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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Wedding Cakes of The Vintage Variety

Rosalind Miller certainly knows how to create a show-stopping cake; you’ll regularly find one of her designs gracing the pages of a magazine or showcased on a TV show. Her creativity and vision seem to know no bounds, using icing and sponge to create not just beautiful cakes but genuine works of art. My favourites are, as ever, the styles which draw upon the best of the past to create something current in the present. Nothing beats a vintage inspired wedding cake. I’m biased, of course, but it’s plainly obvious. Just look at the creations below and then you tell me… am I wrong?

Vintage Lace wedding cake designs by Rosalind Miller

Fairytale Wedding Cake by Rosalind Miller

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!

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Antique Engagement Rings

Vintage 1.56 Carat Old European Cut Diamond. Circa 1935.

 

I adore antique and vintage engagement rings – especially if they include diamonds! It’s not just the cushion cut of the rock that makes them sparkle brighter than Angelina Jolie’s teeth, it’s the the incredible style of the actual bands and stone settings that make them stand out from the rest. It’s so boring to see modern rings with their plain bands; I want detail, height, filligree, engraving – you name it, I want to see it! If you’re looking to buy an antique ring, check out this link to the current offerings for sale on Etsy. If I won the lottery I’d scoop the lot, and wear a different one every day for the rest of my life. OTT? Maybe. Obssessed? Definitely. And very proud!

The stunning ring pictured above is on sale through the Erstwhile Jewelry Co. on Etsy. The listing for the ring can be found here. It will set you back $10,000 (so if any UK folks have a spare £6,000 lying around that they don’t know what to do with … Hi! Please buy this ring for me and make a stranger soooo happy.

 

Yummy Wedding Cakes? They Certainly Look It!

For those who are new to reading my blogs, there is one thing you should know; I love vintage-looking wedding cakes. I like the regal feel they bring to the overall day. I like the intricate detail of their iced pipework. I like the fact that they are individual. Right now, you may be thinking “But my wedding cake will always be individual because it will mean something special to my partner and I”. That’s a lovely attitude… but a tad boring in my view. Of course your cake will be individual to you, but don’t you want it to look special to everyone else at your big day, too? What if all your guests think it looks as routine as the last wedding cake they saw, at someone else’s wedding?

You could be really bold and opt for a themed or crazy coloured cake. This would undoubtedly guarantee some stand out – especially if you pick a design that’s so unusual or unexpected, you’re guests are unlikely to have ever seen it before. That would certainly make the cake a focal point for your big day. It could also make it comedic event, instead of the romantic celebration you were aiming for.

So, what to do? The answer is simple: go vintage!

I came across a website for The Yummy Cake Company and was thrilled to find a wide array of wedding cake designs on offer. The clear winners are, unsurprisingly, those which take their style from yesteryear; those which look vintage…

Check out their site for more inspiration but I think you’ll be missing a trick if you opt for a modern design when you can opt for the sophisticated and chic options above.

Vintage Themed Wedding Cakes… From The High Street!

You’re trotting up your local high street, heading towards your local supermarket to do your usual weekly shop. Your trying to remember your shopping list. You can’t. You’re too busy thinking about all the exciting things you still need to do to arrange your dream wedding. You’ve got a venue, your dress, agreed a colour scheme… but what about the all-important cake? Well, if you keep heading towards your local supermarket you’ll be on the right track; many have an amazing array of gorgeous wedding cakes to order!

I’ve spotted these beautiful, vintage themed cakes from Waitrose, which would look perfect at your big day if you’re looking to add some easy elegance to the event. Marks & Spencers have a decent range too but for some stylish old school opulence, I think Waitrose takes the cake 😉

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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.

Art Deco Decadence

It’s a New Year, a new start and for plenty of couples across the globe it’ll be the start of their wedding planning. If your partner wasn’t armed with a gorgeous ring before getting down on one knee on Christmas morning to pop the question, count yourself lucky. Yep, I said lucky! What could be better than shopping for your own beautiful, shiny, diamond ring? Let’s face it, you’re almost always more likely to pick a bigger and more expensive band if you choose it for yourself, plus it’ll be to your personal style and you’ll get to spend a romantic day or two with your partner to either hit the shops or trawl the internet to find your perfect Sparkler. Bliss!

Before you opt for a modern, solitaire diamond showstopper please ask yourself this? Do I really want a ring that looks mass produced and just like everyone else’s? Surely not. Don’t you want something that has more style, sophistication and glamour? Yes? Good.

Check out this inspiring Art Deco Wedding Ring Set from the 1930s, now on sale on Etsy for just over £1,200… even if it’s not quite to your taste, the stunning detail should give you enough inspiration to think outside of the box (and straight onto your finger) when it comes to picking out a beautifully crafted, antique ring.

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And for two gorgeous bands, the price tag shows that you can get a lot more for your money with a classic creation than a brand new, boring solitaire.

As I like to say, “If it’s old, I’m sold.”

So, what are you waiting for? Get shopping on sites like Etsy, eBay and PreLoved to find your dream ring for your dream wedding.

Picks of The Week – Vintage Wedding Glamour

Check out this show-stopping gown from the 1950s… perfect for a retro themed wedding or special occasion:

With its gold brocade, sweetheart bodice and a wide, champagne chiffon skirt, this dress will give you a beautiful Marilyn Monroe shape without the need to spend hours in the gym. Priced at $380 US dollars, it’s a steal for this mint vintage gown.

Even sweeter is this beautiful antique-styled wedding cake from Little Venice Cake Company:

It’s their ‘Baroque’ cake, which has drawn on Faberge in Russia for inspiration so expect superb hand-piping and ornate detail. Quality comes at a price (three tier 3”, 5”, 7” & 9” extra deep serves 100, for £1,000) – but it’s well worth spending because even celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey apparently finds his mouth watering at the Little Venice Cake Company’s yummy creations – wow!

A 1940s Cure For The …

To say I’ve had a bad week doesn’t even begin to describe it. It has been upsetting, emotional and truly frightening. Though feeling good right now isn’t coming naturally, I still need to try. It’s important to have something to cure at least part of the blues… or to occupy my mind long enough to at least forget about them for a portion of the night.

I took to trawling the web to immerse myself in my favourite hobby; antique & vintage. Vintage beads, vintage gowns, antique jewellery – I love anything from a bygone era where everyone’s problems were easily concealed behind a vaneer of glitz and glamour. I wish my life was a glitzy postcard right now. Sadly, it’s not, but sometimes it’s the little things which really help…

I happened upon this show-stopping 1940s wedding gown on Etsy – a welcome pick-me-up to take my mind off things. When I gaze upon its beauty I feel a sense of warmth and hope. There is beauty in the world. There is beauty in our endeavours and achievements as human beings. There is beauty in the love we can find in our own lifetimes.

We may never know the background of the bride who wore this gown, but I hope that hers was a happy story, unfolded throughout a life-long marriage filled with love. The beauty of her life continues through this gown. It has endured for 70 years; a lifetime. It has carried with it the memories of a deep love which was celebrated and marked by marriage. Should you chose to buy it and let it share in your own experience of love, perhaps it will endure for another 70 years and bring warmth and wonder for many more brides in the years to come:

1940s Bridal Glamour... Priceless

 

I love the collar and clinched waist

 

Wow your wedding guests from the back as well as the front

The bow draws attention to your best asset

It has a collar to draw attention to your face, a lace waist to draw the eye down and a beautiful bow at the back to amaze the wedding guests during your vows. If only my life was as perfect as this dress. Sigh.