Bunting: the must have decoration for vintage weddings

The British Sewing Bee is in full swing and as we see these amazing amateurs sewers fashion suits and dresses many of us are digging out the sewing machines again. If you are anything like me, one of the few things I can actually sew is bunting.

This is fine, because bunting is great. It can adorn tea parties and is an integral part of any 1940s and 1950s vintage themed weddings. During those two decades in Britain many things were rationed – food rationing didn’t end until 1954. Thus weddings at the time were of a make-do-and-mend nature, although as the fifties rolled in there was more extravagance in clothes and weddings.

Just as in the First World War, weddings in the early 1940s were often hurried to fit around leave. With clothes being heavily rationed, skirts were short and slim-lined, although clothes coupons were swapped to help brides out. The clothes might have been a bit dowdy, but hairstyles and make-up made up for it. We associate red lipstick with the 1940s and in the USA lipstick wasn’t rationed, but British women who wanted to emulate the American film stars used beetroot juice as lippy. Hair was long, it was tied back for work, but then complicated rolls and curls could be made for ‘going-out.’

Food was limited, but the British housewife was resourceful and, with neighbours helping out, weddings were a notable event. With many families keeping hens and growing vegetables, the ingredients for a cake could often be pulled together.

Bunting has become synonymous with 1940s style weddings thanks to the images of celebratory street parties. We have also kept the dress, make-up and bouquet styles, but we have not kept the post war food. Then, jelly and blancmange seems to have been the main treat. Our modern twist is simple home-baking – carrot or chocolate beetroot cake, scones with jam for an afternoon tea or pie & mash or fish & chips for a cooked meal.

If you are having a 1950s style wedding, it will be bolder, with a strong American influence. Grease is the word – big skirts, teddy boys and rock ‘n’ roll. You may still like the candy pastel colours, but might be looking for polka dot prints or stripes rather than floral. English weddings would still have had an afternoon tea, so you can still get out your tea pots and cake stands if you like, but the more modern twist might be burgers, hot dogs, popcorn and milkshakes.

Whatever the decade you choose for your vintage wedding theme, we have a wide-range of vintage-look stationery, many of which feature bunting. So let us know what colours you are sewing in and we will help you match it.

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