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Friday, February 22, 2013


The Great Gatsby is being redone and due to be released in March.   And, Downton Abbey is already creating an excitement for brides to re- create that look.   The new craze for the 1920's inspired wedding has brought designers to create dresses reminiscent of the period and Pinterest boards to be bursting with pictures of these dresses and more.   I started out thinking I would do a post on this trend, but in my research, I found that the whole idea of a "vintage" wedding gets mixed into a crazy combination of retro ( 50's - 60's), romantic and just plain anything that isn't new.   I also found brides in platform shoes and dresses with pickups.  And grooms in cardigans, sneakers and no jackets.    You might also want to know that old movie tickets, coke bottles and chalk boards are NOT authentic reproductions of the time period.   Vintage is not all inclusive.  

So, I decided to write my post on what IS the 1920's inspired wedding instead.     

  The 1920's, if you watch TV, read or have seen The Great Gatsby, was a time of great opulence.   The war was over, prohibition was lining pockets with money- ill-gotten as it was and people, especially women, were feeling their way and spreading their wings.   Weddings was becoming big business!   The wedding industry began to grow and break into pieces- the caterers, the designers, the makers of dreams.   Fashion was changing, hems were rising and corsets and layers of clothing were for your grandmother.   Brides of the 1920's were wearing simpler and shorter dresses and opting for dressing their heads in a more dazzling way, so as to feminize their shorter haircuts.   The bob was the craze and the cloche veil or hat was the sign of the times.  Wreaths of flowers were also in fashion, as were jeweled headbands and feathers.   And, elbow length opera gloves were worn by most brides.   They were made with a button at the wrist so that the hand could be slipped out and the wedding ring could be placed on her finger.
A chemese or tube dress was popular at this time.  Dresses were also designed with intricate panels in the front and back or with geometric patterns.   They were sometimes heavily beaded all over or they were very simple, adorned with lace or embroidery.   Tea length or ankle length dresses were seen most often and dresses had petal hems, were cut on the bias and had lower waists with the train falling from the shoulder.    The dresses here by designers like Jenny Packham, BHLDN and in the Etsy shops, are very modern recreations of the originals.  

At the time, everyone dressed for dinner- even the help.   So, no groom would show up to his wedding wearing a sweater and no tie- or sneakers!  White tie and tails and a top hat were the order of the day, especially for such a momentous occasion.   Shiny shoes and even spats were worn by the men.   The ladies wore silk shoes, often with bows or other embellishment.    This stunning dress by Matthew Christopher is very Gatsby!       
 As you can see, this was a very elegant and proper time and one where everyone practiced etiquette and the utmost of manners and grace.   A wedding dinner would have been an afternoon tea in the garden or an elegant dinner with all the finest of china and such.   There would have been candles and spectacular centerpieces with calla lilies and ostrich feathers.   Black and white was a popular color palette at the time, as was gold and jewel tones, in keeping with the Art Deco period.   There would not have been a beer bottle or a BBQ.              
Here is a little interesting tidbit I found in my research.   The engagement ring changed too.   More ornate, square and in a unique setting, it was coupled with a matching wedding band.   Rings were made more in white gold or platinum. 

Now, when you start to plan your 1920's, Gatsby wedding, you will have all the right inspiration to do it the way your great grandmother would have done it.   You may even want to wear her dress or veil.    


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