Friday, 26 February 2010

Readers’ Vintage Weddings: Amy and John

Amy and John's day is a true inspiration for all those planning a homemade wedding. Accomplished in a matter of months with the minimum of fuss and without a Bridezilla moment in sight, she planned the perfect vintage-themed wedding. Here’s the low-down:

Where: The ceremony took place in awe-inspiring Southwark Cathedral (with a crowd of Borough Market onlookers outside), followed by a sunny walk (following hand-drawn "walk of love" maps by Amy’s sister Sally) along the Thames to the faded grandeur, paint peeling walls and fairy lights of Wiltons Music Hall – London’s oldest surviving music hall.

The look: 50s-style dresses for the bride ( and floral ones for the bridesmaids, her favourite pink shoes, an ice-cream van and jam jars filled with peonies and pink roses, bought during a dawn visit to New Covent Garden flower market a couple of days before.

A bridesmaid in Vivien of Holloway

Homemade things: Amy says: “I sewed the table runners and bunting using cheap fabric from Abakhans in Manchester; I made the flower girl dress from an extra metre of fabric I bought from Vivien of Holloway; The favours were handmade by us and my sister Sally - little brown envelopes stamped with vintage stamps from etsy, filled with homemade badges made by my sis, special poems written by John and my favourite baking recipes”. Amy, we salute you!

Amy’s tips: “When I was looking for a new 50s style dress, I would have loved one from somewhere like Candy Anthony but they were too pricey. America has lots of companies that create more affordable vintage-style dresses... It was a bit of a risk as I was worried that it wouldn't fit, but the dress was perfect. And a fraction of the cost of anything similar in the UK.”

A "Walk of Love" map by Sally Leach

Wiltons Music Hall
Inside Wiltons

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Paris or Battersea?

My vintage fabric and crockery hunt seems to have captured friends’ and readers’ imaginations... I was touched to receive a second gift from Paris yesterday, in the form of some beautiful embroidered floral napkins that my colleague Sarah kindly brought back from her favourite Parisian flea market, Vanves (weekend mornings on Avenues Georges Lafenestre and Marc Sangnier).

She also found these wonderfully old-fashioned wedding gift cards at her local Battersea car boot sale (Sundays, 1.30-4.30 on Battersea Park Road) – I love the faded colours, curly-wurly script and the stories that they conjure... I wonder what became of the recpients! You can see more of Sarah’s flea market finds (along with her gorgeous handmade patchworks) on her blog PostcardsFromBattersea… which is on my list of must-reads for inspiration.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

A Vintage Wedding Evening

I was excited to hear that the fabulous London vintage boutique My Sugarland is planning a Vintage Wedding Evening on the evening of March 3 – sounds like a fantastic idea!

For those of you who don’t know the shop (pictured below), it’s a beautiful space in Angel run by stylist Zoe Lem, who carefully selects vintage dresses alongside contemporary brands. I love the jewellery and hair accessories in there too (future blog post in waiting!).

Zoe herself will host the event, showing off some of the store’s selection of wedding dresses, as well as offering advice on planning for the big day, including ideas for photography, flowers and make-up. Tickets cost £10 – email to book. And if you can’t make the March date, there’s another evening planned for May.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Handmade in Brazil

One of my favourite Rio discoveries is Muggia, a small Brazilian brand set up by two sisters Ana and Juliana who craft inventive accessories out of fabrics, plastics and metals – as well as some beautiful bridal head pieces.

Combining a delicate vintage feel with a contemporary edge, they embroider feathers, gem stones and chains onto veils, hair combs and ribbon head bands. Needless to say I found the perfect veil, which Ana skilfully customised for me, encrusting it with tiny stones and beads. I’m holding this back for the big day – but you can see others from her range below:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Rio Rio

As I tap away on my laptop I can hear the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline and the faint beat of a samba drum in the distance... I've been lucky enough to come to Rio for carnival, where my senses have been overloaded with inspiration - they certainly know how to throw a party here (and there isn't a planner in sight)!

I spent my first day visiting some of the city's atelier-boutiques hidden inside residential buildings in the Jardim Botanico area. I loved these beer bottles recycled into vases and covered in colourful fabric at the Dona Coisa boutique on Rua Lopes Quintas:

And  I thought these headbands could make pretty bridesmaids' headpieces at the Atelier Clementtina (the space reminded me of a Brazilian Cath Kidston and it had its own courtyard garden where you could have coffee or a manicure!)

More Rio highlights to follow, but first I couldn't resist putting up a picture of the view from my "desk"...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Homemade vintage wedding favours

My ideal Sunday in London begins with a walk down to Columbia Road flower market for fried eggs with sage (they come to the table in their own mini pan) and Sourdough toast at the lovely Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue, followed by a bit of bartering over some Geraniums, and then a long and leisurely peruse of all the gorgeous boutiques that now line the street.

My current favourite is the aptly named Vintage Heaven – crammed with crockery, kitchenware and 50s fabrics. I recently picked up a whole pile of squares of chintzy fabrics that never quite made it as cushions..

I thought I’d try my best to do my own version of this pretty lavender heart I found at The Old Stables just outside Holt in Norfolk – an amazing antiques emporium in the grounds of the beautiful Bayfield Hall.

So I ordered some dried lavender from Ebay, made a heart-shaped template out of newspaper, dusted down my sewing machine and here’s the result… a possible idea for wedding favours?

Elspeth Thompson’s gorgeous book Homemade is great for more crafty ideas like this - she has done some cute handpainted "Lavender Cats" that are pictured below:

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Food Glorious Food

This deliciously rustic spread caught my eye at the launch of the Kiosk pop up shop in East London, so I thought I’d snap it for food inspiration. I can imagine rounds of cheeses, baskets of bread and chutneys (we’re already collecting Kilner jars) for post-disco munchies!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

When in Rome...

I'm just back from a work trip to Rome and thought I'd post up some of the inspirations I found there...

Sunday morning was spent at Borghetto Flamino flea market on Piazzale della Marina sifting through all the vintage china, lace and antique jewellery - I thought the brooch below could double up as a pretty wedding hair accessory:
 Rome’s "edgier" neighbourhood Monti proved a real find for vintage and antiques. I loved the old teapots (alternative vases for flowers?) and refillable glass wine bottles at Mia Market (225 via Pansiperna):
Fioramonti Tessuti on Piazza Pollarola didn't look like much from the outside but was filled with roll after roll of fabric - plenty of stripes and florals for decorating a marquee here: 

I also loved all the old-fashioned signage that still adorns so many shop fronts. May prove a good starting point for the invitations:

Monday, 1 February 2010

A flea market find

My good friend Cesca (another seasoned vintage hunter) was planning a trip to Paris and offered to look out for some French fabric to decorate the tables at my wedding. She came back with this gorgeous faded floral table cloth from the Montreuil flea market - so beautifully tied up in a ribbon, I can't bring myself to unwrap it! If you're prepared for the rummage, I would recommend spending a morning at this sprawling market towards the east of the city. Those with the patience to sift through piles of old jumble sale clutter are (almost) guaranteed to find a bargain.

So the tablecloth hunt is already well underway (the more mismatched, the better of course). Below are a few hand-embroidered ones - shockingly - abandoned in charity shops... well now they've found a good home.