Helina & Dan’s Estonian Wedding!

21 Mar

When Dan told me he was going to propose to Helina while they were on holiday in Venice, I nearly burst with the secret of knowing until she came back and told me all about it herself! The proposal was a little unusual as he didn’t produce a ring, but his grandmother’s brooch which had great sentimental value, so we knew the wedding was going to follow suit…

Helina is Estonian but few of us would have guessed that that is where they would decide to wed. Wanting a traditional ‘English country’ feel to their day to incorporate Dan’s roots would prove to be quite a task as a lot of the decoration needed to be flown over from England. I was thrilled to be Maid of Honour and we set about the task of making their vision come together. Liivi, Helina’s mum, proved to be invaluable as the Estonian side of co-ordinations and helped to source and secure the all important venue. Vihula Manor Country Club is situated an hour’s drive from the capital, Tallinn, and set alongside the Mustoja River in the Lahemaa National Park. They offer a very special service too; the bride can arrive by rowing boat if she wishes! Helina was rowed to shore by her father!

The next task on the list was to find the perfect dress, Helina knew she wanted something with a sweetheart strapless neckline and a train, she had fallen in love with Aire Barcelona  so we went to a bridal sample sale by Brides Boutique of Bournemouth  to see if they had any of their dresses as going straight to store was proving to be very expensive! No luck for Aire, but she did find a beautiful Pronovias dress which looked stunning on her. She tried on a few more but kept going back to the first, it had a straight strapless neckline so the sales assistant put a pin in the front and the dress was transformed into a sweetheart and suited her magnificently!

Her Spanish style Cathedral veil was thrown in at a discount so her whole outfit was in the bag for less than a thousand pounds!

Helina is quite tall, being 5’10 she is the same height as Dan so wearing high heels on the wedding day was a big no no for her, as she would have felt uncomfortable towering over him!  She managed to track down some completely flat wedding shoes from Faith that were really beautiful. As a finishing touch to her outfit a friend made a necklace from freshwater pearls especially for her and finished it off with a diamante brooch from Fur Coat No Knickers.

Daniel’s suit is from Adam of London who adhere to the design rules of the 60s scene in London.  Suppliers of off the peg suits, shirts and coats as well as ties and accessories, they are quintessentially British and use only British cloth. Dan went for one of their tonic suits made with green and blue mohair in a wool blend.  Suits are around the £300 price range and shirts are on average £50, so a real bargain!

To make the beautiful setting a bit more ‘English Rose’, the decoration was carefully chosen to not only fit the theme but had to be easily transportable. For wedding favours Helina decided on sweets and found some wonderful candy stripe sweet bags from eBay (which is where she also found her flower hair piece for the reception). Vases were decorated with lace and pearls that were also found on eBay. The long tables were strewn with doilies from dotcomgiftshop.com and the place cards were from Confetti which is also where the blue and pink petals were sourced from that was used as confetti and sprinkled along the tables and window sills with the teacup candles for extra decoration. Helina also sourced the seating plan from Confetti which comes as a DIY flatpack that you can customise yourself.

As for the Maid of Honour and Flower girl, Isabel,  dresses were of the same hue as the ‘English Rose’ theme. Isabel’s dress was from Next and the flower in her hair was found on eBay. My dress was from Beyond Retro and cost £22! The petticoat was found in Rokit in Covent Garden who have a huge supply of petticoats in a variety of colours and are all around £40. My hair band is by Chapeau Claudette who have a concession range in Topshop.

Some Estonian traditions were also included at the wedding reception such as the bride and groom must mark all their sins on a stone which gets thrown into the lake so they can start their married life afresh. Hiding the bride so that the groom has to win her back was one of my favourites, and doing away with throwing the bridal bouquet, all the guests were asked to form a large circle holding hands and the bride and groom would choose who they thought would be the next to marry and must pass wreaths of flowers from their own heads onto the chosen pair.

Each guest gives a flower

It was an honour to be part of such a wonderful day!


Shiny New Website!!

20 Feb

Hello All! I have moved my Blog to my new website www.oohmrsjames.com so please come over and enter your email addresses to continue getting my new posts!

Have a look at my special Valentine’s post featuring my parent’s wedding!

And brand new post Helina and Dan’s Estonian Wedding!

Helina and Dan's Wedding


My Parent's Wedding 1965

Mrs Scoops and her Vintage Ice Cream Van

13 Feb

Mrs Scoops aka Hayley Southwood is the proud owner of ‘Betty’ her 1973 Bedford cf (named after her grandma) and founder of Vintage Scoops  her retro ice cream business of which ‘Betty’ is at the centre.

Selling award winning ice creams, vintage inspired ice lollies and traditional soft drinks they offer a personal and professional service which is also a treat for the taste buds!

The delicious ice cream is from Winstones Cotswolds Ice Cream and comes in a huge variety of flavours. Peach and Passion fruit sounds divine! How about Honey and Stem Ginger or Strawberries and Cream? You can request special flavours too or add your favourite vintage sweets to list!

At the heart of Hayley’s story there is a sad tale; three years ago her mother passed away which prompted her to buy her ice cream van as a means of focus in an otherwise traumatic time. A very inspiring woman I think you will all agree! Hayley’s inspiration comes from her love of all things kitsch and a dream of tootling around selling her wares at village fetes, her business soon grew to include catering for wedding receptions and private parties.

Perfect for that vintage feel at a summer wedding, your guests can feel like kids again by asking for their favourite treats from their childhood, the actual children will love it too! Lovingly restored and decorated in a garden fete theme, complete with bunting, Betty can travel to your venue of choice within a 30 mile radius of Whaddon near Milton Keynes, or you can put in a special request for them to travel farther afield.

Able to cater for any size of party, Hayley will help you decide the best flavours to suit your event and give advice on how much ice cream you will need. An attendance fee is charged as well as a separate fee for the confectionary supplied so this will obviously vary depending on how many guests you need to please. A booking form is available on the website and all enquiries will be dealt with on an individual basis to ascertain your exact needs and costs.

Mrs Scoops

On Sunday February 26th 2012 Hayley and co will be organising Milton Keynes first vintage wedding fair called Mrs Scoop’s and Little Miss G’s Vintage Wedding Fair so to ‘try before you buy’ I suggest we all go and pay them a visit, it sounds like it may be a little scoop of wonderful!

Little Miss G and Mrs Scoops




To all my lovely follwers: I now have a shiny new website!!!! This will be my last post on here so please click on this link www.oohmrsjames.com and press the follow button on my new page to keep up to date with my vintage travels xxxx

Vintage 1930s Circus Wedding Theme – Based on Water for Elephants Part 2

7 Feb

A quick re-cap on this theme:

Water for Elephants

While watching the film Water for Elephants based on the novel by Sara Gruen I realised what a great wedding theme this would make. In this part, as promised, I will help with ideas for stationary and decoration. It’s actually quite amazing what you can find once you start looking (and once you know what it is you are looking for!) and I have found some real little gems!

Recently, while in Milton Keynes, I stumbled upon a car show hosted by Allerston Taylor &  Regency Carriages. Beautiful cars ranging from classics to modern sports cars were on display, but the one that caught my eye was the 1932 Rolls Royce Open Tourer, a very rare car and one of the last red label Rolls Royces. Similar to the cars used in Water for Elephants, and obviously of the right era, they would be perfect for the bride to arrive in on the morning of the wedding. With a large selection of cars they can offer vintage and classic Rolls Royces, Daimlers, Vanden Plas Princess Limousines, Bentleys and Mercedes.

1932 Rolls Royce Open Tourer


1935 Rolls Royce Limousine


1934 Rolls Royce Limousine

For the extra touches to your wedding reception I have compiled a selection of beautifully handcrafted and unique decorative items and stationary to complement your day.

Circus themed wrapping doesn’t come better than these wonderful little  boxes designed and illustrated by The Inklings of Tess. Perfect for wedding favours that will add an extra special something to your table decoration or to house special gifts for your bridesmaids. They come in packs of 2 or 4 different designs, the circus tent and moustache tent being especially brilliant and they will also offer a discount on bulk orders which is handy if you are inviting a lot of guests!

Vintage Circus Tent!

Inspiration to add colour to your day are these quirky ‘Admit One’ tickets by Peach Blossom:

Circus art print by modo creative :

Festival string lights by cable and cotton

And for that extra special personalised touch how about your own family named circus poster or canvas print? You can even name your own circus acts to be displayed on the poster too, maybe ‘The Sensational Acrobatic Ushers’ or ‘The Bearded Bridesmaids’! Get your own at I Love Design via Not on the High Street.com:

Circus themed wedding invitations are a little harder to get right. With the tendency of some stationary design companies to make a theme like ‘circus’ quite childish it is hard to get the right tone for what will be your guests first insight into the feel for your day. My first inclination would be to go for either something very Art Deco in design to keep in with the era or a vintage design that is a bit more fun and will complement the other aspects of your day rather than match exactly. Vintage Wedding Invitations have a Hollywood themed invite that can easily transfer to the glitzy idea of ‘circus’,

If you would like something that is more exact Gorgeous Creations have a lovely vintage circus design:

Hello Pretty do a simple but effective carnival design that can be printed in a huge range of colours, so if you have chosen a specific colour scheme there will surely be something to compliment it here:

Another simple yet chic option is from Paper Themes;

I hope this post has given you lots of inspiration and help getting started on your own personal circus show!

Her Curious Nature…

1 Feb

While out shopping recently I came across a concession stall in Topshop, called Her Curious Nature.  Head dresses of all description dripping in jewels, pearls and lace hung in disarray looking like someone had gone crazy in a haberdashers with some glue! I was immediately enticed into the melee of sale time in Oxford Street and selected a beautiful head band with a pad adorned in chintz fabric and a red velvet rose.

I wondered what else they had to offer so following my curious nature I got in contact.

Sabrina is the lady behind the brand and has built up her career over three years after starting a market stall in London’s famous Portobello in 2009. Making a small selection of pieces she virtually sold out on her first day and went from strength to strength. She now has an online shop on her own website, as well as Topshop she also sells her brand on ASOS and has been featured in Vogue magazine.

Sabrina was a hostess at the historic Cafe Royal on Regents Street in the famous ‘Grill Room’ where Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley were regulars. In the 1890s it had become one of the popular destinations for fashionable Londoners and included among its patrons the painter James McNeill Whistler. Sabrina takes inspiration for her work from this decadent age and from the opulent furnishings of the ‘Grill Room’ itself. She explains:

The Grill Room was drenched in guild mirrors and a mural ceiling perfect for the decadent 20s themed parties and Fashion Week celebrity after parties I played hostess to. Dress code on the door was ‘Vintage’ and I loved the music and burlesque performances I would see and hear every week!

‘Grill Room’ James Balston Photography

The closure of Cafe Royal prompted Sabrina to embark on her venture and now has her own design team. All pieces are handmade in London and they can create bespoke pieces to suit a particular occasion large or small. Some of the more elaborate pieces are around the £650-£450 price bracket which is incredibly cheap considering how much work must have gone into them and they are laden with sumptuous fabrics and jewels, most though are £125 and go down to £25 so there is definitely something here for everyone!

In Sabrina’s own words;

I love all things vintage and draw much of my inspiration from that, but I am also very eclectic. I am influenced by Tribal cultures, festival psychedelic colours and I’m also from the countryside, so I’m a real Heritage fabric hoarder, I love my tweeds and florals! A real curious mix you could say!

Grill Room photo courtesy of James Balston.

Tea is served! Vintage Teacup & China Hire

27 Jan

I love all things vintage so it wasn’t a huge leap of the imagination when we decided to have a vintage inspired wedding reception!  The main issue was which era to go for. I love the elegance of the 1920s, the beautiful clean lines of Art Deco and sumptuous fabrics used in decoration and fashion.

The thing is, I also love the glamour of the 30s/40s and the exuberance of the 1950s. Even the 60s was appealing, imagine a cute mini shift dress and Mary Janes!

With far too many influences to pick from I decided to have elements of them all…

The one thing I was certain about was that my partner and I wanted a garden fete style reception after the ceremony. Guests were greeted with a glass of Pimms as they walked into the garden and our venue provided local Somerset cider and ale barrels around which we placed hay bales covered with blankets for a comfy drinking area.  Bunting to decorate the marquee was a must!  We decided on a BBQ wedding breakfast which was cooked outside and served to the tables on platters, followed by wonderful desserts such as French apple tart and white chocolate cheesecake served with strawberries.

The piste de resistance for me was serving tea in my wonderful bone china teacups and all the desserts were served on vintage side plates that I had lovingly collected while we were engaged. Now, 80 odd teacups and side plates is a lot of crockery to be lying around the house! Luckily we have a cellar so I was able to use this as a storage area until needed, but not everyone is going to have the space.

A good alternative is to use a vintage china hire company. With the popularity in all things ‘vintage’ growing,  so too have companies that can supply all that you may need for your special day. The boom in china hire has grown quickly, while  I was searching for inspiration for my wedding reception two years ago I came across one or two suppliers in this area. Looking now there is a vast amount of competition,  although they are all very similar in pricing. TIP!  Be sure to read the small print, the difference between each may be down to how much they charge for delivery and collection, cleaning and breakages. Most even offer a styling and set up service at your venue.

Idyllic Days was the first company I came across while sourcing for my own wedding. They have been going since 2005 so are now highly experienced in this field. Offering   complete decoration of your chosen venue, they can supply not only tea cups but dinner plates, furniture and accessories such as bunting and vintage ephemera. Another bonus for the busy bride to be is that they can also recommend suppliers of flowers and other designers to work alongside them in a team to create the perfect setting for your wedding. More hands-on brides may feel a bit perturbed at letting someone else take over the decoration (myself included) but you will have a full consultation with the design team beforehand and will be in total control of how it all looks.

Eclectic Bliss is another hire company but with the added bonus of having their own shop, so you don’t have to give everything back! They sell cake stands made from vintage plates in one, two or three tiers. You can even design your own, if you have some sentimental pieces of china passed down through your family this could be the perfect keepsake and reminder of your wedding day (and maybe Grandma’s?).

Be sure to double check where they can deliver to as some are restricted to their specific  areas and be sure that they have enough crockery to supply your size of wedding party. Idyllic days can go up to 500 guests, but be sure to book early to avoid disappointment, hire companies advertise their service for birthdays and hen parties too so there may be something already booked on your day!

The majority of companies seemed to be based in the South of England but one company, Vintage Teas & RSVPs (great name) are based in Northamptonshire. This would be a better company to go for if you are having your nuptials further North as you should consider delivery and collection costs. They can provide an afternoon tea service from 2 to 300 guests, or if you would like them to provide a dinner service they can cater for up to 150 guests.

This list is a mere drop in the ocean of companies that can provide beautiful china for that elegant touch. Be sure to shop around and read the small print to compare prices. Or if you are a DIY bride like myself you can do what I did and trawl the charity shops and vintage markets to find some bargains. Just remember you’ll be washing them up yourselves!!

Fur Coat No Knickers

24 Jan

Laura Thomas and Emma Cascarina  first opened the doors to their vintage boutique in February 2008. Since then they have had almost 4 years experience in altering and re-making vintage wedding dresses for countless brides to be.

Laura and Emma in the shop

The feel behind Laura and Emma’s shop is that ladies can come in and play dress up!  With an ethos that promises brides the perfect place to relax and design their dream dress, choosing  from a collection of carefully sourced vintage dresses from the 1930s to 1960s,  you can be sure to find exactly what you are looking for! Each dress is unique and can be tailored to your specifications. Choose from various fabrics and styles and add your own ideas  by mixing and matching details from other dresses.

Laura met Emma while working as a Costume Supervisor Assistant on The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre London. They realised there was a gap in the market for a one-stop-shop selling specialist costumes and  accessories in the West End to cater for it’s wardrobe departments.  With 15 years experience between them working in the West End on shows such as Bad Girls The Musical and the National Theatre’s His Dark Materials they decided to launch Fur Coat No Knickers.

Although theatre production forms their shops main objective, the increasing vintage bridal market has made them a popular choice to go to.

As far as we’re concerned, there’s little difference between making actors fit for the limelight and making our customers look stunning for their special occasion!

Creating a made-to-measure dress for your big day will take on average 6 months to complete. They are happy to advise you on styles and shapes that will suit your frame when you book an appointment to try on the dresses. If you have an idea of what you want already or have a picture of the dress bring it along to your first consultation as they may be able to make it for you! Made-to-measure starts at £2000, not cheap, but well worth the money.

When you have chosen your style and fabrics you will be given fabric samples to take away so you can match it to the rest of your wedding day. The shop is also full to exploding with jewellery, accessories and veils to complete your outfit. They can also help you with shoes and underwear, it truly is a one-stop-shop for all things wonderful! As Laura says;

Making girls look HOT for their big day is the best job ever!  It never get’s boring as all our dresses are one off unique vintage and we love to help with the accessories!

The shop is open Monday-Saturday 11am until 7pm, except Tuesdays 11am until 5.30pm. Sundays 12.30pm until 5pm. Appointment days are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.