Creating a stir

Love the vintage look? Then Laura Cartledge knows a company that could be just your cup of tea.

From the romance of old films to the glamour of screen starlets, it is easy to see why vintage is working its way into weddings. Nicola, second from right, and her team with bride Harriet (1)But, as Nicola Johnson from Tea and Trim reveals, going retro offers something else as well.
“When brides go for a vintage theme you can really see their personality,” she explains. “That is the biggest change I have seen in the last few years – weddings have become more fun.
“We still get a lot of brides that want something natural and something simple in their hair, but even then they will go crazy with their shoes.
“They are getting more creative. Films like The Great Gatsby mean a lot of people are going for the 20s style,” adds Nicola, “and we’ve found a lot of brides want it ‘50s’ as it comes with the tea dresses.”
There’s no doubt the trend has taken off quickly. In fact, just two years ago at her own wedding, Nicola confesses it was nerve-wrecking as having a vintage tea party was seen as ‘breaking the mould’.
“But it has been a case of once one person has done it, others follow suit,” she smiles.
Photographer Peter Prior (1)“I think vintage is popular because it is the heart of glamour, women really like that – especially for their big day.”
Nicola, formerly a mobile hairdresser, took a course in bridal and vintage nearly three years ago before combining her two passions to create Tea and Trim.
“I just wanted to learn more,” she recalls. “It really took off, especially the hen and bridal parties.
“The enquiries just keep coming in so I set up a team. I had groups of 20 and it was not something I could do alone, so now there are nine of us.”
Based in Haywards Heath, Nicola offers one-to-one appointments at her home salon or, along with her team, will travel across Sussex, Surrey and Kent to play stylish fairy godmother.
“Brides love the fact we can come to them as they can relax, have their hair done and don’t have to worry about it,” she reveals.
“We can tailor-make a package – we do hair only or hair and make-up. It is a really flexible service.”
The hen-dos have proved particularly popular, something Nicola believes is down to people looking for something ‘a little different’.
“I think people are getting married later in life so are looking for something classier too. I haven’t seen an ‘L’ plate in a while,” she admits with a smile. “We have had some lovely groups. We have a photographer as well who has a pop up studio. Each event 1920's photos by Lynda Kelly at Butterfly portraits  (2)has been special.”
As well as fun photoshoots, retro cocktail classes and parties to release your ‘inner pin up,’ Tea and Trim offer workshops plus hair styling and high tea which promises to be a ‘Great Gatsby meets Downton Abbey’ affair.
But it is not the quirky themes that Nicola thinks makes the service stand out.
“Our events are about quality,” she smiles. “It is not rushed, taking time is important.
“I don’t over book, if I have a wedding in the morning I make sure we can stay until the bride is in her dress,” she says. “I have been known, if I am halfway through a look and don’t feel it is right, to take it all out and start again.
“It’s got to be right. After all they are a walking advert when they walk out and people ask where they got their hair and make-up done.”
This attention to detail is paying off it seems, as she admits word of mouth and recommendations are the main reasons for people getting in touch.
“It is lovely,” she beams, adding her favourite part of the job is ‘just being part of someone’s day’. “It’s great when you get all the photographs back and you can see how the day had panned out,” she confesses.
So what are the plans for the future of Tea and Trim?
“Just to keep on doing what we are really,” replies Nicola. “I would like to offer a few more packages and some different themes – boho in particular is popular – that’s the plan for next year.”

For more information about Tea and Trim, visit
Pictures by Lynda Kelly at Butterfly Portraits and Peter Prior