As soon as my husband proposed to me and we started planning our big day, I knew I wanted a vintage styled wedding – I’ve never personally been a big fan of the flamboyant ‘meringue’. I wanted something chic and understated instead, and this theme carried through to every detail. I thought that meant I was looking for a relatively ‘simple’ gown, and I was convinced I’d be the very opposite of ‘high maintenance’: I’d easily find a whole array of choices – my difficulty would be not in finding the right dress, but in narrowing down my vast selection!
Not so… In the event, I lost count of the number of wedding boutiques I visited. The thing is, it’s true that I wasn’t looking for my perfect dress – I was actually looking for anything I didn’t hate. And I couldn’t find a single option that was right, or even nearly right. I wasn’t even being precious: I looked at brand new, secondhand, charity shops – no stone was left unturned.
And then eventually I found it – my dress was hanging on a peg in House of Fraser all along.
With my dress nailed, everything else started to come together around that focal point. I bought accessories to complement my outfit, and found stunning heavily beaded bridesmaids dresses – in the sale! We did as much as possible ourselves and really enjoyed the process of scouring online and in haberdashery shops to find the details that would pull our big day together.
Hubby and I were determined to keep everything as low cost as possible, and for the most part we succeeded. But the one area we thought we were going to really struggle with was our table centres, and that’s because whether you buy or hire, almost everything is overpriced.
Budget Vintage Wedding Table Centres
The generic vintage options are candelabras (expensive) or flowers (more expensive). We decided right off the bat that we were not going to fall into that trap. So I got creative, and as you can see in the image at the top of the page, we went for simple, but – I like to think – effective.
Over the course of several months, I went in every charity shop I came across and picked up all their antique-looking books. I bought reels of ribbon in the colours of our scheme, as well as a reel of pearl beading and lengths of lace. On the day I arranged the books in a higgledy-piggledy tower, with lengths of ribbon, lace and beads draped over the top.
The wine bottles in the picture are available for a very reasonable price from Tesco; so our contribution to the family Christmas dinner was a box of white, a box of rosé and a box of red. These bottles are the perfect accompaniment for the stack of books, given their asymmetrical design.
My big tip: if you plan to drip candles down the bottles as we did, for the love of God buy dripping candles!
We completed the look with some vintage looking tags onto which we wrote the tables numbers.
Finally, we bought a few pieces of vintage crockery from a charity shop and ordered several extra roses to be delivered with my flowers and the buttonholes.
We then placed a teacup and saucer beside each bottle with a flower popped in the top. And…
Tada! Between the three simple arrangements, we achieved classy but inexpensive vintage table centres!