By Karen Parr-Moody
Vintage weddings have grown wildly popular in recent years. For some brides, it's the "green" aspect of recycling, as opposed to all of the waste that goes into wedding décor. For others, it's the affordable price tag. And still, for others, it's that romantic, one-of-a-kind look that conjures up whimsical scenes of days gone by.
Stan Williams, a New York City lifestyle expert and author of the book The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, spoke with GasLamp about vintage weddings.
Williams noted that wedding are events for incorporating one's fondest memories from the past. He said this "something old, something new" approach particularly works well when it comes to table décor.
"One thing that lots of people do is take vintage, mix-and-match vases and have their table's florals arranged in them so that when they are taken home, each one is a special gift," he said. "Vintage is also a wonderful way to give heartfelt gifts to your bridal party without spending an arm and a leg. Vintage jewelry is such a bargain and becomes a one-of-a-kind gift. And don't forget the groom. Rather than use the accessories that come with the rental, buy them for next to nothing at a thrift shop. Same goes for the groomsman."
In the photo, right, is one of the wedding displays currently up at GasLamp. While the gown at left is only for display, the gown at right would be perfect for a vintage-loving bride who favors a late '50s, early '60s style ($135; Booth B-110). It is an ivory "peau de soie" satin and Chantilly lace gown with an empire waist and a Sabrina neckline. (The "Sabrina" neckline got its name from a Hubert de Givenchy gown Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1954 movie of the same name). The bodice is overlaid with lace. The Watteau-style train is made of Chantilly lace and Bridal Illusion tulle, and is detachable. This dress would look fabulous with a wedding party of bridesmaids wearing bird cage veils and antique brooches.
Hearkening to an earlier time period, this satin number, at left, had the graceful, flowing sweep of the 1930s ($35; Booth B-110). With a tie in the back for adjusting the fit, it has an empire waist and is bias cut with a slight A-line, which gives it a flattering silhouette. It would pair very well with pearls, and reminds one of the gowns worn by Jean Harlow when she was the original blonde bombshell of Hollywood.
As Williams said, tabletop is the top spot for adding vintage allure to a wedding. And GasLamp has so many choices for this type of fare, such as this three-horn epergne made of milk glass at right ($89; Booth B-101). It's so simple and elegant, it would make a great centerpiece with other items, such as small hatboxes or pieces of silver.
Antique silver is another bit of ephemera that will absolutely make a centerpiece pop. A silver butter dome would add a Victorian accent to any affair, as would small tea pots filled with flowers. But this particular silver item, right, is the pièce de résistance, particularly if one is planning a beach wedding ($120; Booth B-230). It is a Victorian plant holder with "mer-boys" forming the handles. Their wings are made of shells, and each shell has a tiny pearl in it. It is made of quadruple plate silver, some of the highest quality silver made during the latter part of the 19th century. Can't you imagine fluffy white hydrangeas peeking out of this beauty?
This little fellow, left, simply needs to find his bride and he would make such a fabulous cake topper. He is certainly on his way to a dashing affair, what with pin stripe pants and topcoat. He even has a watch chain, so clearly, he wants to get to the church on time.
Lastly, a ring bearer would be remiss if he didn't carry the rings on a beautiful pillow like the one seen at right ($18). It will certainly lend a romantic air to that walk down the aisle.
Vintage wedding toppers, antique jewelry, and precious silver and glass are just some of the categories with which to concoct a vintage wedding confection. There are so many ideas from which to choose, one could choose an era or a theme, or simply jumble all of the wonderful items together to create a fantasy from yesteryear.