I'm currently working on a project to create some vintage-style inspired knitted Christening gowns. This has meant doing a bit of research, not only to find suitable patterns and images, but also to see what other vintage-style stuff there is out there.
One of the hottest topics associated with the word “vintage” at the moment seems to be weddings. I think these are on the whole a lovely idea. If you have the location and are into a particular era, then setting your wedding around that theme can produce some wonderful opportunities for your photographer.
A vintage-style wedding is about more than just the dress though. For example, simply wearing a 1920s inspired wedding gown yet having your wedding in a modern hotel with the reception including a disco, really couldn't be considered to be a “vintage wedding”. Neither can having a modern wedding, but with all your photographs in a sepia tint or with softened edges.
Now, I'm not the wedding police - people can get married however and wherever they choose! But I am a bit of a pedant where words and phrases are concerned, and I happen to think that too many photographers, bridal outfitters and even brides themselves say that their wedding is “vintage” when it's not.
The same goes for the word “alternative”. I have seen this used to describe vintage weddings (it gets a bit confusing from there on!). But is vintage really alternative?
I don't think so. Anyone who lives an alternative lifestyle (for example, Rockerbilly, goth, biker, LARP, eco warrior, pagan, etc) will more than likely have the wedding / handfasting / christening / naming ceremony that fits their lifestyle. Vintage, in my opinion, isn't a lifestyle. It is a way of describing the look or feel of an item or group of items.
In car terms, vintage applies to only a small group of cars, made before a certain date (generally between 1920 and 1930). Cars made after 1930 are termed “classic”. Cars made before 1919-20 are generally referred to as “veteran” in the UK and “antique” in the USA. If you apply the same terms to a wedding, then no modern weddings could really be called vintage because they are happening now, not 80 years ago.
Just as the clothes do not make the man, the wedding dress does not define the wedding. An alternative wedding would not generally have a white wedding dress, a big fruit cake with royal icing, a church service or even a reception. My own wedding was pretty alternative, as my husband and I were married by proxy in Dallas, Texas. I wore jeans and a cardigan I had knitted myself, my mother-in-law stood in for my husband, and we had bubbles instead of confetti. Then we went for lunch with a few friends at a local Chinese buffet.
The best thing to do is put “-style” after the word vintage or alternative if that is what you are describing.