Vintage Bride: Men’s Vintage Inspired Attire from the High Street

Vintage Bride Sophie is back this week with an in depth look into some of the hottest men from days gone by, a real hardship of course! All in the name of men’s vintage fashion for the groom to be…

Hello all!

Today I’m here to help out the often forgotten, left to the last minute, not-given-as-much-budget gentlemen amongst you. I think wedding attire is hard for a lot of men, it certainly was for mine! Gareth had never spent much on clothes. He bought things when he needed them and would never spend much (the wedding changed that; he’s now a shopaholic). Our wedding was the first time he’d ever been out to source an entire look, he didn’t know where to begin. If your man isn’t fashion conscious and is taking a backseat in the planning, it is likely he’ll be guided by a brief you deliver (and may need an nudge in the right direction).

Image by Maria Farrelly

Gareth AKA Mr Vintage Bride! Image by Maria Farrelly

Ladies: Please place ipad or other reading device in husband-to-be’s hand. In the meantime, I would love to know… How involved has your man been? How soon into planning did he choose his outfit? Did YOU choose his outfit or was it left to him? Can your man be trusted (with shopping, obviously)?

Men: Fear not, you are in luck! There are so many vintage-inspired pieces on the high street at the moment!

I’ve taken a look at some legendary style icons of days gone by. Just for you lovely lot I’ve been looking through image, after image, after image, after image of James Dean, Steve McQueen and Elvis Presley. I know, I have a tough life These hotties oozed class. I can’t think of a better bunch of lads to show us how it’s done! So, please find below the best high street buys I can find to recreate these looks on your big day (with the odd luxury item thrown in – the boys deserve a splurge too, right?)

Elvis Presley

Image Source: Pnterest

Elvis & Priscilla. Image Source: Pinterest

Who knew his wedding suit was paisley print?! Well I tracked down a pretty good match!

Click any photo to see a larger size and, where appropriate, a link to purchase

 James Dean

James Dean. Image Source: Pinterest

James Dean. Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

This man makes a classic black suit look SO cool (and those glasses! SWOON!!!)

Steve McQueen

Image Source: Pinterest

Steve McQueen wearing Persol Sunglasses. Image Source: Pinterest

Dressed like a gentleman, drove cars like a man!

I have another post coming up shortly with some more vintage mens’ looks to consider but if there are any old school looks (male or female) that you would like me to look at and recreate do let me know! This was fun!!!

Happy planning lovelies x

Wow thank you Sophie, what do you think cwtchers? Girl did good! Can you see your man wearing one of these looks on your wedding day? My personal favourite would be the James Dean look, although it’s hard to choose! x

Readings for a Vintage Wedding from the Vintage Bride

Our Vintage Bride Sophie is back this week with a selection of beautiful readings that would perfectly suit a vintage themed wedding, take it away Sophie!

Hi Cwtchers!

I’m going to be exploring some old wedding readings with you today. Traditionally weddings were religious, as were the readings spoken at them. Today however, I’m going to be looking at poems and pieces written many years ago but which would work brilliantly as part of a ‘vintage wedding’ – today!

Firstly, I must share the same disclaimer Charlie did in her first post on alternative wedding readings because, alas, the exact same thing just happened to me. I’ll call it ‘the curse of looking at wedding readings following your own wedding or in the week before your wedding’. It’s a cruel, cruel curse so please be warned… If you have chosen your readings and it is too late to change them, put your laptop or tablet down. Just do it. Save yourself. Do it now.

Now that that’s cleared up, the first reading I will share is “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe. It was published in 1599, after his death. Although Marlowe was English, this would sit so beautifully at a Welsh wedding. As soon as I read it my heart sank because it would have been perfect at our own wedding almost three years ago. You would think he was writing about Wales… He mentions valleys, myrtle (which is considered lucky here) and, dare I say it? Sheep. I LOVE it. SOB!!!

If you’re having a 1930s style wedding you can even use it for your first dance. In 1995 it was used as song lyrics for a 30s-style swing piece in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Have a listen, it’s gorgeous.

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

THE CURSE STRIKES AGAIN!!! Those that know Gareth and I well will instantly know why this reading would have been perfect for us. I wish I could share the reason but he would give me evils and I would blush like a beetroot. However, that aside, this is so sweet. Us Two is a verse included in a book titled When We Were Six by A. A Milne and was published in 1927. It captures the innocence of young love and is so light and lovely, it is sure to make everyone smile. Oh, and it mentions dragons… Again, obviously Welsh!

“Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
‘Where are you going today?’ says Pooh:
‘Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
Let’s go together,’ says Pooh, says he.
‘Let’s go together,’ says Pooh…
‘Let’s look for dragons,’ I said to Pooh.
‘Yes, let’s,’ said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
‘Yes, those are dragons all right,’ said Pooh.
‘As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That’s what they are,’ said Pooh, said he.
‘That’s what they are,’ said Pooh.
‘Let’s frighten the dragons,’ I said to Pooh.
‘That’s right,’ said Pooh to Me.
‘I’m not afraid,’ I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted ‘Shoo!
Silly old dragons!’ – and off they flew.
‘I wasn’t afraid,’ said Pooh, said he,
‘I’m never afraid with you.’
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
‘What would I do?’ I said to Pooh,
‘If it wasn’t for you,’ and Pooh said: ‘True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together,’ says Pooh, says he. ‘That’s how it is,’ says Pooh.”

For those looking for some serious ‘old school love’ the following romantic poems are pretty lovely. They’ll certainly add a touch of classic vintage to the proceedings!

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her
by Christopher Brennan (1870-1932)

If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the “If” and “Why”
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

Marriage Morning by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Light, so low upon earth,
You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
All my wooing is done.
Oh, the woods and the meadows,
Woods where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stay’d to be kind,
Meadows in which we met!

Light, so low in the vale
You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
And you are his morning star.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and heart,
Into my heart and my blood!

Heart, are you great enough
For a love that never tires?
O’ heart, are you great enough for love?
I have heard of thorns and briers,
Over the meadow and stiles,
Over the world to the end of it
Flash for a million miles.

And for those with a sense of humour, the next two would really get some laughs. I was lucky enough to witness the Readers Digest article from 1955 in action at a wedding recently, it went down a treat. Everyone in the room was roaring with laughter and I genuinely don’t think the bride knew it was going to be read! Well I’d have loved it

A word to husbands by Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.

And this one:

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

I always rattle on about asking your parents or grandparents about their wedding but another way to include them and personalise your wedding would be to use their readings or vows on your own day. If they’re still happily married, who knows, maybe there’s some luck in there for you :)

What are your thoughts? Do any of these take your fancy or do you have an old reading you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!

See you soon!

Sophie x

Merry Cwtchmas from The Vintage Bride

Eeeeek, the big day is almost upon us. Merry Cwtchmas everybody!!!

Firstly, I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. It’s been a busy few months for us here in the Murray house. Back in September baby Luc (the Welsh spelling of Luke) was born. He’s been wonderful and we’re so excited about his first Christmas! Oscar has proven himself to be a brilliant big brother already, we’re feeling truly blessed right now and can’t wait for tomorrow!

As it’s Christmas Eve I imagine wedding planning has been put on the back burner for a day or two (and rightly so!) So let’s get cosy, put Bing Crosby on and I’ll give you a good fix of nostalgia.

For me, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to relax and reflect, to make new beginnings and to remember. No other time of the year seems to churn up the feelings Christmas does. Every year, without fail, I am transported back to a time when magic really did exist. Everything about Christmas, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the sights; they all play a part in unearthing that feeling year on year. As a lover of almost anything with a bit of history behind it, I love to surround myself with tradition and nostalgia.

Wales has some fantastic Christmas traditions. The two below are my favourites

Taffy Making

On Christmas Eve, families would boil toffee on open fires and then drop dollops of it into cold, cold water. The taffy would curl into shapes, sometimes resembling a letter which would be used to predict your future love (if unmarried, of course) Already married? I’m sure you can just eat it

I love this tradition and we’ve decided to start doing this. Fancy it too? Here’s a recipe


On Christmas morning, between 3am and 6am (and probably full of taffy) many would attend a church service known as Plygain meaning daybreak. Men would gather in rural churches and sing carols for three hours. The service still takes place in many rural areas and is becoming increasingly popular. Following the service, a typical Christmas Day would begin with a feast and drink aplenty.

We would love to know if you have attended this service before or intend to do so!

Plygain in St Fagans Museum. Image Source.

Plygain in St Fagans Museum. Image Source.

Christmas is also about making your own traditions. We decorate our real tree together while listening to Christmas songs. We give a ‘Christmas Eve box’ which includes a film, new pyjamas, hot chocolate with marshmallows and a Christmas story for a cosy evening in. We eat pork pie (with ketchup) on Christmas morning which my family have done for at least three generations. We wear our best clothes (no Christmas jumpers in our house!) We ALWAYS watch The Snowman and we usually fall out over a game of Scrabble or Monopoly.

Traditional Christmas Hot Chocolate. Image Source.

Traditional Christmas Hot Chocolate. Image Source.

We adopted a few more traditions this year too. We jumped on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon, which my four year old loves. I’m sure he’ll be making an appearance next year too! Back in the summer I bought a job lot of hand written recipes and newspaper cuttings on eBay, most of which dated back to the war. Among them were a number of Christmas recipes which I framed and hung in our kitchen. They remind me of my great aunt and, although not written by her, I’m sure would make her smile. I’ll hang these every year and when things settle down, may even try the recipes! We will also be sure to try out the toffee tonight (I’ll let you know how it goes!)

I’ll leave you with an extract from ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas (which is waiting in Oscar’s Christmas Eve box… shhhh)

All of us at Cwtch HQ would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas! Nadolig Llawen!

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang “Cherry Ripe,” and another uncle sang “Drake’s Drum.” It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird’s Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

Love Sophie x

Afternoon Tea

Vintage Bride Sophie is here this week to talk about Afternoon Tea, who doesn’t love it!

If you’re opting for a vintage-themed wedding you’ll be pleased to hear that food is the easy part :-)

There are ways to tie in your era of choice to your wedding menu; hot dogs for a 50s rock n roll theme, 1000 course taster menu for a 20s theme… but one way to keep costs down, offer variety and provide something for everyone while maintaining a vintage theme is through ~ perhaps the greatest invention of all time ~ afternoon (or high) tea!

I mean, really, what could possibly be better than having someone plonk a beautiful cake stand in front of you, filled to the brim with sandwiches containing the fanciest fancy things you would probably treat yourself to at Christmas, miniature pies, tarts, cakes, buns, quiches, scones… and on that note I’m off to the kitchen to raid the cupboards and I’ll be back to finish writing shortly…


Image Source

Image Source: Etsy

… Okay back to business. Let’s start with the cake stand. If you have a number of tables to serve you are going to need a fair few of these. There are plenty of local businesses in and around Wales with vintage cake stands and china available to hire at a fraction of the cost of having to buy them and this is definitely the route I would (and did) go down. If you want to pick up a few to use after the wedding, or for sentimental purposes, try charity shops, eBay, your local vintage market or even ask your family!

Cake stand full of delicious delights. Image Source.

Cake stand full of delicious delights. Image Source.

Fancy Vintage China based in Swansea provide vintage fine bone crockery
La de Da…Vintage China Hire in Porthcawl offer china along with other vintage props
The China Library in New Tredegar have been collecting vintage china, glassware and accessories for almost a decade
Vintage Green has a selection of English Bone China available to hire throughout South Wales
Sipping Pretty just on the edge of Hay-on-Wye have a collection of vintage crockery, glassware and other accessories including eiderdowns and candlesticks as well as picnic blankets!

The Caterer…

Filling the cake stand with delights is something you will need to discuss with your caterer. Most caterers are used to preparing food for buffets but you will need to express that you need some finesse. This is, after all, an alternative to a traditional wedding dinner and needs to be special. It needs to fill your guests up to guarantee smiling faces in your wedding photos. No one likes to party on an empty stomach! Caterers should be able to provide food to suit your budget so sit down beforehand and establish what you can afford.

Tea on the Titanic. The menu for the last Afternoon Tea the Titanic would have. Image Source.

Tea on the Titanic. The menu for the last Afternoon Tea the Titanic would have. Image Source.

When deciding on sandwich fillings, pastries and the like, try to offer as much variety as possible. You may need to cater for vegetarians, vegans and guests with allergies so don’t forget to take any dietary requirements into consideration. As long as you have enough food and offer choice you’re on to a winner, trust me. Although it’s breaking tradition, another way to bulk up your menu is by serving bowls of salad and potatoes. These will accompany the savoury elements of your afternoon tea beautifully and will help to fill those bellies :-)

Oh, to heck with tradition! Have a giant basket of fresh welsh cakes on each table too!

I’m always one for a bit of sentimentality so let’s make this meal personal. If you’re lucky enough to have some of grandma’s or your mother’s hand-written cake recipes you could frame and display these as alternatives to table numbers and if you really want to get nostalgic, why not treat your guests by adding the finished cakes to the cake stand. How proud would they be?

Alternative idea for table names. Image Source.

Alternative idea for table names. Image Source.

I’ve been a busy bee sourcing era-specific recipes, presentation ideas and menus to whet your appetites. Pop over to Pinterest and have a little gander to get inspiration on food, drink and all areas of your vintage wedding.

Are any of our readers planning a real vintage wedding? Who is going with afternoon tea in lieu of a traditional wedding breakfast? Drop us a comment below.

Vintage Bride: Flowers

Its been a while but she’s back! Our beautiful Vintage Bride Sophie is here today talking about all things floral. All images in this post are by Maria Farrelly Photography, Enjoy! 

Hey Cwtchers! It seems like a lifetime since my last post (huge apologies!), but I’m back and following on from Charlie’s post on floral high street fashion, I will be exploring the wacky world of floral traditions.

imageI wanted to start by explaining how the tradition of using flowers at weddings began, but having spent evening up on evening looking for a definitive answer, I can only provide a couple of theories…

My personal favourite and perhaps the most comical, is that the bridal bouquet was used as a way of camouflaging bad odour. Of course, flowers look pretty which is always a bonus, but during the unhygienic days of the plague, unfortunately the bride didn’t always smell the best. Now, if you’re opting for a bouquet, please don’t skip the deodorant, I do not believe carrying flowers would suffice.

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0004 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0023 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0001The second theory is that back in the day, brides were considered lucky. Guests used to rip the brides’ dress and garments to take home as a lucky keepsake, leaving her with a mutilated wedding dress. Understandably, this practice had to stop and the tradition of throwing the garter was born. Men being men ;-) often couldn’t wait for the ‘throwing of the garter’ and would remove it from the bride before the big event. Imagine the fights they used to have! Understandably, this practice also had to stop and the tradition of ‘throwing a bouquet’ was born! Obviously a much safer activity (for most) this is still a popular tradition today. 

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0015throwing the bouquet
Picking flowers for your big day can be as easy as choosing something which compliments your colour scheme but for others it can be much more personal. For me, sweet peas were a must as my late grandfather used to grow them in his garden and would enter them into competitions. If you have no personal connection to a particular flower but still wish to create some meaning in your bouquet, you could look to the various meanings of flowers. You’ll find a list below of some of the better known varieties but you can pop ‘flower meanings’ into a search engine for more detailed results. If that doesn’t inspire you, why not ask your mother, grandmother or someone close to you what they chose on their big day and honour the ladies in your life by using the same?

In my quest to become a professional flower analyser, I also asked the Cwtch girls which flowers they chose for their bouquets and the results are in…

Sophie ~ Sweet peas, peonies, pink carnations and white lilacs

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0019 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0020Maria ~ White roses

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0016Charlie ~ Purple and pink roses, lilacs and sweet peas

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0017 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0018Pippa ~ Lilac, yellow, pink and cream roses and hydrangeaMaria_farrelly_PhotographyJemma ~ Roses

maria farrelly 30
And of course, not forgetting, we have two brides-to-be on the team but we couldn’t possibly give away their plans ;-)

Flowers And Their Meanings

Amaryllis – splendid beauty, pride
Arum lily, calla – magnificent beauty
Bluebell – constancy, forgive and forget
Campanula – white – gratitude
Carnation – red – ‘alas for my poor heart’; striped – refusal; yellow – disdain; pink – woman’s love
Chrysanthemum – red – ‘I love you’; yellow – slighted love; white – truth
Daffodil – regard, chivalry
Dahlia – good taste
Forget-me-not – true love, ‘the key to my heart’
Freesia – friendship
Gladiolus – strength of character
Hyacinth – blue – constancy; white – unobtrusive loveliness
Iris – yellow – flame of love
Lilac – purple – first emotions of love; white – youthful innocence
Lily of the valley – return of happiness
Orchid – longevity, elegance
Peony – bashfulness, romance, good health, happy marriage
Rose – symbolises love and good fortune and the colours have meaning too:
white – truth
white with pink blush – ‘only for thee’
bright pink – ‘meet me by moonlight’
single stem – simplicity
red and white – unity
red – eternal love
Snowdrop – hope
Sunflower dwarf – adulation
Sweet pea – departure, delicate pleasures
Tulip – red – declaration of love; striped – beautiful eyes
Violet – faithfulness, modesty

I hope this helps to inspire you! We’d love to know what you chose or have chosen for your big day :-) Flower analysis is officially hip you know!

Heres a little more inspiration from Maria Farrelly’s collection of weddings.

Maria_Farrelly_Photography0002 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0003 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0008 Maria_Farrelly_Photography0014Till next time, much love x