"I find myself cast in an unexpected role, not on stage but in life - I am a bridesmaid. Maybe it's a role I should have considered sooner, but growing up in Italy it really wasn't a star turn I ever contemplated. As a little girl, dreams of the perfect wedding weren't something I imagined. My debut on a West End stage, yes, many times; a walk down the aisle, never."
"So when one of my best friends asked me to be her bridesmaid, I entered a highly unfamiliar world. I love this girl and I'm really excited for her big day, because in her case this is a dream come true, so I'm keen to embrace the wedding-sphere."
"Unfortunately, our first bridal mission did little to win me over to the white side - a wedding fair at the soulless Excel Centre in East London where the first stall to welcome the bride-to-be was hosted by Weight Watchers. I could bore you with 5 paragraphs on the myriad ways in which that stall galls me, but this is not the place. Instead, I want to tell you about the perfect antidote - The National Vintage Wedding Fair CLICK HERE."
"The venue, lovely Stoke Newington Town Hall, looked picture perfect decked out in well-chosen vintage stalls. The fair was small, friendly and full of good ideas. The exhibitors were approachable and everyone had a chat with us without a hard sales push. Offerings ranged from photographers to prop hire, wedding dresses to stylists, all with a vintage angle, naturally."
"Where at the Excel the entertainment was provided by a woman in a wedding dress singing the Disney anthem 'Let it Go,' here we were delighted by the dulcet tones of Rose Lancaster CLICK HERE and effervescent wartime trio The Victory Sisters CLICK HERE."
"We had a long chat with self-proclaimed "professional hoarder" Mandy of Something Borrowed Something Vintage CLICK HERE who, apart from having THE best business card ever (attached to a tea bag), hires out vintage china and other items to give a special touch to any wedding venue. Lula & Rye CLICK HERE offer a similar service with a hipster edge if that's your style."
"My personal favourites were the dresses. To my mind they were simply stunning vintage dresses - right up my street - that just happened to be white. If you don't mind your special dress being worn ahead of your big day, then you can expect to find a beautiful, unique and affordable frock. Bristol-based Heartfelt Vintage CLICK HERE stocked beautiful lacy dresses, Vintage Trousseau CLICK HERE offered rather elegant looks and Sally Lacock CLICK HERE really caught my eye."
"All in all we had a lovely day and came away with a few useful contacts and good ideas. I'm certainly feeling steeped in wedding spirit after seeing things through rose-tinted, vintage glasses."
"As I said to the bride, it will be just like putting on a fabulous show. The next few months will be spent sorting out costumes and props and on the day, as a bridesmaid, I'll help the leading lady get into costume, hair and make-up. I've got to remember my blocking and make sure no one misses their cue. Seems as a bridesmaid, I'm perfectly cast."
For more information on National Vintage Wedding Fairs CLICK HERE.