What makes a wedding vintage?

Vintage – 

adj.

1. Of or relating to a vintage.
2. Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.
3. Old or outmoded.
4.
a. Of the best: played songs that were vintage Cole Porter.
b. Of the most distinctive
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as fond of vintage inspiration as the next person.  I love pretty cake stands and flapper-esque dresses worn with feathers and pearls.  I secretly wish we still all went out in cloche hats and Mary Jane high heels with t bar straps as the norm.
 
But in the bridal world, what exactly does someone mean when they use the word vintage?
Vintage does have a specific meaning; see above for the dictionary.com definitions.  In the clothing industry, vintage is anything that’s between 20 and 100 years old which is recognisable as coming from a distinct period.  The wedding industry, however, seems to throw around the word to reference anything that is china, lace or pastel-coloured.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to use objects from, or inspired by, days gone by.  But why is there then this obsessive urge to label them with the “vintage” tag?  If you use china teacups, it’s vintage.  If you have lace in your dress, it’s vintage.  Birdcage veil?  Birdcages?  Diamante clip in your hair?  Yep, all vintage!  The overuse of the word is getting out of hand. 
A true vintage wedding, for me, is when people pick one era and have everything completely based around that – Vicky Rowe’s 1920’s nuptials are an excellent example of this.  With all the small details in place, from choosing a wedding outfit that draws on styles from that period to ensuring the music danced to is from the same era – that makes a vintage wedding.  A mishmash of things from or influenced by Edwardian times, the 1940s and the 1950s, decorated with a birdcage, topped off with pale coloured roses and tied with a lace bow does not
The other problem vintage is facing, along with its woolly connotations, is its ubiquity.  Once something rather different (as Ruffled founder Amanda says, “When I was planning my own wedding in late 2007, vintage inspired weddings weren’t as ‘in’ as they are today”), vintage is now so mainstream that in one national bridal magazine I read last Autumn, I counted the word fifteen times over ten pages.
 
Brides who originally looked to the past for inspiration were doing it to be a little bit different, a little bit quirky, to make sure their wedding wasn’t an average cookie cutter event.  But by becoming mainstream, vintage is biting itself on the bum.  With everyone hiring china tea sets and having table plans in antique framing, vintage is losing the unique charm it had a few years ago and becoming just as omnipresent as cupcakes or strapless dresses.  It’s getting to the point where brides are feeling obliged to include vintage somewhere in their celebration.  It is no longer definition 4b.
 
So in 2011 I predict a vintage backlash.  A rebellion against the overuse of this word and a move away from having the same decorations and accessories that every other bride has.  The question is, what will replace it?

 – Helen