A Map & Scrabble wedding in a 1870s former chapel

In todays real wedding blog we get the chance to share the fantastic vintage wedding of Eilis and Mike, school teachers from Birmingham.

NVWF:   Tell us about yourselves? How long have you know each other?

I was born and brought up in Birmingham by my Dublin born parents but Mike is a country bumpkin who moved here from his folks’ North Staffordshire dairy farm when he started teaching.  We met in January 2003 when I was a 19 year old teaching assistant and he, a 22 year old newly qualified teacher.  Ten years on, after sharing many cocktails, beers, meals, taxis, kebabs, parties, train rides, short plane journeys, long plane journeys, treks, walks, climbs, tours, tents, cabins, hammocks, towels, laughs and homes, we got married.


NVWF:   When did you get engaged and then when did you marry?

Mike popped the question in August 2012 on a beautiful secluded beach on Gili Air, one of the tiny islands between Bali and Lombock in Indonesia.  It was around 40 degrees, we had arrived on a fishing boat that anchored a little way out from the shore so that we had to carry our bags above our heads and walk through the ocean to get to the beach. I’d never been anywhere like it; crystal clear ocean and white sand –  it was perfect.   We were married six months later on Friday 5th April 2013.

NVWF:   What was your vision for your wedding ?

We weren’t too fussed on all of the wedding traditions but being Catholic, we wanted a mass to celebrate our marriage and then, a big party with good music, good food and all our friends and family.  We were married in my family parish church, St Ambrose Barlow which is not always heralded as being very aesthetically pleasing but, it is where I’ve grown up and the community we’re part of so it was important.  Amy, our photographer, managed to get some great snaps inside and made it look quite beautiful.


NVWF:   Why did you want a vintage wedding and what elements were vintage?

We wanted people to come to our wedding and say ‘It was very you’.  I use the royal ‘we’ here as Mike entrusted me with all things artistic. We created a collage made up of maps and loads of our ticket stubs for gigs, flights, shows and games then we had it made up as a postcard sized invitation with all the details on the back.  We then ordered a load of vintage looking ‘Y’ and ‘N’ scrabble pieces for people to attach to a luggage tag and send back to us as an RSVP.  I am yet to fashion these into a brilliantly creative piece of art but it will happen.  The maps were for Mike who is a Geographarian and the scrabble pieces were for me, an English teacher – the rest was everything we’d done together since we met.


NVWF:   How did you choose your dress?

I sketched the dress I wanted as soon as Mike had proposed but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  It was a kind of 50’s style, three quarter length ivory dress with lace three quarter length sleeves.  I tried a couple of others on but they just weren’t right.  I searched the internet and had my mom and three sisters doing the same and eventually three weeks before the wedding, I found it, it looked perfect.  My sister measured every inch of me and sure enough the dress was made and arrived about a week before the wedding and I loved it.  The boning was fabulous the skirt was beautiful the bodice was the perfect fit…but, the lace of the top and arms was really poor quality.  I was gutted.   My mom came to the rescue; we went to The Fancy Silk shop by Birmingham markets and bought a beautiful piece of lace then she got in touch with a fabulous dress maker she had known years ago, Eileen.  Eileen couldn’t quite believe how calm I was, not having a wedding dress less than 7 days before the big day, but she took the challenge on and amazingly altered the dress using the new lace in just a few days.  Mom and I were over the moon and my perfect dress was complete.


NVWF:   Did you have bridesmaids and what did they wear?

My bridesmaids were my three sisters, Clare, Oonagh and Adele; they were pretty much like me in terms of getting organised. I absolutely didn’t mind what they wore so long as they felt comfortable.  We eventually found a dress they’d all like to wear online but when all three arrived in a packet that was small enough to be posted through my letterbox, we were sceptical to say the least.  Adele had the answer though and swiftly went about ordering three fabulous ivory underskirts which created the perfect look.  A ribbon around the waist and a fascinator for everyone, perfect.


NVWF:  Tell us about your reception?

We chose our venue, Fazeley Studios after going through a number of different ideas from fields to church halls.  Eventually, we thought about how we love living in Birmingham and how we wanted everyone to be able to get to and from the venue with ease and little expense so started looking close to home.  We love the (former Birds) Custard Factory venue but we discovered that it was too small for our party and looked at Fazeley, the converted 1870′s chapel now part of it.  It was perfect – it really is a hidden gem. Situated in the middle of Digbeth, which is close to our hearts as the central hub of the Irish community but also as the ever growing music, art and fashion centre of Birmingham.  It was perfect for us; a beautiful, light and airy reception room with fantastic period features and exquisite furniture for all of our guests to lounge on and sip their flutes of fizz, plus a gorgeous court yard for our late night BBQ and the rebels to smoke in, a marble floor in the indoor garden which provided the perfect dance floor for the ravers and a bar that delivered a great atmosphere and ample seating for both the hard-core drinkers and the sit and chat types alike.


NVWF:   What was your entertainment like?

My dad, Frank pounced on the opportunity to test the acoustics of Fazely Studios .  He entertained us singing a collection of songs that are special to our family.  This was a surprise but what we’ve come to expect from our am-dram loving father, however, when my mom, Maureen joined in on the last number we were blown away!  Married for 40 years, they’re an inspiration to us.

NVWF:   Are there things you’d still like to do now the wedding is over?

We had a brilliant day and we know everyone else did too.  It’ll be a year ago next weekend and we might finally get our wonderful photographs made into an album and some prints for our walls but thankfully, in this day and age we can look at them whenever we want to online and now on this blog!


NVWF:   And finally, what advice would you give to anyone planning their wedding?

My advice would be to do it quick, don’t put yourself through the pressure of a long engagement, enjoy every minute of planning and organising, do it yourself, make it you.  And on marriage itself?  The greatest gift you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.


Photo Gallery -

Credits -

  • Dress:  Online/handmade, the Fancy silk shop Birmingham
  • Bridesmaid dresses:  Online
  • Venue: Ceremony: St Ambrose Barlow church, Reception: Fazely Studios, Digbeth
  • Photographer: Amy Radcliffe

Unless stated otherwise all photography :  Amy Radcliffe Photography

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon?  For ideas and inspiration join our mailing list for details of our upcoming events.

Written by Sarah Gorlov.

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Weddings to survive April showers

The Italians say “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata,” which translated means “wet wedding, lucky marriage.”  Ok, we would all prefer good weather on our wedding day but what if that doesn’t happen?   Todays blog looks at some solutions to make a wet vintage wedding day better and some styling idea using items associated with the rain – great for any British wedding day!

The most obvious thing to add to your wedding day is to provide umbrellas for guests.  Source mismatching vintage umbrellas and place in baskets around the venue or add to any outside space in curves and lines creating a wall of brollies.93077252183416ffe36c45d95923c718


Embrace the rain by working it into your wedding photos.  Rain soaked photos can look absolutely stunning and very romantic.  If you cant beat ‘em, join ‘em!!!



Invest in a lovely heart umbrella for the use of the bride and groom exclusively.  Great for photo opportunities come rain or shine and something you can use afterwards.



Use lanterns, hurricane lamps and tea lights that wont be affected by rain or wind.  These look beautiful, are safe and will stay lit as long as you want whatever the elements through at them.



For an outdoor wedding its worth having a few small gazebos set up as shelters.  These can be decorated with fairy lights, balloons and other decorations and will be protection from the weather for your guests come rain or shine.



For a rainy day, field or farm wedding how about working wellies into your look!  You can buy bridal wellington boots in silver, gold and cream embellished with ribbon and diamante.  Or add to your bridemaid’s outfits with co-ordinating flowers and accessories for a fun yet practical solution to muddy ground.



And what about a few rainy day themed styling’s?

Add some fantastic floral displays in wellington boots in your venue.  There’s something so British about this and great for a rural inspired wedding day.  Use wild flowers and lots of foliage for a related slightly messy summer garden look.



Use vintage parasols and umbrellas as part of your decorations at your wedding venue.  Suspend with string and ribbon for a quirky, eclectic look your guests will remember.



We all love a nice wedding favour so go for some cute umbrella designed chocolates.  Add to other pastel coloured sweeties for an adorable rainy day look.



In Indonesian wedding tradition, couples sit under an umbrella while showered in a mixture of goodness.  Turmeric rice - to symbolize prosperity and everlasting love; coins - to remind couples to share their wealth with the less fortunate; and candy – to represent sweetness throughout our marriage.  Why not add this tradition to your wedding day whether raining or not?



So, come rain or shine, make your wedding day the best days possible!

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon?  For ideas and inspiration join our mailing list for details of our upcoming events.

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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A 1970′s style Rustic Wedding

In todays real weddings blog we get the chance to see the fantastic June wedding of Laura Jones and Jimmy Adams in Ripon, North Yorkshire.  Incorporating a rustic relaxed feel with cool retro vibes this wedding is a really wonderful quirky mix.

NVWF:   Tell us about yourselves? How long have you know each other? When did you get engaged and then when did you marry?

I’m Laura Jones, an office Manager and vintage lover and my husband is James Adams a design manager.  We met via online dating - Jimmy’s online profile said he wouldn’t date someone outside his 25 mile radius but for me he bent the rules!  Initially I had no idea Jimmy was going to propose, but then he went and left a ring sized chart on the coffee table (he has a habit of emptying his pockets around the house!). Subtlety isn’t my strong point and I immediately quizzed him. In between his girlish giggles, and lack of words I quickly realised a proposal was on the cards. This duly happened at 5.15am in the departures cafe at Leeds/Bradford Airport on our way to the Canary Islands over a hot chocolate. Gobsmacked, delighted, shattered but not shocked, I said yes.  He proposed with my nana’s vintage engagement ring so had to ask my parents beforehand. He’d taken the diamond out (originates from Antwerp) and had it reset into another ring he’d designed with an engraved message inside.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-Highlights-0058

NVWF:   What was your vision for your wedding when you were growing up a was it vintage or more traditional?

Definitely not traditional!  We really wanted to get involved in creating our wedding as much as possible – Jimmy’s a graphic designer which was a massive advantage as we could design everything from the invites down to the wooden signage at the reception. We’re also starting up a vintage clothing company so had a lot of vintage china, props and furniture which we could throw at it, along with lots of enthusiasm and creativity.  We used a colour palate of red, orange, sky blue, cream and lemon and our theme was based around a circus inspired vintage wedding. We watched 1930′s set ‘Water for Elephants’ after deciding on the circus theme and our imaginations went wild!

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

NVWF:   With it being an rustic wedding was there are lot of flowers?

Our florists were wonderful – full of ideas but willing to work with us on our own. The brief I provided was fairly open ‘rustic, rustic, rustic with lots of colour and textures.  My bouquet was a rustic hand tied groups of Sunflowers, Gyp, Blue Gentia, Orange Asclapia, Tansy Daisies, big leaves and bound with string.  The bridesmaids had smaller bouquets in the same flower arrangements created, with each one looking slightly different which was great.

During the ceremony, we had whimsical, Summery arrangements including sunflowers on white wooden stands on either side of table. These were later taken to Hill Top Farm.  Sunflowers and gyp were used the most, alongside peonies, snapdragons, gerberas, alchemila mollis, orange spray roses, delphinium, spray chrysanths and tansy daisies. These were all provided by the stem, and we arranged them in vintage tins and bottles, vases and wonderful customised jars throughout Hill Top Farm, our reception venue.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-Highlights-0013

NVWF:   How did you choose your venue?

We only looked at one venue which was Hill Top Farm as we immediately fell in love with the blank canvas it offered us and its stunning surroundings. The owners (the fabulous Laura and Rob) did mention that the main reason people back away from using the venue is simply the sheer scale of the task when faced with the brief ‘you can do whatever you want.’ We could plan our day just the way we wanted and lessen some of the more traditional formalities.  A massive benefit was we could occupy the site from the Wednesday until Sunday with camping free for all. Our wedding went from being a one day event, to a mini festival overnight, where lots of our guests contributed to dressing up the barn and more importantly were given the opportunity to make new friends as they spent time amongst the wedding party before the big day.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-Highlights-0091

We chose Swinton Park for the ceremony purely because it was 2 miles away from Hill Top Farm. We actually booked Swinton before we even looked round as we were so certain about Hill Top! Having viewed it finally, we couldn’t believe our luck as it was going to appeal to the more conservative guests attending the wedding. We had amazing photo opportunities, and having two completely different venues made the day a fascinating spectacle for all. There was always something to marvel at – this is what we wanted to create!

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

NVWF:   How did you choose your dress?

I ended up buying two dresses having got cold feet about the first one. I finally decided on an ivory 1970s inspired lace crocheted full length dress with gorgeous bell sleeves from an Etsy store – DreamersLA. The idea was based on Jenny’s dress in Forrest Gump – I wanted something free flowing which wouldn’t hinder my enjoyment!  I also wore a huge purple flower crown from ASOS Marketplace.

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

Jim and Lauras Wedding-Highlights-0061

NVWF:   Did you have bridesmaids.  What did they wear?

I wanted my bridesmaids to all wear something they loved. I wasn’t bothered about them matching at all, in fact I wanted them to show their personalities through their dress choices and ensure they were all comfortable. We both had best men so it was going to be unconventional from the start setting the precedence for all the outfits.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-0291

NVWF:   And what about the groom?

Jimmy wore a brightly coloured teal suit from Topman, with red leather shoes. He loosely modelled himself on the lead character from the film ‘Django Unchained’ with a white shirt, waistcoat and bow tie.  The groomsmen wore whatever they liked in same theme as bridesmaids.

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

NVWF:   How did you choose your photographer?

I was introduced to Natasha by a mutual friend, as she was photographing their wedding day. We instantly clicked and have become great friends – it was an easy choice asking Natasha to document our day.

NVWF:   How did the day of the wedding work?

It had rained every day the week prior to the wedding, so we were delighted with a sunny morning, followed by some cloud in the afternoon/evening.  A massive benefit of using Hill Top Farm was we could occupy the site from the Wednesday until Sunday with camping free for all. Our wedding went from being a 1 day event, to a mini festival overnight, where lots of our guests contributed to dressing up the barn and more importantly were given the opportunity to make new friends as they spent time amongst the wedding party before the big day.  We had 70 day guests and 30 extra for the evening do – weddings can be expensive for guests too and we were adamant this wasn’t going to cost an arm and a leg for them so we laid on free camping, kept bar prices to a minimum and arranged a BBQ of thanks for all to enjoy, the night before.

One of our best friends, Spike has a gift for all things musical and he was honoured to provide some of the evening entertainment. He brought a music system, drums and guitars over from Ireland in his little van, and set up on the farm’s trailer stage. He also played our first song which was Jackson by Johnny Cash and performed with many guests throughout the evening. We mixed this up with our own itunes playlist which featured vintage tea party music in the day followed by party tunes in the evening.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-0942

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

NVWF:   Tell us about some of the details you used on the day?

We used a real mix of decorations including around 250metres of homemade bunting, vintage circus posters, homemade pallet wood signs, helium balloons, hanging lampshades, haybale sofas, homemade wooden candelabras, a decorated chandelier and around 150 candle jars.

For the seating plan every guest had a cigarette card style name card with their photo on one side and a poem on the back. A personalised rhyme for all 70 guests was created which led them to their seat. They took days to produce but all our guests still have them which is lovely.  We had table names ranging from circus themed such as ‘The Bradfordian Family Circus,’ and ‘The Stars of the Show’ to more family themed ‘The Relative Knowns,’ ‘Freya’s Fancies’ and ‘Betty’s Batallion.

We also transformed 4 stables into a backstage circus room, a sweet shop, a photo-booth and a memories room.  The memories room featured weddings within the family back to our grandparents. We also placed pictures of people that couldn’t make it in 26 beautiful hand crafted frames.  As favours we had a tea towel screen printed for every guest featuring everyone’s names thanking them for their love and support.

Jim and Lauras Wedding-Highlights-0080

Jim and Lauras Wedding-0601

NVWF:   What was the best part of the day?

One of my personal highlights was when my dad got a picture of my Grandma out on her wedding day and told me she was with us just before we set off to the ceremony  – there were lots of happy tears.  The ceremony was the most exciting part – it was so genuine and carefree filled with lots of love and this continued on the journey from Swinton Park to Hill Top in a convertible car which belted out ‘Big Country’ – an operatic tune which was the perfect soundtrack to the beginning of our new life together.  For Jimmy it was probably his sister debuting on the drums at 32 years old!  Jim’s jaw was dragging on the floor such was his shock – having never played the drums before she was a real natural.  One of the biggest joys was watching our guests flutter from stable to stable taking in all the weird and wonderful things that each room provided. Everyone loved the photo booth room which included clown collars and outfits, red noses and even an authentic WW2 helmet. People who we may have wrongly prejudged to not get involved were in the middle of the action and it was a pleasure to see people enjoying the day as much as you!

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

NVWF:   And finally what advice would you give other brides?

Marry the person who makes you want to be a better person and who loves you for you – if you share a vision, the planning is so much easier and enjoyable.  Use your imagination to the max and let your personalities shine through.  The best advice I got before the wedding was ‘I woke up feeling calm – all the worrying before the day was for nothing.’  Sounds silly but I’d not really thought much about my actual enjoyment of the day leading up to it as I was so busy sorting out all the details.  In the end you really really LOVE your wedding day – what a revelation!

View More: http://natashacadman.pass.us/jimandlaura

Photo Gallery -

Credits -

Unless stated otherwise all photography : Natasha Cadman

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon?  For ideas and inspiration join our mailing list for details of our upcoming events.

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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We are back in London!

The National Vintage Wedding Fair is back next month and is bigger than ever! We return to Chiswick Town Hall on the 18th May 11-4 with LOTS of exciting things happening.

We have 45 exhibitors lined up with everything you need for your vintage wedding. Think flowers, brooch bouquets, cakes, wedding lists, accessories, hair stylists, decorations, photo booths, ice cream, photographers and most important of all 100′s of original authentic vintage wedding dresses. Dating from the 1920s onwards, our fair has the largest collection of vintage wedding dresses under one roof for you to browse, try on and take away on the day.

But we are also adding lots of new things this year!  As well  as the usual vintage tea room and live entertainment in the form of bands and DJs, we are introducing workshops, book signings, hair appointments and vintage  “inspiration stations”.

our pom poms

First up are the workshops. We will be hosting 2 workshops throughout the day for you to learn how to make something fab for your wedding. These are free of charge but we do need to confirm numbers in advance so please email us on yourvintagelife@hotmail.com (mailto:yourvintagelife@hotmail.com) as places are limited.

At 1.00 Ruth Tilley from Festoon, the wedding and party stylists, will be showing you how to make tissue paper pom pom garlands. What’s more you can take them away to show your friends and family (and enlist them to make more for your big day!). We have already had bookings for this so you better get in quick!!!

News on the other workshop will be revealed shortly!

Tell us you are coming by joining our Facebook event page!

Our Timeless Ten: Wedding invitation ideas

A wedding invitation of one of the most important parts of your vintage wedding…after all without it you will have no guests attending!  A great invitation needs to look great but also convey all the information your guests need to know, such as who’s wedding it is, date, location, time, directions, details on menu choices, gift list locations and RSVP requirements.  In todays blog we show you 10 great invite ideas to inspire you to create the perfect one for your special day.

Laser-cut paperwork is a great way to create invites that are decorative, detailed and very pretty.  Much detail can be put into the design such as words, images or repeating design and best of all it will be a totally personalised design.   For vintage theming the more intricate the cut the better and consider Art Deco, Art Nouveau, pretty florals, ethnic or retro designs.



How about sending your guests an invite that makes them do a bit of work?  Create a bespoke jigsaw invite and deliver it in its own little tin.  Add a few favours inside such as sugar almonds or chocolate dragees or for a more individual touch, source different sized vintage tins and boxes and place inside tied with vintage ribbon or string…adorable!



Ok, this may be one of the best invites we have ever seen!  Sending a viewfinder invitation will not be the cheapest option but it is definitely the coolest!  Great for a retro themed wedding, it comes with a 7 shot viewing disc of your photos and text.  If this seems like it would take too much of your budget, maybe this could be an invite you send to just your top table and closest guests?



There can be no better way to profess love than by showing it in still images – as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Create a vintage look photo-booth set of photos and mail out with a simple cardboard luggage tag.  Download the Pocketooth app to have a photo booth in your phone…its hours of fun!  This idea would be easy to make yourself and looks just lovely.



Adding different textures and materials to an invite elevates it to something else altogether.  Use vintage lace and ribbon to create something just beautiful.  Just wrap it round your already printed invites for a fabulous look.



Surprise!!!  This cheeky, fun invite will definitely make sure your wedding invitation is remembered!  Have the outside of the tube printed with designs that suit your wedding theme.



Sometimes simple is best.  An invite with an ink print your two thumbprints intertwined into a heart shape.  So simple but somehow sums up the union of marriage… Add your days details below and this is a great way to simply communicate your day.



Create something a little less flat by having a heart shaped invite in a box.  Use a vintage style font to fit in with the decade of your theme and you’ve got an invitation that your guests will just love.



Everyone loves a wedding and everyone loves chocolate so the two just seem to go together perfectly.  Go for a bar wrapped in your invite with details enclosed inside, this is great for a more quirky themed wedding using a Wonka Bar (plus golden ticket) type design…



Provide your guests with confetti before the big day by making it part of your invitation.  Pretty, feminine and very sweet – this is a great way for guests to arrive at your wedding with their invite plus the confetti for later.  This can also work really well if your venue has rules about confetti and you can provide exactly the sort that can be used (rose petals, rice paper etc.).  Super cute.



And finally, don’t forget before your invites send a ‘save the date’ card, traditionally about 6 months before your wedding date.  Keep them short and sweet – we love the six examples below.

source, source, source, source, source, source

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon or know someone who is?  For ideas and inspiration join our mailing list for details of our upcoming events.

Written by Sarah Gorlov.

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A 1950′s style vintage wedding in historic Cambridge

In todays blog we get the chance to share the gorgeous 1950′s style summer wedding of Rachel Walker and Simon Anthony in historic Cambridge.

NVWF:   Tell us about yourselves? How long have you know each other? When did you get engaged and then when did you marry?

We live in southwest London and have known each other for 10 years. I work teaching sewing and dressmaking classes in London, design stitching kits and work on commission pieces. Simon works as a property underwriter in London. We were engaged in 2011 and married in July 2012 in Cambridge.


NVWF:   What was your vision for your wedding when you were growing up a was it vintage or more traditional?

I didn’t have any specific ideas of what I wanted for a wedding when I was younger. I became interested in vintage styles and fashion about 10 years ago, it was then a natural choice to have a vintage style wedding when I began planning in 2011. I had always known that I wanted a small wedding with family and our closest friends, so we had a guest list of just 48.

NVWF:   Why did you want a vintage wedding and what elements were vintage?

I wanted a vintage wedding because I think that vintage dresses and accessories are so much more elegant and romantic than more modern wedding fashions and styles. I also like reusing old or unwanted clothes, giving them a new lease of life. Most of the elements of our wedding were vintage including my dress, accessories, car, photography style and table decorations.


NVWF:   How did you choose your venue?

At the time we got engaged we were living in Cambridge because I was studying for a PhD at Cambridge University. I wanted a traditional wedding venue with character and then I discovered that as a student I could get married at my college chapel in Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). It has a lovely traditional chapel and surrounding gardens in central Cambridge. For the wedding reception, after looking at several potential venues, we chose St. John’s College, Cambridge because of the lovely grounds that surround the College and river Cam and the traditional dining rooms.


NVWF:   How did you choose your dress?

I wasn’t sure which vintage style of dress I wanted but I have always liked the 1950s/1960s era in particular so I searched online and looked at wedding magazines for vintage designers. When I found The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, owned by Charlie Brear, I thought this was the perfect place to start. I booked an appointment to try on dresses with my mum and selected five original vintage dresses from a selection available of around 30. The first dress I tried on was perfect and we bought it there and then! It was a 1950s style short lace dress from Paris with lovely cream chiffon around the front neckline and hanging down the back of the dress. I also sourced a 1950s wedding clutch bag and delicate matching hair comb with ivory flowers online from Rokit. The ivory clutch bag still had a blue bow in it from the last time it had been used for a wedding.



NVWF:   Was there a theme to your wedding?

The dress was the first thing I bought and as this was a vintage 1950s dress, I then themed the rest of the wedding in a 1950s style. I also wanted as many elements of the wedding as possible to be personal to us. My sister designs cards and she made our save the date, wedding invitations, order of service, place name settings and thank you cards. With the help of my mum and sister we created the flower arrangements for the reception tables and bouquets for the bridesmaids and myself. Our friends Alison also made the vintage style wedding cake and Gemma made the wedding bands.

NVWF:   How long did it take to plan and what were your main influences for the day?

I spent around 18 months planning the wedding – my influences were quite general and my inspiration mainly came from wedding magazines, online searches and my own design ideas.


NVWF:   And finally, what was the best part of the day?

The best part of the day was just after we had the ceremony and we were driven from Gonville and Caius College along King’s Parade to St. John’s College in a 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. We were driven through the grounds of St. John’s College to be greeted by all our friends and family for drinks on the lawn by the river Cam. It was a beautiful sunny day and the setting was perfect.


Photo Gallery -

Credits -

Unless stated otherwise all photography : Joanna Hudson Photography

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon?  For ideas and inspiration join our mailing list for details of our upcoming events.

Written by Sarah Gorlov.

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5 Steps to Decorate Your Dream Home As a Couple

When you move into your first-place together as a couple, you will be full of excitement and optimism. That initial rush of ideas and energy might take a nosedive when you realise what a colossal task it is to decorate a 1st home together. However if you’re smart and follow these 5 steps then you won’t need to get stressed out. We collected the top advice given to us by our friends to help you create your dream home stress-free.

Splurge/Save list

Agree beforehand which items you are willing to spend money on and which item you wish to save on. Good advice includes buying your major pieces of furniture second-hand or vintage of course, and saving your money for stunning design pieces, which will really personalise your living space. Think show stopping lamps or chairs.

Your Vintage Life 1950s living room

courtesy of Simon Whitmore for FW Media: Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Inventory, inventory, inventory!

Make an exhaustive list of what you need to fill your new space before you even think about heading out to the shops. This approach will save time shopping and cut down on impulse buying so that you don’t go over budget. It also allows you to keep clarity and zero in on what you need when you are out making purchasing decisions. Retailers make it easy for you to pile up your trolley with unnecessary and expensive add-ons, so resist the temptation to pick up a few knick knacks at the checkout or buy something you don’t need just because it’s on sale. Then go vintage for the finishing touches such as glassware or ceramics.

1950s vintage home

courtesy of Simon Whitmore for FW Media: Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Share inspiration

Utilise every tool available to look at your inspirations side-by-side as a couple and make sure that you’re on the same page with your decorating theme. You can use Pinterest, Tumblr that you both have the password for, services such as Google Drive, create free ideas boards in mural.ly or even just keep an email thread going back and forth between you! If you don’t want to keep your inspirations online, then a good old-fashioned scrapbook full of pullouts from interior design magazines is just as good and in some cases even better.

Make it personal

Personal is just that–don’t be a slave to interior design trends. Think about what your home needs to be– a home you can come home to at the end of the day and feel completely like yourself. It might be decoration, like mounted photos and posters, or it might be that you feel most relaxed in a room that’s painted pastel blue. Other ways to add personal touches are making sure that both of you have equal say in the design process, and doing DIY projects wherever possible. There’s nothing more fun than painting cabinets together, which makes for great bonding time.

1950s vintage home

courtesy of Simon Whitmore for FW Media: Style Your Modern Vintage Home


If it’s all getting too stressful then why not ask your friends to come over and help you move things around while you host them for a housewarming party? It’s only fair we think, in exchange for the drinks and nibbles. If at first you think your place looks too sterile or too cluttered, the key is to give it time. All of the most perfect living spaces evolve over a period of time and patience is the key. Give your decorating problems space and they will solve themselves.


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All photos are from Style Your Modern Vintage Home, written by Kate. It can be purchased through the Your Vintage Life website.

Vintage Wedding Occasions

Vintage detailing is a unique and fabulous statement that will stand out on your wedding day but what about adding it to the preceding milestones such as your hen night or engagement party? But first let’s start with the big day:

The Norman Hartnell effect

This designer from the bygone era of the 1930s specialised in lace and embroidery using fabrics that slid in a soft and luscious manner such as silks, chiffon and tulle. The Queen’s own wedding dress was a perfect example of his style.

queens wedding dress

Gareth Pugh flair

Wearing a Gareth Pugh is like being enveloped in a mist of pale grey chiffon with a veil that enhances the romance and quiet elegance of the thirties. It includes the trail starting from the shoulders with a light rippling effect.

gareth pugh


Philip Treacy’s Tiara

Wearing a tiara will complete the delicate and romantic sway of the design of any dress: Philip Treacy, the milliner extraordinaire, mastered this gorgeously fine piece using antique lace that recalls the days gone by with grace and splendour.

 philip treacy tiara


Your engagement party

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, or even if you fancy something really alternative like your uncle’s allotment, set up the area with a lovely old styled table with well-used suitcases that can be piled high, to create extra seating. Place candles around the area for a lovely effect as the evening descends. The buffet can be eaten from classic plates with traditional fare, chairs and stools can be assembled for a cosy gathering to celebrate. The music can be a harpist or a vintage phonograph.



High tea for hen parties

You probably will not have the time to create the tea party for your hen party so why not have it all delivered? Make sure you include  French Macaroons, homemade scones with jam (cream too!), ribbon sandwiches and various pastries that will be presented on delightful vintage tea ware.

vintage plates


Fascinator creation hen party

Learning to design and create a fascinator is a great idea for a hen party. The tutorial would help you and the hens to become experts on developing your own style and matching the piece to the outfit you will be wearing on the big day and even afterwards to  the races such as Kempton. The session could end with a stylist that will incorporate the design to blend into the hairstyle of your choice. Use this as a workshop to decide on exactly what you will wear as a head piece or if you have not yet selected your dress, this could inspire you as to what is perfect for you.




Special touches for the Mother of the Bride or Groom

With Mothers Day yesterday, it got us thinking about the role of mothers in a wedding.  Often the mother of the bride and groom are pivotal in the planning, running and sometimes funding of your wedding day.  But how can you come up with some stylish ideas to make them feel thanked, included and generally spoilt?  In today’s blog we share some ideas that will…

Before the day, how about giving her a special gift?  It is traditional to give a corsage and a jewellery version is something she can wear again and agrarian – just make sure you get the colour right to co-ordinate with her outfit!  We love pieces via Etsy made with vintage jewellery.



To go with the gift, how about this adorable keepsake?  Write a special message for your mum or mother-in-law to be that she will treasure forever and add little trinkets you think she’ll love.



If she is the type that wells up easily, an embroidered vintage handkerchief can be a lovely item to create.  Add extra handkerchiefs for other guests in baskets for the ceremony but save the best ones for close family – add heartfelt words, quotes or just you and your grooms names and the wedding date.



Photos are such an important part of the day and a thing that you will always look back on.  Make sure you have some special photos done with you and your mum and your groom and his mum…we love this artwork from Etsy to be used as a wedding photography prop.  Awwwww….



Here’s a wonderful photo idea for both mothers to be part of…  We love the idea that the mothers of the bride and groom give the couple last kiss as single people during the ceremony since they were the first one to kiss them in life.



Getting the seating right at a wedding can be a minefield.  Add special chairs for the special people attending and make sure they get the best seat in the house!



If different chairs is a bit over the top for your styling add custom made reservation signs.  No-one’s going to sit in the two mothers seats by accident this way.  Co-ordinate them with you wedding colour theme and style.



At the top table little touches can really make all the difference.  Buy vintage glasses and get them etched or source custom made versions.  Again this will be a keepsake she can keep after the wedding.



One of the most touching things you can do is wear your mums or future mother-in-laws wedding dress.  Styles have changed a lot since the 70′s and 80′s but a fabulous idea is to create a custom wedding dress made with your mum’s and maybe grandmother’s dress pieces.  You’ll be walking down in the aisle in your own dress but with their special day as part of it.



Sadly not all brides and grooms are lucky enough to have their mothers present at their wedding day.  If this is the case there are ways to make them still feel part of the day.  It’s never going to be easy but little touches can make their absence seem a little less devastating.

Add your favourite photos in vintage frames to chairs so a seat is left for them.



Wear a memorial to them as a charm around your bouquet, as jewellery or as a token your groom can keep in his inside pocket.  There are lots of different ways of honouring the loved ones that have passed away at your wedding – just choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.



We love weddings! Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Or have you had a great vintage themed wedding you’d like to share? Email us and your special day could become one of the subjects of our ‘Real Weddings’ blog.

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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Handmade Wedding Crafts

Todays interview is with Betty Pamper (Formerly Bee) about her book ‘Handmade Wedding Crafts’ a step-by-step project book that shows you how to make your bouquet, table centrepieces, invitations, favours and more. Each chapter covers a different theme including the Roaring Twenties, Fabulous Fifties, shabby chic and modern retro.  Whether you are planning an intimate ceremony or a celebration for hundreds of guests, Handmade Wedding Crafts is packed with original ideas that you will love to make.



NVWF:  Firstly tell us a bit about yourself, Betty

I’m self employed writer living in a cute seaside town called West Kirby. I’ve been writing for pleasure since I could hold a pen between my fingers but only started thinking of it as a possible career five years ago.

betty with book

NVWF:  Do you run a business alongside your writing?

I help my husband run his photography company Nicky Rockets and also run my own events company Vintage Pamperbox which provides vintage inspired beauty services and pop up beauty parlours for parties and corporate events. These have both been going for around seven years.

NVWF:  How did the writing the book come about?

I’ve always dreamt of writing a book and was approached quite by chance by my publishers after they saw one of my articles in the craft section of the Guardian.

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NVWF: Why weddings and what interests you in vintage weddings in particular?

Being married to a photographer I have attended many, many weddings and it’s often the small intimate weddings which are the most beautiful. With a fairly small amount of effort you can make your wedding so individual and I wanted to create a book which would help people achieve that.  The term “vintage” wedding really just seems to encompass a step away from the norm and that excites me. My own wedding wasn’t vintage in style at all. It was a diamante encrusted ultra glam affair with a dress the size of a small country. It was many years ago when I was still going through my designer handbag Sex in the city stage!

NVWF: Tell everyone what the book is about?

Handmade Wedding Crafts features 35 wedding craft projects (often with a vintage twist) – each project is really simple so you don’t have to be a dedicated crafter and the end results are really beautiful. It’s published by Cico



NVWF: What are you most proud of within the book?

I’m really proud that I’ve produced a craft book that isn’t aimed at people who are already amazing crafters. My book is something the most useless uncreative crafter can pick up and after an hour or so have created something with total wow factor. I’m also very proud of the photography and styling which I did with my husband.

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NVWF:  What did you enjoy most about writing the book?

I enjoyed the process of creating projects from start to finish and seeing how fabulous they looked. Also, working alongside my husband as he photographed everything was lovely.

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NVWF:  Do you think the trend for vintage weddings will continue?

I hope the trend for bespoke, personalised weddings continue. I actually think people will continue to use vintage and upcycled items as part of their wedding days because it’s such a lovely eco friendly way to put a personal stamp on things.



NVWF: Did you style it? What were your influences for this?

I did all the styling myself which was really important to me as I am all about the details.  My style for the book was part Parisian cafe society and part English country garden.

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NVWF: What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing another book and am still writing for various publications including Reloved Magazine and the Daily Mirror. I also write a daily blog which is growing in popularity so it’s all very busy. My events company is also picking up the pace so 2014 is looking to be a great year.

Betty’s book is now available on Amazon and other online bookstores.

Unless stated all photo credits – Nicky Rockets 

Look out for our weekly blogs on styling tips for weddings every Monday at www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk. In the meantime, please feel free to share your vintage style wedding photos with us – we just love a beautiful wedding and would love to share the best with our blog subscribers.

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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