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be inspired: vintage weddings

Resolving Wedding Dress Dilemmas

Wondering what will suit you, what is a reasonable amount to spend on a dress, how you will know when you have found ‘the one’, what happens if you don’t find something immediately, how far in advance of the wedding do you start looking. These are questions every bride struggles with, so it is normal that you ask them. After all, it is a big day and all eyes are upon you. It is normal that you want to look your very best.

 
Here are some of our top tips to put your mind at ease:
 
Plan Ahead
Always allow for plenty of time when it comes to wedding dress shopping. It is not something you want to rush. Hitting the panic button because you fear you wont find what you want in time, is not much fun. It is not just finding the dress that takes time either. Remember to always factor in order and delivery time, dress fitting sessions and alterations, the search for shoes and other complements to bring the whole wedding ensemble together.
 
Keep an Open Mind
Let go of that ‘dream’ dress. While that might sound like madness, it will make sense it you keep reading! What may look great on the page of a glossy bridal magazine, may not look good on you, not matter what you do. Now we know how much this realization may disappoint but you need to feel fabulous when you wear your wedding dress and you might need to accept, that the best fit, might come from the most unexpected design. Your ‘dream’ dress is the one that will suit your height, frame, weight, and even your personality. Keeping an open mind and trying on styles that you have never before considered, will open you up to finding the dress with that ‘wow’ factor. Let the dress fit you, rather than you try to fit the dress….if you get what we mean.
 
Ordering Online
Don’t be afraid to order online. There are some great dresses to be had at amazing prices and nearly half than off-the-shelf ones. Don’t let anyone kid you either that it takes the fun out of wedding dress shopping – sit down with your besties and surf away. I mean, where else in the world can you open up some wine and order in pizza while embarking on the wedding dress hunt! We do advise however, that you always check out terms and conditions, returns and reviews. It is also worth ensuring that you can get on the phone and talk through your choices with someone. Bridal dress assistants are great dress vs body shape judges and will be able to guide you through your selection. Remember that matching the dress to the bride is their living, so it is worth taking advantage of this experience. Be also sure to yourself properly measured so you can find the perfect fit.
 
Alterations
Bar re-designing the dress, there are always ways you can personalize it. Adding a little touch of something here or there, adding in or taking out the straps, adorning with gloves, bolero jackets, jewellery and hair pieces can go a long way in making a big difference.
 
Style
Whether you plan to order online for that bargain buy or not, there is nothing to say you can’t try on a variety of different style wedding dresses at your local bridal to find the shape that best suits you. As we mentioned, until you try, you never know. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and try on some recommendations. I mean, if nothing else, just have some fun!

 


 
Budget
Money is never an easy subject but if you don’t have it, you can’t magic it. We strongly advise against loans or spending well above what you can afford. Don’t allow society, friends or family to guilt trip you into spending more than you are comfortable with. Just because you buy on a budget, doesn’t mean it is any less of a dress or won’t be that ‘dream come true’. It is the shape and style of dress that counts, not how much it costs.
 
Sales
Look out for sales, discounted items, second hand racks and vintage pieces that often come at a lower cost that off-the-peg designer items. There are some one-of-a-kind gems out there that will not cost you the earth, you just have to be patient and not be afraid to look off the beaten track!
 
The ‘One’
You may not know exactly what you are looking for until you find it but when you do, you just know. Be prepared to end up with quite the opposite of what you had in mind but if it makes you feel like a million dollars and the price tag hasn’t given you a heart attack – then it has your name on it. Never feel pressured into buying something because you feel you are running out of time or if it hasn’t completely won you over, no matter what anyone else says. It is OK to keep looking. As we said, you will know when you have found it!
 
Where to Start
Wedding dress hunting is overwhelming. With so many wedding designers, bridal shops, magazines and wedding fairs, it easy to understand why it would seem that the entire world has an opinion. It is no wonder that brides often end up feeling lost among the myriad of choices. So why not start with the style you want your wedding to take? Have you always dreamed of a vintage inspired affair, a rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza, a great Gatsby theme or would you prefer to keep things simple but elegant - a classic, timeless set-up of white and gold? Even if you need to work backwards and start with what you definitely don’t want, it will help you focus on what you do and might give you some idea of the style of dress you envision yourself in.
 
Wedding dress hunting is a careful process of elimination. You might not like the overall shape of one dress but ask yourself if there are elements of it that you do like and what these are. Check out different lengths, discover what aspects of your figure you would like to highlight or hide, what shape suits you best and what you feel comfortable in; whether it is a low waist or a high neck. There is something out there for everyone.

Music to Match

Wedding Reception Music

Music to Match

You have a vintage wedding dress, vintage inspired decorations, vintage photo booth and a candy bar. What about that all-time classic song with which to sway away for the first time as Mr & Mrs?. We have done the hard work for you and chosen a handful of popular, romantic, heart-warming all time favourites that will be sure to inspire those dancing feet.
 
In no particular order:
 
Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
Speaking of morning sun, a life filled with laughter and divine love, this is top choice for a first dance – it truly says it all. Written in 1989 it is not exactly strictly ‘vintage’ we know, but topping the 80’s charts we can count it in as retro and it has already become a timeless classic.
 
At Last – Etta James
Released in 1960, At Last is both a song and the title of the Etta James’ début album. The smooth jazz come early style R&B melody and deep, powerful vocals are nothing but heart melting, the lyrics a wonderful choice particularly for older couples getting married or even a 2nd marriage. The beat magically lends itself for a slow sway without any need for a fancy choreography or dance lessons. No need to worry about those two left feet, just let the music carry you across the dance floor. Definitely a song in which to ‘get lost in the moment’, it is all about what was worth waiting for.
 
Songbird – Fleetwood Mac
All about commitment, promises and undying love, it is understandable why this song is a firm favourite at weddings. Written in 1977, it first appeared on the album Rumors and released on the B-side on the single “Dream”s for those of us who remember what an LP is of course! It is one of four songs written and preformed solely by Christine McVie on the album – a true winner!
 
Do You Want To Dance - Bette Midler-1972
A 1972 special, it is 100% romantic and ideal for those couples that just can’t keep off the dance floor. It’s lyrics are….well…perfectly in keeping with first dance occasions so get out there and have a little bit of fun. It’s soft start and upbeat middle, mixes in a slow two-step but allows couples to step it up a notch in the middle. Go on…it deserves a classic “dip kiss” finale doesn’t it!
 
Do You Believe in Magic?” – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Want something upbeat, fun, light hearted that still carries a message of romance? In this case…this should be right up your street. This is not the “awwwww” type of tune but it will definitely bring a smile to your guests. It’s fun, it’s frivolous and isn’t love just “magical” anyway!. Couples who want to jazz it up on the dance floor, this song is certainly the one to get your toes tapping. The most popular version might be David Cassidy’s but why not go for the original 1965 version by The Lovin' Spoonful.
 
You’re the One That I Want” – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
A true movie classic, we haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t like this. The movie was a hot hit, the song an even hotter one. We love it and if you are having a rock ‘n’ roll style theme, then this is the perfect fit. You’ll have your guests joining you on the dance floor before the song is over.
 
I’ve had the time of my life – Frankie and the Knockouts
Released in 1981 but made famous courtesy of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the 1987 chick flick favourite Dirty Dancing, “I’ve Had the Time of my Life” is the ultimate wedding first dance choreography challenge (lift included). Just remember that practice makes perfect, this is not the time for spontaneity with this song but dance lifts apart, it’s still a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics.
 
"A" You're Adorable - Perry Como.
You can’t but help but swoon at the soft, silky tones of Perry Como’s 1949 hit. Whimsical, romantic and just “adorable” – the song is a gentle nod to the times of letterman jackets, bobbysoxers, sock hops, high waist lines, A-line skirts, cheesy pick up lines and the unwritten courtship rituals of the 1950s.
 
Frank Sinatra – You, My Love
Well who doesn’t love a little Frank Sinatra, it’s uncapped romance in a song and now it is time to slow waltz your first dance away. A true classic, ‘You, My Love’ is a delightful complement to a “vintage” inspired wedding theme.
 
Can't Take My Eyes Off of You -Frankie Valli
Valli certainly hit the big time with this one. Not only has it has already spanned decade after decade, it will surely continue on its path of timeless musical greatness for many moons to come. Another top choice for wedding songs, the famous 1967 single doesn’t really need much more than this introduction at all; the words pretty much sum up everything you would want to say on your wedding day and the tempo will have your guests itching to get the party started.
 
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Jimmy McHugh
This song was written in the 1920s by Jimmy McHugh but really made its claim to fame in the movie, ‘The Caine Mutiny’. There are lots of recordings to choose from – Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to name but just a few artists who were eager to add this to their repertoire.
“I can’t believe that you’re in love me” – we couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
 
It's Magic - Doris Day
Made famous by Doris Day’s 1947 film début in ‘Romance on the High Seas’ – how more romantic could you ask for. It will be a slow first dance but the words are so meaningful and the song is such a beautiful one, there will be tears all around. I mean, what could be more magical than your wedding day!.
 
How Deep Is the Ocean - Dick Haymes
You said it with your vows but if you really want to go the extra mile to show just how unquantifiable your love - this 1955 knockout is yours for the taking. We must admit we like the Barry Manilow version too though!
 
Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
What would be the ultimate vintage first dance song list if it didn’t have some Elvis in it; the king of rock and sex icon of the 50, 60s and 70s. A song that talks of being so helplessly in love, it make us believe all over again in love at first sight…sigh….we say no more!
 
Come Rain or Come Shine - Ray Charles
If doesn’t Ray’s soulful voice alone doesn’t do it for you, the 1964 down-to-earth lyrics are quite simply another way to devote yourself to your other half ‘in sickness and health, for richer for poorer’ kind of style. Dance as if no-one is watching….
 
As - Stevie Wonder
Really want a song that speaks of ‘always and forever’; then Stevie Wonder is your man. It’s not your typical smoochy song but still a promise of undying romance and a lifetime of love the upbeat tempo is perfect for couples who don’t really want to do the serious slow dance thing.
 
Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra
Now who doesn’t love some classic Frank Sinatra circa 1954? Upbeat, happy, romantic; what a beautiful jazz ballad to waltz away to. We declare the dance floor officially your oyster – off you go my friend. Might be a good idea to spruce a bit on your three-step though.
 
How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You) - Marvin Gaye
There is nothing like the sweet innocent love of Motown to get a party started. Written in 1964 we suggest the original version but James Taylor’s cover is also a great choice.
 
The Temptations – My Girl
This is definitely one ‘for her’. Heart wrenchingly sweet, the lyrics allow you say it as you really mean it. Seriously….“I've got so much honey the bees envy me”, “I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees”, “I don't need no money, fortune or fame”, “I've got all the riches, baby, one man can claim” and “I've got sunshine on a cloudy day”…..it’s poetry!
 
It Had to Be You (any version)
A 1936 fairytale-come-true song, it was originally performed by Ruth Etting but there are plenty of other versions and we like them all. Ella Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dooley Wilson, Billie Holiday and even ‪Michael Buble & Barbra Streisand. It’s a classic – it’s up to you to find the version you enjoy the most.
 
‘L-O-V-E’ - Nat King Cole
And last but not least, we close our list in 1965 with swinging Nat King Cole, one of the true ‘golden oldies’ and a definite favourite of ours. If you really want to spell it out to your new partner in life and the friends and family around you – then no need to look any further. If you both know how to foxtrot – now is the time to showcase that talent!

A Vintage Style Guide

Styling your wedding ‘vintage’ is not just about black and pink polka dots. Vintage is elegant, classy, sophisticated and ultra feminine. Whether you want to go full-on vintage or simply add a few vintage touches here or there, the old meets modern fusion style is a hot topic. Who says you can’t have a modern styled venue with vintage accents? Go a much or as little vintage as you see fit. If you like it, this is what counts. Be quirky and be individual. It’s all about making your #wedding about you!

Accessories
If you have a particular period of time in mind i.e. the rock and roll style of the 1950s or the ritzy glitzy pizzazz of the1920s Great Gatsby, you might have to do a bit of online homework if you want to mimic particular style elements. Do you have to be exact? No you don’t. If you just simply love everything vintage and want to represent this fact at your wedding, then allow me to wonderfully get you acquainted with birdcage hairpieces, lace gloves, oodles of pearls and delicate silver floral-inspired hair combs. Add in a bit of damask here or there for the finishing touch. Combine with tall martini glass flower arrangements, candles and hanging crystals and make your wedding day just as timeless as the style items that you have used to create it.

Wedding Dresses
The 1930s to the 1980’s, like everything in society, are determined in particular by style and design. Take a look at different periods to find out what you like and what you don’t. ‘Dress the dress’ is what we say. The most important element at most weddings (not all but most) is a Bride’s wedding dress. She has to feel like a million dollars. Find the dress and then adorn it, embellish it, use it as the basis with which to also style your venue. Suddenly everything will start to fall into place.
 
Materials
Think lace, crocheted lace, damask, organza, silk, satin, ruffles, pique and floral appliqués along with sequins, feathers,bugle beads and pearls. There are plenty of vintage inspired décor photos on the internet to use as a great starting point.

Style and decor
While you can categorize periods of time into decades e.g. 1920’s, 1930’s, emerging styles within these periods do also overlap slightly. It might therefore be easier to determine a particular fashion that you enjoy, determine what it is that you like about it and what has made it stand out from the crowd. Many people will tend to gravitate to trends stemming from the frivolous Great Gatsby years circa 1920, the tea length wedding dress and bateaux necklines of the 1950’s but there is much more to explore. Check out the nuances of Edwardian, Victorian, Art Deco and Art Noveau before you finalize your decision. While some eras focus on defined lines, others were busy and full of rich colors.


Color Schemes
Your vintage inspired color scheme could depend on the era you choose if you really want to go full out and get into character. The Victorian years are particularly characterized by rich colors such as purple, red and gold with a focus on textured materials such as tapestry, embroidery, velvet and fringe. The 1920’s are generally associated with gold, black, silk, satin and tasseled edges while the 1930s Hollywood inspired decade witnessed more hats than veils, flowy lace, beaded bodices and decoration that involved crystal chandeliers and faceted mirror glass. Alternatively, if a theme ‘in-the-style-of’ is just a little too much retro for your liking, soft pastel color combos alongside neutrals such as cream and ivory will add the delicate touch of vintage chic you are looking for. Stay clear of bold tones and may we remind you of the lace, damask, organza, silk, satin, ruffles, pique, floral patterns, sequins, feathers, bugle beads and pearls we mentioned earlier!

How to Dress for a Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal dinners are usually held the day before a wedding as a way of getting the wedding party together ahead of the big day. They are a great way to unwind and for the bride and groom to thank everyone who has helped to the wedding, but what do you wear to a rehearsal dinner? Here's our guide to getting your look just right for the night before the big day. The first thing to do is check your invitation for a dress code. Here are four of the main categories you may come across and what they mean:

White Tie/Black Tie

This is the most formal option. Men should wear a tuxedo, and women either a cocktail dress or evening gown. Make the most of the opportunity for some full out glamor! Rehearsal dinner dress black tie It's not often you get the chance to wear a full length evening gown, so make the most of it!  This vintage 50s ball dress is perfect for a sophistictaed evening look when teamed with rhinestone accessories like this cute fish necklace  and some diamante heels.

Formal/Black Tie Optional

Men should wear a suit and tie for a formal event, and women can wear either a suit, a cocktail dress or any other tailored smart dress. Rehearsal dinner dress formal Don't forget you can dress up any smart dress with some fabulous accessories. This 1960s flapper-style dress doesn't need any extra embellishment, but add an amazing clutch Bag and some elegant shoes and you'll look fabulous!

Semiformal/Dressy Casual

This is always a tricky one to get right. It's always better to be overdressed than underdressed, so I would recommend a polo shirt or smart shirt with some nice pants for men, and for women a party dress or or smart trousers and a top. Definitely  no trainers or flip flops!
Rehearsal dinner dress smart casual This dress could be dressed up or down. By adding a pretty pink cardigan and some flat shoes it hits just the right balance for a dressy casual do.

Casual

You might think casual means that anything goes, but even if the rehearsal dinner is a BBQ in somebody's garden you might be pushing it to turn up in cut-off shorts. Jeans should be fine, as are sundresses and tailored shorts.

Rehearsal dinner dress casual

This sundress strikes a great balance between relaxed and chic. Casual don't mean zero effort, so it doesn't hurt to still look great! Team a sundress with some sandals and a straw tote bag. Don't forget - if in doubt then give the bride or groom a call and ask!

Vintage: The Perfect Mother of the Bride Outfit

Choosing a Mother of the Bride (or Groom) outfit is a tricky thing to get right. You want to look fabulous - let's be honest your outfit is the most important after the wedding dress itself. You want to look smart, elegant, and you certainly don't want to risk wearing the same suit as someone else at the wedding! Because of this you can end up spending a fortune on an expensive outfit that you'll probably only wear once. After all, your killer Mother of the Bride outfit may well be too grand to wear as a guest to another wedding, you want to let the next Mother of the Bride have her moment too after all! My answer is to wear vintage. If you get it right, vintage really can offer the perfect solution. Not a hippy 70s kaftan, or 1920s flapper dress, but cocktail dresses from the 1950s and 60s which really lend themselves to a beautiful mother of the bride outfit because of the smart tailoring and beautiful fabrics.  You probably don't want to look like you've stepped back in time, but you can dress a beautiful piece of vintage up with modern accessories and bring it bang up to date. It also means that nobody will turn up to the wedding wearing the same outfit as you, and it's also a dress which will be very wearable to parties afterwards!

Metallic 1960s Dresses

Metallic fabrics were really popular in the 60s and add lots of glamor to an outfit. This vintage 1960s brocade dress is elegant and flattering with it's tailored silver and gold fabric. Team with modern silver accessories like this Philip Treacy hat and a glittery Lulu Guinness lips clutch bag for some real statement style. Vintage mother of the bride outfit Block colors were really popular in the 1960s, whether bright jewel-toned colors or pretty pastels, like this pink silk dress below. To convert a beautiful vintage cocktail dress into an outfit worthy of Mother of the Bride team it with a stunning hat, like this cream rose-embellished hat and some beautiful pink shoes. I love these Jimmy Choo slingbacks with their metal heel and shiny patent pink leather.

Color Block Cocktail Dresses

Vintage mother of the bride outfit

1950s Wiggle Dresses

To add a touch of sophisticated sex-appeal to your outfit you could go for a 1950s wiggle dress, like this silk floral dress below. This style of dress gives you a fabulous hourglass shape and makes you look like a glamorous extra from Mad Men! Team it with a fabulous wide-brimmed hat, and if you fancy a bit of a rock 'n roll touch how about this amazing knuckleduster clutch bag in matching jewel colors?

Vintage mother of the bride outfit

So, vintage is a great choice for your mother of the bride outfit! Take a look at our vintage cocktail dresses for some more inspiration!