Tuesday, March 1, 2011



Vintage. A word that is bandied around the Offbeat wedding world with much fervour.

How many times do you read new blog entries about "Vintage" weddings, decorations and shoes? Sometimes it's matched with other romantic descriptors such as "Boho" and "Shabby Chic". Sometimes genres are melded together and you hear people describe weddings as "Boho Chic" or "Vintage Boho". Sometimes when they're not sure, they say "Vintage...Boho....Shabby...y'know." Usually we know what they're talking about! But just in case you're interested in what these terms (and others) mean to different people - here's what we've turned up.


Annabel from Love My Dress posed a similar question on her blog last December, which attracted considerable attention from other vendors: "There are many cases of blogs featuring weddings that are classified as ‘vintage’, which I’d rather call something more along the lines of ‘shabby chic’ or ‘eclectic country’ as I prefer to call it."

Vintage Fashion Club have a simple definition. "Vintage clothing and accessories are older than 20-25 years, but not more than 85. Those figures vary: sometimes vintage includes 1920s fashion, sometimes 1920s clothing and accessories are considered to be antique, mostly it depends on the actual garment."

With this in mind then, should we be specific in the way we label weddings? After all, there were such defining trends in each of the individual decades, particularly with clothing. Is it truly a vintage wedding if we are combining a 1920's style dress with 2011 style shoes? Or 1950's makeup with 1930's attire? Or if our weddings are simple affairs with few guests and hand-made decorations, and "antique (we think)" plates? Is small and predominantly DIY another word for Vintage"? Is it Vintage if we're using blush pinks and beiges? What if we use patterned teacups, typewriters, birdcages, chandeliers and photo-frames? What if our photographer simply uses sepia colouring effects on our photos?

The Wedding Decorator has a quick rundown of the trends in each decade - definitely worth a read if you are going for a particular look.



In all honesty, I don't think there's ever going to be a universally recognised definition. What most stylists seem to agree on is what a couple's intention is when they choose this look. Is it because it's trendy? Because it glorifies a return to "simple" weddings? Because it's cute? Chic? Or because you genuinely adore that style and it's how you envisage celebrating your relationship with each other and your closest friends and family?

Is it more accurate to describe a style by the decade? Or perhaps "Vintage Fusion" should be a more appropriate formalised term? Is Vintage still alive and well, or is the term so ambiguous now that it's no longer truly trending?

In the meantime, when I ask brides what they envisage for their big day, and they say: "Vintage...boho....shabby...y'know..." - I say: "Fantastic. Let's do it!"

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