Brides Up North

In The News

October 19th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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As well as a double daily blog post, I also write freelance and contribute regularly to features for the bridal press both online and in print.  Here is a little bit of what Brides Up North has been up to in recent weeks.

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First up, some commentary for The Times on the topic of vintage weddings, and whether this genre has a sell by date. 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Times - Will We Ever Get Sick Of A Vintage Wedding?

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I predict a return to true pre-loved elegance in the content of the article, written by Fiona Wilson at The Times:

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Mismatched china, bunting, 1920s lace – we’ve been going crazy for vintage wedding themes, but aren’t we sick of this trend yet?

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Just a glance through the high-profile wedding dresses of 2011 will show you that one factor unites many of them: the vintage look. From Kate Middleton’s classic Alexander McQueen gown that echoed Grace Kelly to Kate Moss’s 1920s-style cream veil, it would seem that we are borne back ceaselessly into the past.

For the uninitiated, vintage encompasses decades from the 1920s to the 1970s. This appeal to nostalgia, which extends from bridal fashion to decoration, draws on a broader retro trend. No longer he remit of those with time and elbows enough to nudge through second-hand stores, brides-to-be can visit specialist vintage wedding fairs (one such event visits Chester on October 16, 2011) as well as bridal shops, such as the Vintage Wedding Dress Company. The vintage influence is clear in today’s design, bridal couture and ready-to-wear garments and shows no sign of stopping next season. But what is its appeal and why, in the 21st century, are couples so keen to hark back to bygone times?

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Tiffany Grant-Riley, a UK-based wedding planner who offers vintage wedding styling, suggests the trend is illustrative of a more resourceful mind-set. In the midst of recession-hit times “thrifty is cool again,” she says. Since she launched her business in 2007, the vintage trend has “completely overtaken” the bridal industry: “Couples are hankering for the romance and glamour of a bygone era,” she says. “A time when you could buy something that was well made and lasted for life, when things were passed down in the family-including wedding dresses and rings.”

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Such was the case with Mary Richards from London, who works in press and marketing for Harvey Nichols. She married her partner Liam last year in a wedding that drew inspiration from 1950s tea parties. The dress, which she made with her mother, took inspiration from old Vogue patterns. The chairs were hired from the local village hall, and up to six months beforehand, Mary could be found scouring rural car boot sales for five pence cutlery pieces, mismatched crockery, candelabras and bird figurines that she used as wedding favours.

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Resourceful, yes. But according to Roland de Villiers of S8 Films, couples want their wedding design to tell a story. Roland, who has produces 8mm films of weddings including that of Lord Freddie Windsor and Sophie Winkleman, suggests that the popularity of vintage weddings illustrates a wider trend: “It’s no longer just about choosing ‘the right dress’,” he says. Planning a wedding “is about linking the whole day together with a theme”.

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For Mary, the appeal was that she could make her wedding feel personal. Her wedding design was a labour of love. “I’ve been to some really beautiful weddings where people have spent an absolute fortune on the day,” she says. “But I think people like that homemade feel. It’s less ostentatious and a lot more personal.” The decorations cost her between £2,000 and £3,000 in total. Many of the items, however, are still used in their home and their much-admired, mismatched set has been borrowed by other couples.

But will this trend age well? Yes, says Julia Braime of the website Brides up North, which offers wedding planning advice. But she advises brides to draw inspiration from key vintage pieces to create an updated take on the theme. “This is [your] wedding day, not a fancy dress party,” she warns. “In 20 years’ time ‘vintage style’ wedding photographs festooned with mismatched tea cups and colourful bunting may carry the same stigma as those dreaded 80s images with the fluffed out perms and ivory shoulder pads.”

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Cohesion is key: “Some of the most gorgeous weddings have drawn inspiration from the past,” she says, rather than sticking to it religiously. “The key is creating an elegant theme and reflecting your own style.”

Despite the image of shabby chic on a budget, vintage weddings aren’t always cheap. “Given the huge trend, you will find vintage shops charging a fortune for something that really isn’t worth a lot,” says Tiffany, who recommends charity shops, eBay and Etsy as money-savers. The devil’s in the detail when it comes to decorating, and if you’re going to plan the wedding yourself, experts advise you to plan carefully to ensure you have a cohesive theme.

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Are we likely to see the back of this trend anytime soon? Unlikely, says Tiffany. “We can expect a real shift towards DIY-style in 2012, something that holds a real attraction for creative couples, especially those on a budget.” Julia suggest that as vintage gowns, jewels and furnishings become more accessible, there will be “a move towards true vintage styling, resulting in a more glamorous look, rather than cookie-cutter copycat imitations.” Meanwhile August’s Ideal Bride Magazine suggested that we can expect Victorian indulgence in next year’s weddings. So it would seem that the classic vintage look is here to stay. As Yves Saint Laurent said, while fashion fades, style is eternal.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Wedding Ideas Magazine

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Next up, an Expert Advice column as part of a feature by Alice Rimes on Real Life Wow Factors For Less in the current issue of Wedding Ideas Magazine, out now:

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Wedding Ideas Magazine

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And to finish a couple of busy weeks, I also recently styled a bridal fashion shoot that was featured in The Sunday Sun.  For my pick of the images, click here

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Stan Seaton Photography

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Watch out for features coming up soon from Brides Up North in Pure Weddings, Wedding Ideas Magazine, Hitched Magazine and Bridal Buyer.  

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  – Images © 2011 as tagged

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comments

  • November 15, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Great work and words Julia!

    “This is [your] wedding day, not a fancy dress party” is so true. It’s nice to have lots of ideas but sometimes you need to calm down and remember exactly that! My fiance is hooked on the idea of bales of hay for seating… I shall quote you!

    Catharine x

  • November 15, 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Catherine, so glad you enjoyed the article. If hay bales float his boat – I say go with it! ;-)

    Julia xxx

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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