Plan your vintage wedding

By Rosanna Holmes,
3rd May 2010 - 18:12


Just a few years back, the ‘something old’ in the familiar wedding day adage might have meant, at most, a family choker sparkling above the neckline of a brand new, budget-busting dress. But in the last few months, a sea change has taken place, with more and more brides choosing to reject the new and instead rediscover the charms of pre-owned, preloved pieces with a history of their own. In the May issue of BBC Homes & Antiques, out now, we talk to three brides who have had very different vintage weddings. And if you're planning a vintage wedding of your own, here’s our pick of key suppliers to help you get started...

 

Dresses

A Vintage Wedding
Stunning, original gowns from many periods plus a small selection of designer dresses by Ian Stuart, Charlotte Balbier and Ellie Saab.
01376 334627
 
Circa Vintage Brides
As an offshoot of her well-known London fashion boutique, designer Astral Sundholm-Hayes makes bridal gowns influenced by the past, from natural silk satins to taffetas, crepes, and lace. Choose from the Edwardian ‘Fleur’ dress or the 1950s ‘Grace’ to emulate the style icon princess.
020 7736 5038; circabrides.com
 
The Vintage Wedding Dress Company
Stylist Charlie Brear sources exquisite gowns and accessories from London, Paris and around the world, from the Victorian era to the early 1970s. The company also has a ‘Decades Collection’ of six elegant vintage-inspired dresses from the 1920s-70s that can have extra details added.
020 7242 4792; thevintageweddingdress company.com

Honey Pie BoutiqueThis business in Merseyside makes affordable 1950s-style gowns and bridesmaid dresses.
0151 200 3175; honeypieboutique.co.uk

Heirloom Couture
From 1930s Schiaparelli to Ossie Clark, decades-old dresses are lovingly restored and reinvented by couture embroidery designer Rachel Spencer. She also has a collection of vintage-inspired, custom fitted gowns.
020 8969 4013; heirloomcouture.com

Charlotte Casadéjus
Antique French embroidered linen dealer Charlotte creates beautiful dresses incorporating period buckles, beading and lace.
020 7064 1699; charlottecasadejus.com

Fur Coat No Knickers
Former West End costume supervisors Laura Thomas and Emma Cascarina will give you the star treatment, helping you pick a vintage wedding dress that they can customise and fit to your taste and shape. They also make dresses using vintage patterns to order or from a picture, plus stunning jewellery, headpieces, wraps and boleros.
07814 002295; furcoatnoknickers.co.uk

 

Shoes

Harriet Wilde
Designer Harriet and her team make stylish wedding shoes with a vintage feel, particularly complementing gowns from the 20s and 50s, and not just in ivory – any colour will do.
020 7682 2316; harrietwilde.com

Mary Cooper Antique Costume and Textiles
This Harrogate-based dealer sells vintage shoes along with antique lace, wedding dresses, veils, gloves and fans. 01423 508857 

Rachel Simpson
Rachel draws inspiration from the elegance of 1920s-30s footwear. Her collection of vintage-style bridal shoes incorporates satin ribbons and lace for a delicate, dainty look.
0121 428 2698; rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk

 

Styling/hair

Nina’s Hair Parlour
Whether you’re after a beehive or a Marcel wave, Nina’s salon in Alfies Antique Market, London is the place for a retro do. The vintage hair and make-up specialists can doll you up in any look from 1900 to the 1980s.
020 7723 1911; ninasvintageandretrohair.com

It’s Something Hells
Run by Miss Betty and Mister Ducktail, this French retro hair salon off London’s Carnaby Street is worth visiting for 1940s-50s Hollywood coiffures and rockabilly styling.
07896 153491

Vintage Hair Lounge
A Southampton salon offering a range of services and packages for brides and grooms and their families, plus expert advice on authentic vintage looks. The lounge also stocks international vintage make-up brand Besame.
07528 753219; vintagehairlounge.com

Vintage SecretVintage fanatic Naomi Thompson not only sells beautiful vintage frocks but also shows you how to wear them and what accessories to choose with one-to-one style consultations. 
vintagesecret.com

 

Bouquets & flowers

Poppy Greens
Inspired by afternoon tea with her great auntie Vera, Lesley Baker arranges herbs and cottage garden plants grown in her Somerset garden in old florists’ buckets, tubs and baths, using wild hedgerow foliage to add a rustic touch. She also supplies vintage china, linen, silverware and cakes.
01458 860500; poppygreens.co.uk

The Traditional Flower Company

On a beautiful Staffordshire farm, Sam Ellson grows seasonal old-fashioned flowers and herbs that she displays in vintage crockery and glassware for traditional English country wedding style. She also hires out teaware, cutlery, bunting and tablecloths.
0800 756 5403; traditionalflower.co.uk

Scarlet and Violet
Vic Brotherson displays eclectic mixes of flowers in milk churns, old bottles and vintage jugs and teapots, using cow parsley and other wild flowers.
020 8969 9446; scarletandviolet.com

Vintage Magpie
Emma Katherine Davies gives your wedding a decadent twist by adding special items such as family treasures to the bouquet. She can even turn your grandmother’s wedding dress into vintage fabric roses.
07876 344148; vintagemagpie.co.uk

Love Vintage
Designed to become keepsakes, these handmade vintage bouquets and buttonholes reflect bygone decades. The company also offers alternative hen parties with cakes, crafts, movies and photograph slideshows.
07764 760235; love-vintage.co.uk

 

Hats, fascinators & jewellery

Jane Fryers Milliner
Jane designs and makes men's and women's hats for film, cabaret and fashion shoots as well as special occasions. 
07973 346613; janefryers.co.uk

Jane Taylor Millinery
Milliner Jane creates beautiful hats, fascinators and headpieces at her studio in south-west London, embellishing designs with vintage feathers, lace, gems and antique adornments.
07949 050708; janetaylormillinery.com

Flo and Percy
Based in Essex, this company is named after Florence and Percy, who held the record for the longest marriage – an amazing 80 years. Kirstie Taylor makes vintage-inspired tiaras and hair accessories featuring antique components for a modern vintage chic look, while also selling original pieces.
01277 637143; vintagetiaras.co.uk

Heirs and Graces Jewellery
Bracelets, earrings and necklaces made by Caroline Oliver feature vintage beads and pearls, finished with ribbons.
01243 827270; heirsandgracesjewellery.co.uk

The Vintage Sparkle Co
This company provides fascinators, original jewellery, vintage bags, tiaras, headbands and combs, plus a make-up service.
07990 588143; thevintagesparklecompany.co.uk 

Pip Hackett
Inspired by 1940s film noir, Victorian romanticism and the roaring Twenties, couture milliner Pip uses antique lace and vintage silk veiling with intricate beadwork and silk feathers to create bespoke bridal hats.
020 7266 4667; piphackett.co.uk

 

Photography

Rosie Parsons
If peach balloons and sugared almonds make you cringe, Rosie Parsons might be the photographer for you – rock ‘n’ roll couples are her forté.
07710 827 045; rosieparsons.com
 
Devlin Photos
Photographer Lisa Devlin adds a vintage finish to album images to give a faded sepia look.
01273 231047; devlinphotos.co.uk

 

Music & entertainment

Shellac Sisters
Four glamorous retrochicks, Jane, Jenny, Theo and Virginia, dress in all things vintage and play 78rpm records on 1920s wind-up gramophones. From big band swing and music hall to flapper favourites and jumping jives, they’re sure to fill the dance floor.
shellacsisters.co.uk

Greg’s Greats RecordsGreg Butler runs his business from Foxton near Cambridge dealing in records and has over 140,000 in stock, original old-style shellac for gramophones as well as vinyl.
01223 872937; myspace.com/gregsgreats

Jitterbug Jukebox Hire
Supplier of full-sized 1940s Rock-Ola Bubbler jukeboxes that play your chosen range of music, including your own CDs.
01707 646473; jitterbox.co.uk

McVouty Family DJs
These gramophone DJs have thousands of tunes from old swing and blues through to the crooners and rock ‘n’ roll.
07971 805134; myspace.com/mcvoutyfamilydjs 

London Swing Dance Society
Learn to dance the Lindy Hop, Charleston or Balboa in a class run by the London Swing Dance Society.
01895 613703; swingdanceuk.com

JiveConnection Dance School
Lessons in East Coast Swing Jive and Jitterbug dance at various venues around Surrey. It can also offerhelp with planning an event and DJ services.
01342 712145; jiveconnection.co.ukMarquees & styling

 

Marquees & styling

LPM BohemiaThis Kent-based company supplies traditional canvas pole marquees, faded vintage military and tiffin tents for a village fete look, Indian and exotic styles, teepees and yurts, plus themed interior styling.
0870 770 7185; lpmbohemia.com

Grace and Tailor
Lampshades hanging from the ceiling by ribbon, flowers in jars on an old stepladder, a seating plan in an old suitcase and Champagne cooling in enamel bowls – Grace and Tailor approach interior styling with their inimitable quirky style.
0844 847 0230; graceandtailor.co.uk

Labelle Maison
From its headquarters in Abergavenny, this company hires out bespoke, hand-crafted Bedouin tents in all sizes that create magical spaces for events.
01873 850100; labelle-maison.co.uk

Crescent Moon
For vintage sparkle, great chandeliers hanging from the marquee and candelabra, Justine Corrie and Simon Gerrard will style your reception, decorating any space with canopies, lighting, furniture and accessories.
0800 083 8480; crescent-moon.co.uk

 

China & props

A Most Curious Party
Rebecca Hoh-Hale began collecting vintage ware for her own wedding and, when she couldn’t stop, started hiring items for other events, catering for Victoriana, English country fetes, 1940s and Mad Hatter parties. Her collection of tableware, props and decorations include a Marie Antoinette-style dressing table mirror, paper and fabric hanging lanterns, vintage posters and prints, and even a stuffed beaver!
07852 150285; amostcuriousparty.co.uk

Vintage Tea Sets Vicky Rowe from Bristol, whose marriage had a 1920s twist (see p56), can theme a wedding for any era. She calls upon photographers, florists, dress-makers, caterers and venues to offer the whole caboodle, along with crockery hire, table dressing, period stationery and favours.
0117 953 2973; vintageteasets.co.uk

Utterly Sexy Café 
Utterly Sexy Café hires out 30s, 40s and 50s china along with edible art, flowers, foliage, butterflies, birds and lights. It also offers canapés and kitsch and vintage rose wedding cakes, plus original 1950s white canvas marquees, musicians and photographers.
01747 870812; utterlysexycafe.co.uk

National Theatre
Whether you want a gramophone, lanterns or period chairs, the National Theatre has an extensive collection of costumes, furniture and props that are available for hire.
020 7735 4774; nationaltheatre.org.uk

 

Wedding lists

The Vintage Wedding List
An online wedding list service set up by Camilla Cobham and Henry Alban Davies, who handpick some of the best and most unusual antique presents on the market, from ceramics, glass and kitchenalia to textiles, paintings and silver.
020 8563 7870; thevintageweddinglist.co.uk

 

Fairs

London Vintage Wedding Fair
11th April
This new fair at the 20th Century Theatre, Westbourne Grove, London has vintage fashion dealers from across the UK selling dresses, veils, tiaras and accessories. A make-up artist, hairdresser and fashion stylist will advise brides and family on how to achieve the complete look.
07774 134901; londonvintageweddingfair.co.uk

The Vintage Wedding Fair

19th September and 14th November
The organisers of the UK’s first dedicated vintage wedding fair are holding a second fair in September at The St George Hotel in the northern spa town of Harrogate. A London fair follows in November.
0113 287 6378; vintageweddingfair.co.uk
 
For more vintage wedding ideas, visit Perfect Wedding
All aboard for the Swindon Roadshow!
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