About a year ago, on January 17, my husband and I were married in front of a wonderful group of our family and friends. Our wedding took place at Cicada in downtown Los Angeles. The location is a former Art Deco style department store that was built in 1928. My husband has been producing an event called Cicada Club there for the last 10 years. The club recreates super clubs of the golden era. It frequently features vintage bands and dance orchestras, such as the one belonging to Dean Mora who did all of the music for our event.
When I started to plan the wedding, I knew from the start I wanted my wedding to be both unique and vintage inspired. I knew no run-of-the-mill wedding would work for me! I got this idea the very first day I started trying on gowns. I knew after trying on more than twenty that no modern gown could possibly work for me. Not only are they incredibly expensive, they are also very much the same. It didn’t matter what bridal salon I went into, whether it was David’s or some chi-chi boutique in Beverly Hills, they were all strapless and either mermaid, trumpet or ball gown shaped. Also, any gown that looked half way decent or unique ran about the same price of a decent used car.
I knew that I had to turn else where to find the gown of my dreams.
So I turned to Etsy and Ebay, two places I am addicted to shop on. The three great things about vintage wedding gowns is that they are surprisingly affordable, better made and more unique then their modern counter parts.
I ended up choosing three gowns. I had a 1920s robe de style gown bought on Ebay for $60 for the wedding rehearsal dinner (sadly no pictures of this), a c. 1908 lace and lawn gown bought on Ebay from Halycon Vintage for the ceremony and a silk satin 1930s evening gown for the reception, bought from Adeline’s Attic on Ebay for just under $100. To add to my outfit, I had a cathedral veil which had been a gift from a friend, a 1950s marabou wrap from Ebay and a c. 1900 French orange blossom crown that I bought on Ebay and came all the way from Budapest. For the ceremony, I also wore a crown of pink cherry blossoms.
I always knew I wanted a vintage wedding, but what era I was not exactly sure on, neither was I quite sure what colors I wanted either. This might sound silly, but choosing what colors you are going to use for your wedding is actually kind of stressful, it’s like you’re supposed to know it and if you don’t you can’t plan anything. Once you have the colors, there is no going back.
So, I pretty much did not have any colors at all, just a whole bunch of them.
For the flowers, I just knew I wanted a lot of them, and I wanted it to be dramatic, VERY dramatic, maybe if Norma Desmond was getting married. Like many brides I had been building up a Pintrest board. This board contained a whole slew of grand, over the top floral arrangements overflowing with peonies, Lily of the valley, orchids. My dreams came crashing down when I found out just how much the floral arrangements were going to cost. To get peonies in in the dead of winter, they have to be flown in from Holland and cost upwards of $10 a stem, the same with orchids. A teeney, dinky bouquet of Lilly of the Valley can set a bride back several hundred dollars or more. The grand floral arrangements I wanted would probably have costs many thousands of dollars which was not exactly in our budget.
So, I decided to DIY the flowers. All of them. I decided to go with silk and real touch florals because that meant I could have virtually any flower I wanted and I could take time to craft the floral arrangements of my dreams. I pretty much taught myself to do everything below. I am also lucky that Los Angeles has several greats stores downtown that sell nothing but silk florals at discount prices.
The day of our wedding as really wonderful. We got ready at the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club. All of the bridesmaids and I got wonderful hair and makeup done by Melissa Firestone. She gave me a long, romantic curly hair-do which was based on the hairstyles worn by ladies in the 1910s. For the reception I had a curly 1930s faux bob.
Our wedding was beautiful, emotional and very heart felt. It was so wonderful to proclaim the love I have for my husband in front of all of family and friends. I didn’t think I would cry, but I did, a lot.
At the reception, we sat down to a three course dinner at our sweetheart table. The menus for the evening were replicas of Art Nouveau menus from a 1900s French restaurant.
Outside there was a paper moon set up for all the guests to take pictures with provided by Paper moon Vintage. Our first dance was to “The Way You Look Tonight” sung by Fred Astaire. Our wedding’s Emcee was Johnny Holiday who was also the best man and a good friend of my husband and I. We had a whole selection of past performers from the Cicada Club come up and sing and perform for us, it was very special and unique.
If you are looking for tips on having a vintage wedding, please look out for my next article on how you can have a vintage wedding of your very own.