From bobby on the beat to broaches and buttons – police officer turns vintage wedding wizard

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Vintage weddings are all the rage at the moment and one Wearside woman has decided to take advantage of this niche market. Cara Houchen met a police officer who is embracing her creative side.

HER day job couldn’t be more different to her latest business venture. Aysla Hopps, from Durham, has been a bobby on the beat for the past six years and she says she loves it.

Aylsa Hopps from Love is Vintage with a selection of her handmade bouquets.

Aylsa Hopps from Love is Vintage with a selection of her handmade bouquets.

But the 27-year-old has recently decided to head down a more creative path after she was inspired when planning her wedding last year.

She now makes bouquets in her spare time using brooches, buttons, fabric flowers and any other odds and ends she can get her hands on.

The mum-of-one is a response officer in the Durham Constabulary and responds to 999 calls 24-hours-a-day. She said: “No two days are the same. I obviously meet a wide variety of people and although it can be quite stressful, I do enjoy it.”

Before heading into the police force she studied financial services at Northumbria University so she has many strings to her bow. The police force is in her blood, though, as her dad was a copper and so is her brother, so for her it was a natural career choice.

“I just fell into it,” she said. “I’ve been around it all my life.”

It wasn’t until she was planning her December wedding at Beamish Hall that Aysla’s creative side began to shine through and she made the decision to create some of her own wedding accessories as there was nothing on the market that ticked all the boxes.

She said: “I did art at A-level so I have always been creative. I wanted to make mine and my daughter’s bouquets for the wedding as I knew I wanted something different that would make an impact.

“I was having a vintage theme with a pink and ivory colour scheme, so the handmade bouquets were the perfect finishing touch. I did a lot of research and that’s when I realised I could just make what I wanted myself.”

Aysla didn’t launch her new business venture, called Love Is Vintage, until March this year after she had made bouquets for a friend.

She now has a website and a web shop where you can see her range, but she encourages people to come up with their own ideas. She has also started making headpieces and jewellery, which is also available online.

“I want them all to be customised so no two brides get the same,” she said. “There’s an open market for this style of bouquet and I decided this would be the best time to try to take over that gap. People aren’t going down the traditional wedding route these days, so my bouquets are the perfect way to add a bit of character and personality to the big day.

“I don’t think there are many other retailers making them in the North East so I’ve had a lot of interest since I launched the website and I attended the Sunderland Vintage Fair, which was full of brides to be, so that sparked a lot of interest too. I’m currently working on an order for a bride in Australia!” Aysla is completely self-taught. She gets her materials from eBay and she says the whole process is very time consuming but she loves seeing the end product.

“The button bouquets are a totally different process to the fabric flowers and brooches, so I can’t put a time on how long they take to make,” she explained.

“The process involves threading strands of wire through each button or brooch and then the ends, they are wrapped together with material or ribbon to finish them off. I make the fabric flowers by hand so that takes longer.

“I encourage people to add their own touches. My friend wanted her gramdma’s brooch, which was a family heirloom, so I added that to the handle. It’s nice when people personalise them.”

She added: “I enjoy everything about making them, but most of all, being a part of someone’s wedding is a real honour. It’s such a massive day and I’m really happy I can be a part of making it special.”

l For more information on Love Is Vintage go to www.loveisvintage.co.uk