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A Vintage Wedding on a Budget

February 22nd, 2012 by Jeannine

A Vintage Wedding on a Budget

Ask any wedding planner or look at the internet’s top wedding blogs and you’ll see a recurring wedding theme. It’s no question, vintage is in! I decided to dig deeper and figure out why what’s old is new again. Luckily, there is someone who specializes in this home-grown style, Vancouver wedding planner Kailey of Kailey Michelle Events. She has been working in the industry for over four years and makes it her goal to personalize each of her clients’ weddings to show off their own uniqueness by including elements of the couple’s everyday life, personal accents, and perhaps some family traditions. I decided to pick her brain and learn about this popular trend.

What is Vintage?

In all honesty, I don’t really know much about vintage. I thought it was just a theme, but to Kailey, it means a lot more. In her own words…

“To me, vintage is an aura: one of charm, nostalgia and complex character. It boasts innate sophistication, both luxurious and effortfully stylish. It’s genuine and authentic by nature, but it true beauty lies in eye of the beholder. Vintage emotes emotion and sweet sentiment, curating memories of days gone by. And as a visual connection of our past, meeting our present, it’s doorway to ones heart. To allow such elements to embrace and collide on your wedding day, you create magic to set your love story on fire!”

What Do You Need?

The first thing I think of when I hear “vintage” is lace and flowers in teacups, but it’s not all about that. Vintage is a very broad theme so to figure out what kind of items you need to acquire, you have to narrow it down a little bit. If you want to base your event around an era, Kailey says you can pull elements and colours out of that time period to dress up your day.

“For example, a vintage event based on an era, such as the 1920′s-the 1950′s, would include things like fine china, lace, pearls, script font or calligraphy, cascading bouquets, bird cages, tea length gowns, over-sized quaffed hair styles, red lipstick, roses, candelabras, chandeliers, classic cars and ballrooms.”

If you want your event to be more personalized and reminiscent of your own love story, you’ll have more to work with because you’ll be looking for items that best reflects your personalities and lifestyle.

“They can dare to think out-side the box to include elements that wouldn’t traditionally be used in a wedding format. This can include things like Burlap, crates, milk bottles, mason jars, maps, globes, books, keys, and unconventional venue locations, like rural land, barns or even a heritage spot. In my humble opinion, this style is more-so relaxed, comfortable, fun, whimsical, and typically represents a certain lifestyle.”

Where Do You Find Decor?

Kailey says there are a few places to scour for possible decor items for your wedding, and the easiest place to start is at home.

“Find what means the most. Any special books, trinkets or house hold items? Do you have a favorite picture or go to color scheme? Take note of what grabs your attention because most frequently, it becomes the heart and passion of your design.”

Next, visit your parents’ or grandparents’ home (ask first!) and see if you can find any heirlooms or props that you can borrow for your wedding. Perhaps they have some jewelry or brooches you can wear (that will also take care of your something old/borrowed), or maybe they’re still hanging onto their old wedding veil? Have you been admiring your grandmother’s tea set for years? Now’s the chance to make it a part of your special day.

Other places you can look for items for cheap are flea markets, thrift stores, craft fairs, and garage sales. Flea markets can be very overwhelming so to better prepare you for your first visit, Kailey prepared this very informational video about how to efficiently search through an antique market.

If you prefer to rent, there are a few local vintage rental shops: Vancouver Vintage (Vancouver) and Trove Vintage Rentals (Abbotsford).

If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, Kailey recommends these online sites for some vintage hunting:

When choosing your decor items, Kailey has this important piece of advice:

“Choosing one particular item can even be used to determine color palette and era. Don’t be afraid to break the mold: embrace the concept that not everything has to match or be color coordinated. But search: Look high and low you’d be surprised how almost every room has something that can be be used!”

What Do You Wear?

According to Kailey, there isn’t a specific kind of dress that you need to wear to pull off a vintage wedding. If your wedding is influenced by an era, she recommends you to research styles that women and men commonly wore at that time and find a modern dress that is similar to that style. From looking at numerous vintage wedding photos, I find that lace and slimmer silhouettes are a common element, as well as tea-length dresses. For a long time, I’ve been admiring this designer: Dolly Couture – you can order many different kinds of vintage-inspired short wedding dresses or even customize your own top and skirt to create the exact look you want. Best of all, they’re under $1,000! (The unfortunate thing is that they are online-based.) Another affordable alternative is a short, white bridesmaid dress.

For the groom, accessories are key: bowler hats, colourful bowties, skinny neckties, poorboy hats, suspenders, pocketwatch, vests, etc.

What About Flowers?

There are certain types of flowers that complement a vintage wedding. Kailey suggests garden flowers, simply bundled, as if it was freshly picked from Grandma’s garden. More whimsical weddings tend to go with something a little more unique like succulents, ranunculus and craspedia. A bouquet of wildflowers would also be fitting for the theme. Consider using flowers as hair accessories, too, for example, a halo of flowers for your flower girls. To enhance the look of your wedding flowers, this is what Kailey recommends:

“Almost always, accent pieces are used to accentuate and finish the arrangements and bouquets, such as burlap, lace, cameos/ brooches and displayed vintage jars and setting, such as mason jars, old fashioned milk bottles and antique tins.”

To keep things budget-friendly, select flowers that are in season or maybe incorporate a few silk flowers in your bouquet. It also helps to be open minded with flower selections so your florist can source out ones that will work but will also cost less. Filler flowers and greenery can also bulk up a bouquet for cheap.

What Do You Give as Wedding Favors?

Kailey says you have to take your theme into account, when it comes to choosing your wedding favors.

“For a theme and/ or era, I would include something reminiscent of that time. For example, if you had a Victorian or English garden wedding, you could have a signature tea blend you give away as favors. Or perhaps if it were a 1940′s theme, you could give away cigars for the men or a collection of personally selected rat-pack/crooner tunes.

If you’re going the route of personalization, then use something from your daily life and regular routines. Perhaps you have a favorite coffee joint: you could give away your favorite blend or if you both adore the outdoors or gardening, you could give out seed packages or even a small plant or herb garden.”

Other suggestions that I think would be good as favors are little jars of homemade jam, honey, candy, or a thank you note on seed paper.

A Few Words With Kailey…

In your opinion, why is vintage so popular?
“Likes most areas of our life, we seek outlets to express our personal style. Whether its our home, our fashion or our beliefs, we wish to share our inner beauty with the world. When it comes to vintage weddings, this outlet is significantly magnified. With the use of texture, color and props, guests are given a glimpse of the light that shines within the couple. It’s a journey through their history; both past, their present and their future.

What makes Vintage so special, is unlike conventional weddings, a vintage wedding in uniquely complementary to the couple. The opportunities are endless and there is no ‘guideline’ to how it should look. Couples dare to dream their wildest dreams and present ideas that are out-of- the box. It create an ambience of grace; one of passion and personal reflection. So when they look back years from now, they’ll still see themselves, their hearts and their ever-growing story.”

What is better for budget brides, renting vintage decor or buying from other sources?
“Buying and/or borrowing will almost always be the more budget friendly option, but there is a trade off! Remember purchasing the items yourself will take time, require storage and someone to over-see delivery/ set up on the day. Whereas, If you used a rental company, they do all the work. It simply shows up on time and looking beautiful! No fuss, no Muss. Personally, I suggest a mixture of the two. Buy and/or borrow the items of real significant and renting the extras and fillers that are more for achieving the look, than having meaning or real importance.”

Since vintage is so popular right now, do you find that a lot of weddings end up looking the same? How do you set apart one vintage wedding from the next?
“To me, what matters most is that the wedding is a reflection of the couple marrying; their life, their hopes and desires. And no two people are alike. So if the couple focuses inwards, and stays true to what matters to them and why, then the wedding will be truly one of a kind: an authentic affair, genuine and true to them and their love story. I always remind my couples to steer clear of comparing their day to others or worrying if something’s been seen or done before. It never ceases to be more than their greatest expectations! After all, the I do remains the heart beat of your day. Everything else is just icing on the cake!”

I want to thank Kailey for taking the time to tell me everything about vintage. I’ve learned a lot and I hope you did too. :) If you want to know more about Kailey and the services she offers, visit her website, be a fan on Facebook or follow her on Twitter!

Will you be having a vintage wedding? Leave a comment and share with us what personal touches you’re planning to incorporate.

Photos courtesy Ameris Photography & Ophelia Photography, where noted.
All photos provided by Kailey Michelle Events

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  • February 22nd, 2012 at 8:45 am
    Kailey-Michelle Events says:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to share some tips with Vancity Brides~ It was an absolute pleasure!

  • February 22nd, 2012 at 11:37 am
    arOka vinTage says:

    Wonderful post with great advice! Thank you for sharing!

  • February 22nd, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    Dmarie says:

    gorgeous post!

  • February 23rd, 2012 at 3:23 pm
    Unique Boutique says:

    love your explanation of vintage – I have a few brides this year with vintage inspired weddings. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • February 24th, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    Victoria Kuzma says:

    Congrats on another lovely feature, Kailey!

  • March 17th, 2012 at 4:30 am
    Eventacular Texas Weddings says:

    My favorite style of weddings for my brides is vintage. There is rustic vintage too. There is so much you can do to make the event very feminine and that is what this style is all about. I love going into the antique stores and finding wonderful things to showcase for my brides. Love your article and photos. Thanks.

  • March 19th, 2012 at 1:22 am
    Leagh@bunchesdirect says:

    Vintage wedding is absolutely gorgeous choice! Nobody would ever tell you were on a low budget. Thank you for the nice article!

  • June 30th, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    abbotsford florist says:

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and all. But imagine if you added some
    great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could undeniably be one of the best in its field. Superb blog!

  • August 3rd, 2012 at 7:28 pm
    kat p says:

    To me there is nothing more romantic than a vintage wedding. The colors are muted, the decor is nostalgic and there is so much you can do with items that you find during your antique hunting. I love to include old wedding photos at the sign in and cake tables, the clothes they wore were fabulous.


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