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'Vintage' parasol

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Wedding tips

Wedding Emergency Kit

A great deal of planning goes into weddings to make sure that they run smoothly; the worry taken out of your hands a little if you hire a competent wedding planner! However, in my experience the bride and her family are focussed on the normal 'wedding' things and may not have planned for the little niggles that can sometimes create problems at the last minute, when you are miles away from home at the wedding venue.

I normally carry a capacious handbag, and at weddings this always includes my Wedding Emergency Kit.

  • Sewing kit: needle and threads, seam ripper, pins.
Heaven forbid that something goes wrong with the wedding or attendants' dresses or even the grooms trousers! but these things do happen. Best to be prepared to solve the problem with a quick stitch here and there. or......
  • Safety pins:
Trouser hems, broken fly zippers, etc. Trust me, you'll be glad you had a few safety pins!
  • Plasters: for blisters
A real life-saver if those gorgeous new shoes become agony as the day goes on.
  • Make-up touch-up kit: lippy, combi foundation/powder compact, blusher, eyeliner.
Normally difficult for bride and even bridesmaids to carry a bag. They are busy with bouquets and having photos taken. It might be a good idea to ask one of your other friends/guests to take to the reception a bag with some of the things you would normally carry and or this kit! Whether because of tears or dancing exertions. The Bride is normally photographed from the beginning of the day to the end, not just by the official photographer but by all of her guests.These days the pics often end up on facebook too.

  • Tissues or handkerchief:  for teary moments
Sometimes these teary moments happen just before or during the vows when the emotion of the occasion can be overwhelming. Make sure the bride and sometimes the groom have easy access to tissues or a lovely handkerchief.

  • Wet wipes: also useful for spillages


  • Flat shoes/pumps
That 'ahhh, bliss' feeling of getting those shoes off after a few hours of increasing agony or irritation. Nothing like it! Not so easy for the bride wearing a full-length dress, making a transition from high heels, but sometimes it's just worth it towards the end of a very long day.

  • Ring........  
This doesn't just happen in films! Having a 'novelty' ring in your bag just in case, could be a classic moment.

  • Spare batteries (for camera)/camera charger
I carry a digital camera with replaceable ordinary batteries for weddings because it is so frustrating to be 'caught short' at the church or reception venue with one that requires electrical recharging. Carrying a couple of spare batteries in the handbag is no problem. A charger is a bit more problematic.

  • Comb, hair grips and small can of hairspray
It is really useful for the bride to be able to refresh the hairstyle during the day especially if a veil/headress has been worn and removed. These days very small cans of hairspray are readily available.

  •  Umberella
Unless the weather forecast is reliably 'unbroken sunshine' it is often prudent to take an umberella. I've been to several weddings where it has absolutely poured down. At one, the guests were asked to create an 'avenue' of umberellas to protect the bride from the church door to the car. We all got soaked but she made it to the car dry! I now have this Lulu Guinness see-through beauty.

Whilst by no means an exhaustive list, you may be glad to have some of these things to hand on the big day. If you can think of any I've missed please let me know.........

Vintage wedding 1930s - Creating the look

1930's styling has become increasingly popular for brides in recent years and with the release of the latest re-make of 'The Great Gatsby' the 20s and 30s influence is likely to grow.
If you think you'd like a 1930's style wedding, this blog should help you to recognise, find and complete the look.
This was my grandmother's wedding in the early 30s and still shows influences from the 1920s. The dress itself was made from pale pink lace and worn with a looped string of long pale greeny yellow beads.

   pic copyright meryl Smart
The Movies and now TV have always influenced fashion and in the 30s era, the glamour of Hollywood filtered through. The drop-waist of the 20s gave way to more figure flattering dresses with waists in the natural position. The bias cut fluid styles, skimmed the figure but were not tightly fitted or heavily structured with boning. Often accessorised or trimmed with feather or fur for added glamour.

Hollywood glamour meant pin-curl waves, luscious red lips, feathers and furs, slinky fabrics.

Recognising the key features
                                                                 
Dress
  • Ivory.white,pale pink/peach                                      
  • Bias cut- (cutting diagonally across the fabric)          
  • Flared at hem
  • Loosely structured/draped                                                  
  • Slinky fabrics; satin, crepe, velvet.
  • Cape sleeves or sleeveless
  • Often with 'Flying panel' attached to dress
  • Cowl or V neck














                      pic copyright meryl Smart
Finding the dress
Some vintage wedding dress suppliers may have authentic vintage dresses from this period. They are becoming more and more rare, the sizes tend to be small and the fabric quite fragile.



















                                                        
Most bridal designers should be able to create your dress in 1930's style




















                     Pettibone                                                Temperley                                               Packham

D.I.Y. If you are comtemplating making your own.....
Patterns for bias cut dresses are also available, from fabric shops and over the internet, although you may not find them in the bridal section. Etsy and e-bay have sellers who specialise in vintage patterns. (sovintagepatterns.com)

Be warned however, if you are not an experienced seamstress, genuine vintage patterns often come with very little detail on the pattern pieces and the sizes do not correspond to modern sizing. (Vintage sizes are much smaller). Resizing a pattern is not an easy task if you are to keep the proportions right.  Sewing bias cut seams is also a skill as they are prone to pucker.
Most modern pattern suppliers now offer a small 'vintage' slection, based on vintage originals with more practical pattern details and modern sizing.

The'30's bias cut dress has become a fashion staple in subequent generations.  The style is still available on the High Street today, for day and evening wear, in different colours and prints.

Completing the look
Headdress/Headpiece/veil                
In the 1930s Wide brimmed hats for Summer weddings were popular .                                     























Veil Veils often made from beautiful lace were
worn across the head with a band fastened at both sides.


Hair
Waved and pin-curled. longer hair would be worn up at the back



















Bouquet
  • Quite often bouquets were carried sideways
  • Corsages were also popular ( see pic >)
  • and/or a huge rose bouquet, more as an upright arrangement than  posy or hanging bouquet                                          Pic copyright Meryl Smart



























         pic copyright Meryl Smart
Shoes
The rounded toe with T-bar is the iconic shoe of this decade,














Jewellery
The Art-Deco period spans the 20s and 30s
Long beaded necklaces were still in vogue. Beaded 'bib' neckalces, strung pearls and rhinestones


















These are genuine necklaces from the period.
Other details:
Modern brides don't feel compelled to be 'historically accurate' in every detail of their day beyond their outfit, but if you do want to arrive in authentic 1930's style. Here is a car of the period too!




 The style is undeniably glamorous but also very sophisticated.



'Vintage' parasol


Ever had major parasol envy? I saw a lovely vintage parasol on a wedding blog (as you do) I wanted one!

I've had this theatrical prop in my 'collection' ever since I played Eliza Doolitttle in 'Pygmalion' when I was 16. (I never throw anything out!) I knew it would come in handy some day. Now I am a vindicated hoarder.
It came with the original frills but my mum embellished it at the time with crepe paper flowers! Several decades have not been kind to it and the nylon fabric became stained. It was time for a glamourous makeover. I was sure I could use the frame which had a lovely mother of pearl effect crooked handle to create a 'parasol' like the one I now envied so much.

I took the fabric and trimmings off and was left with the frame. I had planned to cover it with panels if silk and then embellish with vintage lace which would be gorgeous....but take absolutely ages, which is why the frame was languishing naked in a corner whilst I then got on with other, more pressing commissions.
 
Quite by chance. whilst rummaging through my vast collection of vintage paraphernalia for something else entirely (to trim a wedding dress) I unearthed a vintage crochet tablecloth.
I thought it would make a fabulous skirt so I put it to one side to experiment with later.
I had it draped around a mannequin that evening when I had a eureka moment. What if?!...............

Some experimentation revealed that the piece would fit nicely over the frame and dangle attractively over the ends.



The trick was distributing it evenly as there were not exactly enough panels to go with each 'spoke' of the frame. This was achieved through trial and error and using glass headed pins to keep the crochet in place during experimentation. I attached the crochet to the appropriate points by hand stitching.

It was a fairly straightforward process once I had worked out how to stop the spokes slipping completely through the crochet and finish it so that the crochet didn't get caught on the spokes when it opened.
I am really pleased with the end result.

It's a lovely piece and practical because it clicks closed so can be carried in that position.

I love it when a plan comes together

I shall be keeping the parasol for use in photo shoots and fashions shows.
Whilst the  parasol is not for sale it will be available to borrow, free, for any brides commissionning a Vintage Smart bridal gown.


Wedding burnout


I love weddings. I enjoy the ceremony and always feel honoured when I am invited. I also love a good party as much as the next person.

I attended a wedding recently (as a guest) and I was really looking forward to it. The ceremony was at 1pm, in a church. After transportation to the reception venue, photos took until 4pm, when we actually sat down to eat. The food was plentiful and delicious. The wine and champagne flowed freely. The speeches were long and detailed. The other guests were really friendly. At 7pm the 'evening do' started: more people, more delicious food and a band arrived. It was a great day..... and the bride was really flagging.

The Bride, normally an extremely gregarious, fun-loving person, was exhausted before the day even started and seemed unable to simply enjoy the day because she "just wanted to sit down and do nothing for a while". She hadn't realised that all of the beautiful 'location shots' she had discussed with the photographer weeks before at the stunning reception venue, would take her away from most of her guests for two hours. She found it intrusive on the day, but he was only doing what she had requested.

She admitted to me that, the previous day, she had been planning to put together favours for the tables and all sorts of other little things that brides feel pressured to provide, but realised that it was not that important to have sugared almonds or whatever on the tables. Anyway, she simply ran out of time and inclination. It wasn't as if anyone even noticed! We were all too busy having a good time!

The intense preparation, being the centre of attention and the overwhelming emotion of the day itself had taken it's toll. She had reached 'wedding burnout'. Having a reputation as a party animal, she was perhaps the least likely person I know to whom this would happen.

When asked (as I sometimes am in my capacity as a bridal designer), my advice, drawn from attending hundreds of weddings, is kept to a minimum. I suggest to brides-to-be to try to do the wedding their own way, to focus on what is really important and to keep it as simple as possible. Afterall it is their day. Easier said than done though. Inevitably, however well-meant, everyone else's opinion often crowds in and, in an attempt to please everyone and live up to expectations, the enjoyment of the couple's day can be lessened. The burden of being a people pleaser, and often an understandable lack of experience in organising such an event. Sometimes, reflecting on the day weeks later, brides have said to me 'I didn't realise.........', 'If I had known........ I would have done things differently....'

So much time. energy and money goes into weddings these days. So many hopes, dreams and wishes ride on just one day where everything is so public that, perhaps, a percentage of burnout is inevitable. Unless of course you are the sort of bride who relishes all of the choices, decisions, organisation and co-ordination or can afford to hire a wedding planner to take this on for you.

If you'd like to prevent the wedding burnout, it might help not to over-complicate, elaborate, and pile on unreasonable expectations that could take away from the couple's ability to enjoy the simple pleasures and meaning of their special day.

  • If it is your wedding.....try to work out how you actually want to do things, rather than base your day on what you think everyone else wants. But also do your best to be realistic. You will never please everyone, and if you try, you may make just yourself miserable, stressed and exhausted. Ambitious, complex ideas may be difficult to achieve in the time you have available to plan, or keep within budget. If you can prioritize those things that are most important to you and are most likely to be enjoyable for you and your guests and leave the rest on a reserve list (that you know you may never get around to, or can easily cross off if you go over budget or run out of time,) this could take off some of the pressure.


  • If you are directly related: family, mother of the bride/groom etc.......Try really hard not to inflict too much of your own agenda or tastes. This may not be easy, especially if you are the major financial contributor, but if you can accept the couple's preferences gracefully, even if they may not concur exactly with your own, it will probably be appreciated and aid harmony.


  • If it is your friend's wedding......You will probably be asked what you think from time-to-time. If you can bring yourself to offer advice only when asked, seeing things from their point of view, and be appreciative and re-affirming of decisions already made, it will help to give them confidence to do it their own way, without feeling guilty. Try not to create a drama about things like the seating plan or not having your children invited, for example. If you offer to help with anything, make sure you can deliver. Basically, be a good friend.


         Above all try not to lose sight of what the day is about. Everyone is there to witness the vows and
         to share the couple's special day. Everything else is just decoration.

 Text=Copyright. Property of Meryl Smart. 2012 .May not be copied without permission.









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