Your Grandmother’s Wedding

There’s a lot of interest in vintage weddings today, with stores catering to brides and featuring copies of vintage wedding gowns and other items that sparkle with echoes from the past. The wedding fashions that set off your grandmother’s or great grandmother’s wedding were defined by the events of the time.

1920’s Vintage Wedding Style

In the 1920s, your grandmothers probably adopted the short hairstyle that was named the “bob.” While the hairstyle was all the rage of the time, women wanted to offset the pixie appearance that presented a boyish look.

Many changed their boyish appearance with a cloche or cap veils that fitted over their foreheads and fell down the back of the head in graceful folds. Often the veil went all the way to the floor. These caps were usually made simply from silk tulle originally, but became more decorated over time with Brussels lace, ribbons and metallic charms.

Opera length gloves that extended over the bride‘s elbows became the custom in the 1920s, as did huge bouquets decorated with knotted ribbons. Bridal jewelry was often a simple string of pearls. Bridal gowns were pretty sedate during this decade and were usually loose fitting in the chemise style.

The Roaring Twenties exploded the flamboyant headpiece popular with the flappers of the day. Not known for being fashionably sedate, flapper headpieces were created from velvet, or leaves painted gold and silver and were actually fancy wreaths. Natural materials were the preferred accent for the wreath headpieces. All of these styles can be found today when planning a vintage wedding.

1930’s Vintage Wedding Style

The 1930s were full of glitter and glamor created by the screen sirens of that new attraction, the movies. Busty movie stars were not afraid to show their cleavage and flaunt their sexuality. This disreputable behavior carried over from the 1920s and, as most carryovers do, pushed the borders of decency past what the morality police could tolerate.

When the Hayes Code enforced their censorship, mainly focused on the cleavage, costume designers draped their movie stars in flowing fabrics and took the brassieres off their stars. Slinky was in and the public flocked to the movie theaters to soak up the screen glamor. Wedding gowns of the day sparkled with sequins and the black and white film was a perfect framework to build their glamor.

Vintage wedding gowns reflected the fashions audiences saw on the silver screen. They hugged a woman’s body, showing her curves. Most gowns had long sleeves and fabric belts with large buckles, sometimes decorated with rhinestones that focused attention on the bride‘s slender waist. Hair styles were soft with finger waves framing the bride‘s face.

Other Vintage Wedding Styles

World War II, in the 1940s, brought in rationing, particularly for war effort materials. Rationing also restricted the clothing manufacturers and their normal abundance of cloth was decreased considerably.

Rayon became the darling of brides aware of silk rationing and the War effort. During WWII, silk was used for parachutes and cotton for military uniforms and duffle bags. The wedding gown of the 1940s also made use of a rayon satin material that highlighted the broad shoulders and slim waist that was the rage of that decade. Lace and other frills were often added to the yoke for extra decoration.

The hair style popular with women was the pompadour because it kept the hair away from her face and out of the way of the machinery if they worked in wartime factories.

The movie, “Gone With The Wind,” brought back silk gowns with sheer, puffy sleeves and hoop skirts. Slender hoops were sometimes worn under the bride’s gown to support the heavy material of the gown.

History definitely structured the wedding attire for brides in those volatile thirty years of change. Now, you have many choices when planning your wedding – if you are considering a vintage wedding, be sure to consider this when creating your list of questions for the wedding planner.

Vintage Wedding

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  1. Whether hair is straight or curly, it might be hard to style in the summer because of all that humidity. Many brides-to-be are faced with daily frizz, and fly-aways. It’s best to not fight with your hair, but instead treat it with love and care. Smoothing conditioners will seal the hair cuticle and prepare it for styling, while smoothing serums will tame stubborn fly-aways. There is no point in piling on product that will leave your hair oily and limp. Less is more is key for maintaining your style throughout the day, and a little hairspray will be sure to keep your tresses in place

  2. Dale Tunick says:

    “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” ~ Barbara de Angelis

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