Handmade Conversations — Vintage Wedding Style with Elizabeth Demos

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013

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Vintage wedding style can be a difficult game of balance between functionality, cost and overall aesthetic appeal. Many brides may feel overwhelmed, but Elizabeth Demos, author of "Vintage Wedding Style: More than 25 Simple Projects and Endless Inspiration for Designing Your Big Day," offers easy and expert advice for mastering the wedding of your vintage-inspired dreams without any of the unnecessary stress. Featured in Better Home & Gardens, Martha Stewart and Design*Sponge, Elizabeth is one of the foremost vintage wedding experts, and her work masters that difficult balance of fresh style with classic design.

handmade wedding favors
Your book "Vintage Wedding Style" is filled with inspiration for planning a unique wedding day. How did you develop an interest in wedding crafts?

I've been a lifelong maker, crafter and all around can-do girl. Pair that with a love of celebrations of all kinds, especially weddings, and the outcome is pretty fabulous. I don't suppose there is a craft I wouldn't attempt for a client ... at least I haven't encountered one yet!

From guest books to favors to table decor, there are thousands of ways to customize a wedding ceremony and reception. What are some simple ways to bring a vintage style to the wedding day?

These are some of my favorites:
- Swapping a traditional long veil for a vintage hat or petite cage veil
- Embellishing your dress with a vintage ribbon sash or a repurposed sequined belt found at vintage clothing stores
- Incorporating vintage tableware (antique dishes, mismatched silver, layers of estate-sale linens)
- Dismantle an old beat-up quilt and make a ring pillow or bench cushions
- Use vintage floral printed sheets as table toppers or photo booth backdrops
- Skip live flowers and opt for candlelight in assorted reclaimed glass containers (everyone looks better in candlelight)
- Be creative with the wording on your invitations by using old-fashioned alliterations
Wedding table
A vintage wedding reception can mean many things, from nature-inspired charm to old-world touches. What are some low-budget ways to customize a wedding that can have a big impact?

Color, color, color: Big swaths of color will go a long way visually. Consider alternating colorful table covers in a gradation of one hue, use pink for example, maybe go from true pink to coral pink. Paint chips from the hardware store can be handy when going for this effect. You won't require a big variety of flowers, your china can be simpler and you can customize all the other details around the palette.

Also, play with scale. Think about renting 15-foot trees and flanking your entryway. Renting plant material is a sure-fire way to save on decor. Create drama/suspense with drapes, when the time is right pull them back to open up your reception hall. And remember, fabric is an event designer's best friend. It makes for really inexpensive camouflage if your venue has some unsightly equipment or is just plain unattractive. Or do something unexpected; rent old church pews or benches and fill them with pillows for seating. Long bench seating gets you a lot of bang for the buck. You can seat more folks and it's cozy too.

These days, wedding flowers and boutonnieres can be customized with vintage style and substituted with arrangements made from paper, fabric, felt, buttons or other odds and ends. What is your favorite trend in wedding flowers right now?

Hands down I think paper. I love paper and if you are an avid junker like me you run across all sorts of interesting ephemera from old photos, to maps, to vintage books. I've assembled flower petals and leaves crafted from various types of paper to make bouquets, boutonnieres and hair adornments. The design possibilities with paper are endless though, I've cut and molded vintage paper goods into cones, fans, wraps for votive holders, place mats, sewn favor bags, silverware sleeves, confetti, menu cards, and program covers.

Where is your favorite place to shop for vintage wedding decorations?

For variety and excitement; antique fairs, flea markets and estate sales. You never know what you are going to find that might spark an idea. True confession: I enjoy the quest as much as the prize.

Image credits (from top): Elizabeth Demos, Chronicle Books and Jade & Matthew

cover of "Vintage Wedding Style"
Elizabeth Demos is the author of "Vintage Wedding Style: More than 25 Simple Projects and Endless Inspiration for Designing Your Big Day," a book published by Chronicle Books.

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