I absolutely love the brand new bridal fairs popping up around the country. There is so much creativity to be found within them (and amazing vendors too!) so I am thrilled to welcome Debs, a fantastic wedding photographer in her own right who is the lady behind Brisbane’s A Very Vintage Wedding Fair for the second year running!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Debs and when I am not organising wedding fairs, I am a wedding photographer (www.debsivelja.com).

I share my time between Australia and the UK, and when in Australia, I live on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast with my lovely husband.

I have been a photographer for many years, and shooting weddings for the last 3. I am extremely lucky to get to travel for work and have photographed weddings all over the world.

You are the organiser and facilitator behind the Brisbane event, A Very Vintage Wedding Fair. What was the catalyst for starting this Fair?

In early 2010 I was planning my time in Aus and got in touch with wedding planner Bec from Weddingesque (www.weddingesque.com) on the Sunny Coast. Bec specialized in Vintage and Retro weddings and being something my lovely couples wanted to create themselves, I was keen to meet her and say hello!

Having worked in the UK and experiencing the industry here, I had it in my head that it would be lovely to see some smaller, unique wedding fairs pop up in Queensland. They are abundant in the UK and come in all shapes and ‘concepts’. The lovely thing about them being, that they are an opportunity for local or specialist suppliers to really showcase their talents to couples who would truly ‘get them’.

So many of my couples live and breath vintage in their lives and I love nothing better than filling my home and wardrobe with whatever pieces I can find at my local op shops and vintage stores.  My couples were really struggling to find suppliers who could truly help them with their wedding vision and I often heard it be said that the expos that were on offer could, at times , feel generic, overwhelming and just ‘not them’.

Hosting a Vintage Wedding Fair was something I really wanted to do. I was finding and meeting so many amazing suppliers all over the state who were offering amazing, unique services, I really wanted to bring them together and put together a fair. Bec had been thing much the same thing and so we came together to create A Very Vintage Wedding Fair.

How many Fairs have you held?

The very first A Very Vintage Wedding Fair took place in March 2012, and it was an incredible success! We saw so many amazing couples walk through the doors and it was a chance for exhibitors who offered something a little more original to meet with couples who were seeking so much more than ‘the norm’.

How is A Very Vintage Wedding Fair different to the normal ‘wedding expo’?

It is the total opposite! To begin with, it is not as big and as a result, is much less overwhelming.  It is also a showcase of local talent. A Very Vintage Wedding Fair has 30 exhibitors, each completely dedicated to what they do.

The fair is a curated event and I have worked really hard to invite and work with selected exhibitors. Exhibitors I know couples will love to meet. Exhibitors that are often that little harder to find, or offer a service that is that little bit more unique.

Finally, you will not find any large corporations at the fair. All our exhibitors are hard working individuals who run their own business with passion. And the common thread which brings everyone together is the idea of ‘vintage’. They all love vintage. Whether it is fashion, craft or styling, the heart of each is in the past.

Why vintage …?

The idea of vintage opens up to so much more. It says original, personal, alternative, unique and just that little different. Vintage is as much a lifestyle choice as anything and so many couples want to incorporate this into their day. It can just be a little hard to find the perfect supplier to help.  The fair brings a great group of people with stunning, inspirational products to one place for a weekend.

What do you love about vintage style?

For me it is the longevity and how we continue to look to the past for inspiration. Whether it is a cut of a dress, a hair style or even how we live our lives at home.  With weddings,  vintage can mean so many things. From a hint here and there, to an overall look of a day.  And it’s the diversity! All those beautiful clothes, inspirational eras, timeless styles. It allows you to be creative and do things your way.

Are your vendors exhibiting at the Fair especially chosen because they are inclined towards a ‘vintage look’ with their product?

All the exhibitors at the fair are there because vintage is a huge part of their life and their business.

There is something for every couple, at whatever level they are looking for in terms of their wedding. Whether it is just a hint of an era to compliment their theme, because they live and breathe it and wish they were getting married in the 50’s so will do the next best thing, or a whole look they are wanting to create for their wedding. All the exhibitors are able to help and will welcome their ideas with open arms.

Can you describe some favourite items and ideas from your last Fair?

We had so many amazing exhibitors at the fair, and met so many wonderful people.  We had wonderful support from exhibitors offering amazing competition and discounts and they all created the most beautiful stands. So much thought went into creating inspirational stands that would wow visitors. Some of the wonderful moments included the fashion parade, where the models walked through the audience showing off stunning gowns, much like the department fashion shows of the 60’s!

What is it about the vintage style that is so attractive for a wedding?

I think because ‘vintage’ can mean so many things to a person. A memory, a piece of history, the tradition of marriage, a lifestyle. It can come to life in so many ways, styles and truly allows a couple to be as creative as they want.

Can you give us five quick ways for a bride to add a vintage touch to her wedding?

Don’t feel you have to give your day a specific era ‘theme’ if that feels restrictive. Just go for it. Fill your day with the (vintage / retro) things you love and don’t over think it! You are probably drawn to the things that fit together anyway so just trust your heart and enjoy it.

– Go vintage for your dress if you can. I won’t lie, finding an authentic vintage wedding dress in Australia is extremely difficult. I know as I have hunted high and low for collectors with beautiful, quality ranges and can offer a list of my suggestions if anyone wants to get in touch. If you are lucky enough to find a beautiful vintage dress that you love (and fits) then do it!  Perhaps ask your Mum or a family member if they happen to have theirs still. Alternatively, find a dressmaker such as Silver Sixpence or Jennifer Gifford who have boundless talent and can help you create the perfect vintage inspired dress.

– If you are having a cake, work with your cake maker to create a piece of art that can really help bring your vision to life. If your budget is tight, consider a cake table, laden with cakes made by your nearest and dearest… a real nod to the past when pennies had to be pinched a little tighter.

– Music will always give an ambiance that is reflective. Whether it is an old gramophone in the corner playing some gorgeous tunes, to a full on rock and roll band, it is a fun way to fill your day with a nod to the past

– Suit your groom in some pretty dapper tailoring. Our boys can get overlooked so why not get an awesome suit custom made for him with a nod to some swift 20’s tailoring… or if you are on a tighter budget, check out amazing second hand store like (one of my favourites in Brisbane) Can You Keep A Secret, who stock a great range of retro menswear.  If you are on an even tighter budget, a cute little bow tie is a great option.

– Your venue will make a big impact. Whether you choose a backyard or an old homestead, your venue can give all the impression you need. Whether it’s the decadence of the 30’s or field of wildflowers for your 70’s vision. Choose a venue that you are immediately comfy in and that fits your day.

 Any chance at all of the Vintage Wedding Fair ever being ‘franchised’ to other cities in Australia, or even major country centres?

At this point, ideas to do so are circulating. I have had a lot of people get in touch asking for something similar in Melbourne, so do watch this space!

Please tell us the dates, time and place of your next A Very Vintage Wedding Fair.

Certainly! The next A Very Vintage Wedding Fair takes place on the 16th and 17th Feb 2013, at the Bleeding Heart in Brisbane (166 Ann Street).

Doors will be open 10am – 4pm and tickets are $10 on the door. Grooms can come for free!

Thank you very much Debs for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. For more information on A Very Vintage Wedding Fair go to the website. Be sure to visit the Fair and let us know what inspired you!

All images taken by Debs Ivelja