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.

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!

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.

This Week’s Top Picks – Vintage Wedding Must-Haves

Summer’s here and the wedding season is in full swing. Couples tie the knot under the sun’s watchful gaze, radiating their own warmth as they say their sacred vows. Tear-filled eyes shine with the reflection of love and joy as boyfriend and girlfriend finally become man and wife. At last.

The only thing that could make the day more special is knowing that your wedding includes at least one spectacular, vintage masterpiece that has a glorious history of long-ago love. Here are my favourite pick of the weeks, recreating the magic of by-gone eras that were famous for not only their splendour but also for their wonderfully unashamed romance and whimsy:

The beautiful silk dress below is now on sale for $300 dollars on Etsy.com:

Lovely Vintage Silk

Check out the wonderful detail on the bodice:

Detailed embroidery and beadwork to catch the light

And the button-up back gives a sexy and stylish finish to ensure you look always spectacular, even from from back to front!

Go back in time with vintage button loops

It’s not all about your wedding day though… don’t forget the wedding night (as if you could!). Believe it or not, you could introduce some vintage glamour into your first night as man and wife. Before you start gagging at the thought of using something already used on on your wedding night, take a peep at the luscious 1950s boudoir slippers below… guaranteed to turn you into a sexy siren in the bedroom, whether you team them with sexy underwear, or decide to showcase them alone 😉

Buffing yourself in your boudoir? 'Go buff' more like, by wearing these & nothing else!

Imagine kicking these off in front of your brand new hubby… but go easy, they’re too beautiful to rough up… even if it is your honeymoon!

Slipping into things on your wedding night...

At $40, these boudoir slippers are a wedding gift you can afford to give yourself, or cheekily persuade your maid of honour to buy for you. Afterall, that’s what bridal showers are for 🙂

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

Vintage Weddings – More Top Picks From Etsy.com

Sequined Evening Gown For Sale on Etsy.com

I did a double-take when I saw this Dynasty-esque sequined evening gown; haven’t seen anything this extravagant hit the market at such a cheap price in years ($325 – nearly half that price in UK pounds sterling!).

Vintage 1930s Wedding Gown

For those looking to burn a hole in their pocket, this vintage 1930s evening gown above screams Hollywood glamour. At $950, so it should!

Of course, having the perfect vintage dress for your big day would be nothing without the necessary bling to seal the deal. Check out this stunning vintage wedding ring set – perfect for a stylish bride who respects the environment through the purchase of second hand engagement and wedding bands:

Vintage Diamond Wedding Band Set

These are priced at just $450 dollars so a UK buyer would get this for just over half the cost, thanks to the great exchange rate at the moment.