There are many ways to find inspiration for the look and feel of a wedding. Currently, one of the easiest ways is Pinterest. It brings browsing images to a whole new level and is extremely addicting. On the Studio Laguna Pinterest account, I have started making boards for wedding inspiration that are based on my love of history.
It all started with the movie Kate and Leopold. I loved how the costume designer took Kate’s dress at the end of the movie and when she went back in time, it was the same dress with a period costume twist. Of course I equate everything I see into weddings and events (it is a sickness, I know!) and I loved the idea of taking one or two elements from a time in history and weaving it into a current wedding. It is the difference between a themed wedding and a styled wedding.
If you like the Victorian times, you don’t need to have a full on Victorian wedding, you can incorporate visual cues throughout the day that give a nod to that time period.
First, you need to figure out what your version of Victorian design includes. Is it the actual time of Queen Victoria? Regency and Edwardian styles are very often seen as Victorian since they all flow into each other and have similar traits. So you don’t need the large hoop skirts, a tussie mussie bouquet and bubble sleeves of traditional Victorian, you can use the more slim look of the Edwardian style.
Victorian traditions include getting married in June, a white wedding dress (though many brides still wore color), a gray suit for the groom with a single bloom in his lapel, orange blossoms crowning the bride’s head, and a veil as long as the wedding gown’s train. Key elements to Victorian style are lace, applique details, buttons, natural elements, dandy fashion for men in slim cuts, a formal look even in an informal setting, and color. For me, what pops into my head is black and white stripes, detailed bustles, ruffles, soft peachy colors, heeled boots, visual contrast created by color or texture, cravats, spring blooms, and loose up dos. You can see many images that I have gathered on my Pinterest board.
The delicate balance with a styled wedding is to not go too far with it (unless you want a themed wedding, which is great!) or it will cost you more money than you want and probably not look like what you have envisioned. This is why the blog entry and board are titled “HINTS of Victorian”. Take the inspiration and narrow it down to one or two elements.
Maybe your venue has a Victorian look, or you incorporate lace with black detailing, or your groom wears a vest with a higher collar and a modern version of the cravat tie. Using a soft color palette of peach, gray green, and a soft blue can have a very Victorian feel, and you can modernize it by having succulents in the arrangement. Invitation suites featuring hand crafted paper, calligraphy, language of the time, bird cages, ravens, and string or ribbon detailing works well. Having an outdoor, rustic wedding yet using patterned china and a lace runner is another example injecting of a hint of Victorian into the design.
One of the most obvious ways to include Victorian style into your wedding is the attire. The trick with this is that you want to make sure the groom’s and bride’s fashions compliment each other. If you’re in a Victorian styled gown it will look odd if your groom is in a zoot suit.
A boiled down concept of Victorian dress is structure with frilly details. A gown with a form fitting top and slimmer skirt can be adorned with an elaborate bustle or lace sleeves or highly textured detailing along the waist and a big black sash.
For the groom, try a gray suit that is a slim cut, a vest with a structured collar and a uniquely tied tie. The images show here are from Elegant Ascot and show the varieties of what a cravat can look like. These are simple details that can really take the outfits out of typical without making them look like costumes.
If your groom isn’t super interested in this, take him to Heimies Haberdashery. The decor of the store alone can help you illustrate your ideas. Heimies makes fabulous suits and help your groom find his style while still making sure it works with the overall look of the wedding. I’m a huge advocate of a groom having a custom suit made as it can be worn over and over and will fit like a glove.
For the bride, have all your hair in a loose updo. Curls or waves are more Victorian than something sleek. I feel that statement jewelry is a must, though the trick with this is that only one piece makes a statement, whether it is a bracelet, necklace or chandelier earrings, balance the statement with understated in the rest of the ensemble. Here are some lovely gowns that caught my eye. They all have some hints of Victorian and some are all out Victorian, but I think it shows a good spectrum of how you can incorporate the elements you love while still staying true to your own fashion tastes.
Here are a couple dresses from Ian Stuart, one of my favorite designers.
What I love about these three designs, Blue Bird, Chevallier and Frangelico, are that the backs are intricate and surprising and the fronts are detailed and modern. They also are made of fabrics in subtle colors which are more versatile with skin tones than stark white.
Vera Wang knows how to do ethereal texture to perfection. The Gwendolyn and Fern gowns have structured texture with fitted bodices, and the tiers of the gowns definitely have Victorian influence.
The following gowns (Tonya Renae, Kate Middleton, Susan Anita and Bonnie Bell) designed by Heidi Elnora show a progression of simple to elaborate with Victorian influences in each.
We are very fortunate in Minnesota to have some very talented wedding gown designers. This first design is a gorgeous piece by Joy Noelle.
This design is by Tara LaTour, I love the color!
I will periodically be posting blogs like this and I hope that these images start some inspiration! And if you’d like some more…here is a list of movies that can help. You never know what small item will trigger and idea!
An Ideal Husband, Anne of Green Gables, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, Sherlock Holmes, Moulin Rouge, Young Victoria, Music Man, My Fair Lady, Carosel, and there are many many more…but these are my favorites =)