Etsy UK Brings A Little Magic To London

This weekend saw Etsy UK’s first ever wedding event in London – an interactive, vintage-themed exhibition for those looking for creative ideas for their big day.

Held at Gallery Soho, the intimate setting boasted two floors of gorgeous fashion, stationery, jewellery, home furnishings and craft workshops. There was something for everyone, from Hollywood-siren oppulence in the form of a show-stopping, sequin-covered, gold, vintage gown to the endearing charm of handmade cushions, adorable wedding cake toppers and button-decorated, pastel-coloured bouquets.

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For vintage lovers like myself, it was an intoxicating way to spend my Saturday morning, putting me in a joyful mood for the rest of the day.

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The downstairs showed off a range of wares from Etsy sellers and there was a free hair consultation and styling session for any girl wanting to see which vintage look would be the most flattering at her pending nuptials. Like a magpie, I found myself drawn to the sparkly antique hair pins and rhinestone combs being used to create the beautiful styles. Art deco hair accessories are definitely the most impressive but, let’s face it, if it gleams and sparkles, you can’t go wrong!

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The upper level of the gallery heaved with gushing future brides eager to try their hands at the craft workshops being offered by Parapluie Events. Armed with a fabulous free cocktail from St-Germain – a light, breezy concoction blending the French liqueur, Prosecco and club soda – I got to try my hand at making clay wedding favours and place settings as well as frilly, paper doily pom-poms to use as hanging decorations. The cackling heard from the photo booth provided by LookLook was testimony to how much fun was being had by all the guests.

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The entire session was a blast and I walked away with not just a renewed love for vintage but also the uplifting sense of accomplishment; showing my creations to family and friends triggered a gush of compliments and admiration. Not bad for a mere £5 entry fee!

Parapluie Events are definitely worth booking for hen-dos and parties – get all your bridesmaids to help craft your wedding favours and you’re not only quids-in, you’ve also managed to involve your nearest and dearest to help create the most special day of your life!

Hopefully, Etsy UK will repeat the event next year, perhaps with a few tweaks to help drive more revenue sales. That said, everyone at the event received a fantastic goody bag – which included a special code for 15% off buys on Etsy. Given the wonderful stuff we saw on display, I imagine many will go on to use the generous discount. Etsy UK deserves to do well from this first foray into events – it was awesome fun and the quality of handmade and vintage goods on display were genuinely breathtaking.

To see more pictures and news from the event, social media users can search for #etsywed on Twitter or check out the Facebook page for EtsyUK.

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Tiaras For A Queen!

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I couldn’t resist shining a spotlight on one of the most girliest, yet regal, of hair accessories; the tiara. Any bride planning a vintage themed wedding should give serious thought to adding an opulent antique tiara to her get-up. After all, your wedding is effectively the time when you become Queen for a day; all eyes are on you, you’re the centre of attention and the focus of all your subjects (ok, we’ll go back to calling them ‘guests’ but you have to admit, the thought of them becoming your subjects for the day definitely enthralls…).

For the truly extravagant, check out Etsy for jewelled tiaras dating as far back as the 1800s. They’re not cheap, but they’re certainly breathtaking – and you’d easily check off the ‘old’ or even ‘something blue’ from your list of wedding day traditions.

The crown tiara below – yep, it’s actually called a ‘crown’ – is a French brass and gilt creation from the late 1800s. At £552.06, it’s a tad pricey, but a far better investment than a pair of designer shoes or a dress you’ll only wear once:

If that’s too colourful – and you don’t mind breaking the bank – the superb tiara below costs over £4,000. It’s a rare French crown (there’s that delicious word again) boasting an ornate, filigree design with mercury glass balls nestled in beautifully crafted flower petals. It’s more than an investment – it’s a bonafide work of art. Originally found in an ancient church, it would have once graced the head of a Madonna or Saint – and for a high price, it could adorn your very own temple. The seller states that it’s in pristine condition, but in case you still have doubts, you’ll be reassured to know that this crown was featured on a recent TV show in the USA, where experts confirmed the hefty valuation – it truly is worth every penny:

If your budget won’t stretch to an actual antique crown, dump your future hubby for a richer prospect. Kidding! All is not lost… you don’t need bags of money to look like a Queen on your big day. The 1930s were big on sparkly hair combs; rhinestone designs that sparkle like diamonds under the light. Ebay, Etsy and charity shops are great places to pick up some of these wonderful alternatives – I own several for the sheer beauty of them, not even for a wedding day! Here’s one currently on Etsy, which looks like a mini-tiara, priced for under £65:

It’s eye-poppingly pretty and would look beautiful nestled in front of a simple hair bun or any bridal hair style with some height. It’s definitely time to channel your inner Royalty and wear your tiara with pride; you are the Queen of the ball on your big day – and don’t you dare let anyone forget it!

Lips Gone Wild

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I once tried those brightly coloured, elaborately patterned, lip tattoos and it got me thinking… If women could get the manufacturers, Violent Lips, to produce a delicate looking vintage lace or broderie selection, in pastels or nude, would any brides dare to wear them on their wedding day?

From a photographer’s perspective, the wedding pics would probably look like a high-end couture spread from a glossy fashion magazine. From a practical perspective, your future mother-in-law would probably run screaming from the wedding venue shouting “Stop the wedding!”. But I do like the idea of introducing vintage design into weddings in an unconventional way – just not necessarily with lip tattoos. I think my imagination needs to work harder. So… I’m thinking… Still thinking… And will let you know when I finally crack this!

How Low Can You Go?

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One of the things I first notice when walking into a wedding reception are the table centrepieces. Usually, the greatest visual impact comes from taller designs, standing over the seated head level of guests. That may be so but there’s nothing more annoying than being sat at a circular table with an obstructed view of those seated opposite. It restricts conversation across the table and can create a “them and us” environment.

So, I ask you… How Low Can You Go?

Having been to scores of weddings throughout my lifetime, I’m becoming increasing fond of low centrepieces. They open up the feel of the venue, creating the illusion of space.

From stacked mini plant pots to water filled bowls topped with floating flower heads and candles, I’ve seen an array of shorter centrepieces to suit every budget.

If you’re stuck for an idea, use the image above as inspiration. It’s actually a Christmas design, which was made by the florists in John Lewis’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street. I think it would also work well for any Autumn wedding, where arrangements using flowers, fruit and spices (such as cinnamon sticks) are more common and bring to life the colours of the season (reds, oranges, rusts, greens, golds and caramels).

This particular John Lewis beauty cost £60 but your local florist can produce something equally show-stopping for less using seasonal flowers and alternative accessories. And, best of all, it will create a stunning visual impact without impairing your guests’ ability to see one another!

Art(ful) Hair Deco-Ration…

Check out this ART(ful) hair DECO-ration which is both glamorous and stylish, despite being older than your Nan!

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The vintage aluminum and rhinestone 1920s Art Deco comb is now on sale for just over £26 on Etsy. Think that’s too pricey? Have you seen the extortionate prices on the high-street for mass-produced accessories? Nowadays, £26 can’t even get you a decent necklace and earrings set, yet you can pick up this fantastic antique as a timeless keepsake and fantastic investment.

Becoming someone’s ‘Old Lady’? Do it old school then…

Old Lady. No, not a woman who is mature in years. I’m talking ‘Old Lady’ to a man. Yes, I’m talking about a wife.

If you’re ready to tie the knot, forget about making it a modern affair. True glamour is old school glamour. Not convinced? Check these out before you make a final decision:

THE PRINCESS BRIDE VINTAGE 1950S SILK DUPIONI AND LACE WEDDING DRESS

1950s Classic Glamour

This lovely, 1950s gown with lace cutouts and a tulle and satin underskirt is now for sale on Etsy for a mere $350. Teamed with a simple bouquet of roses and a simple pair of heels, you’ll be the belle of the ball on your big day if you waltz down the aisle in this stunning dress.

The beautiful shoes below are from the late 1940s (c. 1947) and are simply stunning. More importantly, they’re multi-functional. Unlike many wedding shoes, they don’t have to spend the rest of their years hidden in an old box or buried in a wardrobe – team these with a glitzy dress for a night on the town and they’ll prove a fantastic investment. With a price tag of $25, they’re a welcome money saver because, let’s face it, getting married isn’t cheap!

Dance the night away in these 1940s heels!

If you’re having a summer wedding and looking for a unique sleeveless gown, I reckon this 1960s champagne and pearl number might turn your head:

You always need champagne on your big day!

If lace and tulle or pearls and sequins aren’t your thing, you can wear this simple yet elegant gown as it is, or have it customized with your favourite beads to add a light touch of sparkle:

Elegant '60s chic

For only $30, it might as well be given away… it’s not often you pick up your wedding dress for this tiny price!

Affordable, beautiful and environmentally friendly too, vintage is the way of the future, not just the past!

Gorgeous Vintage Jewellery – FOR SALE ONLINE

I love vintage jewellery and accessories. Whenever I see a second hand ring or brooch, I find myself wondering and speculating about the stories behind each unique item. I imagine the loving couples who must have shared intimate moments of joy when picking out their wedding rings, or a weepy daughter who must have been overcome with emotion to learn that her mother or grandmother had bequeathed a treasured keepsake. Whatever their stories, there’s no denying that vintage jewellery is far more beautiful and ornate in comparison to today’s mass-market offerings. Here are my favourite finds for this week, selected because they are simple enough to wear in this modern age without looking too kitsch or dated.

This 1940s ring set boasts a stunning diamond engagement band. This kind of beauty – and history – doesn’t come cheap so the price tag of $800 initially seems on the high side but when you stop to think that you get two rings for that price, it’s not half as much as you would expect to pay for separate engagement and wedding bands…

1940s wedding & engagement ring set

Check out this gorgeous, sparkly 1950s goldtone ribbon brooch currently on Ebay. It’s only £11.90 so it won’t break the bank but will certainly pack a punch on any coat, top, scarf or blouse:

1950s Ribbon Brooch

This lovely rhinestone hair comb would be perfect for a vintage-style bride on her big day. Priced at just $9 (around £5.50), it’s an absolute steal!

Vintage Rhinestone Hair Comb

I’m in love with this beautiful, elegent Van Dell brooch from the 1960s. It’s priced $26, so a UK buyer can snap this up for around £16. A bit expensive, I know, but well worth it for a timeless piece of jewellery:

Van Dell Ivory Flower Brooch with 12k Gold Filled Leaves

Etsy in Greek means ‘this way’…

I love the web site Etsy, where users sell off their possessions and with the term ‘etsy’ meaning ‘this way’ in Greek, I think it’s a particularly appropriate directive. This way to the best vintage fashion on the web… http://www.etsy.com

Here are some of my favourite items currently for sale on the site:

Ivory Swiss Dot Wedding Dress

 

1960s black chantilly lace dress

Cream 1970s wedding gown

1900 Lace Victorian Wedding Bridal Gown

Ruffled Flower Petal Gown

Vintage goldtone rose brooch

1930 Art Deco Old C Clasp Diamante Bar

Vintage rhinestone flower bouquet hair comb