Skip to content

Your Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Vintage Wedding Dresses

wedding dress and confetti
Planning a lacy, vintage wedding steeped in history? Check out this handy guide to shopping for vintage wedding dresses to match!

It’s your big day so it’s only fitting that you want to find a dress that makes you feel beautiful and unique. Vintage wedding dresses are a great way to make a statement and find a look that is all yours. In fact, 90 percent of weddings are dreamed up with vintage inspiration.

Whether you’re fantasizing about your grandmother’s perfect lace wedding dress or daydreaming of the This Is Us episode showcasing Rebecca’s boho-chic dress, shopping vintage for your wedding will require a little more patience, but you’ll reap the reward at the end of the day.

Why Choose Vintage?

We live in the age of social media. Everything about our lives is blasted and broadcasted across all channels. Not only that, but there’s an air of comparison with everything we do, weddings are no exception.

What’s the number one thing brides want in their wedding? Well, besides a life full of happiness, every bride wants her dress to be the most unique and to stand out from the crowd. She wants to get away from the comparison of who wore it best and be in a league of her own.

A vintage wedding dress ensures that your style is all your own. This will help you to step away from the fear of wearing the same dress as your best friend and focus on the rest of your wedding.

Do Your Research Ahead of Time

Vintage wedding dresses are popular and in high demand, which means they won’t last for long. Chances are if you see one you like and don’t act on it, it’ll be gone the next time you got to look. This is why it’s beneficial to do the leg work ahead of time so the dress of your dreams doesn’t slip through your fingers. 

One of the best ways to do this is to visit a local wedding dress shop to do a little research prior to committing to a vintage dress. This is a great way to find the silhouette is both flattering and that you love. Once you’ve narrowed down the shape of the dress you want, you can search for vintage wedding dress dealers who have a dress that fits your vision.

You can also do price comparisons online. is a great place to start. This will give you a good idea of what you should set aside for the dress so you won’t be shocked when it comes time to pay.

Another thing to consider is finding a dress dealer that you trust. The price for a vintage wedding dress will be steeper than that of a modern dress, which is why it’s important for you to know where your money is going. Finding a wedding dress dealer you can trust to give you all the details will make you feel better about your purchase.

What to Do Before You Buy

Most vintage wedding dresses are pre-owned, which means they might have signs of wear and tear. Before you spend your hard earned money on a dress, be sure to give it a thorough look over. You’ll want to inspect the dress for tears, stains, and discolorations, especially under the arms.

When inspecting your dress, be sure to view it in natural light. Some imperfections can’t be seen in dull light, which is why you want to always view it in as much light as possible. Even though you’ll most likely be getting your dress professionally cleaned prior to your big day, you’ll still want to get a fresh look at it before forking out all the money.

Altering Vintage Wedding Dresses

As with most wedding dresses, alterations are possible, even with a vintage option. But the one thing to make sure of is that your dream dress isn’t too small. There is no good way to let a dress out or add more fabric, especially since an older dress is more fragile in nature.

If you need to take it in at the waist or the length that is usually a possibility. The only difficulty would come if your dress had intricate or heavy beading. 

There is also the option for you to put your modern touch on your vintage dress. You can remove a high neckline or even shorten a long dress to add a modern feel to an older style.

Be sure to get your dress cleaned prior to alterations to ensure that you don’t accrue surprise expenses along the way.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge?

A true vintage dress in pristine condition is hard to come by, not to mention finding one at an affordable price point. This is why you should get all your questions answered ahead of time so when you find your perfect dress, you’re ready to pounce!

One thing you will find is plenty of vintage designer gowns. While this is exciting, it does come at a cost. When it comes to true vintage wedding dresses, it’s not necessarily about finding a dress tied to a designer’s name. Many designers from the 40s and 50s are nameless designers who created some beautiful and timeless pieces.

This Is Your Day…

Your wedding is a day you’ll remember forever. Make sure your dress is something you’ll remember too. Vintage is a classic that will never go out of style. A testament to that fact is that you want to buy one in the 21st century.

Choosing to shop vintage wedding dresses on your most important day can be a risky endeavor, especially if you’re just beginning your search. This is why it’s so important to know what to expect when going into the process.

Once you’ve bought your dream dress for your dream day, make sure you know how to protect it from the elements until its big reveal. Learn more about how to care for your dress in the months and days leading up to your wedding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *