Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our Vintage Wedding: Ceremony

Photography by Cassandra Sutton

I have always wanted a very traditional and sober wedding. To me a wedding is a serious and solemn occasion and it was important to us that our ceremony was incredibly formal and dignified. The whole ceremony was a surreal experience and looking back on it now everything went so fast that if it wasn't for these photos the whole thing could have been written off as a day dream. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Bride Wore Vintage

Photography by Cassandra Sutton

Like many of you in the vintage community, our family and friends are not actually into vintage. While I do have my vintage friends that I have met through blogging, none of our friends and family involved in the wedding are into vintage and so it was important to me that I wasn't forcing vintage styles on those who were not enamored with the look the way I am.

My number one priority with picking the bridesmaids attire was ensuring that the dress all of the girls would wear was one that everyone felt good in and would be able to wear after the wedding as well. The last thing I wanted was for my friends to wear dresses that they hated and that were impractical to wear ever again, the same being for shoes as well. As a result we settled on a dress that reflected the aesthetic of the wedding and one that would be comfortable to wear for the festivities after the ceremony. Bridesmaids dresses in the fifties were typically very formal - lots of tulle and lace - so older members of the family who had got married in the fifties were confused that I opted for such simple dresses for the girls despite aiming for a fifties look!

The reason I did not go for more extravagant and traditional bridesmaids dresses was because of what it would cost my bridesmaids. Although there were some amazing vintage reproduction dresses on offer that would have made great bridesmaids dresses, they were also a few hundred dollars than I was comfortable with asking my friends to pay. I know that I personally would not be happy paying that much for a dress I would wear once, especially if it was not my style. I think it is important that when you are planning a wedding that you take into consideration what people who are involved are going to be able to afford to spend.

For Bonnie, our flower girl, we decided on a dress that was more dramatic than the bridesmaids dresses as she would be the first one to walk down the isle and it was important that her entrance made an impression. As for the groomsmen it was as simple as me telling them what to wear because men generally don't care whether a particular colour suits their complexion/hair colour...They were however allowed to pick out their own novelty cuff links to customize their look.

I wore an original fifties wedding dress that had been made in Paris and was in near immaculate vintage condition save for a few parts where the lace had started to detach. This had been the dress of my dreams for many years from when I saw a near identical dress in a fifties Vogue and decided then on that I would only get married in a dress like it. At first I went to a fitting in an actual wedding dress shop that specialized in vintage reproduction dresses but found the incredibly patronizing staff not worth my time or money, and frankly their quality and dresses were not that great either. So I returned to looking online, which has always been a reliable way of buying clothing for me!

I really do love vintage, but one of the reasons I have always avoided buying it is because I rarely find anything my size. All of the dresses I like always have a 24 inch waist! I knew when I decided on getting a vintage wedding dress that I would have to just buy a larger size and go to a dress maker for alterations. This is exactly what I did, and our dress maker did a fantastic job not only taking the dress in and re-doing all of the boning, but also restored the damage to the lace and made the dress look good as new.

Instead of hiring a team of hair and makeup people, we did it all on our own with the help of online hair tutorials. Rather forcing the girls into sponge rollers and wet sets, my sister in law Lilli Rose who did everyone's hair, went for a simple contemporary hair style that still had an elegant vintage look, adorned with sprigs of babies breath. I was happy to do my own hair and makeup the way I would on any other day to ensure that I did not have to worry about having a bad hair day.

The Bridesmaids wore:
Retrospec'd dresses
Mel heels

The Flower Girl wore:
Chi Chi London dress
Vivienne Westwood Melissa flats

The Bride wore:
Vintage 1950s dress
Vintage veil
Vivienne Westwood Melissa heels
Vintage 1950s pearls

The Groom & Groomsmen:
Suits custom made by Studio Suits
Cuff links found on Ebay

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our DIY Vintage Wedding - Part I

Photography by Cassandra Sutton

Our wedding day began with a very early start. Just as the sun had started to rise over the river, cups of tea were being made and flowers were being assembled. We embarked on a DIY wedding for no other reason that we did not want to get fleeced by the wedding industry who are notorious for their extortionate mark ups for the most basic service just because of the word wedding.  Most people were surprised with this decision as I loathe crafting/DIY of any type. I do not like making things with my hands. I can't stand it! I have no patience for anything fiddly as I find those things to be a huge bore and where possible I will find a way to get out of it, or pay to get out of it. The wedding was different however because on the moral principle I refused to pay an obscene mark up for what is essentially a large family gathering. Paying five times what things should cost just because I was wearing a white dress and Hugh was wearing a suit is something I found offensive and refused to comply with.

This is where our wonderful friends and family come in. If it wasn't for all of the time, hard work and effort that everyone put in then there would have been no wedding, and so it is to them that I am extremely grateful - we really could not have done it without them! My sister in law deserves a special mention here, as if it wasn't for her indulging my rants, tantrums and frustration - and not letting me throw in the towel several times when I had realized I bit off more than I could chew...I probably would have given up. And of course my mother in law who is an extremely calm and patient person, which I am not.

Our decision to have our wedding in Grafton NSW was for a number of reasons that just made perfect sense; it is a quiet country town with beautiful scenery and landscapes, and the majority of our wedding guests lived there. This meant that we didn't have to inconvenience people with travel and working out accommodation. It was important for me that our wedding was an intimate, private event where everyone could relax and enjoy themselves in a comfortable surrounding. I found our wedding venue by looking at the real estate holiday rentals and when I saw the beautiful country cottage by the river I realized that it was exactly what I had been searching for all along.

What makes it even more special though, is that after showing our family members photos of the venue - Hugh's nanna instantly recognized the house as her childhood home where she lived before she got married to Hugh's grandfather! Nanna proudly showed us the photos of her own wedding photos that were taken at the very same house and that was all the persuasion I needed to book it as our reception venue. The sentimental value that the house had to Hugh's family was priceless as it was a home full of happy memories. An added benefit of renting the cottage meant that we were able to provide accommodation for all of my bridesmaids and our wedding photographer.

Flowers are a big part of any wedding and the more the better - there is no such thing as too many fresh flowers as far as I'm concerned. Even though we had the wedding in a state with a cooler climate and in spring - it's still Australia, so it was going to be hot regardless. For this reason I decided to go with a mix of traditional wedding flowers - roses and babies breath, and hardy Australian natives that provide a generous dose of colour and were safe from expiring in the heat. In the process of working out flowers, I first went to a florist and had to steal myself from laughing in the face of the this woman who quoted us the cost of our entire flower budget for just my bouquet and my bridesmaids bouquets...Yeah, right! And so, our fresh, beautiful flowers were all bought at a flower market by my wonderful bridesmaids and we ended up having more flowers that we knew what to do with.

The day of the wedding was a DIY marathon. The morning was spent with all of the bridesmaids making beautiful floral arrangements for the table, our bouquets and the boys boutonnieres while the mother of the groom started putting together our wedding cake. Outside, the men in the family were busy hanging decorations, arranging the tables and working out the lighting. There was hardly a moment to catch a breath the whole day and so it was extremely rewarding that everything went off without a hitch despite the fact that our only professional help on the day was our photographer who spent the whole day documenting every moment of our wedding. A DIY wedding is not for everyone! I never thought I would be able to do it but we got through it with the help of all our family and friends and it is not something I would have dreamed of embarking on if it wasn't for everyone who was willing to come together and lend us their help.

I hope you have all enjoyed this post and that it has been helpful for those of you who are in the process of planning your own wedding and are determined to keep it affordable without making a compromise aesthetically! In the next installment about our wedding I will be writing about the ceremony and the reception.

A run down of the cost:

What were were quoted:
Venue hire: $10,000 - $15,000 (venues that are homes and farmsteads)
Event decoration: $1500 - $3000
Flowers: $700 (just for bridal party bouquets)

What we paid:
Venue hire (for 4 nights): $700
Flowers (bridal party & decoration): $600
Tables & Seating: $1000