Tag Archives: 1950s

A Retro Red Wedding at The Picturedrome: Jo & Lal

Jo & Lal worked together but only realised they both liked each other when at a 1940s themed work party at The Picturedrome, Northampton. When they were engaged 6 months later they decided that having their wedding at this same venue would be pretty cool. There wedding theme also happened to suit the surroundings perfectly.

“The emphasis on our wedding was inclusion of all our friends who contributed massively” Jo told me. “From the registrar to the DJ, the favours and the cakes, we had out friends involved as much as possible. The emphasis of our wedding was not to spend ridiculous amounts of money but to create a fun and relaxed day, which reflected our personalities. We did not allow ourselves at any point to become influenced by other people’s opinions. What we really set out to achieve was a fun day for all! Our budget, although limited, did not prevent us in anyway from having exactly the kind of day we wanted.”

Jo wore a short 50s style tulle wedding dress with a dramatic red sash from Brides of Wellingborough and bright red shoes to match.

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Quirky & Kitsch Retro Wedding Inspiration

Vintage weddings are still all the rage right now, but sometimes it’s nice to see this trend in a different style. Which is why this shoot sent over by some Dallas based wedding suppliers and Nine Photography got me very excited indeed. They wanted to share the more retro, kitschy and quirky side of the vintage trend… and I love it!

“The shoot was instigated by Rita Rent my Dust and inspired by all of her amazing rental pieces”, photographer Kelli told me. “She has 100s of vintage radios and old record players, and she wanted to do a shoot that was fun and featured her very cool collection. So we took this shoot back to when Rock n Roll was born.”

The thing I love most about this set is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously… and having fun is what weddings should be all about!

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Pastel Colours for a 1950s Inspired Wedding: Emily & James

As soon as I laid eyes on Emily’s incredible silver embellished 1950s inspired wedding dress I was smitten. What an utterly gorgeous bride and a completely beautiful wedding. I couldn’t wait to get it on these digital pages of mine! The couple were married at Edes House, Chichester and had their reception at the groom’s father’s house in Bosham.

“We wanted our wedding day to completely reflect James and me”, Emily told me. “This was something we kept in mind during the whole process, as I think it is easy to lose sight of what and who weddings are for, when you are surrounded by so many people in the wedding industry telling you that you absolutely need this and definitely need that. 
We both adore the 1950s and the pastel shades, and I really feel like these things were very present in the whole day. We also chose from the beginning which things would be the most important to us – these ended up being the food/drink for James and the flowers for me. We chose a catering company who were very local and produced the most delicious food. We hand picked each of the types of alcohol we chose, with Arundel Ales coming from Sussex and the cider coming from Appledram which is just around the corner from the reception.”

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My biggest advice to future brides is to always keep a clear idea of what you want the overall feel of the day to be. Use Pinterest as it will really help you to channel your style of the day and keep you focused. And don’t be afraid to delegate. I was terrible at this and had to really be coaxed into it by my lovely Dad, who was concerned I would end up having some sort of bridal breakdown with the amount of work I was taking on. As soon as I began to delegate the smaller jobs, I found it so much easier to relax and enjoy the bigger jobs. Lean on your family and friends who offer to help – they do genuinely want to be a part of the process!”

“I’m a very creative person and always have some sort of project on the go, so we always knew our wedding would be DIY heavy”, Emily continued. “Little did our wedding party know just how much they would be getting involved as well! 
I had seen beautiful ‘doily bunting’ on a couple of blogs, which involved taking a large doily and folding it in half over a pieces of cotton tape, and repeating to create bunting. This had the quaint look I was going for, but I was eager not to have them in white as I wanted to bring as much colour as possible into the blank canvas of the marquee. So, after much looking, it seemed near impossible to find doilies in the right shades of blue and pink, and it was then that I decided we would have to make them ourselves! 
I fashioned a template which worked, and my parents got stuck in at home, with various family members, creating a production line of doily bunting. They were fantastic and I think we ended up with approx. 300 metres of it!
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“The choice of paper lanterns came about when I hit a stumbling block with lighting. I originally wanting ‘festoon lighting’, conjuring up images of old fairgrounds, like the one out of The Notebook. Sadly, the ones which our marquee company had were only allowed to be used outdoors. That was when I found some stunning photos of paper lanterns inside marquees with dimly lit bulbs inside. I sourced mine through eBay and was so pleased with the outcome. One friend said ‘It looks like the wedding in 500 Days of Summer’ – it was the perfect compliment!”

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James and I both love all things whimsical and retro, and we’re big readers. So, I chose to use old books as our table centres. These were relatively easy to source through eBay and old book stores. I loved picking out ones with quaint and quirky covers! The flowers were then dotted around them in old jam jars and bottles. I love using these around my house, as it has the lovely ‘just from the garden’ feel, so I knew straight away that this was how they would be displayed. With the help of some kind friends and family, we quickly gathered together around 150 jars to be used as vases and also lanterns in the evening, which were painted a light rose pink colour and gave off a beautiful, warm glow.
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“I wanted to add some colour to the tables, so I used the same 5 patterns of fabric which we used on the chutney jars, and made 70 placemats to go in each guest’s place. They were a little labour intensive as the pinning and sewing of the hems was fiddly, but I was so pleased with how they looked when we laid them out.
 The ‘Mr and Mrs Dall’ banner originated from my Hen Weekend. My wonderful bridesmaid, Penny, had made a lovely ‘Mrs Dall’ banner from card, paint and ribbon. I took it home with me after the weekend and realised how fantastic it would look with ‘Mr &’ added to it, and then hung behind us at the top table.”

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Working in theatre, I saw a great opportunity to go wild in the Chichester Festival Theatre props store and hire plenty of old bits of furniture and the odd trunk and suitcase to give a truly whimsical and old fashioned feel to the day. We used two suitcases and one hat box on the cake table to tier the cake levels and display them a little better. We used another suitcase for the presents and cards table. We also had a small ‘lounge’ area near the photobooth, where people could relax and feel like they were a little further away from the dance floor action if they wanted. For this we chose a couple of large, wing-backed armchairs, a nice big trunk as a coffee table, and a few little side tables with mismatched wooden chairs dotted around them. It gave a really lovely cafe style atmosphere and was very popular with all the guests, particularly the littlest ones who liked the big chairs!



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‘So what about that amazing dress?’ I hear you cry! “My dress was designed by Emily Garrod“, the bride told me. I realised quite quickly that I would not find my wedding dress in a bridal shop. I adore vintage style dresses and have a few 1950s style prom dresses with big petticoats. I knew I needed something in this style, rather than the classic long wedding dress. 
I found Emily by chance through a friend who worked in a shop and enquired about Emily’s dress which she was wearing when she wandered into the store. It turned out she had made herself. She is a wedding dress maker who is relatively fresh to the industry but absolutely fantastic and keen to fulfill your brief but also aid you with understanding what designs work with your height, shape etc. I gave her a brief of ‘1950s MGM musical meets ballet dancer’ and I was over the moon that she managed to make a dress which looked entirely as I had imagined it would.
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Brighton Cinema Wedding: Vicky & Ted

With Ted proposing to Vicky at the Duke of York Picturehouse in Brighton, the wedding theme and location were pretty much a given. They are both huge movie buffs so it suited them perfectly.

Vicky explained, “The proposal was amazing and a huge surprise. It was 25th February 2011 (the day after my birthday) and we had the day off for food and fun. I knew Ted had a surprise up his sleeve, but it wasn’t unusual (we often surprise each other with treats on birthdays), so I didn’t suspect a proposal. We got to the Duke of York Picturehouse at about 12.30 and Ted told me to go straight upstairs without looking at what film was showing. I assumed this was going to be a random screening of a Marilyn Monroe movie or an 80s classic. The place was dead (it was a Friday afternoon, so nothing strange about that) and when we took our balcony seats I turned to Ted and joked ‘You haven’t booked the place out have you?’. He smiled awkwardly and fretted about me turning my phone off.”

“The trailer for Shaun of the Dead started, ‘Wow, cool, the original trailers… are we seeing something from 2004?’ I said. I was also thinking how funny it was, as it was the trailer to one of our favourite films. Then the When Harry Met Sally trailer came on ‘What are the chances!?’ I thought, ‘Both our favourite films as the trailers!’. Then the third trailer came… ‘hold on’, I said, ‘that’s Brighton… that’s our road… that’s our building…!’ Ted had made a film trailer which was a camera running down the street, him doing a movie voice saying ‘one man… one woman… half a decade…’ and at the end a Spiderman card on our front door opens to read ‘one question’. At which point Ted was down on one knee and ‘our song’ was playing. We came out to the bar and a bottle of champagne on ice. It was amazing, I was so surprised! The story of the engagement has made women cry, but men mostly growl ‘Cheers for raising the bar, Ted!’. All in all it was a pretty fantastic and very personal proposal, which is exactly what I had hoped for.”

So they were engaged, and the Duke of York Picturehouse was to be the venue for their ceremony. Of course the wedding had to have a movie theme, and before Vicky walked down the aisle, they played this trailer on the cinema screen (watch it, it’s brilliant!) Then, after the ceremony came the reception at The Hove Club.

“I love a wedding, but we had been to so many where the main difference was the colour of the bow on those annoying chair covers!” Vicky continued. “Ted and I discussed the fact that we really didn’t like the traditional wedding suits from Moss Bros etc. and were just not big on ‘standard’ wedding stuff. We had also been to a lot of weddings where the Cheeky Girls, the Macarena and various other dire tunes were gladly played out, so we were looking forward to the chance to have some good tunes for the dancefloor (don’t get me wrong, Footloose is one of my favourite dancing songs. There is a fine line between cheese and mouldy cheese!) So our starting point was already all about trying to avoid those dislikes, but then I discovered wedding blogs! Oh the joy! So most of the inspiration came from blogs like Rock n Roll Bride. Just being able to see other people doing amazing weddings that were about personal touches and fun, silly stuff inspired us. I saw someone serving cola with striping straws and decided I wanted bottled drinks with stripey straws… but went for Babycham… saw the heart bouquet on Rock n Roll Bride I think and stole it, but with a twist.. picking different fabrics and coming up with the idea of large hearts on sticks for the bridesmaids.”

“Although we wouldn’t like to think we had a ‘themed wedding’ it was blatantly a movie themed wedding, with a vintage edge. I love all the vintage weddings I see online (with lace, dainty things and hay bales etc), but I knew that Ted and I were definitely more… cartoon/comic book vintage than dainty vintage! So we wanted more colour and humour. When I stood outside the cinema with the bridesmaids on the red carpet, I felt so glamorous and happy, I thought we looked like we had stepped out of an Elvis film! Ted asked if I was disappointed he didn’t dress up as Elvis but I wasn’t! I loved his tweed suit – it really was ‘him’ and people said he looked like a matinee idol!”

To continue the movie theme, the couple had a friend photoshop their faces onto various movie posters for all the wedding stationery. “I have work friend who often creates crazy birthday cards for people at work, photoshopping their faces onto other people and things. I found the Bride and the Beast poster online and my friend made it into our invitation. When it came to the order of service and table names he had to do a mammoth photo session with us to get all the right angles etc, and bless him he worked very hard to get those all done in time.”

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A Vintage-Inspired Walled Garden Wedding: Carina & Chris

Carina & Chris chose The Walled Garden at Cowdray, West Sussex as the venue to host their March wedding. “It was a fantastic venue where we were really able to personalise for our day,” the bride told me. “They were very relaxed and the venue’s informal spaces were perfect for us and our guests.”

“We spent the last year since getting engaged planning all of the details of the day”, she continued. “We spent our weekends rummaging in charity shops collecting china and glassware. We spent a long time making all of the bunting, menus, paper flags and lots of other items ourselves and needed someone to make it all look pretty on the day so that I could relax and enjoy getting ready! For this we worked with Lucy at Love Lane Vintage. We met her at the venue and she worked closely with our plans and our items, as well as my many sketches to style the venue! We also hired her vintage china teacups and cake stands to style the table and serve our mini afternoon tea – in place of canapés – for the drinks reception! The macaroons and mini scones looked stunning, as did the piles of teacups and teapots for guests to use!”

Spriggs Florist in Petworth also immediately understood the vintage feel of the day – really relaxed, seasonal flowers arranged in the jars and a mix of vintage glass bottles we had collected – as if freshly picked and placed on the tables and around the venue. My bouquet had the 50s wow factor – full of sweat peas and big blousy peonies. Bridesmaid’s flowers complimented these using sweat peas again. Fresh rose petal confetti was supplied for guests to throw – handed out by our bridesmaid form a pretty vintage wicker basket.”

“Everything we used on the windowsills and sweetie tables we had collected, been given by family or friends or made ourselves. It was so much fun to see it all looking so beautiful! The cups, plates and bonbon dishes we collected looked amazing full of sweeties and flowers on the cake/sweetie table. As well as the bunting and vintage china, we designed and made all of the stationery for the day, guests really embraced the fabric covered badges and name tags on the tables and wore them during the evening dancing! It was great seeing friends and family collecting ‘souvenirs’ of the day to take home at the end of the evening!”

The bride were a short vintage-inspired wedding dress which she’d had designed and made by the fantastic House of Mooshki. “They make amazing vintage-inspired wedding dresses and they were fantastic to work with. Olivia, the designer, really understood what I was after and the dress was not only beautiful but and comfortable (amazing for dancing in the evening!)”

“We wanted a very relaxed day where friends and family could come along and fully enjoy the day without feeling formal,” Carina concluded. “We knew we didn’t want it to feel too ‘wedding-y’ with the same old things you see in a lot of magazines and wedding shows!  We did exactly what we wanted to do at every step of the way and only worked with suppliers who ‘got’ this including the amazing Lisa Devlin. After we had seen her work, we knew she’d be perfect to capture all of the detail of our day.”

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Desperate Housewife: A Personal Project by Joanna Brown

I love wedding photographer Joanna Brown. LOVE. I’m always blown away by the weddings she submits to me, and I’m thrilled to feature her work on these pages whenever I can. So imagine my unadulterated joy when she asked me if I’d be willing to model for a personal project she was working on.

“You may just know me as a wedding photographer,” Joanna Brown writes, “and while this is true, this is just one element of my photography work. I have been taking photographs for 18 years, since my A-Levels. I have 1000s of photographs in my archive featuring numerous projects. When I am not shooting weddings I love to shooting personal work. I do not rest; the desire to create imagery is too strong. I shut my eyes and see photographs. I have a sketch pad on me at all times including by my bed for the moments of clarity I have as I nod off to sleep.  Photography is my passion and everything about it motivates my work and my fascination with storytelling and the everyday.”

“I love visiting my boyfriend’s Mother’s house,” she continues, “and not for the reason you would think (even though her cooking is ace!) I love it because it is such a nostalgic place. It reminds me of an age gone by. As a child visiting relatives houses like hers, I became fascinated with the objects in them – acres of net curtains, mantelpieces, pot plants, carpets that would make me dizzy, picket fences and shrubs.”

“I guess this is what has driven this project -the combination of a house, my memories and a fascination with the idea of a housewife and the desire to discover the truth and scratch beneath the surface of the everyday life. I have always felt a tension between the banal of the everyday, the comfort of the home yet also the claustrophobia that this also brings with it. It all kind of came together in my mind and I knew that I wanted to do a shoot in this house. I just needed to find the right model.”

“It was only a matter of time until all the pieces slotted into place. The ‘housewife’ had to be authentic and the lightbulb moment came when Kat tweeted something about trying to cook Gareth dinner and then just dialing for a takeaway because it went wrong.” (Kat: sounds like me alright!)

So early one March morning, Elbie & I headed out to her Mother-in-law’s house which would become my character’s for the day. With me I brought a number of vintage dresses as well a huge bag of swag from the amazing Vivien of Holloway. Their 1950s inspired clothes were the perfect accompaniment to the theme of the shoot. I also brought with me the pink wig that I’d picked up in Vegas… just in case. I’m so glad I did though because I think it ended up becoming the star of the show. It certainly helped me get into character!

When these landed in my inbox on Friday afternoon I actually felt a bit emotional! I literally can’t believe that’s me right there. “Holy effing sh***ing crap you are amazing Jo” was my actual reply. No joke. If this makes me sound big headed then whatever…sorry and all that…but I look HOT. I’m not an especially pretty girl, but Jo managed to bring it out of me. In spades.

Jo told me that she really wanted to show a different side to me with her images. Apparently I can do ‘fierce’ and ‘strong’ very well (!) but she said she’d never seen me looking demure and soft. I think she achieved that don’t you?

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