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Off the Wall vintage wedding fair

May 3, 2015

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Weddings with a touch of vintage and handmade are all the rage and for good reason. They are an ecologically sound and cost-cutting alternative to the outrageously expensive over-done do’s that end up feeling rigid, soulless and angst-ridden.

The best weddings I’ve been to were all pretty relaxed,  low-budget affairs with the emphasis on having a good time with family and friends. The worst was a formal, ridiculously expensive extravaganza planned two years in advance. You could feel the stress.

So that’s why I’d advise anyone thinking of tying the knot to get along to the first-ever Off the Wall Wedding Fair. It’s at the fantastic Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley on May 9 and 10 and organised by vintage event specialists Rose & Brown, aka Caroline and Julian Brown. Oh, and it’s free.

“This will be a really inspiring event, aimed at helping couples to find vintage and handmade alternatives for their special day. The event will feature around 20 exhibitors, so it will be small, informal and fun, with music, hands-on workshops and vintage hair and make-up styling.

“We’re really keen for this to be a success as Cliffe Castle is a marvellous museum and we would like to attract a new audience for them, whilst inspiring and helping couples to have a really individual and creative wedding,” says Caroline.

Among the items on sale will be exquiste vintage wedding dresses by the brilliant and inimitable Ruth Caswell.  Ruth, a gifted seamstress and fabric restorer, used to create bespoke wedding dresses from her boutique in Ilkley. Her work is wonderful and she is great company, so if you stop by her stall I guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face.
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The museum’s Bracewell Smith Hall will hold the majority of the exhibitors, who will be selling genuine vintage fashion and accessories, along with crockery, glassware and other one-off treasures. The conservatory will host florists and photographers, a humanist celebrant, a ‘time travelling’ gramophone DJ and tea and cakes. Talented makers will be showcasing handmade invitations and silk flower headpieces. It sounds so good it might just encourage me to finally tie the knot after years of determined resistance. Well, I am 50 and those sepia-tinted, vintage-style photographs are very flattering.

For those who don’t know the museum, it is well worth a visit. It is set in a gothic mansion with historic and quirky exhibits and beautiful grounds. The fair is timed to coincide with the museum’s current exhibition ‘Fabric of Society’ which includes wedding and party dresses from Bradford Museums and Galleries’ collections.

The Off the Wall Wedding Fair is at Cliffe Castle, Spring Gardens Lane, Keighley, BD20 6LH on Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10, 11am – 3.30pm www.roseandbrownvintage.co.uk
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