#RealBrides: A Vintage Wedding
I’ve been so excited to share this #RealBride’s wedding with you. As you can see from the beautiful photo Natalie had a vintage wedding and I just love how she well and truly put her stamp on it! I’ll let her fill you in…
Tell me a little bit about your wedding to set the scene.
For the last twenty or so years I’ve had a huge interest in the period of the 1930s and 1940s in terms of everything from social history to music and films. I started collecting artefacts such as furniture, collectables and advertising, and eventually branched out to clothing which I collect and wear now. When I met Darren, he accepted my home and lifestyle so when it came to our wedding we both agreed on a 40s style/vintage wedding.
I wanted to wear complete original clothing and took inspiration from a photo of my Nan and Grandad’s wedding in 1939 – just before the outbreak of war. As this was a second time around for both of us, we didn’t want a large formal wedding so decided to invite just close friends and family and opted for a small venue that was very much the 40s in style.
The Fourteas Tea Room in Stratford Upon Avon was a firm favourite for the reception as it’s just like ‘stepping back in time’ with its décor, music, hospitality, atmosphere and fabulous cakes and sandwiches. One of our first dates was in Stratford so it all tied in nicely as a setting. We decided on the local registry office in Stratford as the buildings are steeped in history and then afterwards we headed to the Spitfire Room at the Fourteas for afternoon tea.
I asked my friend Kitten Von Mew to sing some songs from the 30s-50s. She sings at many of the 1940s weekends around the UK. I also asked my good friends, Neil and Ian for the loan of their 1937 Austin 10 car to take mom and myself to the venue, which they agreed to do as a wedding present.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed out were you during the lead-up to your wedding?
My stress levels were pretty low as I had a definite plan right from the start and knew exactly how I wanted it to go. I didn’t feel influenced by any trends and ensured this time around it was about the two of us and not about fitting around other people.
After discussing with Darren what we wanted I booked the venue, tea room, hairdresser etc. I did all this in January and the wedding was in November so we had plenty of time. I immediately started searching for an original dress and other accessories which I found on eBay. One of my friends who attends 1940s events has his suits made to original pattern as he finds it difficult to source original clothing. I then contacted his tailors for Darren and my step dad. I sorted out invitations and everything else much closer to the date. The organisation of it all seemed to flow mainly because it was quite low key and simple and we focused on it being ‘our day’.
Did you have any strategies for looking after your wellbeing and mindset whilst planning your wedding?
I kept a folder of all correspondence and a track in my diary of dates I needed to contact/pay people by. I also did a simple excel spreadsheet of all the costs. All this was very useful as I have found in the past that relying on my memory alone leads to disorganisation, anxiety and stress so this was my way of avoiding these things.
My mom is the only one that will give me an honest opinion and whilst Darren and I made the decisions it was good to have someone else to share what they thought.
I found that talking casually to people who share our hobbies, as well as friends and family about our plans made the wedding more personal, as opposed to trawling through various websites frantically looking for inspiration. For example, Darren’s suit was made by a tailor who came recommended, flowers were recommended by a work colleague, the venue for the meal was found by a colleague and the hairdresser I met a couple of years ago when she came in to do a demonstration at work and I’ve used her since as she does anything from 20s to 60s style.
Is there anything you regret spending your time and energy worrying about in the lead up to your wedding?
As our wedding was a small affair and the space available at all locations was limited we had to, in turn, limit who we invited. This caused some conflict which was a concern and worry but I realised that you can’t keep trying to please and accommodate everyone. The previous year we did look at using Severn Valley Steam Railway as a wedding venue, however this would have proved too costly, and I don’t have any regrets now.
Keeping to firm decisions made things easier.
What advice would you give your engaged self?
To enjoy it. It’s one day in your life that you can’t repeat so have what you want and do it how you want to do it. Remember that you’re marrying the person you want to be with – that’s really the most important thing.
What an incredible wedding story! Please get in touch if you have a wedding story you’d like to share. How brides manage their wedding wellbeing can really vary from bride to bride and there’s so much to learn from each other.