Brides who are making Downton Abbey the inspiration for their upcoming weddings have picked a beautiful era to set the tone for a memorable day. Countless wedding dress designers are displaying Downton Abbey style gowns in their collections. For the brides, the choices are many, but what about second time brides who want less fussy dresses, or mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, and wedding guests dresses – what do they wear? This has been my most common request for help this year. In almost all cases, I happily pointed them to Nataya dresses.
Nataya is not a brand I have been fortunate enough to include in my Downton Abbey Dress shop or 1920s dress shop, not for lack of interest but because of logistics (a long, boring, technical story). Nataya was the brand of dress I encouraged my mom to consider for her vintage inspired dress at my own wedding. They are romantic dresses with floating layers of tulle over silky soft rayon. Instead of heavy beading found on many 1910-1920s reproduction dresses, Nataya favors softer embroidery in very elaborate designs. Embroidery was a more common and personal way of decorating wedding party dresses in the early 20th century.
The Titanic to The Great Gatsby styling of Nataya dresses means they are perfect for a themed wedding as either bride or guest, but they are also ageless, making them wearable after the wedding, too. At about $125 – $300 each, these dresses should be worn again and again.
I am very excited to see one of my favorite vintage dress shops now carrying Nataya dresses! Click on a picture in the article to learn more about that dress or check them all out at Blue Velvet Vintage Nataya dresses.
Picking the right dress for you involves matching the season, wedding colors, your role in the party. Here are some ideas of which Nataya dress to wear to a Downton Abbey themed wedding:
For the Bride
Non traditional first time brides and second time brides who want a simple romantic dress that isn’t all white will love a dress with a colored slip overlayed with embroidered Ivory lace. The dress above has a taupe colored slip – a subtle yet definitely not white dress. Isn’t it beautiful? This one is perfect for a spring garden party in the late teens / early ’20s.
If Ivory is still too white for you, there are many dresses in soft pastel colors perfect for garden parties such as peach, pink, sage green, and antique yellow. For fall and winter brides, you can even go into the darker shades of black, brown, blue and purple. The colors are never very dark – always romantic, light, and airy. You can be as traditional or non-traditional as you want in a Nataya dress, although if you are planning a themed wedding, I’m guessing you lean on the non-traditional side. Good for you!
For the Mother of the Bride
Most mothers of the brides who are presented with a “you must wear a 1920s style dress to my wedding” ultimatum are horrified by the thought of squeezing into a skinny flapper dress. Mom bodies are not as “cute” as they were before we had kids. Thankfully, you can ditch the fringe flapper dresses and look lovely in a Nataya dress. The cut of the dress hangs away from the body, hiding any bumps and curves. The elbow length sleeves and shin length hem also softly covers up jiggly limbs. These dresses really were designed with real women in mind.
Most styles go up to an XL with many going up to 3XL. I encourage you to see some MOBs, brides, and party guests wearing Nataya dresses here. Many are not the “bright young things” of the 1920s yet they look elegant and very period correct.
For the Bridesmaid or Wedding Party Guest
For the bride who has a specific wedding color in mind for her bridesmaid’s dresses, Nataya may not be the best match (unless they have your color). A great website for color matching dresses is The Dress Spot. What Nataya dresses are great for are wedding party dresses and guest dresses with a general romantic Downton Abbey feel. There are so many nice colors to wear for whatever season the wedding is in. And if the bride is breaking all tradition and NOT wearing white (like I did), there are plenty of white or ivory dresses too. I am actually about to wear a white dress to a wedding as a guest in a few weeks. I asked the bride first and she said it was fine. To not look too “bridal,” the dress has a colored sash, shawl, bag and jewelry too. Adding colored accessories over a white dress is a great way to wear light colors year round (no white after Labor Day is a silly rule). An all white wedding party (including guests) is also a very cool visual effect that back to vintage garden parties, mid morning weddings, and France. (Seriously I have been to an all white dance event and it was so pretty! God forbid I have to have a second wedding, but if I did it will have guests in all white.)
Hmm I digress : ) Back to wedding guests in color dresses. Nataya has many great options for you in a range of sizes and a good selection of soft colors. What you need next are the accessories to go with them. A good pair of shoes would either be 1910s style boots or 1920s T-straps. Mary Jane heels (one strap) also would work well for the theme. Next, add on some Titanic era or 1920s jewelry like a filigree or tassel necklace and drop earrings. A lace shawl in spring or faux fur wrap in winter will add a very vintage look that few other guests would even think to wear. Finally, a summer straw hat or felt cloche will literally top off your Downton Abbey look.