Friday, 9 March 2012

Vintage weddings.

Waaaaaahhh! He said 'yes'.

The season for weddings approaches, men continue to propose and it has been a leap year to boot. I recently helped at a wedding fair and it occurred to me that the whole business of this matrimonial event, and I mean business, has not grown any easier over the decades. I have been to dozens of weddings and over the years a few things have become clear, to me at least and I thought I would throw them on to paper. This comes with the caveat that these are MY thoughts and if I offend any burgeoning bridezillas out there by being less than flattering about one of their cherished matrimonial elements it is just my personal opinion; we all, happily, have the right to them! So here goes:
Day goes by in a blur: enjoy

Don’t be a bridezilla, the day goes in a trice, three weeks later it will just be another party albeit hopefully one with good memories. Anthropologically speaking it is a rite of passage, and culturally speaking it is there as a public announcement of commitment. Once you have signed the papers and made your public legal vow you could mark this event by standing and screaming “we are married!” in your local high street outside Poundland.  It would basically be no less meaningful than having 500 friends in a marquee and releasing doves. You will probably not even really register all the elements you may have spent hours stressing over on the day itself. Unless the arrangements go wrong, or you don’t get exactly what you want. Perversely this will stick with you FOREVER and every time you look at your wedding photographs the fact that the roses in the bouquet were baby pink instead of dusty pink will be recalled. So the best idea is to make your choices but realise that ultimately the small things don’t matter much.

On the other hand there are certain things which, unless you are a specialist or totally in love with the idea of DIY that should be avoided. Brides should not do their own hair and nails or arrange all the table decorations or sort things out on the day because a) everyone wants a piece of you b) you don’t have enough time to talk to everyone as it is c) chaos reigns d) something or someone will play up and e) wedding day minutes and hours are accelerated to warp drive. This is why the bride should choose her bridesmaids as they need to be either calming, entertaining or capable. There is no space for dead wood, flower girls excepted. But they do have to be little so that if they demand to go to the loo loudly during the actual thing it is actually cute. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Get a bridesmaid who can pull her weight!

The reception or party is a modern version of a traditional feast. Not a performance; that happens in the church/temple/mosque/venue. You have to feed your guests and if applicable, provide plenty of alcohol. This is more important than the bride’s dress, the venue and the honeymoon. It doesn’t matter if it a silver-served meal, a buffet or indeed sausages and mash as long as there is lots of it. And drinks should be free with the food but no need to spend a fortune. Personally I’d rather have lots of decent cheap cava than one measly glass of a pricey champagne. There is nothing wrong with cash bars in the evening. But to be frank if you can’t afford to feed guests, hire a church hall and get your family to cater. It really pisses me off if I end up with a few canap├ęs, some scones and a 3 glasses of wine whilst the bride swans around in a Vera Wang dress.

Feed us!

I hate the phrase ‘cookie-cutter’ wedding. This is because it infers that there is something wrong with the straightforward traditional approach. This is there to help people and provide a base on which to hang the kind of planning that most people have no experience of. Instead there is this stress on making it unique, memorable and different. The sodding fact is that every wedding is different because the couple getting married, their families and friends are different. If you want your guests to dress up as Klingons fine, but if you just want a straight forward wedding, also fine. I can honestly say that I have been to both quirky and classic weddings and neither is more memorable than the other in the long run. People should do what they flipping want to, as long as they are feeding their guests (you can see I feel strongly about this..). 

This leads me on to so called Vintage-inspired weddings, or rather what it means to the media. It is a peculiar idea really as most wedding traditions were formed during the Victorian era you could say that all weddings are antique.  I do love the idea of fifties fans having weddings in bingo halls, or the idea of slap up meals in deco dining rooms, or elegant evening weddings in black tie with a band, or Glenn Miller swing dancing soirees in village halls. The permutations are endless. But what does seem tiresome is the habit of rather rich entitled young people enjoying the modern equivalent of Marie Antoinette dressing up as a shepherdess. Distressed everything, everything from ‘artisan’ (code for bloomin’ overpriced) providers and artful little posies of wild flowers; all expensive in that Petersham Nurseries way. The vintage wedding ensemble is some floaty seventies number, they drive off in an old Morris Traveller and the bridesmaids all have hair in sloppy round big vintage rolls. They get a ‘vintage’ dj in, who isn’t and the groom wears skinny jeans and a faux Edwardian style waistcoat. Fackin’ ell, there are even a couple of vintage mags that peddle this nonsense as the avatar of a ‘vintage’ wedding day. 

I’d rather go to Vegas…


Straight Talking Mama! said...

great post! I think I got married before it all got ridiculous organised, as in 19 years ago in May.

I did do my own hair and make up, because at that time no one did vintage hair & make up; we hired a community hall because all our friends dance and we wanted to have good party; we hired an army caterer as we wanted quality AND quantity; we had friends decorate the hall; friends DJ'd and friends who were the band. It didn't cost the earth and wasn't posh and super organised, but people still talk about what a great party it was 19 years later, my job was done!

Mim said...

As long as the wedding is all about the couple, it's going to be good, no matter how little or much they spend. I've enjoyed weddings much more since getting married myself, I look for all the personal touches. Too strong a theme gets in the way of the thing the event is really about, namely the couple themselves.

monika said...

My wedding was special because we were both unemployed but still wanted a big party :-D Cheap hall, home cooking and baking (my mother is a saint and did loads) served as a buffet, and the only glasses available had Coke logos on them... But we had 70 people we really like there and they had a good time! There was food and drink left over, so I assume everyone had enough.
I made my dress, knit a Shetland lace shawl, and did my own hair and makeup. It would have been far more stressful to go off to a salon on the day.

Tickety Boo Tupney - A Dash OF Worcester Sauce. said...

I’ve decided I now hate weddings (not really) after getting sidetracked watching ‘don’t tell the bride’ and totally forgetting to bid for something on evil bay! Blah!!!

If the day ever arises my Pa has told me to get the train to Gretna! This is fine by me, as the thought of being the centre of attention makes me cringe (which is odd as I have a blog practically all about ME, but in reality I’m a very shy and retiring girl- I don’t have to face people on my blog!)

Tupney x

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

You forgot 'the groom & groomsmen wear suspenders AND a belt'. What is this new trend? They look as if they're wearing chastity belts. Argh.

LollyWillowes said...

Ha ha, bang on! I'm not much of a wedding fan full stop, but all this nonsense nowadays really does give me hives.
So much of it is just vulgar and horribly materialistic.

Perdita Tinsel said...

My wedding wasn't vintage/classy enough for one vintage wedding site to feature. It was in a pub, rather traditional and erm, well, possibly more accurately vintage than shabby chic this and that! Back in the day they didn't happen with half an eye on being 'chic', 'classic' or eligible for magazine inclusion.

I did my own hair, nails and table settings. But then again I am a control freak hahaha! Oh, and can do nail art left handed (another style no-no, I was told by someone else...just because I wear vintage but have nail art, apparently I can't on my wedding day, it "doesn't maaaatch"! Gah. My husband and I don't exactly match to look at us either, but it seems to work).

It ended up legendary, because we kept it 'cookie cutter' but with colours/designs and few 'quirks' (cheese buffet instead of dessert) in there too, it ended up relaxed and fun.

The one non-negotiable is HAVE ENOUGH FOOD. For sure!

James Mitchum said...

Sophie and Andy's wedding was a good giggle.

Myrtha Meadows said...

Ha, ha! If I ever get married I'll make sure to have a tiger-lifting test when I chose my bridesmaids! ;) xo

RedlegsinSoho said...

Indeed Sophie and Andy's wedding was excellent. I have never not enjoyed a wedding. x

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