Monday, 14 January 2013

Handmade wedding - photograph bunting.

My inspiration for this came from an hour or so sat on the sofa with my friend's mum having a cup of tea and looking through her photograph album of family weddings. As she was talking me through who was who and what the weddings had been like we were also commenting on all the different styles of dress. It was fascinating to see trends emerge and fall away again and to compare dresses of one era with another. We looked at length of dress, veil or not, accessories, bouquets, shoes, bridesmaid's outfits and groom's outfits. We compared wartime brides in their Sunday best to 1960s mini skirted brides with all sorts in between. We saw some beautiful outfits and some 1980s horrors. It got me thinking that I would like to reflect my interest in vintage fashion by having some sort of display of bridal wear through the ages at my own wedding.

My friend's mum as a bridesmaid in the 1950s.
I love this whole outfit and I kept it in mind
when looking for my own dress.
So I let the idea mull away in the back of my mind and began looking out for old photographs of weddings. It was a bit of a hunt but I started to build up a little collection. It was a fun search even though I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to be doing with them all! I find if you think too hard sometimes you push away the fleeting glimmer of an idea that you are having. Much better to let it be part formed hovering out of sight until the day when it is ready to ping into the forefront of your mind ready for you to use.

Relatives, names unknown, 1900s?
He is so very dapper.
I'm afraid that she reminds me slightly of Miss Havisham
due to the exposure. I hope she had a much happier life
than that.
So I waited for my idea to form and busied myself with other wedding decorations. I was also thinking about ways in which I could include our various grandparents who were no longer with us. I didn't just want to mention them in a speech, I wanted some kind of memento, object or presence of them there on the day. It occurred to me that I could try to collect up their wedding photographs and have them on display in some way. Then they would be there, we would see them, and they would be a part of the day.

My Granny (coming up 83) and my Grandad.

Granny and Grandad 1949. Granny wearing a dress lent to her by a
neighbour. Look how it swirls out onto the floor. The veil and headpiece
look pre 1940s to me.

Grandma and Grandad 1940.
A male relative designed and made Grandma's dress. He went
window shopping in London then returned to Sheffied where
they lived, designed and cut the pattern and sewed the dress.
The veil is long and the top half of the dress is surprisingly shirt
like. Look at the lucky black cats in the horseshoe!
Grandad was in the RAF and wore his uniform.

Grandma's bridesmaids. You can see her writing above naming Joan
and Cynthia.

Mr O's maternal grandparents 1945.
What a totally gorgeous dress.

Mr O's paternal grandparents 1938.
The bride and bridesmaid look to have some kind of amazing pompom accessory.
The bride's belt is a lovely detail.
I also managed to get hold of my great auntie's wedding photographs. In the group photo of my Granny and Grandad she is the adult bridesmaid on the right hand side.

My Great Aunt and Uncle in 1950.
She has a tripple buttonhole!

As above.
I like the best dress and nice cardigan approach.
I then wanted to include wedding photographs of our parents and Mr O's brother.

My parents 1973.
Mum made her dress from a Vogue pattern. The bridesmaid
on the left is my aunt who made her dress. The other two
bridesmaid's dresses were made by someone else.

Mr O's parents 1970.
Anothe lucky horseshoe and black cat.

Mr O's brother and his sister-in-law
The first scoop neck dress in these pictures.

Then my idea pinged fully formed into my mind like I hoped it would do. I would make bunting. Photograph bunting. On giant ric rac (love ric rac, knew I would find a use for it) and on lace. Using mini wooden pegs to hold the photos on. It would go above the cake and above our message tree (more on that in another post). It would be both a decoration and a display of vintage wedding fashion. It would include everyone we love who couldn't be there. It would give guests something to look at and something to talk about. It would give me something to keep afterwards, a piece of family history.

Photograph bunting in all it's glory.

In close up.
We hung two lines over the cake.
The bottom line includes some photographs from the album that I mentioned at the start.
 I put it all together when I put it up on the morning of our wedding. It was a little nerve wracking as whilst the version in my head was exactly what I wanted and looked perfect I hadn't actually tried it out so I had no idea if it would work in real life! I didn't know if the pegs would hold or if the photos would be too heavy or if it would just look a bit silly. But I loved it and am proud of it!

Mr O's mum.
Giant ric rac and mini peg details.

The bunting in position above the cake.

Close up of the pegs and lace.

The bunting made from the old photographs that I collected I put up over our message tree. I am going to cover that in a separate post as I want to include as many photos of the lovely old outfits as possible without making this one really long.

These are a few more of my family wedding photographs. Unfortunately we do not know everyone's names or the dates of the weddings but it is possible to roughly work it out from the fashions.

Look at those massive bouquets. I would say this is from the 1920s.
Delicate shoes for the grown ups and ankle socks for the children!

This is the 1920s. The bride's dress has an interesting handkerchief hemline.
Both brides have similar lace caps and veils. The younger children have
similar ruffled dresses on. They could even be the same or cut down as both
pictures show family weddings.

This is the wedding of my Granny's brother in 1937.
The bridesmaid dress material is interesting with those hoops. Look at the
huge puffed sleeves.
A big contrast to the sleekness of the bride's dress.

I think this is probably the 1930s.
Shame the huge bouquets obscure the dresses a bit.
The bride's veil is long, you can see it almost touches her train.
The bridesmaid almost has leg of mutton sleeves.

A 1940's wedding, obviously he is in uniform
but you can also tell by her suit. No fancy shoes
for her, just practical ones. I love her handbag.

Another 1940's wedding.
I like her jaunty hat.
It looks like he may have pinstriped trousers on.


  1. This is truly such a tremendously lovely, creative, and completely endearing idea. My husband and I had a super small civil ceremony when we were married, not a formal wedding, and we both really hope to have a vow renewal ceremony one day that will be more again to a full on wedding. I keep a file of ideas for that day and will be adding this marvelous to that file for sure. Thank you so much for sharing!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. If you ever do use the idea do let me see it!

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