13 January, 201113 January, 2011 3 comments Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
The most difficult thing during this whole wedding business thus far has been picking my wedding dress. It's not that this is difficult physically, but rather that it's been very difficult emotionally. I've always heard tales of how a woman steps into her dress and just knows that it is the one. Something about that particular dress speaks to her and she buys it right there on the spot. She never sees another dress that she even remotely likes and never regrets her decision.
I probably shouldn't admit to you how I've been to seven different stores in the pursuit of this shining example of dress perfection. I knew these things going in; I wanted something different and unique, I wanted it to have a slight vintage feel and I wanted it to be floor length.
What I expected was that I would hate everything except for one dress and that that dress would be the one. Love at first site, first shop I went to. So I researched places around town and found the shop where I was sure I would find that magical dress. Well that wasn't exactly how it went down. My first trip to a dress store was in August 2010. They didn't let me take any photos of myself in the dresses at that shop, but I can tell you that I liked everything I put on. I was so smitten by the idea of wearing a wedding dress for the first time that they all looked great, even the ones that didn't have my three criteria. So of course I didn't wind up finding my dress that day, but I did have one that seemed to stand above the others. Specifically Claire Pettibone's Origami.
Pretty right? Different right? It could work. Maybe it wasn't so vintage, but definitely unique. Still it wasn't exactly what I wanted so it was off to the next store.
This dress was okay, but it was a little too generic for me. I liked the sparkly overlay, but nothing about it said unique, different, or vintage.
This one was a little more vintage. I liked the beading around the waist, but it still wasn't me.
Ah, much more vintage, but maybe it was the color that was throwing me off. I wanted the vintage white or what we would call Ivory today. I also wasn't liking the fit in of the sleeves. I think this dress would be better on someone who had more slender shoulders.
From there it got worse. The more stores I visited and the more dresses I tried on the more dresses I liked! I had yet to find the one dress that was my dress, but there were some many that could work. I had to convince myself that I really wanted a dress that said something about me and not just a dress that looked nice. So it was off to another store and another and another. It started to get a little tedious.  My thoughts started to change from "I love it all!!" to "I don't like anything."
I still wanted my dress so I pressed on. My fantastic bridesmaid Stacey hung in there and came with me to store after store after store.
This dress was very different. It had a rose print which I absolutely loved, but after showing the photos to some friends I was told that the printed roses looked more like tea stains. That dress was out.
This dress had a great Hollywood feel, but had some weird details on the sides that I didn't like. Nixed!
Of course then I had to go back to the dress shops I visited before. That Claire Pettibone I liked from my first dress shopping trip? I tried it on again and didn't like it at all. I guess the glamor of wedding dresses had worn off.
But finally I stumbled across two dresses that I really fell in love with. I finally got that feeling of I could wear this. This could be my dress. So that's where I stand currently. Unable to commit, afraid I might make the wrong decision, afraid that I've thought too much about it, afraid that I haven't thought enough. I am leaning towards one in particular, but I have to say that it was so much easier to commit to the man than to the dress I'm going to wear to marry the man!
I'll keep you all updated on how it goes. Have any of you other brides had trouble committing to the dress?
Trousseau. Not a term we tend to use very often anymore. I'm sure there are plenty of Brides who have never even heard of the term "trousseau." So what is it and why was it important?
Lets think back to the days before feminism. Back to the days when women were not expected to work more than part time outside the home. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word trousseau as:
trous·seau, n. [French, from Old French, diminutive of trousse, bundle. See truss.] The possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage.
In short it was those items such as bed linens, napkins, clothing, crocheted doilies, candlesticks and anything else that a woman was going to take with her into her husband's home. The concept is similar to that of a Hope Chest. You fill a box with all those things you'll need to for married life.
This isn't a very popular practice anymore. Most women today work full time and we simply purchase what we need when we need it. Our culture is also not one that focuses on preserving items long term. How many of us buy a dress at Express or Kohls with the expectation of carefully storing it, always wearing a smock or apron over it when working in it, carefully altering it by hand when size adjustments must be made, and with the intent to wear said dress for the next 15 years? Certainly not me.
In the 1930s the Trousseau was a very common practice and many magazines for young women had lists suggesting what one should include. Here is a list from the April 1930 Good Housekeeping magazine.
Trousseau Budget
White Satin Wedding Gown -  $39.50 (about $496 today)
Tulle Veil (3 yards at $3.25per yard) - $9.75 (about $122)
Going away 3-piece suit - $16.95 (about $214)
Afternoon Dress for Formal Parties - $29.50 (about $375)
Street Dress of Silk or Wool - $25.00 (about $314)
Coat in Tweed or cloth - $39.50 (about $496)
Sweater, Cardigan, and Skirt Costume - $16.75 (about $210)
Washable Silk Sports Frock - $6.95 (about $87)
Sleeveless picque Dress with Jacket - $10.75 (about $135)
Lacy Diner Dress with Jacket - $25.00 (about $314)
Evening Wrap (to be made at home) - $15.00 (about $188)
Two Hats, One of Felt, One of Straw - $18.00 (about $226)
Shoes: Street, Afternoon, Evening Slippers, and One Pair of Bedroom Slippers or One Pair of Mules - $33.50 (about $420)
Negligee in Satin or Silk - $15.00 (about $188)
Lingerie, Girdles, and Stockings - $65.00 (about 816.00)
Accessories: Bag, 4 Pairs of Gloves, and 1 Dozen Handkerchiefs - $20.00 (about $251)
Grand Total: $386.15 or about $4,848 in today's money.
Note that this was published in April 1930, about 7 months after the great stock market crash that started the Great Depression in the United States.
The September 1933 issue of the Delineator Magazine suggests a similar Trousseau, but one that's slightly more affordable. The magazine focused on needle work, dressmaking, and millinery. They were know for providing images of the latest fashions with just enough information to recreate a similar look at home. Making your own Trousseau was often much more reasonable pricewise. The September 1933 Delineator gives us this illustration and description.
A 1933 Trousseau
"The going-away outfit. She chooses a suit for a dramatic get-away. Or, if she is marrying simply, at the City Hall, she wears this for the ceremony, too. It is eel brown ribbed wool and the fur is flattering blue fox." "Her wool gadabout frock. For this backbone-f-the-trousseau frock she hits on olive green, with the touch of satin that is inevitable on smart wool frocks. The beret and the gloves are sating too." "Her dress-up frock. It's satin-and she uses the dull side for the dress itself, the shiny side for the small touches. It would be marvelous in rosy red, but every bit as smart in black or eel brown.
"A go-with-everything wrap. It's a wager one-the smartest wrap of the year. It belongs to her white frock but it's worn with the dinner dress, too. If she prefers a contrasting fabric, we suggest velvet or bengaline."  "Her 'grand' evening frock. To look grandest, this season, white satin is the thing at night. That's why we urge it for this frock with the Vionnetish neckline. The wrap belonging to this dress is the black one."  "And this for small evenings. A dress that can take dinners, dancing, the theatre, or any other kind of 'don't dress' evening in its stride. It's black satin and the coat of the white satin frock will go perfectly with it."
So if one were so inclined what would one include in their modern day trousseau? Susan Breslow Sardone recommends new clothes, sports wear, vacation wear, and luggage. She suggests that you keep your trousseau true to your personal style. Don't think of it like an image make-over, you're just collecting things that you will need.
I can tell you that my "trousseau" consists of several mismatched dish sets from college, banged up clothing from high school and art school (mostly covered in paint), and two pairs of twin sheets. Oh, and about 3 bath towels.
This isn't a vintage wedding post, but it is in the spirit of the season. Since Mr. Fiance and I will be getting married in October of next year the idea of a Halloween wedding has definitely crossed my mind. We're not really interested in doing a themed wedding, but we'd like to incorporate some seasonal motifs into the reception.

There are lots of ways to incorporate the season into a wedding reception without going over the top. I prefer subtle details myself (But if a full blown Halloween costume party wedding with spooky decor is your thing, go for it!). I found a few cakes over the past week that have really got my thinking about our cake.
GothBride55's cute wedding cake.
I just loved this cake. Yes it's Halloween themed, but the cake is still pretty. I might leave out the skulls myself, but the piped white spider webs over the white icing is subtle and still elegant.
Cake by Apuch 
This cake is definitely Halloween-esque, but it's also gorgeous. The colors and designs invoke fall and Halloween without the cake looking cheesy or over the top. No skulls, tomb stones, or ghosties here. A definite favorite of mine.
Licensed Cake by Pink Cake Box
I love the concept of this cake. I love that it's Halloween themed while not being stuck in the typical orange/black color combo. I also love the use of dragonflies and butterflies (an important running theme throughout the film.) I will admit that the cake doesn't look very appetizing to me though. Dark purple just doesn't make me think "Yum." This is more of a display piece in my eyes.
Unknown Baker
Now this cake definitely has a spooky theme (check out those trees) without being too spooky. The cake is still very pretty and those spooky trees are just darling. This is a great way to bring in a little Halloween spirit while still having the traditional white wedding cake.
Unknown Baker
Now this cake is my absolute favorite of the day. It says fall while still being fun, a color other than orange & black, and it's really pretty. Deep shades of red and that chocolate brown definitely invoke the feeling of Autumn. And best of all this cake looks like it would be tasty!
Now we've got a very large guest list for the wedding so that means lots and lots of cake will be needed. I don't really want a massive wedding cake or groom's cake, so I just love the idea of having some extra dessert treats available for guests. 
Mini Pumpkin Patch Cakes from Williams-Sonoma

Brownie Bits

Halloween Brownie Bites from Martha Stewart
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Sophisticated Pumpkin Sugar Cookies from NY Daily News
Or how about pumpkin pies and tarts?
Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust from Bakin' and Eggs
I have definitely got the creative juices flowing right now. October 2011 wedding, full steam ahead!
What are you other Fall wedding ladies planning for your reception? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you!
15 October, 201015 October, 2010 1 comments Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
What do you think of when you think of the 1950s Wedding Dress? Cocktail length, full skirted, strapless? Something like this Clifton Wilhite?
Or this
Well, if you do you'd be wrong. In the 1950s these were not the norm for wedding gowns. In fact, the two dresses listed above are more than likely prom dresses. In actuality the popular dresses of the 1950's tended to be much more simple and much more modest. This came from the commonly held expectation that a Bride look virginal on her wedding day. Some churches even required Brides to have sleeves on their dresses.  So what did 1950s wedding dresses actually look like. 
So you want to have an authentic 1950s style wedding. What do you do? Well, wedding dresses are a wonderful thing. They tend to be treasured and well cared for, very rarely are they discarded. As a result there are slews of 1950s wedding gowns out there. Hop on over to etsy or ebay, do a quick search for 1950s and see for yourself. 

A few things to keep in mind while searching for a vintage wedding dress.  
Body Proportions
The 1950s were the time of body shapers and girdles. We were about 40 years out of full on corsetry,  but the popular and beautiful shape of the time was an hourglass figure. Women squished themselves in to waist reducers daily. If you check the measurements of any 1950s gown you're going to notice a larger difference between bust and waist size than we see in modern clothing. Meaning that your dress might fit in the bust, but not in the waist. 

You can handle this one of two ways. The easiest way is to pick yourself up a girdle or some sort. A good brand to look out for is Rago. The other option is to get it tailored. This is a riskier option as adjusting the waist is a very tricky tailoring technique. Also be aware that the fabric on vintage garments tends to be very fragile and will often have embellishments that are not easily moved. This could cost you some serious money and you're taking a risk by letting someone pull apart your dress. 

You are buying vintage so the dress you receive will very likely not be in perfect condition. Over time and with use garments tend to deteriorate. Make sure to look closely for any rips, tears, or discoloration in the photos of the gown. Most vintage sellers will indicate clearly where any marks, tears, foxing, or other damage to a dress are located. If they don't make sure you ask before you order. You would hate to order a gown only to find that the underskirt is half detached from the over skirt.  

Be particularly careful when ordering a vintage dress from an unknown vintage seller. In general I recommend buying only from experienced vintage sellers with a good amount of sales and lots of positive feedback, but if you just happen to fall in love with a dress from a new seller I recommend taking moth precautions.  When your gown first arrives DO NOT take it into your house. If moths get into your home they're going to get into the rest of your clothing.  When your dress arrives open the package outside or in your garage. Check the garment throughly for moth holes. These will be tiny holes in the weave of the fabric. If you see any of these do not bring the garment into the house. 

Take your dress immediately to a dry cleaner. Dry cleaning will kill any moth larva. Do check to make sure that your dry cleaner has some experience with cleaning vintage clothing and wedding dresses. Vintage wedding gowns with their lace and embroidery can be very fragile. 

Best of luck!

Hello hello everyone! Welcome to Nancy Loves Vintage Weddings, a new vintage wedding blog created entirely for wedspace.com. 

June Bride/McCalls Cover. Nicholas Muray ca. 1942 

Lets start off with a little about me and what I'm up to here. First of all my name is Nancy and I'm getting married in October 2011 to my dream man. He's an old fashioned southern man from an old old family, I'm a northern girl with a taste for all things vintage. We're two peas in a pod. 

I also manage a little blog called $25 Vintage. The blog is dedicated to all things vintage and to creating and buying vintage clothing on the cheap. Or at least it was until the proposal.

You see my wonderful Beau (who will thus be referred to as Mr. Fiance) surprised me with a beautiful ring one night at dinner. Not having any prior notice you can imagine how my brain immediately switched into "wedding!!!!!" mode. It wasn't that I thought we wouldn't get engaged, it was just that I thought there might be some kind of sign that I might notice before the proposal. There was no sign. Mr. Fiance was very good at keeping secret keeper. My parents were also very good at keeping the secret. Apparently Mr. Fiance spoke with my father to ask for his permission a full four months before the event and no one ever let on... but I digress. 

Being that I had no prior warning it occurred to me that I also had not planned out my wedding. At all. Yes, I was one of those girls. The ones that did not have ever aspect of my wedding planned out down to the gold filigree on the napkins and monogrammed china. I didn't even know what colors I wanted. I didn't know whether I wanted it outside or inside. Heck, I didn't even know what state I wanted it in. (Quick note: I'm from New York, Mr. Fiance is from Georgia. More on this later.)
 What I did know was that I needed some ideas and quick! So what better place to go than the past? There certainly have been no shortage of beautiful weddings in the past few decades. I quickly dove into vintage wedding albums, photos posted on flickr, books, paintings, journals, anything I could get my hands on from the past 50 years. I wanted to know everything from what dress length was favored to what color the punch would be at the reception in a given year and the research was easier than I had even dared to expect. 

The wonderful thing about a wedding is that as brides our wedding day is the most personal and special day in our lives. It's one of the biggest milestones in our lives and we have always wanted to document it. There is no shortage of wedding photos out there for perusal and I'm not just talking photos for big fancy weddings. Even brides that had smaller means still went out of their way to get a camera for the big day. 
From Flickr User Rgusick

I worked my way back from decade. I was enthralled by the dresses of the 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s. Their structure, their color, the little fine details. I will never get tired of seeing that look that a bride has on the day of her wedding. That beautiful, warm, happy, glorious look in her eyes and her sweet blushing smile. Every new bride I came across sparked my need for more knowledge.  I went back further, researching weddings in the 1950s, 1940s, 1930s, and beyond. When that wasn't enough I started researching weddings from the 1910s, 1800s, even the 1700s. It became more than a small past time.

 Victorian bride

So what does this mean for you? Well if you're planning a period wedding or even a vintage inspired wedding I've already done the grunt work for you. I'll be posting on different decades from the past 300 years. Each post will contain multiple pictorial references and lots of information for your disposal.

And of course I'll be keeping you all updated on our wedding plans as well! 

It's been great meeting you and I hope you'll stop by again sometime soon. I've got lots to share.  




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Nancy has long had a fascination with "old time-y" weddings and historical wedding traditions. Interested in doing a period wedding? You're in luck because Nancy has already done the leg work for you! Read all about vintage weddings, see photos, and more.



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