1st October 2014

Afternoon folks! If you’ve not heard already, we’re running a minimised schedule of blog posts between now and next Monday as we’re in the process of a rather important server upgrade – required due to an increasing number of visitors to our blog.  The upgrade itself will happen at the weekend but there’s a lot of preparation and backup that needs to take place first, so we’re being sensible!  Full, normal service will resume by Monday, but in between then we’ll still be sharing really cool images, like these photographs from a rather stylish 60′s inspired fashion editorial shoot.

These images were sent in by stylist and author Kate Beavis, the organiser behind the ‘National Vintage Wedding Fair‘. Kate, who is a natural born vintage enthusiast, and who had her first vintage interiors book published last year, ‘Style Your Modern Vintage Home‘, worked on this shoot with photographer Binky Nixon and a creative team who’s brief it was to promote the authentic vintage dresses and accessories supplied by some of the exhibitors at the National Vintage Wedding Fair.

Photography Copyright (c) 2014, Binky Nixon

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I really love the authenticity of this shoot.  Whilst we celebrate glamorous and elegant bridal style of all kinds, Love My Dress® was born on the concept of ‘vintage weddings’ – a term I shared my thoughts on in the introduction of yesterday’s real wedding post so I love to share content that I know will appeal to readers who really appreciate original vintage style.  Perhaps to re-cap here, I really want to stop the negativity associated with ‘vintage weddings’ these days.

There’s a real snobbishness that has arisen around use of the term.  Somewhere along the line – undoubtedly due to the fact it became a ‘trend’ that everyone and his wife wanted to cash in on - the notion of ‘vintage weddings’ became a little uncool.

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People stopped using the term, bloggers started tweet-yawning about ‘yet more bunting’ and ‘not another vintage wedding!’.  It’s sad that the revival of authentic vintage fashion and styling inspired by nostalgia and the spirit of a by-gone age has suffered a hit to its street cred of late.  Personally, I don’t give a damn – I’ve always loved vintage and it excites me to see brides dipping in to the past to borrow style for their modern day vintage inspired weddings.  And why shouldn’t they? Why should they feel as though they’re playing fancy dress or desperately trying to ‘fit a theme’ by having a vintage wedding?  It’s such nonsense! If the fashion, vibe, style and spirit of a particular era is something a bride and groom really connect with, something that represents them – then aren’t these personal tastes and preferences going to be evident on their wedding day?

However, this post certainly is not here to bemoan a misunderstanding, it’s here to celebrate vintage, so let’s refocus on and appreciate the images you see above and below these words right here.

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With much of the focus in the ‘vintage scene’ having been around the 30′s 50′s and 70′s over the past two years, Kate was keen to explore and alternative era and looked to the 60′s for inspiration.

“The 1960s was such an exciting time for fashion and for women also. For the first time they chose to wear clothes that were a million miles away from what their parents wore and they went out and had fun. I am often asked which era I would like to go back to and it is definitely the 1960s. Imagine the optimism for the future, the freedom that teenagers felt and the excitement of discovering flower power fashions and micro minis!

We wanted to incorporate some of this feeling using original short wedding dresses alongside bright colours such as the red phone box and the yellow button daisy bouquet – created by  I Heart Buttons.”

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“Throughout the sixties, bridal wear designers recognised that a bride wanted a dress that was fitting for a church service, yet one that was also youthful and fashionable. Designers such as Mary Quant and Bellville Sassoon created Ready to Wear dresses in the early 60s which were a shorter knee length yet still with the fit and flare shape from the 1950s. However most brides still chose a full length gown with a fitted bodice and A-line column skirt, feeling the need to play it safe.

However in the second half of the decade bridal hemlines became shorter to match the fashionable daywear of the time. John Bates designed a mini dress and coat for his Jean Veron label which can be seen in the V&A museum this year as part of their wedding exhibition (read about this on Love My Dress here). Despite its short length it was still felt to be appropriate for the occasion. Veils were short and puffy, worn on the back of the head. Another popular choice was a pillbox hat, a decorated skull cap or even a large rimmed floppy hat.”

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“All our shoots are photographed by Binky Nixon who works locally to us in Bedfordshire. We work so well together and she always captures the spirit that I want to convey as well as taking fantastic shots.”

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1st October 2014

I can’t help getting swept away in the emotion of the weddings I write up for Love My Dres®s. Each image tells a tiny piece of the couple’s love story and the journey through their special day is a privilege to share. When a special person is missing though, the more touching images of a wedding take on a stronger meaning and no more so than for Sarah who’s mother sadly passed between her engagement and wedding to James on the 28th of June this year.

With Curradine Barns in Worcestershire already booked and their handmade wedding taking shape they took the opportunity with their photographer Darren Gair to get some precious photos of Sarah’s mum in her wedding outfit at the venue and asked her to choose a favourite poem to be read at their wedding ceremony.

Sarah was adamant that most things would be handmade, making the gorgeous bridesmaid dresses herself using a vintage pattern, making a bowtie for the page boy and fabric flowers for her bouquet with the extra fabric! She embroidered cotton handkerchiefs, made each invitation and with the support of their crafty friends created a colourful and joyful wedding day to be truly proud of.

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“We met on match.com! I was dubious about joining as I didn’t want to meet anyone weird but James seduced me by sending a photo of himself holding an axe and wearing a man-bag – I kid you not! We met up on a Monday night, continuing our date until 4am. We met a week later, hit it off again and I didn’t want to leave his side. James proposed 18 months later using a hula hoop (I had joked that I didn’t want a ring, a hula hoop would do!).”

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Curradine Barns was so pretty and fairly central for our guests. Sadly my mum became very sick and we lost her at the end of 2013 and looking back, we were glad to have booked 18 months in advance so we had plenty of time for everything.”

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Sarah knew from the beginning that she wanted a 1950s style dress. This Justin Alexander beauty was only the second she tried and teamed with a bolero she created a pretty keyhole in the back. Accessorised with her mother’s earrings and a locket containing her pictures, the beautiful 50s look Sarah coveted was complete with the last minute purchase of her bright (something) blue Rachel Simpson shoes and a spritz of Coco Mademoiselle.

“I loved the swish of the dress, every time I walked it made a noise and it just felt superb to wear. I knew that dancing would be wonderful, no tripping up, just a glorious full-circle skirt to fly around the dance floor. The ladies in Brides of Solihull were so nice and helped me massively, especially as I was caring for mum whilst going to fittings.”

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“We commissioned my friend Erin to knit the cake toppers and I was so pleased with them! James’ mum made our ‘main’ fruit cake, James made a carrot cake and we also had some lovely cakes made by friends.”

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“My friends helped to make wool pompom garlands and we got paper pompoms to hang around the venue. I crocheted little jumpers for the glass bottles and appliquéd numbers to Kraft cards which were tied to the bottles for the tables.”

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“We searched A LOT of photographers as we’re quite particular about photography. Narrowing down to 3, we met Darren Gair and decided not to meet the others (sorry!). Darren is not only a lovely person but absolutely SPOT ON with listening to what you like. Extremely enthusiastic and open to suggestions, he actually fell in a lake on the shoot but we won’t mention that eh Darren?!

He went over and above the call of duty and even photographed us with my mum at our wedding venue just before she passed away. Having already bought her wedding outfit we thought it was only right that she got to wear it. It was a difficult and bittersweet time for us and he was absolutely wonderful. The photos, needless to say were awesome, just like the rest!”

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30th September 2014

Hello lovely ones! Our second wedding today is the fun, playful and laughter-filled wedding of Victoria and Ryan, who married in February this year at Abbeywood Estate, Cheshire. And it’s all beautifully captured on camera by the massively talented (and joyfully named) Mr Sleeve.

Vicky, a mental health nurse, and Ryan, a team manger working in international banking, wanted a fun-filled celebration that reflected their personalities, essentially “a party but with extra bits to make sure it still felt like our wedding day!”. They also wanted to incorporate a special ceremony conducted by Vicky’s father – such a lovely idea.

“We chose Abbeywood after looking at what felt like millions of different venues. Our original idea was an outside space with a barn and lots of champagne, but this fizzled out due to the lack of British sunshine coupled with the lack of barns! When we met Heather, the incredible wedding planner at the venue, we were sold. It’s family run, relaxed but super organised, with amazing food and lots of outside space. Most importantly, we both felt happy as soon as we walked in.”

Photography Copyright (c) 2014, Mr Sleeve

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“Ryan and I met through a close friend. He had come up to university in Lancaster from London and lived with my friend Nicola in halls. I was away at university in Manchester but used to come home during the holidays. I met Ryan on a night out but, as he was only 18 and I was 22, I thought he was a tad young (although after copious amounts of wine we did snog!).

We’d decided to meet on one of the reading corners to exchange books, and when Ryan passed me his I opened it to reveal a 1930’s vintage pearl! He got down on one knee (in front of a now gathering crowd) and asked me to marry him. I squealed yes and, still in shock, we ran to the nearest café bar for tequila! We married 17 months later.”

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I love the 1950’s silhouette of Vicky’s dress – that amazing skirt really comes into its own on the dancefloor – and the way she accessorized it with little lace gloves and a bow in her hair.

“My dress was my dress was by Agnes Bridal, bought from Belles Bridal Boutique in Liverpool. I wanted a dress that didn’t look like any other dress I had seen and that I wouldn’t fidget with on the day. I loved my dress straight away and the tulle polka-dot overlay made it look very different.”

 

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“I wore a pair of vintage diamond earrings from my mother-in-law and a vintage gold necklace fastened under my dress from my Nana.  My best friend and maid of honour made me a tulle bow which I wore underneath a bun on the back of my head. My shoes were silver slingbacks from Dune.”

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Those silver bridesmaid dresses are by Alfred Sung at Dessy, and the flowergirl’s dress is from Next.

“Our photographer was Steve ‘Mr Sleeve’ Longbottom. Steve was recommended to us by Ryan’s sister, Alex, who was also my bridesmaid. I’d told her I hated any form of ‘styled bridal photography’ and that I wanted it to be natural and to capture Ryan and I having an amazing time with our guests! Steve was fabulous from the first time we met. He was relaxed, knew his stuff, and wasn’t pushy or cringey. We fell in love with him (as did the majority of our guests!). And as a bonus. our pictures are amazing!”

I concur Vicky – so much so that I got distracted for a good 20 minutes browsing the other photos on his site!

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30th September 2014

When Annabel asked me to write this feature, I started, as always, by reading through the information sent in to Love My Dress by Frocks In A Box and finding out as much as I could about their (fabulous) service. Then, I admit, I had to take a break because the words ‘dressing up’ brought back so many memories that I had to go and rummage through old photos for a few hours. I’m now back at my desk, smiling happily, reminiscing joyfully and wanting so much to find an excuse to book Frocks In A Box myself to play grown-up dress-up at the earliest possible opportunity.

I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to Frocks In A Box and owner Abbie because I hope we all never grow too old to enjoy ourselves…

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Frocks In A Box is the perfectly girlie polar opposite to hen party dressing up that only requires a plastic tiara and a flammable veil. Instead, Abbie, who admits she’s utterly addicted to dresses and dressing up, has created a unique service that supplies brilliant surprise boxes full of vintage goodness straight to you. Think American diner deluxe with polka dots, full skirts and all those evocative accessories that just scream 50s & 60s brilliance and you’ll already be imagining yourself dressing up with your friends.

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“I want to recreate the magic of the dressing up boxes we had as children,” says Abbie.Frocks In A Box isn’t a dress hire company, this is about rediscovering the happy child in all of us who doesn’t care about celebrity and magazine definitions of beauty. All she needs is a pretty dress, some sparkly accessories and her best friends to feel like the most beautiful person in the world.”

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Abbie’s dressing up boxes (that are actually vintage suitcases or trunks) are delivered to you complete with dresses made by the super talented Oh My Honey, accessories and almost everything you need to look and feel fabulous on your glamorous hen night. They are the perfect solution if you’re wondering how to achieve a vintage look at a reasonable cost – no buying of an expensive dress that you might only wear once and no wearing a cheap vaguely vintage dress that might make your bank manager happy but won’t make you feel fantastic.

“When I was organising vintage theme hen parties, I’d often get asked for clothes recommendations,” says Abbie. “I thought how nice it would be for everyone to be able to hire a box of dresses for hen parties – they’d be able to get the look they wanted without extortionate expense and waste.”

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30th September 2014

For those of you who didn’t check in yesterday afternoon, we shared this sweet Camden pub wedding with a bride rocking an original 60′s vintage wedding dress - and which featured some lovely wedding ideas (wavy wants instead of confetti anyone?).  This morning, it’s all about this very glamorous and stylish 1920s jazz aged inspired affair held at Iscoyd Park on 31 May this year, when Marketing Manager Jo-Ann married James, who works in professional football.

I think Jo-Ann looks absolutely knock-out in these images and I adore her glamorous style - born in the wrong era maybe? I’m also 100% behind her determination to pull off her ‘vintage’ vision, despite being criticised for having this vision in the first place. It’s such a shame that overuse of the term and misunderstanding of the true concept of a ‘vintage wedding’ has been so shamefully trashed over the past few years.  But those with a genuine love and appreciation for the styles, fashions and aesthetic of a beautiful bygone era will see through all that nonsense – just like we do, and just like Jo-Ann did. And just look what she did!

“We wanted a sophisticated old Hollywood glamour feel. I have always been inspired by the jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s and really wanted to evoke the oh-so-chic speakeasy vibe. But with ‘vintage’ weddings a hijacked trend all of its own I found myself defending my ‘vintage’ wedding to anyone who showed a casual interest. This included a florist who told me ‘you’re not the only person who thinks she’s quirky’, when I dared to suggest I might like ‘something unstructured’ other than agree with the traditional, boring bleugh. But with a genuine ardour for all things vintage that far exceeds a stolen phase, it became important, no essential, to have a day that reflected us as a couple.  But as much as I longed for the elegant and inimitable we also just wanted to have fun!”

Photography Copyright (c) 2014, On Love and Photography

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“James and I met through work. James was working at Everton at the time, and as I’m a big Everton fan it was the perfect excuse for us to get to know each other! And as our wedding invite said ‘a year (and lots of Everton games) later, they got together.’

Fittingly for the eventual style of the day we got engaged against the backdrop of the spirit of the roaring twenties, in a boutique Art Deco hotel in Greenwich Village, New York. The aesthetic of Art Deco with a hint of relaxed boho style for the day was born right there and then! We were engaged for just under a year, and it was a whirlwind year of pre-destined obsessions with wedding blogs (which does not go away after you get married!), a new financial commitment to wedding magazines, of course endless episodes of ‘Don’t tell the bride’, and excel spreadsheet heaven!”

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“We got married at the beautiful Iscoyd Park on the Cheshire Shropshire border. Venue hunting was probably the most stressful part of the entire planning process. Mainly due to the fact I hadn’t had it picked out since I was 12, I didn’t have a Pinterest board for it (OMG!), and really it could have been anything – a beach, a field, a castle?!

It took a marquee pushing, chair cover wielding venue manager; who inadvertently thought James (my future husband) was my Dad (and was quickly crossed off the list); to make us re-focus on what was actually important to us. As soon as we saw Iscoyd Park I realised it was everything I hadn’t known I wanted. The perfect mix of glamour and opulence but equally a totally unpretentious family home. I didn’t just want to get married there I wanted to live there!”

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We had a three tier rose covered cake from Marks & Spencer. I can’t remember the last time I ate cake at a wedding but cue undeniable Bride-zilla moment. A nonsensical, insane, amount of time was spent searching for ‘the perfect’ cake topper. I kid you not! Me, laptop, wine and a very accepting husband to be. However endless hours trawling the interweb, with all the eBay stars to prove it, did lead me to find some wonderful frills and titivations on Etsy – a smorgasbord of vintage wedding suppliers! Ergo, my cake topper was handmade in Vancouver by Jolie en Rose.

If the postage costs more than the item, when you have an Art-Deco-inspired-crescent-moon-and-stars-outlined-in-silver-glitter-with-customized-redhead-bride, who cares?!”

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“I was totally aware that the bridesmaid dresses were very much my own strange sartorial preference (I am pretty gutted I didn’t have one made for myself!) so I wanted the girls to wear whatever style and colour shoes they wanted to feel fabulous! The power of the shoe!

I had seven bridesmaids, and two flower girls. Second to the venue hunting my only other indecision was with the bridesmaid’s dresses. There is an overwhelming amount of choice, even for what is expected to be a ‘bridesmaid’s dress’, where do you start for seven uber-cool, individual, yet loyally ‘happy to wear whatever you want us to’ chicks!?

I wasn’t going to be able to afford 7 Leluxe 1920s beaded gowns (sorry girls!), so where to go next? Googling ‘vintage’ , ‘alternative’ ‘NON BRIDESMAID BRIDESMAID DRESSES’ which are now as commonplace as anything conventional I was in a state of apathy; when my mum found an independent dress-maker (not as expensive as you would think) to make a Mrs Depew tiered once-piece 1920s pattern that I bought online for £4.50 that was the prefect fringed All-That-Jazz dress. Hurrah!”

 

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“Inspired by the 1920s headpieces featured in the film ‘Singing in the Rain’ my headpiece was ‘Kelly’ by Ivory Tuesday also at The Case of The Curious Bride. Melanie is wonderful and makes some magnificently lavish stand out head pieces including giant fabric bows, and ostrich feathers, so I nicknamed my more tame choice an ‘understated statement’. It had beautiful detailing of tiny silver glass seed beads, a mother-of-pearl flower centre, and a gathered spotty birdcage veil. Delish!

I was sold and didn’t look anywhere else. I wore it the day after the wedding to open our cards and presents and would wear it every day or just to do the dishes in if I could get away with it! The tear shaped base which was very light green also set the colour palette for the bridesmaid’s dresses and the groomsmen’s tie’s early on. Result!“

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Jo-Ann’s slinky and rather sexy gown was ‘Mimosa’ by White Threads at The Case of The Curious Bride.

“Maybe it was luck, maybe it was fate or maybe I knew ‘The Case of The Curious Bride’ would have just the thing for me but the first dress I tried on was THE dress. Of course I had to try on a whole bunch of others just to be sure! But nothing came close – even the long admired Jenny Packham.  When you know, you just know!”

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“Giulia and Sophia from On Love and Photography are quite simply bloody brilliant. Angels with cameras… and fine art degrees! We couldn’t stop smiling and they have captured the happiness and laughter of the day in the most perfect way – even the tears of joy during the very emotional speeches!

From the moment we met for a ‘consultation’ and ended up yakking on way past the cappuccinos and pastries were gone we knew we wanted them at our wedding! I am eternally grateful. The photos speak for themselves.”

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