Wednesday

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event

This weekend on Sunday at 11 am - 5 pm, the Regency Town House will open its doors for free for an exhibition of antique wedding dresses.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac


Last weekend I was invited to Regency Town House by their Social Media Manager Paul Couchman for a talk on vintage dresses and the history of wedding bouquet design, punctuated by tea and cake.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac
The Regency Town House, 13 Brunswick Square 

Run by volunteers and with the proceeds going towards the maintenance of the Regency Town House, the event was a very special opportunity to listen to two talks, equally fascinating, in a very special venue.

I arrived just in time to hear Marion May begin her talk on her collection of carefully preserved dresses, with the first and earliest a wedding dress from 1840. Cue my excited straining from the back row to see the full dress. Lifting up the skirt Marion explained that it would originally have been worn with horse hair petticoats because the dress pre-dates crinolines. The top section narrowed into a point by the waist that we were told would not have been sewn down to avoid it digging in.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac
1840s wedding dress and bonnet

The next dress was from the 1870s, purple in colour with a bustle at the back. It was worn by a lady approaching her forties who wed a farmer. With each dress that came out for our inspection, Marion pointed out features peculiar to the style or period for us to notice, such as how the bustle was gathered under the skirt.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac
1870's wedding dress with bustle

Items that would have been worn with the dress were passed around, for instance, wedding shoes, head pieces and a bouquet holder as well as photos that showed the dress being worn. It was fascinating to see each dress come to life again when seen in the photos worn by the brides.

The next two dresses that came out were from the Edwardian period and in particular, I loved the dress made up of sections of lace with a high neck. Marion showed how little inserts were added to keep it from wrinkling down. As she looked at the dress she added that a lot of work must have gone into the making of the dress and thought it must have been a labour of love to finish.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac
Lace Edwardian wedding dress


Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac


Other dresses came out in Willow Green, coral and cream in various fabrics that included satin and silk.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac


On hand to help were RTH volunteers while the audience looked on as attentive as I felt and each special item in turn appeared.

Once we had reached the 1960s our journey had ended and we were invited downstairs for tea and cake in the front room of this beautiful Brunswick Square town house.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac

Served up on a vintage mismatched tea service the cakes included a recipe taken from the 1925 wedding menu of one of the dresses. Other cakes included traditional Victoria Sponge and Chocolate cake which was accompanied by big pots that poured out plentiful cups of tea.

Our second talk took us back upstairs to listen to Carrie Cox from Florian florists of Hove. With accompanying slides Carrie took us through a history of wedding bouquets and showed how styles had been influenced by royal weddings.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac


From the fashion for wired bouquets to the more modern hand tied arrangements, bouquets have gone from small to large to trailing. Although all white bouquets have been popular for decades the current trend is for very colourful bouquets. Popular choice of flower has included Lily of the Valley, although this is still pretty much limited to one season and is only really available in May. Other popular choices include Stephanotis, Jasmine and Eucalyptus for greenery. The talk ended with Carrie showing us how to create a beautiful bouquet using chicken wire to keep it in place. The bouquet contained a large purple-blue Hydrangea bloom, some blush pink coloured roses and Asparagus Fern. The end was result was stunning and the florists passion infectious.

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Brighton - Regency Town House Wedding Event, photo by modernbricabrac


Visit the Regency Town House to see Marion May's collection of dresses this weekend. Sunday 30th July, 13 Brunswick Square 11 am - 5 pm (ONE DAY ONLY).

Follow on Twitter @rth_brighton and Facebook The Regency Town House

Florian is located just around the corner at 30 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF Tel: 01273 328841, pop in and see them.

Follow on Twitter @florianhove

With huge thanks to the Regency Town House for inviting me to join them.

Sarah xx


photo 
Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac
    

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