Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Is it just me or is anyone else a tad bored of the word VINTAGE????

Is it just me or is anyone else a tad bored of the word VINTAGE????

I’m going to put my neck out on the line today and probably commit wedding planner/wedding blogger suicide and tell you all that I’m not a massive fan of vintage!……………….there you go I said it!

I’ve been wanting to say something for a while now, as I feel that recently the word vintage is being used way to much and quite often in the wrong context, but the nail in the coffin came last week when I received yet another email from yet another company setting up in vintage tea set hire. I am from Sheffield and I can tell you we have a HUGE range of companies offering this service, so why do we need another one I asked myself??

So I decided I would open up a discussion on this subject today and see if I was the only person who was left cold my 2nd hand shops, and who preferred new stuff to old!

vintage wedding Image found on Amy Inspired

Now I have to admit there are some levels of Vintage that I like and I really can appreciate the way that Vintage has inspired and affected the wedding industry as it is. I’m a big fan of introducing elements of vintage into weddings and turning it around, I adore rustic weddings, as well as country garden weddings, country cottage and Village fete themes.
I love the glamour of the 1920s and about 15 years ago I actually designed (in my head) a whole 1920s wedding……see how ahead of my time I was. I loved the 50s when I was little girl and always went in a rockabilly outfit to any fancy dress parties I was invited to. Now I love the styling of the 60s and I also love the 70s…………..BUT I still have an issue when everyone uses the word vintage to describe their wedding!

I guess my main bug bear is how people have jumped on the Vintage band waggon who don’t really understand it! I completely get that there are experts out there who live and breathe Vintage, Tiffany from Grant Riley weddings  is a great example of a planner who specialises in Vintage weddings,  she knows her stuff and she produces some exquisite weddings from real Vintage loving brides. Jenny from Hansley Beard  who specialises in vintage crockery and prop hire, lives and breathes Vintage there isn’t anything that lady doesn’t know about Vintage.
But there are so many people out there who don’t understand vintage suppliers and brides together. I do feel that the Vintage is being thrown around way to much to describe stuff that…well just isn’t vintage at all!

So many times I have been told by a bride that she wants a vintage wedding when I ask her to go into more detail and ask about the era she is looking for, it turns out it isn’t vintage she wants at all, village fete themed, or country cottage……Great! I LOVE these sorts of wedding, but they are vintage inspired and there is a BIG difference! People want to put the tag Vintage onto everything these days it seems as Vintage sells!……Vintage inspired can mean anything and covers a whole range of eras! But it’s not vintage and that is where the difference is!!

vintage wedding image found on Bianca Vintage

Personally I prefer the word retro….looking at more of a 70s and 80s vibe…..the 1930s and 1940s does nothing for me at all, in fact it leaves me cold!…………..sorry again to everyone out there who loves it! I don’t get the whole nostalgia thing, maybe it’s the planner in me I always look forward………….I prefer modern clean lines, minimalistic, un cluttered looks, I don’t like 2nd hand shops, or the smell of moth balls, I don’t like antiques and if it belonged to my Gran there is a strong chance that I won’t like it……this may make me totally un cool, and may lose me a whole heap of followers on twitter but I have to speak the truth!

I guess we are all guilty though, I told my sponsors the other day it seems that if you put the word vintage in an advert it gets more click troughs?? Go figure!! So yes the ‘vintage inspired’ companies do seem more popular at the moment! The same happens when I tag a blog post, if I add the word Vintage in to it…more hits! Simples!

Vinatge wedding The Queen Mother

It seems the wedding world has gone Vintage mad….it’s becoming the norm now, and I do ask myself when will it end? And when it does what will happen to all these companies who have set up a business on the back of Vintage??
And I guess this also begs the question what the next big thing will be!

Personally I think vintage is here to stay for quite a while longer, and I guess that is something I am going to have to live with! But if one more of my friends suggest a 40s themed party for their 40th Birthday I will scream…and no I won’t be coming in fancy dress…..I will be coming in something new and freshly bought from the shops in this decade!

So bring on the new…bring on the modern, lets celebrate what is about to happen instead of living in the past…….because really were things that much better then??

modern wedding image source Style Me Pretty photo by James Christianson

So now let me know what you think! Shoot me down in flames I’m sure many will, but let me know if it’s a bug bare of yours! Do you dislike Vintage? Or are you tired of people just not doing it properly? Would you like to see something new? If so what?

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    Kirsten Mavric

    I hear what you are saying about how it seems to be everywhere but I think, naturally, it will change into something else. I do worry that people will look back on their weddings and wonder why they referenced another era instead of celebrating their own. Their albums may date too.

    Laura Cutress

    Hear Hear!
    Totally agree. To me, vintage = old. Nowt wrong with that, but I’d rather own something that looks in an old style, but is actually new, than old and worn(out).

    Vintage shops give me the chills, and they smell funny!

    Retro, on the other hand, especially music, is awesome and fun, and feels like when I was a kid.


    Georgina @Rubyweddings

    Well said Kelly! Every couple has the right to choose their theme for their wedding and if ‘Vintage’ is the look they are going for then fabulous but it is so maintream these days that we really to ask the question – what will be the new Vintage?

    Juliet McKee

    I am a little bit on the fence. My personal style is contemporary/classic and I hope it will stand the test of time. I’m all in favour of brides having exactly what they want, after all they are the client and it’s their big day so if they want a very vintage wedding that why not. However, I worry that some ‘vintage’ inspired weddings are so over styled that the couples personality and the essence of the day is buried beneath a trail of jam jars and photographer’s vintage camera props, and I wonder what they will feel in 10 years time when they look back at their photographs.


    I think this time next year, there will be something new being introduced, a new trend that will saturate the wedding industry like vintage has done over the last 2 years, The Vintage theme will possibly be exhausted next year though as the masses have caught onto it this year booking for the next 12 months.
    So youv possibly got to put it up with it for a while longer yet my lovely x

    louise :: bijoux bride

    I have to confess I glared disapprovingly at anyone who used the ‘V’ word in reference to my wedding! I love clean lines and modern glamour, but as a blogger I’ve had to learn to love the vintage look too. There are some amazing & passionate vintage suppliers out there, but weddings should be about what you love as a couple, not just a trend that you might go off in a few years time!

    Louise - Bow Occasions

    Very brave post Kelly. I too am not a massive fan of vintage. I love the country cottage look and favour bright colours over vintage colours. I do however love mixing new with old and have purchased said vintage tea sets for our wedding which will be a fun, bright affair.

    I also wonder how long the vintage trend will be around and what comes next…


    Utterly agreed! You know my feelings on this Kelly! :)

    Vintage is used way too much now and it makes me cringe to see all the vintage weddings in the bridal magazines. It’s jumping on a bandwagon and it looks so pedestrian now ~ all the same and very boring. And it’s all fake bought from websites, not family heirlooms! True vintage should be about being individual but the very act of ‘being individual’ is now making them all look the same! No personal style, just copying the fashion. It started out as a very refreshing nod towards using more subtle and traditional styles but it has become like a disney theme, way over the top.

    I would hate for my wedding guests to think I was going for a vintage theme as 20 OTHER friends’ weddings this year have been sold as vintage.

    My partner and I saw a ‘vintage cupcake’ photoshoot in a magazine recently ~ the cupcakes actually looked rotten. They were brown and grey with dirty lace and faux spiders webs on them, perched in a rusty tin. Surely the perfect example of the heights we are reaching!


    Despite being someone who’s wearing a 1960’s dress for her wedding, I have a whole lot of sympathy for this post! I’m wearing the dress, not because I want a vintage wedding, but because I wanted a short dress which still managed not to look slutty or cheap, and this dress was perfect! It is vintage. The rest of the wedding isn’t.

    I’m a fan of many vintage things ~ there were some styles and trends in art and design back in the 1920s, 30s, 40s etc which are breathtaking still. But this seems to have morphed into an obssession with any old teacup or musty prom dress, which somehow belittles the trends they’re seeking to be inspired by!

    Beth Mottershead

    Good post Kelly, you are definitely not alone. I think the main thing that I get disappointed with when people use the word vintage is that they don’t often mean anything particularly old or from a set era, they just mean mismatched, fairly messy and, dare I say it, sometimes a bit grubby looking. I saw some vintage-inspired, brand new Union Jack bunting for sale where the white bits were a brown tea-stained colour. Ugh! I’ve kind of set myself up to not be a natural part of the vintage trend by calling myself contemporary as I like clean lines, symmetry, balance and structure, although bringing in softer details and shabby chic or vintage elements can also be really nice. For instance, I do love actual vintage jewellery, as long as it is chunky, and I have a real love of antique furniture, as long as it isn’t too fancy and scrolly. I think my advice to brides choosing the style for their wedding would be to make sure it is timeless, even if it still has on trend elements. I’m sure there are a lot of 80s brides who are now kicking themselves!


    Wow! I’m loving all the responces! It seems I am not alone! I think its fare to say that Vintage is now a trend and not an alternative way of doing things, and as so many of you say Trends change and time move on!
    Couple need to refelct their own personality into their day and if they are true fans of vintage then great! but if they are just doing it because it’s the current wedding trend, will they regret it in yeras to come?


    Love this post and totally agree. A new ‘vintage’ charity shop has just opened near me, but it’s just the same as all the other charity shops in the area! Well done you x


    Hi Kelly, great post and very good reasoning. I do agree with you too. My personal style preference is clean and graphic. Dont get me wrong, art deco is one of my biggest style inspirations and I love it, but I love it as just that…inspiration. I think the term vintage is massively overused and it has really shocked me how many people class themselves as vintage when all they have done is throw an old tea cup or two on a table. As you explain there is a huge difference between vintage inspired, true vintage and something that is retro or even leaning towards kitsch. I hope that more people find their true personalities when it come to their wedding styles and dont worry so much about following a ‘vintage’ theme because thats what seems the fashion at the moment.
    In the meantime, keep true to yourself and your own style.

    Michelle ~ Pocketful of Dreams

    You are certainly not alone, I think there are very many vintage experts out there who do a fantastic job, but ‘Vintage’ has become an overused term that is now so mainstream the real essence has been lost. There are people out there who for them ‘Vintage’ is a way of life not just a borrowed fashion term which is suddenly cool.

    A wedding day should be about the people involved, the bride, the groom, their family and their guests. It’s not about following trends but about expressing personality. I think the ‘vintage’ trend across weddings has shown something: that you can be expressive, you don’t have to follow convention/tradition and you can be a little kitschy or quirky in your styling. For me that is what ‘vintage’ styling has given the wedding world, but it’s time the term was not bandied about so readily to describe any/every type of wedding.

    As an event designer I wouldn’t say I have one particular style that I love or that I influence people to have, my job is to help my clients define their own style, to dream big and then to help them realise that dream. Be it, vintage-inspired, glamorous, contemporary, minimalist, eco, quirky, retro, organic…whatever. Or a mix of all the above, as quite frankly people can be influenced by a lot of styles, so who is to say they cannot combine all of their influences to create something truly unique and reflective of them.

    That to me is style. Creating your own trend.

    Gail Jones

    Hi Kelly,

    thank you for your refreshingly honest post! I too have been getting rather dismayed about the over use of the word “vintage”. It has become a trend rather than be about a couple’s passion for a particular era or style, and like all trends it will eventually fade and pass into something new. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of my designs are vintage inspired because I love the styling of certain decades but a lot of my designs are also not vintage inspired. I knew things had gone too far the other day when I saw a sign selling “Vintage Fishing Tackle” – in other words old and worn out!

    vicky trainor

    I am guilty as charged for using the word vintage. But I am a vintage inspired stationer. However, I ‘understand’ the meaning of vintage. I design with many styles and approaches in mind and as we are all in some way influenced by the past I will continue to be influenced by all of these glorious era’s of time but with always a goal to re-invent and move forward. Since being a tot I have been surrounded by varied design styles, as my family are obsessive hoarders so for me it is in the veins.

    Howver it is frustrating when a client immediately states that they are having a vintage inspired wedding, as that in its loose terms can mean absolutely anything from any time. I get really excited when I hear clients ideas who have truly thought about who they are and focused on their personalities, what they love, whether that be music, film, travel, their love of nature, their beliefs, generally resulting in a mix of the new and of the old. The visual result, when ‘true to heart’, normally comes through as incredibly cool, exciting, alternative, and a wedding that is to inspire others for its fresh approach. I agree with Michelle it is about personal styling and unconsciously setting new trends and new ideas.

    I get equally excited when I see my stationery styled with modern theatrical blooms as I do when it is wrapped around an old storage jar or porcelain vase. It is absolutely fine to be inspired by the past as long as we continue to move forward in ways of varied application, approaches and innovation.

    Nikki @KnotsandKisses

    I totally agree with everything Vicky has said above!
    I use the words Vintage Style to describe my stationery because I adore old things (sorry Kelly … I love rummaging around in mothballs :) ) … and my stationery is often inspired by old bits of fabric or jewellery I have come across.
    I do agree however that the word Vintage is misused beyond belief in the wedding industry … and often things are described as Vintage rather than Vintage style when they aren’t.
    I agree with Vicky that often brides ask for Vintage style wedding invitations without really knowing what that means and not really having a particular style or even colour in mind.

    I like to think that I’m flexible and talented enough that if the trends change I have plenty of ideas for a more modern look .. but I feel sorry for those companies who seem to have pinned their whole businesses on hiring out Vintage items etc.

    jacin {lovely little details}

    hey you know what? whatever you like is what you like! that’s what makes this wedding world so amazing – so many niches and styles to choose from. if vintage/rustic isn’t your thing then brides will know to go to you for whatever style you love. great post :)


    TOTALLY agree!

    I wrote a post for blog about this a while ago. I think people are getting way too carried away with they style or “theme” of their wedding and forgetting that it’s a day about the bride & groom, not about replicating a ‘vintage’ shindig. I cannot bear it. What’s wrong with just having something just because you like it or it relates to you? Yeah have vintage elements if that’s your thing, that’s fair enough but all of the forcing of your wedding into being ‘vintage’ just because it’s fashionable these days really is my bugbear. I do feel that there is a slight pretention that comes with the vintage thing too but that’s just my humble opinion.

    Christian Ward

    I see nothing at all wrong with vintage. But there are a few ‘buts’… Just because something is vintage (whether that be real vintage or something styled on a vintage idea) it doesn’t make it automatically good. Back in the days we now call vintage, there were things in fashion that looked bad, just as there are nowadays too. However, good design is good design, whether it’s a dress designed and made in the 1940s or whether it’s a dress made in 2011, it makes little difference to me. In any case, fashion constantly recycles ideas from the past and so many of todays ideas aren’t as novel as people think because the designer probably used an idea from the past for inspiration. The best ‘vintage’ in my view is when real vintage ideas are combined with current ones, so for example you could have a real vintage dress combined with modern accessories. As with anything, if you do it well and tastefully, it will look great.
    As for vintage processing of photos…I really don’t like the over-the-top vintage processing that you can see around these days in some wedding photos. I really think it ruins the photos…I just can’t agree with stripping all the quality from a photo, and it’s annoying when that kind of photo gets heralded as brilliant just because it has overblown processing and looks ‘vintage’. Too much processing can hide an intrinsically bad quality photo and I do wonder how good some photos would be if you took them back to something more realistic. So I guess my summary would be that it doesn’t matter if somebody wants to go vintage. The issue is whether it’s done well or not, and whether it reflects the personality of the bride and groom. That’s my 2 cents!

    Kathryn Andrews

    Couldn’t agree more… I love vintage / vintage inspired accessories, vintage hair slides and stationery, but as an accent to the wedding day, not as a major theme … It’s the vintage wash on the photos that I don’t really like… I personally wouldn’t want yellow photos of my wedding day, I’d want the colours that I’d chosen so carefully to be reflected in the photos. Some people do ‘vintage’ photography well… But some is way OTT on the yellow spectrum for my liking. I also wonder what style of photography bride’s from the past would have preferred… Would they have preferred gorgeous, vibrant photos if the technology existed back then? Each to their own but I hear you Kelly.


    Great post, and something that does need to be talked about.
    As a photographer, I offer my couples whatever style they want. I started my business last year, and admittedly at the time, my original idea was “vintage inspired photography”. However, now the vintage aspect is there to be available for those who want it. I try and gauge what the couple wants at our first meeting, the style that might suit them best, what would complement their personality and fits with their surroundings. After all, a slick, technology filled, designer furniture cosmopolitan home gives some very big clues as to what they like aesthetically and a 50s vibe wedding picture is going to stick out like a sore thumb in that scenario. Every couple I’ve spoken to dislikes the “vintage” wedding photography tag. They think its quirky and fun but don’t want it as a forever photograph. I’ve not met anyone who wants a totally vintage photographed wedding; everyone wants a lifebelt of traditional & contemporary images alongside a selection of vintage inspired images. Contemporary, classic photography ages gracefully. This is my experience with couples, but it’s something I have to listen to. Plus, with Facebook’s recent announcement of instagram tie-ins, now all the guests will have that access to ” lo-fi/ vintage/ grungey/ cross-processing effects when they upload their photos from their mobiles. Facebook is about to become awash with “vintage inspired” photographs. Wedding photographers are going to have to change or risk their work blending in on a couple’s Facebook page. Personally speaking, I’ve stepped away from the desaturation, and moved away from the yellow tones. It’s fine if its warming and perhaps within the tonal boundaries of the white balance temperature to reflect the conditions and your whites still stay crisp and clean; less so when you end up feeling like your wedding party actually resembles lesser known Simpsons characters.
    As for the future? That’s half the fun. I went to an Annabel Williams Roadshow seminar recently, and she suggested really high quality black and white, with rich, deep tones, as digital is now at the stage of being able to deliver this to the same degree as film could back in its heyday. Something perhaps slightly more cinematic? What about the cinemagraphs? I think that’ll be a little passing trend, a nice little thing for photographers to throw onto their disks, also good for blogs because it might make people watch them slightly longer than they would look at a photo.

    Bride Chic

    It is an overused word not too many people really understand. They sometimes get it confused with costume (as in what Marie Antoinette wore) as well. I started my company out with the word vintage-inspired because I didn’t want to confuse folks into thinking they were getting an old relic of a dress. I’m now calling it vintage bridal which is totally wrong. Once people tire of the 1950s-70s they will embrace something totally opposite, I’m sure.

    Lauretta Morley

    I totally agree with you Kelly, it is definatley been over used. As a Florist I often had brides who go for the Vintage theme as it is a “trend” at the moment. I also admit when I first started the business I was also plugging the Vintage Theme but this year have gone off it. I think we do need to move forward and think out of the box when it comes to creativity.


    First time I’ve commented, because it’s the first time I’ve really related to a post like this. I seem to have trouble relaying to people that I want boho without them thinking I want vintage! thanks for this post.


    Firstly, I must say that I am the fan of vintage, but I can’t say vintage is priori of any other theme of wedding or anything else. I love it because it suits me well.


    Oh thank you. I’ve been getting increasingly worried about the bad ‘vintage’ wedding themes I’ve being seeing as late. I really like Victoria tea style but only when exicuted well and brides seem to be jumping on this trend with no thought and ending up with a non personnel wedding. Weddings are personnel and we should be guiding the brides this way, not the fashion way!

    Charley | London Bride

    Kelly, spot on! There is a distinct difference between ‘vintage inspired’ and true ‘vintage’. A few years back what most people now title ‘vintage’ was in fact previously known as ‘second hand’.

    I’ve always been a fan of modernity – the shiny and new, and I think my blog reflects that. However, I do like to move with the times, styles and trends. ‘Vintage inspired’ is a trend albeit a long-standing one, therefore it’s very much a part of weddings right now so I do enjoy mixing the new and old the shabby and the chic so to speak – BUT it’s all about personal taste and individual style, which is so important for brides to remember.

    For those that are into true vintage [i.e. historical, antique, factual, certain eras etc] there are definitely specialists out there to cater for this but I think we all need to stop encouraging the flippant usage of the word ‘vintage’ before it’s meaning is lost in translation [or is it too late?].

    No 9 Bridal Couture

    Oh, Kelly. A woman after my own heart!! Don’t you feel it’s time to bring something fresh to the world of weddings? I’m still doing a LOT of vintage inspired, but I like to think it’s tailored to a client not because she is following a theme.
    Great post!! xx

    Beth @Bloomstalbans


    I think I agree with pretty much everyone here! as a florist and event designer, we often get asked for “vintagey country garden village fete” looks, but its difficult to get accross to clients that none of these are really the same thing! I do personally like some vintage things, but more from a furniture point if view, I wouldn’t buy clothing from a ‘vintage’ shop- it could have come from anywhere!

    For me, a wedding is about putting together things that are important and have a special meaning to you as a couple. I would hate to follow trend that looked pretty but at the same time looked exactly the same as a lot of other weddings.

    If I’m ever asked what my favorite colour is, I say that I don’t have one, as for me, colour can mean and do so many different things that its hard to pick just one, and that’s the same for weddings, it shouldn’t be ‘a theme’ for the sake of being a theme, (unless it is what you are as a couple,) it should be about what you like now and in 20 years time, there is nothing worse than a fad that ages badly, and I have a strong feeling that the whole ‘vintage’ idea is going to be diluted and churned out for a while yet and end up becoming a something that people will be bored of seeing.

    Derek Anson

    Vintage is so common shouldn’t it now be called current?

    The ‘vintage’ part that bothers or actually doesn’t yet really bother me is the processing of images. It will date like the use of selective colouring, incredibly bad. I’m dreading the day Facebook adds the ‘vintage’ edit button to photo albums. GBH to the eyeballs ;)

    Celebrate the here and now!


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