Netflix’s latest production, The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth’s journey from princess to monarch. In the first episode, we watch actress Claire Foy, wearing a truly stunning reproduction of the original wedding gown designed by Norman Hartnell. Reportedly costing £30,000 and taking 7 weeks to create, this dress was the WOW moment of the series and the inspiration for exactly why the vintage era could create the most unique bridal look for 2017!
The original dress worn in 1947, came the same year as Christian Dior’s New Look collection with fuller skirts with nipped in tiny waists, which had a massive impact on dress design even though material was still being rationed here in the UK. Even our Queen had to use coupons to buy her dress with hundreds of brides offering up their own coupons for her to use. However, one thing that wasn’t rationed was the traditional tiara that she wore, sparking off a new bridal trend for the country.
You can get this look without the price tag by choosing to wear a vintage wedding gown for your big day. There are many reasons why you should consider vintage, from an elegant Edwardian gown to a bohemian 1970s dress! Here’s 5 options…
Guest Writer Kate Beavis
By choosing a vintage wedding dress you will be a true unique bride. You will ooze style and
creativity, wearing something that no one else will have seen before. If you are the type of bride that wants to stand out as a style queen, then vintage will be perfect for you as it is timeless and classic but also has a creative edge. Don’t forget the vintage accessories too –
a head crown made from up-cycled vintage brooches, a floor length 1930s veil or a wax flower garland from the 1920s will all finish the look creating that sense of cool.
By choosing a vintage dress you are being ethical. Not only is vintage a form of recycling, but it will have been made in the UK rather than overseas like so many modern dresses. But not just the manufacture but all the materials too. For example, Nottingham lace h
as been made since the 18th century with a reported 40,000 people creating it 100 years ago – but by 2010 there was only one factory left. So many vintage dresses are made using this lace so by wearing it now you are celebrating our manufacturing history, as well as reducing your carbon foot print. Plus, you will be supporting an independent UK business, who are often working from home and juggling small families.
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A vintage wedding dress has a history bringing a sense of nostalgia to your day. Maybe the dress was worn by your grandma which will mean so much to you and the rest of your family when you walk down the aisle. By looking at their wedding photos you will understand more about the styling, hair and makeup but more importantly, you will see the love that came before you; without which you wouldn’t be born and be here today. Make your vintage dress your perfect something old.
Be Cost Efficient
Wedding dresses are made for all budgets but a vintage one will have a smaller price tag without the compromise on ethics. Expect to pay up to £300 for a 1970s dress, with an original early 20th century dress costing up to £800. Remember though, these are one off dresses that if bought new today would costs thousands. It is worth reminding you that these costs are from businesses who sell in their own shops or at vintage wedding fairs who will have painstakingly restored and cleaned the dresses to perfection and are experts in their fields. If you buy directly from source or from auction sites, you will get a cheaper price but are likely to need to mend them and clean them which can be a tricky undertaking on the older dresses so needs to be factored into your budget.
Create a theme
By choosing a vintage wedding dress, your theme is complete. For a boho, festival outdoor wedding, a 1970s maxi dress complete with ruffles and wide sleeves will finish the look p
erfectly. For a more glamorous affair, choose a 1930s silk bias cut dress to flatter your curves and make you look a million dollars (without the price tag!). For a cool city wedding, why not wear a 1960s mini dress with coloured shoes and a short veil. Whatever your style there will be an era for you, or maybe choose your dress first then the theme will follow.
Most of all, have fun with it; you can play with the style and mix in modern touches if you don’t want the complete look. Try not to have an exact vision of the style you want, but go and try on many shapes and eras to see which suit you best – you may be surprised. I promise you, your prince will love it too!
Photography Claire Macintyre Photography
Styling and Dresses Kate Beavis from The National Vintage Wedding Fair
Model Dakota Hunt
Hair and Makeup Sophie Murray
Kate Beavis is a writer and speaker on all things vintage – including interiors, fashion and weddings. Her fair, The National Vintage Wedding Fair, was the first of its kind launched on Valentine’s Day 2010. Check out www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk for spring dates around the UK.