When I got married 14 years ago, shopping for my wedding dress was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I had it in my head that I wanted a Vera Wang, so off we went to Barneys to see if any of them were “the one”. I knew I was having a beach wedding so I didn’t want a full princess dress, but I also didn’t want something casual either- like a slip dress which was very trendy at the time. I ended up getting an a-line lace dress with a skirt that was full on the bottom but was quite tight at the top. It had two spaghetti straps to keep the girls up, and a fingertip length vail. To this day I still love that dress. Though it wasn’t a vintage dress I felt it had a nod to classic glamour and made me feel as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn.
Pale Pink 1950s Princess Gown (HERE)
Now that it is 2014, shopping for a wedding gown is quite different. With the advent of the internet finding a vintage dress is much easier. I decided to find the best of vintage wedding dresses on Etsy so you can see the ranges in styles and prices that are available. However there are few things you need to keep in mind when buying a vintage wedding dress online.
1950s Organza Wedding Dress (HERE)
First of all you need to know your measurements. Here is a great video that explains everything you need to know. Then add at least 1 inch to your measurements. You want to buy slightly bigger than your measurements, not smaller. It is fairly easy for a good tailor to take a dress in, but much more difficult to let it out. Speaking of tailors, the chances of a dress fitting you perfectly on the first try are slim to none. Spending money on a good tailor is essential, especially when we are talking about a wedding dress.
1950s Embroidered Strapless Wedding Dress With Matching Jacket (HERE)
Another problem with purchasing a dress online is you can’t feel the fabric or really know its true color. I have bought dresses before that I swore were a woven and when they came in the mail they ended up being a knit, and vice-versa. Now if I had taken a bit more time and actually read the description I wouldn’t have been so surprised, but my point is you will never really know what something looks like until it shows up on your doorstep.
Exquisite 1930s Wedding Dress (HERE)
When buying a vintage dress online, be sure to know exactly what the return policy is. Some Etsy stores let you return dresses that don’t fit, but others have a no-return policy, so be careful.
1940s Wedding Gown (HERE)
As always when buying vintage, know that many dresses are extremely old and won’t be in perfect condition. Most vintage buyers have no problems with a few flaws and feel it enhances the gown instead of detracting from it, but some people want a perfect wedding dress. If you are one of those people then vintage might not be the wisest decision.
Vintage Flocked Full Gown (HERE)
Wedding dresses go fast on Etsy, so I recommend constantly going through the stock and if you see one you like, snatch it up. Don’t mull over your decision or it might get sold out from under you!
Vintage Blush Silk Organza Gown (HERE)
My last piece of advice is to go to a regular wedding dress shop and try on many different styles of gowns so you can figure out what looks best on your body. Then use that as a guide when purchasing a vintage dress. If you know you look terrible in bias cut dresses then you shouldn’t be buying a vintage 1930s gown. On the flip side, if you want a more casual wedding then maybe a 1950s fru-fru dress isn’t the one for you.
1940s Beaded Wedding Dress (HERE)
Just as you found the perfect man to marry, so too will you find the perfect dress for your wedding. Good luck!
1950s Tea Length Lace Wedding Dress (HERE)
1950s Knee Length Vintage Dress (HERE)
1930s Silk Bias Cut Dress (HERE)
Have you ever purchased a vintage wedding dress? If so, feel free to discuss your experience in the comments.