afternoons were all beach blanket bingo and longboard surfing, but she watched idly from her plush perch:

Beach Party Vintage girls Longboard surfing Retro Postcard

I imagine her friends’ homes had fabulous Heywood Wakefield bamboo furniture:

Coastal Living Throwback

I bet they occasionally let their hair down by visiting the boardwalks and the ferris wheels of their time . . .

Coney Island

From this, I think we have a ton of takeaways for wedding and event design, inspired by Betty’s meanderings and the recent glittery sunny days in Charleston.

Here, the latest “un-rules”:

1. Have a fruity drink as your signature cocktail.

Let’s not take ourselves so seriously, shall we? Ditch the overwrought for the oft-overlooked cocktail umbrella and whimsical pineapple wedge.

Fruity drink

2. Keep it simple.

Truffles and foie gras have their place, but everyone loves retro hors d’oeuvres and PIABs are no exception. Spice it up by creating a white truffle mayo if you must.

Pigs in a blanket

3. Take a walk on the wild side.

Embrace color, and network with locals. Find an interior designer, antique dealer, or “junque” shop owner to rent you cool furniture for the reception. Imagine a pair of these chairs in the mix?!

Funky chair

4. Rhyming is your friend.

Think Havana, cabana, banana…and channel old Cuba for a throwback tropical vibe. Crusty, faded colors. Cabanas for your guests. Banana split stations for late night snacks. White dinner jackets for that Casablanca feel.

Old Havana Zgallerie Cabana Banana split Casablanca

5. Pick up some party favors.

Get a little silly for your photographer . . .  have your planner or your band leader break out these goodies late night for some laughs.

Mustaches on a stick

What vibe will you channel at your wedding?