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One of the things I love seeing is how fashion has evolved over the decades, changing in tune with the social, political and artistic backdrop of which its a part. And sometimes in rebellion of those things, i.e. the Great British subcultures such as punk. And further to this, how they crop up years later, revived for modern times. Kate Beavis from the National Vintage Wedding Fair shares with us today key looks for an Edwardian-1914 vintage wedding in this beautiful and elegant styled shoot. And, excitingly, all of these are available at her events across the country in the next two months.

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The Edwardian Bride

“The Victorian era saw brides corseted and bustled into uncomfortable styles, which continued into the early years of the 20th century. However, by the latter part of King Edward VII’s reign up until World War 1 in 1914, brides were choosing comfort but also fashion, preferring lighter fabrics and looser shapes, which continued until the end of the 1920s. This was heavily influenced by the interest in sport as early as 1910.

“Hemlines became shorter, with most ending on the calf, revealing ankles for the first time and simple white pumps or boots. Dresses were layered over simple slips, and shapes were natural with a satin sash nipping in the waist, often with flower corsage pinned on one side.

“The most extravagant dresses would be beaded and embroidered in satins and velvets with multiple layers, teamed with a parasol. A simpler style would be to wear a white cotton blouse and skirt, which would be perfect for a more country wedding. The more fashionable brides would have ruffles, long opera gloves and stunning large art nouveau jewellery.

“The veil was long and worn cap style with flowers worn over the top, reminiscent of the flower crowns worn today. Brides chose herbs and ferns to adorn their bouquets, believing that the former would ward off evil spirits.

“Photography was increasing in popularity, so the Edwardian couple would have had very staged photos taken at their wedding. Clever tricks were introduced to bring through hints of colour within the images, highlighting the bride’s flowers and rouge. She stood transfixed in interesting poses to reveal her new slender form.

“This look is increasing in popularity for vintage weddings, and more cotton and lace styles have survived. However, often the sizes are small, but there are some fabulous designers out there inspired by this look, catering for all.”

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The Story of the Shoot

“As part of the National Vintage Wedding Fair, we have photographed a series of styled wedding shoots from every era in the 20th century. This era wasn’t our first, but one we couldn’t ignore, especially as the simple yet elegant dresses are so popular now. I wanted the shoot (as with all the others) to concentrate on the dress, primarily, as well as evoking the mood of the time.

“The backdrop of Mansion House in Bedfordshire was perfect, as it had dark panelling, taxidermy and beautiful mirrors and rug, all which are from this era. I chose four looks for the shoot: the first was an elegant, affluent look with palms and ferns and a vintage parasol. The second reminds me of old horror films with the gold ornate mirrors and staircase – this time the dress is a modern, vintage-inspired one. The third look is a more modern one, nodding gently to the 1920s with ruffles, long gloves, and a hint of colour. Finally, outside we shot a country look with cotton blouse and skirt teamed up with many daisies in model Chloe’s hair.”

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Claire from Waterbaby Flowers explains the reason behind the florals:

“In Edwardian times, wedding flowers and foliage were laden with symbolic meaning. This overarm style bridal bouquet features lilies signifying purity, roses meaning simplicity, ferns symbolising sincerity, and dill, which was known as the ‘herb of lust,’ which would have been included a lot, and which the bride and groom would later have eaten.

“Another popular custom was to wear a crown of bay leaves, as herbs were thought to ward off evil spirits, not to mention add an appealing fragrance to the beautiful bride.”

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The Moodboard

Edwardian bride inspiration moodboard

Credits

Photography – Claire Macintyre Photography
Model – Chloe Papworth
Styling – Kate Beavis
Hair and make-up – Aurora Loves
Location – The Mansion House, Bedfordshire
Dresses – Days of Grace, Katya Katya Shehurina, Abigail’s Vintage Bridal, Real Green Dress
Veils and wax flower headpiece – Real Green Dress
Flowers – Waterbaby Flowers
Cake – Bake and Bloom
Court shoes – Love Lane Wedding Shoe Boutique
Boots – Love Art, Wear Art
Tiara and side flowers – Cherished Vintage Bridal
Parasol and gloves – Bijou and Vintage
Jewellery – Gemma Redmond Vintage