Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brides and Grooms Part One

Hi ya, strangers!!

I've got a billion excuses as to why I haven't posted in a blue moon. Two of these reasons are summed up in the two pictures below.

1) I just finished the EXCELLENT Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford by Donald Spoto, and I have to say, while I admire his scholarship, I'm deeply depressed at the thought that he's written the (spot-on) Crawford apologists' biography I'd always secretly hoped to pen (see my mile long love letter to early JC on this very blog, here). If wishes were fishes, folks! I should have known, in reading his other, also fine biographies, that this one would be a keeper. In spite of the tragic circumstances, it was nice to read, for once, exactly what I wanted to read about my favorite 30's movie star, with all the unkind gossip excised and the emphasis put on the correct portions of her extraordinary life. Wrongs righted, cruel generalizations cleared up... all that jazz. I couldn't be more pleased with the book, whether or not it snatched from my bosom the hopes that I would someday be on an early morning chat show in a new pair of pumps extolling the various virtues of her 20's and 30's tenure at MGM. But ah well. To the left, Joan, ever the provocateuse, in a snake-shaped wedding gown pose. To the right, our same Joan in a more demure pose with real life as well as screen husband Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Was it ever possible they were both so young! Speaking of weddings, though...

2) I've recently started concretely trying to plan my wedding. That's right, that life changing event that involves both a) dressing to the nines while everyone takes photos and b) putting together a social event will be memorable enough to live on the memories for at least fifty years. I mean, don't throw me in the briar patch? But do. Plus I have this really great Bab to stand up at the altar with (parenthetically speaking). We're really excited about putting together the hoopla to end all hooplas... but....!

To say the least, I've found myself a little out of my depth in trying to even figure out a schedule of responsibilities in order to plan for this, the biggest of big days. Where did I start? I got a stack of "how to plan your wedding on a budget" books from the library, and started trawling Google image search for inspiration. I love that I have no set ideas about when, where, or how, but gee haven't I got opinions on how neat it would be to have a tiered display of crullers instead of a traditional cake. Don't I just sigh over the idea of these large, glass beverage containers full of garnished lemonade? I have plenty of opinions, but none of them seem to be useful on the "big ideas" of wedding planning. I'll get serious eventually...but in the meantime, I've been flipping through your family's online photo albums to see just what kind of results "wedding 1962" draw up, and marvelling at how "[insert vintage celebrity name here] wedding" brings unexpected, felicitous snaps from days gone by. The first (family photos from the internet), I'll post today-- the second (1920's-1960's celebrity weddings), I hope I'll get to soon.

Without further ado....brides.

Do you ever look at pictures of your mom and dad either when they got married or before and just think, "How were these people ever so young and G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S?" Well, if you don't (though I'm sure you do, all my readers had to get their stunning good looks from somewhere), these people's kids certainly should. The hair, the clothes, the expressions... the gal on the left is actually a bridesmaid, but this would more than enough swank and swagger for any lady on "Her Special Day". While the hoopskirt aspect of the dress on the right confounds my better judgement, I really like the hair and corsage on that bride, and isn't it neat to do something different that isn't too, too far off the norm.

The bride on the left is from a country somewhere in Europe, I didn't take down the details, but please note that her Tyrolean hairstyle (props to the Tyrolean hair!) is garnished with the same flower decorations as her neckline, and how sweet the pale gauzy veil looks with her darker dress. The woman on the right isn't pictured on her wedding day, but I'm so pie-eyed for her flapper frock I don't know quite what to do with myself. Look at your shoe heels, my dear woman! And the fringe ball embellished straps at your upper arm! I want to be like you.

Wedding thought #1 (well, after the krullers and lemonade brainstorm, which, honestly, when typed together, doesn't sound as palatable as it is visually appealing)... spend entire photography budget on awesome oil painting of self (alone, sans future husband). Doesn't the lady above look GREAT? I'd copy this exact, carefree, toothpaste ad kind of insouciance in my expression and posture for my own portrait, which I would hang directly over the TV. So everyone could see it. Everyday. I would be my own Laura! Except delete: "mysterious murder" and replace: "wedding". I do not need to remember what the mister-to-be and I could have looked like leaping across a brook or lovingly handing each other pieces of cake at the reception, as long as I had this totally boss full-size portrait of myself to hand down to future generations, in respect of my own (now eternal) awesomeness.

The contrast on this bride's dress between the white lace overlay and the coffee colored underpinnings , as well as the boatneck-with-hourglass silhouette, is killing me. Maybe this was a second marriage, hence the not-all-white palette? Or maybe it was just a neat stylistic choice? Or maybe the dress was on sale at Neiman Marcus's and fit like a glove...whatever the case, she makes a beautiful bride. I like the flower-laden cake, too.

Two different takes on the wedding clothes...the lady on the left looks like a painting in her voluminous white gown, while the lady on the right does a smart number on wedding chic in a simple suit, to-die-for hat, corsage, and...medal? Maybe she was WAC, I don't know. She looks very Hollywood à la Frances Farmer, pre-crackup, and brisk in this photograph. I briefly thought about a 40's looking suit as the answer to my wedding dress decision, decked out in a corsage and with an outrageous hat, of course, but I haven't met a pencil skirt yet that I liked (tragically pear shaped, no matter how lean, this girl), so I might leave unto the Bacalls of the World the things that are Bacalls'. Did anyone ever looks so smart in a ladies' suit? I should think not.

Next up, photos of the wedding couples together. Get ready!

This bespectacled couple is too cute. TOO CUTE. Look at the cats-eye frames on the girl in question? This fly away, poufed out short veil is one of my favorites. I'd love to wear a dress with a teacup-shaped skirt with this, just as she's done. Don't much like the gent's suit, but who's looking at the groom in wedding photos?

Answer: YOU are, because THESE GUYS make it look easy to steal the bride's sartorial thunder.

Dear Bride at Left: Thank you for being taller than your groom. Also, you look FANTASTIC. Also, I applaud your choice of mustachioed future husband, as well as HIS choice of a jaunty bow-tie and suit combo. You both look like a million dollars cash. Love, Lisa.

What about the white dinner jacket and black bow-tie on the groom to the right? It's like you can be a secret agent by putting on two pieces of clothing. I love to think of my dark-haired, wide shouldered fiancé in this look, he would be adorable. I mean handsome! I mean adorable.

More great looking couples above and below. Can you believe how perfect the gal on the left's hair looks (above)? Plus, the guy in the picture on the right is a dead ringer for some 1930's top male box office draw. I might have to convince Bab to wear an all white suit with white buckskin shoes and a contrasting dark tie. Cos this guy looks 100% movie star.

Left: a PICTURE BOOK 1940's wedding. Wow. To the left, a sharply dressed couple in that three tone sepia-ish color that I love so dear. I wonder what it would take to have your photos taken in black and white and hand-tinted? Doesn't it make for a staggering, un-real difference?

Again with the ladies' dresses/suits that aren't all out, wedding gown affairs. I love the girl's hat and sporty dress on the left, and the lady's pretty shoes and corsage to the right. The guy's suit at left isn't bad, either. My grandmother wore a suit to her wedding in the mid 1940's, but it isn't around anymore...which is a pity for me, seeing as she was also six feet tall. Vintage tall sizes are practically impossible to find for any kind of a reasonable price! More on this, as it pertains to vintage wedding dresses, at a later date.

Aw! This couple looks so modern for some reason! Like modern day people in 20's dressup. I think it has something to do with the clarity of the photo.

Over the threshold we go! The long hair and Bettie Page bangs on the woman to the right make the tiara look desirable to me for the first time since starting all this searching.

Great dresses, great bouquets, great couples. Ten out of ten!

I hope you enjoyed this, probably the first of many, vintage wedding posts as my little head spins around with a million ideas about how to make my big day even more "period appropriate". Do any of you guys out there have great vintage wedding resource suggestions? I would love to hear them. Meanwhile, I'll keep pillaging online family albums for great old-time style. If any of these are your grandparents... tell them for me how great they looked!


  1. I'm no help on vintage weddings I'm afraid. Wondered why you hadn't posted for a while!

  2. I want a donut cake at my wedding! lol.

  3. omg you are making me want want want to get married~!!!! congrats, btw! and i LOVE the portrait idea THAT IS THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!

  4. Wowwww I want a cruller wedding "cake"!!
    Al of these pictures are so gorgeous, you're going to have a blast planning your wedding! Hand-tinted black-and-white photos would be SO WORTH looking into!
    M xo

  5. The couples! I love the vintage wedding ideas. I myself would shoot for a circa 1963 wedding. Its the year of my old car. I also fantasize about having my '64 Seeburg jukebox be the DJ at said wedding, lol. I think the bespectacled couple are my favorite. They are too darn cute. A lot of our friends are gettin' hitched these days, so I have been asked to help plan & decorate. Its a huge task! I really look forward to more wedding day posts. They are fabulous!

  6. I adore vintage fashion, but I've always been especially interested in bridal gowns. LOVE these photos that you've compiled. Have fun planning your own shin-dig! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! -diane

  7. I love vintage-retro photos like these!

  8. What a beautiful collection of photos! Each one shows such a unique woman in such a unique moment.

    Also: Crawford apologist biography? Now you've got me intrigued.. ;)



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