Top critical review
20 people found this helpful
Fine as a starting point
on March 1, 2004
This book gives a quick overview, but lacks detail. For example, the section on bridesmaids has one page per decade, each page with three or four short paragraphs and one illustration. Other information is rather general: the section on vintage wedding flowers is a list of flowers that were popular from 1910 to 1950, with no breakdown by decade. Why not include more specific information, such as the fact that when Grace Kelly was married in 1954, she carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley and a small bible? There are decent suggestions of things to consider when planning a wedding with a period feel (i.e. if you want someone to design a period wedding dress for you, find someone who knows what he or she is doing), but they don't go into more detail than one might expect in a magazine article, assuming one could find an article on the topic. The glossary is for the most part a pointless waste of space. For example, it contains definitions like "boot: men's or women's footwear that covers the foot and part of the leg" and "short sleeve: a sleeve length that comes to the middle of the upper arm." It does not include definitions of terms like "tarlatan," which are actually used in the book, such as in the reprinted 1949 directions on how to make a nosegay bouquet. (In case you are wondering, tarlatan is a kind of open-weave muslin/cotton organdy that has been stiffly starched.) I have no doubt that someone who needs to have "chiffon" defined (which is included in the glossary) would also need to have tarlatan defined.
More potentially useful is the list of historic venues for weddings. The list is quite scanty (I know for a fact that there is more than one suitable venue in Iowa) but might serve to jog one's memory to think of more in one's own area. It appears to have better coverage for sites in California.
This would be a good book for someone with a general desire to have a wedding with a vintage feel, but who doesn't have a handle on what kind of things were fashionable in different periods. Someone who already is interested in a given period (particularly if that interest lies in fashion) probably already knows most of what is in the book and probably knows where to look up everything else. Might be useful as a starting point in the early planning stages.