Getting married, vintage style (part II)
As promised, some clothing details from our recent wedding. I did two costume changes during the party, which could maybe have been dumb/crazy/excessive, but I was glad I did it. I actually changed back into my favorite dress at the end of the night because I was drunk and it was my favorite so there.
Speaking of favorites, my friend Missy is a genius with hair, especially vintage styles. She styled me and my bridesmaids and I’m pretty sure we all looked fabulous. I also go to her for all my regular cuts and colors.
I made my own veil, bandeau style, out of a piece of french netting, a blue velvet millinery leaf, and some brass hair pieces I found on Etsy. I will eventually list all the netting I have, along with my dresses that did and did not work out, in the bridal section of my shop.
Dresses that did not work out. Yes. This happened, several times. For some reason, while I was engaged, I was obsessed with wedding shows on Netflix, particularly a TLC confection where women go to a high-end bridal salon to shop for wedding dresses. Maybe I was obsessed with this show because it was so far out of my experience, and I remember cackling maniacally whenever one of the consultants or fashion-type people would say something like “NEVER buy a wedding gown online.” I grew oddly fond of these people, so what I’m about to say I say with all sincere friendly fondness: bitch, please. I bought a total of six dresses for the wedding, three that worked out and three that didn’t, and one of the yes dresses I bought online. I think it helps that I’m a veteran vintage online shopper, so I kind of know how to interpret listings and what styles will look good on me. Two of the dresses I bought in real life ended up being no dresses, but only because I put on too much weight in the months before the wedding. One was this one:
I love this dress. It sort of fit me when I bought it at the Long Beach Flea Market oh, three weeks after getting engaged? But then over the course of the next year I proceeded to gain eight pounds, slowly, as one does, so that by the time I admitted it wasn’t going to fit I had to buy a new dress.
Sidenote: if you’re curious why I didn’t just wear one dress, there are three main points to consider. One, most of the dresses I bought were in the $40-$100 range. It’s not like I was selling kidneys to bankroll my gown obsession. Two, there were three distinct phases to the wedding: the pre-ceremony cocktail hour, the ceremony and food time, and the dancing phase. I knew that my ceremony dress was very special, and I really wanted to wow people when I came down the stairs, and I didn’t want my groom to see that dress during our opening cocktail hour. I also couldn’t dance in it, since we were doing a swing dance that necessitated a short swingy skirt. Third, why not seize the opportunity to continue looking at dresses after you’ve already purchased a dress? I have no regrets.
These 1930s navy blue crepe dancing shoes came from The Greatest Brick & Mortar Vintage Store in LA: Playclothes. They have silver heels and silver faux laces on the toe.
I never really considered myself a ball gown girl. They’re cumbersome and expected. But I bought this dress on Etsy from one of my favorite sellers, Beckiy of Trunk of Dresses, and I loved it. I don’t think it was actually intended to be a ball gown, but the woman for whom this dress was originally made was at least three inches taller than me. The dress was a little too tall in the torso and in the skirt, and because it was too late to get it altered – originally I wanted to wear a 1930s silk gown for cocktail hour, but the aforementioned weight gain made that impractical, and I had to find something else at the last minute. So I bought a giant crinoline petticoat thing and made it work.
I wasn’t able to find out a great deal about the label, Mercia, other than it was a high end bridal salon in London. This dress is the same fabric, different style:
So I doubt my gown was even meant to be a ball gown, but at 5’4″, it couldn’t be helped.
And OH RIGHT my groom was the most dapper. There’s a funny quirk about my husband. He only wears blue and brown. Typically this manifests into blue on top and brown on the bottom, though sometimes the brown can be worn on top as well. White is acceptable as an accent. He is also tall, and wanted to wear a tailcoat (blue, natch) and generally be as close to 1930s as possible.
We found the navy blue tailcoat and the pants on eBay. The tailcoat was 80s, but it was blue so we didn’t care. I replaced the cheap plastic buttons with vintage brass ones, and because he got a little overzealous with his chest workouts, I sewed a brass chain on the front to make the open jacked look intentional. The pants are vintage 1930s but were gray, so I soaked them in cold coffee for hours until they became brown enough for him to wear.
My dancing dress was a 1960s lace tea length with a giant skirt that worked perfectly with our swing outs and passes. I originally purchased it at Paper Moon on Hollywood, a really wonderful shop with great stuff at great prices. A lot of early 20th century pieces, plus all decades through the 1960s. I became obsessed with having a vintage paper moon photo booth, a service they offer to weddings and parties (and hell, just your backyard on a Tuesday afternoon if you can afford it), but ultimately I couldn’t afford it. Still a fun and fashionable party. I will be listing this dress eventually as well so someone else can experience this kind of joy. Dancing shoes are from Remix.
And that’s it! It was by far the most magical, fashionable and thrilling evening of my life. And, because all good things must come to and end, I’m happy it’s over and grateful it was so perfect.