10th May summer wedding songs Victoriana


Today, close your eyes and think Victoriana, a steampunk wedding or historical wedding. Now here’s a beautiful song to walk down the aisle to – “Opus 23′ by Dustin O’Halloran that was one of the soundtracks for Sofia Coppola’s highly stylised and modern interpretation of  the life of historical figure Marie Antoinette leading up to the French Revolution. She married Louis Auguste at just 14 years old with the purpose of cementing various complex alliances. She became a symbol of the monarchy’s decadence, underwent a show trial, and was executed in 1793. Have listen.

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This song fits perfectly with the location and period style and costumes which actually won an Academy Award for best Costume design. This alone is inspiration enough for you own wedding!

The photo above is an amazing wedding dress by Elizabeth Armstrong, a fabulous British fashion designer with a heritage in theatre and film, drawing inspiration from Victoriana, Gothic and Steampunk subcultures, historic period styles and has a love of Avant Garde.

What we love about the 2006 film is the way Coppola provokes and  facinates through her music choices and  eclectic acting styles to create a world to get lost in.


We also like to bring together the old and new in stunning locations whether that be in private gardens, stately homes and estates, private halls or secret millionaire’s castles. If you love this kind of style then we can help you bring this through in your ceremony to set the style for the rest of your wedding.


However, if this particular wedding song doesn’t fill you emotion, come back tomorrow to hear a different one! If you missed yesterday’s wedding song 9th May summer songs 1950smusic and vintage have a listen, you never know it might be the one for you!

If you would like to discuss how we could help you and your requirements for your big day then just drop Jan a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

Happy Summer everyone!


10 Ceremony traditions to embrace, break or give a fresh take- (No 1)


Over the next few weeks we’ll be blogging about different Ceremony traditions that you might want to embrace, break or give a fresh take.

So here’s our first one…

The  Entrance -A white wedding dress

No matter which way you look at it, the wedding dress is star of the show, it’s a statement piece, an extension of who you are and sets the scene for your entrance to the ceremony.

So what will you do? Embrace, break or give a new take on tradition in your wedding dress choice?


The tradition of a bride wearing a white wedding dress did not emerge until the late eighteen Century, when heavy silk satin blue’s, grey’s and brown’s with embroidery and embellishments were the norm. It was not until Queen Victoria chose to break with tradition herself wearing a white satin, silk and lace gown with orange blossoms in 1840 that it became popular.

In a conservative age, when wearing white was actually a taboo for happy occasions; Queen Victoria flouted tradition and even decided not to decorate her dress with any “jewelry or crown, or velvet robes trimmed with ermine”. Her white dress (crinoline-style court dress) was made entirely in England with lace and silk satin with full pleated skirt, and low neckline. The twelve brides maids who carried the trail were also dressed in white.

Because of the limitations of laundering in those days a white dress could not be re-used for another occasion hence white became a favourite for richer families so as to demonstrate their wealth.



Across Europe and America more practical or colourful dresses were more commonplace with red being a popular choice, but less than a decade after Queen Victoria’s wedding, magazine editor of the American magazine Godey Sarah Hale, held Queen Victoria as a role model of femininity, morality and intellect:

“Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever the material may be. It is an emblem of purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one”

In Japan brides firstly wear a traditional kimono with white also being the popular colour- but not to symbolise purity, but death; the bride becomes ‘dead’ to her family. During the ceremony the bride removes her white kimono to reveal another coloured one- usually red- to symbolise her rebirth into her husband’s family.



As wedding colour schemes become more varied where 2012 saw purple being 2012’s most popular colour with blue and pink also being top 3 choices we are also starting to see brides becoming more ‘brave’ and contemporary their wedding dress choices too, stepping away from traditional ivory and white. Hitched W.I.F.E

Perhaps this wonderful Hunger Games inspired red wedding dress or this head-turning 1920’s-40‘s ‘gunmetal glamour’ backless wedding dress by KMK designs could open up your mind to new options?

Or fresh take?

If you’re looking for a more contemporary twist to your wedding dress that’s not just the colour take inspiration from Queen Victoria, a lady who knew her own mind and who chose to have a dress that expressed what she wanted in a wedding dress.

Whether it’s the style or the materials of your wedding dress you want to have a fresh take on there are some amazing designers out there to challenge the tradition of the white wedding dress.

Here are some of our favourites:

Elizabeth Armstrong is a fabulous British fashion designer with a heritage in theatre and film drawing inspiration from Victoriana, Gothic and Steampunk subcultures, historic period styles and has a love of Avant Garde.

Elie Saab, born in Lebanon is a self taught fashion talent. He magnifies femininity working with fine materials and delicate embroideries to make fairytale creations that are simple and sophisticated.


Wai Ching is an exotic fusion of Chinese, Puerto Rican and English genes with a global upbringing and is clearly reflected in her ‘Wild but wearable’ designs. Figure flattery top of her priority list!


We’d also like to share with you a hidden gem, a little closer to our home here in Yorkshire. Rebecca Mills is a wonderful up and coming designer, her designs have a bubbly personality and most importantly at the end of the day her brides can still party the night way in them!



Maybe the colour of your wedding dress is less important to you and your contemporary wedding dress twist is more about having a dress that fits with your ethical values? Blushless  is an emerging sustainable brand founded by Liv Lundelius in 2009 specialising in Avant Garde bridal. The daughter of a punk-rock club owner father, and a bohemian travelling mother she is anything but typical!  Relocated to London she creates an ethically responsible alternative to the traditional gown.



So when you make you big entrance, whether you decide to embrace, break or have a fresh take on your wedding dress or any ceremony traditions we can help you make your ceremony unique and personal. Drop Jan a line:  ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk