A vintage-style wedding is easy to organise and will be memorable long after the special day. Starting with the hen party, moving to the reception and honeymoon, this article gives ideas for achieving that special vintage look and feel.
You could attribute it to a passion for period dramas, such as Upstairs Downstairs and Titanic, or to the impending Diamond Jubilee, or perhaps just the general feeling of 'austerity Britain'. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that vintage is very much the style of the moment. This doesn't mean that aristocratic 'new fogeys' who pride themselves on having inherited everything, including house, furniture, furnishings and wardrobe, are suddenly fashionable, any more than acquiring the odd 'keep calm and carry on' accessory will buy you entry to the vintage set. For aficionados of vintage, it's more a lifestyle than a style, insinuating itself into every aspect of their being, from furnishings and food to clothes and accessories. And if you live vintage and love vintage, it's only natural that you'll want to get married vintage-style. So which elements of your wedding could be part of the vintage treatment?
The Hen Party
In the battle for equality of the sexes, the issue of pre-nuptial knees-ups seems to have been overlooked. There is no reason why the groom should enjoy a weekend of frivolity, while the bride is restricted to a single evening. The answer is to ensure a hen party makes up in style and sophistication what it lacks in length. An increasingly popular option is to kick off the evening's proceedings with a vintage tea party. If the idea of afternoon tea sounds a little tame for a hen party, what we're really talking about is a cocktail party hidden beneath a clever disguise. Serve a choice of cocktails in vintage china cups and saucers, accompanied by an array of enticing canapés instead of cakes. To add to the ambience, encourage your guests to wear vintage clothes or accessories. Even the most resistant to fancy dress can usually be persuaded into a fascinator or long gloves, or will hide their blushes behind a suitably ornate fan. And any of these accessories can be abandoned before the group hits the town for the main evening entertainment.
The Wedding Reception
One thing that period television dramas teach us is that the Victorians and Edwardians really knew how to organise a grand formal party. If you're aiming to translate this period elegance to your own wedding reception, the important thing to remember is that you're aiming to create an effect, rather than slavishly copying every detail. Ensure that you achieve immediate impact with a few statement pieces, such as an ice sculpture, champagne fountain or chandelier, and then dress individual tables with vintage bone china, glassware and period flower arrangements. Get these basics right and you'll find that you've achieved an authentic vintage look for your wedding reception both effortlessly and economically.
If you want to extend the vintage theme to your honeymoon, there are opportunities aplenty to experience hospitality and service from the golden age. Why not enjoy a few nights at a truly grand country house hotel such as Cliveden, where the honeymoon suite has a dedicated butler, before a leisurely trip to the continent aboard the Orient Express. Or perhaps a honeymoon further afield, where you can luxuriate in an Indian palace or Sri Lankan hill fort, surrounded by servants and dreaming of the days when England ruled over an Empire.
A vintage style wedding experience is special, memorable and as you have seen is easy to achieve, either on your own or with the help of a vintage stylist.
Viv Eden works for Vintage English, a company which transforms weddings into truly memorable occasions with its vintage china hire, traditional floral arrangements and vintage wedding styling service.