Sunday, 22 November 2015

This is my 1960s wedding dress, by vintage bride Carlye.

Dear Reader,
This week, I'm letting go of the reins! I'm handing you over to fabulous vintage bride Carlye. In her week–long takeover, Carlye's going to give you the skinny on how she created her super–stylish wedding to Jason in July…

Hi Heavenlies,  I'm Carlye! This is my day, my experience, my story for you... and my advice! Today, I'm going to talk about choosing my wedding dress...

I knew I wanted a vintage style dress. But at first, I thought original vintage would be too difficult to find, or just wouldn't fit me – I'm quite tall and don't really have a waist!

I first tried my local wedding shop back home. I tried on some stunning dresses from well–known designers, but something just didn't feel right. Even their vintage–style dresses looked and felt too modern. It felt like the dresses wore me and I was getting lost somehow – surprising since I wear vintage pieces anyway. 

I stopped to really think about what I wanted, and decided to be true to myself: it had to be vintage, 1960s and long. I liked the idea of something unique, a dress with history and a soul. I wanted to wonder who'd worn the dress before me. I knew  it would be lucky to wear something so special. 

Then I found Helena and just had a feeling I didn't need to look anywhere else. That was it! Having seen her website with all the stunning vintage dresses, I knew she'd understand and be able to find my dress. I instantly emailed her to make an appointment. 

I loved that I was invited to Helena's home. It felt so welcoming and personal. Having met Helena, I quickly fell in love – like I was going to my auntie's house to raid her time machine of days gone by. 

Helena always offered me a cup of tea – a great start since I love tea. Then she would just leave me be for a little while, to browse at my leisure. No pressure. I could let my mind wander, and imagine all the beautiful brides before. Easy since Helena has a collection of amazing dresses and veils, and pictures of vintage bride–and–grooms! 

Helena was so lovely and thoughtful. She would help you try things on and give you options of how you could alter or customise a dress to suit. I was instantly drawn to the 60s dresses and the 50s ones, and tried quite a number of styles. (Surprise, surprise!)

It took a couple of visits to find the one. And I took my mum and sister with me on the second visit. 

Previously, we'd established 60s and lace was the way to go. Then, it was as if she found this dress just for me. It was fate as no-one had tried it on yet – or I'm sure someone would have snapped it up! It was stunning! I remember getting really excited looking at it hanging on the rack. In my head I was thinking, it's 60s, tick. Lace, tick. Long train, tick. 

I loved the colour as it was an unusual creamy lemon. (I'm very pale and don't suit white or pure cream.) I thought: this is the one. Please please please fit! As I tried it on, it was SO perfect I actually cried. It didn't quite fit as I couldn't fasten it (my waist issue!) but Helena was so quick to reassure me that would be ok. And then I met Grace. 

Grace is another lovely lady – and very talented. She was instantly warm and friendly: it was like going to see your big sister! Grace too reassured me she could work her magic. She cleverly made a panel in the back with a keyhole detail, and moved the buttons so it would do up. The alterations were very sympathetic to the dress and you would never know the difference as both Helena and Grace have a great knowledge of vintage fashion and techniques! I knew I was in safe hands. 

We had so much fun over subsequent fittings with my mum and sister, looking at lace and pearls to finish the alterations. I asked Helena if she could find out some information about my dress and was excited to learn that it's made by a designer called House of Bianchi which is the sister company to Pricilla of Boston – both well known designers in the 50s and 60s. 

Priscilla of Boston made Grace Kelly's bridesmaid dresses. So I feel like I have a little piece of fashion history. She also showed me my pictures of Helena's other brides in the same designer! 

I absolutely love my dress! It is perfect in every way and I'm so grateful to have found it with the help of Helena and Grace! Fairy Godmothers do exist! The time and effort gone into cleaning, repairing, altering it – not to mention the beading and lacework – is astounding. 

Helena also found the perfect veil to finish the look! A stunning, full–length veil made to a 1960s pattern. It was actually made in the 80s, which is perfect as this was the decade I was born in – so I loved that I could add this to my dress. The veil added a bit of drama and made me feel like a princess! I didn't want to take it off! 

Helena also let my sister change into her bridesmaid dress so we could see how the look would work together. I loved that the creams together looked a bit like the famous photo of Grace Kelly with her bridesmaids! I loved this attention to detail and salute to the designer. I felt honoured and also a bit of responsibility to be able to bring a piece of 1956 into 2015! 

My mum paid for my dress, which we called Gracious as she is so beautiful like Grace Kelly (and it's my mum's nickname for me!) 

Helena was very reasonable in her pricing, considering all the time and care that went into my dress. Compared to buying a new dress (which let's face it can be very, very expensive), you can make a great saving and you know Helena isn't just in it for the money! She genuinely loves what she does and is very passionate. I would recommend her vintage experience to anyone, and if you're like me, you get to cherish a piece of fashion history, to pass down to your children one day! 

I loved the whole experience and feel very honoured to be one of Helena's Girls! 

Shucks, thank you so much Carlye... I'm blushing! Carlye looks completely amazing in the dress – as you'll see in the next post when she tells us all about the big day. Can't wait…
Heavenly Vintage Brides

For a snapshot of more Real Vintage Brides, check out my website page here…

Carlye's photographs with thanks to Alice of The Vintage Wedding Photographer

Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday Inspo: Oscar de la Renta's vintage–inspired wedding dresses for Spring 2016.

Dear Reader,
Our Friday Inspiration this week is from Oscar de la Renta's Bridal range for Spring 2016. Lots of delicious vintage–inspired wedding dresses, with more than a nod to the 1950s and 1960s…
Gorgeous! If you'd like to see more lovely vintage–inspired wedding dresses, then please check out my Heavenly Collection. I like to think they're every bit as beautiful and – ahem – rather more affordable than couture! 
Heavenly Vintage Brides

Sunday, 8 November 2015

100 Years of Vintage Wedding Dresses – in 3 minutes.

Dear Reader,
Have you already seen this fun movie..?

Of course, it can only show a few examples. (And the dresses featured are not specially fitted to the model, so don't look anywhere near as beautiful as one of my original vintage dresses or my vintage–inspired Heavenly Collection will look on a bride!) 

But it's a fun and super–quick romp through a hundred years of vintage wedding fashion. Enjoy!
Heavenly Vintage Brides

And if you'd like to see some REAL examples of beautiful vintage brides and wedding dresses from every decade, just click here!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

1960s Lace Wedding Dress for Vintage Bride Ruth.

Dear Reader,
This week's gorgeous bride is Ruth, who chose a beautiful original vintage 1960s lace wedding dress for her wedding to James in September...

Ruth is a design historian, so it was great fun going through my collection of original vintage wedding dresses together. As Ruth says, 
"As a design historian I was really keen to have a vintage dress and had the most amazing time trying on so many of Helena's beautiful dresses. I also had a soft spot for shorter dresses, I wanted something that I could wear with ease, didn't need help going to the toilet in (!) and could dance to my heart's content in! James and I just wanted to have fun on our big day and it was important to me to find a dress that would allow me to move, dance and enjoy myself!  This dress ticked all the boxes."

"I'm so pleased that I was able to pair this late 50s/early 60s dress with a 19th–Century–esque wax orange blossom headband, made by my mum! It made my outfit really personal and means I have a super special memento from the day (that I'm going to try and wear on every possible occasion)."

"It wasn't only my headdress that was really personal. We are lucky enough to know some really talented people and pretty much everyone who was involved in our day we know!"

"It was these personal touches like our friend Nadine doing all the graphic design, my mum making and decorating the cake, my friend Abi doing the bouquets and buttonholes, our friends' band Killer Grove playing in the evening, and our friend Tash's catering that made the day super special and really easy to plan." 
"We were lucky enough to get married in a place that has a very important part in our day-to-day lives and is the place where we met, our church St Mary's Bryanston Square. We wanted a big family day and this large early 19th Century church was the perfect place." 

"Thank you so much for all your time and help Helena. The dress was so perfect for me and it was so lovely to meet you and Grace, two people who are so talented and know so much about dress making and vintage fashion!"

I'll leave you with Ruth's wise words to any brides planning their weddings now...

 "My advice would always be to do things how you want them. Don't do things because that's how it's always done. Dispense with tradition when you want to and steal from the past when it makes you smile!"

You look amazing, Ruth, and I agree completely. I couldn't have put it better myself!
Heavenly Vintage Brides

For more amazing Real Vintage Brides, check out my website page here

Ruth's photographs with thanks to Katie Garner Photography