This weekend, Highbury Hall has been the venue for the most glamorous, chic wedding show that Birmingham has ever hosted. The inaugural ‘Designer Vintage Wedding Show’, had sparkling style, vintage chic and sumptuous wedding gowns in an amazing setting. Imagine a trip through time to an Agatha Christie era country pile, where the elegant guests are treated to pots of Earl Grey in delicate bone china cups, and slices of the most mouth-watering layer cake, whilst being entertained by a string quartet. On retiring to you room, after enjoying a selection of 78s being played on an original gramophone, you find your bedroom filled with the most glorious selection of wedding dresses that range from the 1920s to the present day. Your bedside table contains silk kid gloves and beaded handbags, whilst the dressing table is filled with a huge selection of silk shoes in a myriad of colours. Such was the decadent elegance of the show.
The Main Hall had been transformed into a Tea Parlour, hosted by The Boutique Baking Company and Vintage Frocks and Crocks. The hall was beautifully adorned for the day, with each table having a specific theme that included ‘Candyfloral’ , festooned with pink tea roses and cupcakes in traditional style cake stands, and ‘Hollywood’ which featured Art Deco style name plates and decorations. I sat at a table called ‘Country Fete’ which reminded me of summer picnics in cornfields, with gingham tablecloths and pretty freshly cut daisies and sunflowers. The Boutique Baking Company provided the delicious tea and a range of cakes, including my absolute favourite coffee and walnut cake. Everything was served on antique bone china cups and saucers, plates and tiny little chintz tea pots provided by Vintage Crocks and Frocks. There were also traditional English scones and clotted cream, and the most amazing glitter covered cupcakes with mini Eiffel towers decorating them. The whole atmosphere was very civilised and sophisticated totally fitting with the opulence of the surroundings.
Moving through to the Drawing room, I was pleased to meet Helena Talbot, the founder and designer of HT Headwear. Helena first made her beautiful jewelled headdresses, retro style veiled hats and headbands for her own wedding, but decide to convert this into a business whilst on maternity leave, just 17 months ago. She now has her own shop in London selling bespoke millinery, and also sells online at www.htheadwear.com. Helena explained that all the pieces are handmade, and use a mixture of vintage and new materials. As well as catering for brides, HT Headwear also make fabulous headwear for Mother of the Brides, and for event such as Ladies day at race meetings.
Also residing in the drawing-room was Terry Eleftheriou of terryterry jewellery and accessories. Terry is a real Midlands entrepreneur, starting his jewellery company 2 years ago in Sutton Coldfield, and now selling in stores across the West Midlands and online at www.terryterry.co.uk. The company sells both terryterry new designs, which are often vintage inspired, and also authentic vintage pieces. Terry explained that he believes that many brides are now moving away from the traditional veils and tiaras and moving towards statement head bands, that look beautiful and are also a cheaper option. Terry has recently moved into stocking a premium vintage collection, which he has christened ‘Vintage Bling’, and is proving very popular.
Next I entered the drawing-room, where I was stunned by the beautiful vintage inspired wedding dresses on display. These were courtesy of The Couture Company, a Birmingham based, bespoke, wedding dress company based in The Custard Factory. I chatted to Sally about the exquisite designs, which are vintage inspired but made using the best new materials. All the dresses are individually made, and are made to measure, catering for all sizes, including plus sizes. Potential brides can choose a dress ‘off the peg’ if they love a design, but the dress can also be changed to accommodate choices like favourite colour, length, embellishment meaning the bride has the exact dress that she wants.
Sally explained that at the moment, the 1950s inspired tea length dress is very popular, with key colours being blush shades and champagne. Non traditional seems to be having a moment!
Sally was also representing Rawhide – a bespoke corset company that has seen a rise in sales with the rebirth of burlesque and the ascendance of Dita Von Teese. The Rawhide corsets range from the Burlesque/wild west style, to the vintage 1940s look. They are totally glamorous and feminine, perfect for anyone who wants a bit of glamour in their lives. Rawhide corsets can be worn as outerwear, and also as underwear, perfect to put under any wedding gown.
At this point…Fashion-mommy was desperately in need of a pot of tea and a slice of Lemon Drizzle cake…so I’ll leave you to wait for part two, when I explored the Jenny Packham and Tobi Hannah dresses upstairs!