Do you remember Becky & John and their ‘Most Curious Party’ wedding that I featured back in January? Well, the lady is not now only a vintage wedding stylist, supplying vintage trinkets, teasets and details other brides and grooms to be (check out her company A Most Curious Party) but she is a brilliant writer. She was tasked with writing a piece on bridal jewellery trends for trade magazine ‘Jewellery Focus’ and she asked me to help her out. It was of course a pleasure and I’m more than happy after seeing that I’ve been put alongside gorgeous images of Flo & Percy, Pearls & Swine, Vintage Magpie and Karin Andreasson.
Thanks to Becky for including me. Check it out…
Through these uncertain times, there is one expenditure people are not scrimping on, and that is their wedding. If a couple make the decision to take the plunge, the average wedding budget is still over £10,000 and much of this will be spent on the bride’s outfit. So wedding jewellery remains one of the most lucrative sectors there is, however the trends have changed quite significantly in recent years.
In my experience of helping brides to plan their big day, and also my own attitude to my wedding in 2008, the two key words are ‘unique’ – the modern bride wants something that speaks about her and doesn’t necessarily feel the need to conform to any notion of a traditional look; and ‘vintage’ – the glamour and romanticism of a bygone era has definitely caught the imagination of today’s brides.
“Vintage-inspired and styled jewellery will certainly continue to be popular for 2010,” asserts Kat Williams, who writes a hugely successful wedding style blog called Rock n Roll Bride, which receives 90,000 visits a month from brides seeking inspiration and advice on current trends, including “1920s and 30s Art Deco-inspired pieces and vintage Hollywood bling for the more glamorous. Gone are the classic diamonds and in their place are mismatched, fashion-led designs that scream individuality and personal flare! I’m seeing fewer tiaras of late. Anything goes really – large, decorative flowers, and a head full of diamantes, vintage combs, headbands and feathers. It’s very exciting to see!” she adds.
The same response came back from Holly Johnson, deputy editor on Perfect Wedding magazine. “There’s been a move away from the traditional tiara,” says Holly, “and brides are going for softer, more romantic, vintage-inspired looks such as the side headband and antiqued diamanté combs, clips and pins.” She also cites pearls as a continued trend for 2010, and as long as jewellery has an antiqued finish it will be a winner, such as burnished silver and darkened metal. “Not bright and new but with a worn charm to it, antiqued diamanté is slightly darker, giving it more of a subtle, chic look,” Holly explains.
Kirstie Taylor at Flo & Percy, a specialist in creating vintage-inspired tiaras and wedding accessories, would agree: “Vintage style has become increasingly popular since we started our company in 2005; every year we have seen a significant growth.” Kirstie also says that tiaras are out and gets asked for headpieces or bands that incorporate jewellery within that. “This is partly due to the bridal dress designers who have created more Hollywood evening style dresses that don’t suit the traditional tiara,” she explains. “We have also learnt that our customers want to be different but in an elegant way.” This has led them to create stunning pieces such as the Alice in Wonderland inspired collection.
Polly Bowman of Polly Put the Kettle On, a wedding consultancy service which specialises in vintage styling, concurs that it is the vintage-inspired dresses that brides are choosing that are dictating the shift in jewellery choices.
“At the moment there seems to be a massive trend for the birdcage veil that comes across the face rather than flowing from the back, which is of course a big nod to the 50s,” says Polly. “1950s-style gowns, teamed with a beehive à la Audrey Hepburn is a hugely popular look with many brides at the moment, and therefore they are looking for the hair accessories and jewellery to complement this, such as statement fascinators often decorated with pearls, or perhaps the netting itself can be adorned with Swarovski crystal in homage to the classic wedding look, but with individuality.” One striking piece Polly will often mention to her more adventurous clients is the pearl half mask by Pearls & Swine, (pictured, previous page) giving an idea of just how daring the modern bride can be on her big day. Such pieces are indicative of the statement objects being worn at 2010 weddings, and many jewellery manufacturers and wedding experts agree it is a trend that will be seen well into the future.
One such designer is Karin Andreasson, who has many orders for her bespoke creations, as pictured. “I definitely see the current trend as the statement piece, whether it is a headpiece, necklace, shoulder piece or dress strap. It’s all about having that one beautiful accessory,” she says, adding: “Brides coming to me want something eye catching.”
These pieces are often emblematic and have some special significance to the bride, which is why they often involve modifying or customising existing pieces to create that ‘something old and something new’ together. These are notalways confined to the body either, and another trend which can be seen is bouquet jewellery. If very unconventional, however important, it may not be appropriate to wear as a necklace or bracelet so the bouquet is a lovely compromise. For example, Emma Davies at Vintage Magpie has taken some interesting orders recently: “I have been creating a lot of unique and sentimental head dresses and bouquets,” she says, “taking broken mother’s or grandmother’s necklaces and reworking these into new designs.”
Emma made one particular bouquet where every jewellery piece supplied had a meaning, as well as some more unusual pieces. “It incorporated a sentimental note to the bride as her mother (whose nursing medal was used) who was too ill to attend the wedding and her brother was serving in Afghanistan. So she could walk down the aisle with a bouquet that meant so much to her, and had a piece of all her loves ones in it. A perfect way to start a marriage I think!”
So jewellers, be ready to be asked for something bespoke in 2010 by blushing brides, or at the very least a little customisation. If you do not offer this service make sure your stock is full of pieces that take their cue from days gone by, from Victoriana right up to the 50s. Keep an open mind and expect the unexpected as women become bolder and more personalised in their choice of wedding jewellery, as nothing is more appealing to today’s bride than a supplier who embraces what they want for their big day.