Britain’s Princess Beatrice made a somewhat unconventional choice during her 2020 wedding, and yet, more and more brides are following her lead. Instead of using her royal power to buy the newest and hottest design for her wedding dress, she opted for a vintage dress previously worn by her grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen. After Princess Beatrice’s wedding, vintage wedding dresses became a global phenomenon, with a 297% spike in searches in the 48 hours following the wedding. If you, like Beatrice, are looking for something unique, affordable, and sustainable for your wedding day, a vintage dress might be just right. And if you don’t have access to the queen’s palatial archives, Vestiaire is the next best thing. Finding a second-hand dress for your big day has never been easier, and in this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to inspire your ‘happily ever after’.
The benefits of a vintage wedding dress are much the same as any article of vintage clothing. One of the biggest reasons people shop vintage is to have a unique look, and this is never as important as on your wedding day. Each bride wants to look one-of-a-kind, and a vintage dress that can’t be found anywhere else is just the way to do it. Shopping at retail stores puts you at risk of wearing the same dress as several other people.
Vintage wedding dresses can also be way more affordable than new dresses. Since you’re only going to wear it once, it’s a smart move to save the cash for other wedding expenses, like that dream honeymoon.
When Fashion Activists tie the knot, sustainability is a big factor in wedding plans. Buying a vintage outfit for your wedding is a fun and straightforward way to help minimise the environmental impact of your nuptials. Wearing a vintage wedding dress is a great way to display your passion for the environment and demonstrate how elegant it can be to dress in pre-loved clothing.
Recycling a wedding dress from a family member’s closet is a very emotionally touching way to dress for your special day. Heirlooms like these give a nostalgic mood that can’t be bought. If you are creative and your family members are willing, you can alter the dress to update the style and make it suit your personality. Using lace from an existing dress to create a new veil is an excellent example of upcycling family treasures.
The demand for vintage wedding dresses is growing with the age of the Eco-Bride. With more and more women and men wanting a wedding day that reflects their values, a sustainable dress becomes a big part of that equation. Shopping on Vestiaire gives you access to one of the largest stocks of pre-loved clothing in the world. That means you can browse all the styles, eras, and sizes you could want using our app, and know that with each item, you are making a sustainable consumer choice. It can be a good idea to try on models in a retail store, so you get an idea of what silhouettes look good on you before you start looking for vintage options.
With vintage clothing, time is of the essence. And we’re not only talking about the era when the dress was made. Since vintage pieces are one-of-a-kind, buying your favorite piece immediately is vital if you want to score the dress your heart is set on. Designer vintage pieces can be in very high demand with not only fellow brides but collectors too. If you are worried about investing in a designer item from a second-hand site, rest assured that at Vestiaire Collective, we take authentication very seriously. If you have ordered an item with authentication, it means our Quality Control team will carefully check and authenticate the item before it’s shipped to you.
When shopping for your dream dress, we recommend using our Buyer-Seller chat to ask any questions about the piece you love. Size and item condition are things you’ll want to make sure you understand before purchasing a dress. But remember: A talented tailor will be your friend in creating the most flattering fit possible. By building a relationship with your seller, you’ll feel confident that you know what you are getting and it is exactly what you want.
We understand that planning a wedding takes a lot of energy and buying a dress should be one of the most exciting parts. You can ease the stress of dress-hunting by creating a moodboard to help envision your perfect look. A moodboard, is where you can gather all your design ideas and any sources of inspiration for your big day. A moodboard for your dress could include fabric samples, colour palettes, and photos of gowns you adore clipped from magazines or the web. You can create one online or organise an actual craft day to make one. Just be sure — if you want to save the dress reveal for the big day — to keep it away from the eyes of your beloved!
For the bride looking for a vintage wedding dress style, you can get inspiration from old movies or family photo albums to find styles that feel true to you. Perhaps when going through family photos, you can find pieces that you’d like to incorporate into your own wedding, like a veil from your aunt or jewelry from your great-grandmother.
If you’re having a themed wedding, a moodboard is even more important to make sure all the elements are cohesive. Even if you want to have a boho ‘70s-inspired wedding, your entire outfit doesn’t have to reflect the time period. You can mix and match eras and still have a unified theme.
Looking at your moodboard can help refine what you want your dress to be. It can also help communicate your desires with any professionals such as decorators and florists. It helps your wedding planning stay focused, organised, and true to what you want because that’s the person who matters most on your wedding day, after all!
If you already know which era you want to get your pre-loved wedding dress from, that’s great because narrowing down your decade is going to be the most essential task for a vintage dress treasure hunter.
You know that vintage is a great option for the environment and your wallet, but choosing which decade will make you dazzle can be a struggle. Find inspiration from your favourite old movies, family photos, and even back editions of fashion magazines like Vogue. For a super easy at-home way of gathering inspiration, download Vestiaire Collective’s free app so you can browse thousands of fresh pre-loved listings every week. We have a massive collection of vintage items just waiting to be discovered.
Every generation had specific standards of behaviour that were reflected in the fashions of the day. Diving into the history of each decade will help you find a vibe that feels appropriate to your dream wedding. With strict gender roles, the ‘50s dresses were conservative yet glamorous with full skirts and lots of lace. Fast forward a couple of decades, and the ‘70s dress reflected the free-spirited zeitgeist of the decade by having a more relaxed silhouette. Take a look at one of the highest-profile weddings of the day for inspiration. Mick Jagger’s bride Bianca rejected the traditional dress and instead wore a stunning two-piece ensemble with a smoking jacket and a Yves Saint Laurent skirt. With more modern-day brides wanting a laid-back approach to their wedding dress, this decade might provide plenty of great vintage options.
If you want a more formal look, browsing your favourite designer’s archives is a trusted way to find a quality piece. For example, finding a Dior couture gown from the ‘80s or a ‘90s Versace silk dress is a way to get iconic luxury for your big day in a way that is friendly to your budget and the planet.
It requires research to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind look, but be sure to jump on it once you find your match.
Accessorising your vintage wedding dress can take many forms. As always, it depends on your unique style and personal preferences. Since a wedding is such an important family day, accessories can provide an easy way to include cherished family heirlooms into the ceremony. Think of your grandmother’s necklace or an upcycled veil made from your mother’s wedding dress. It’s a perfect piece to check off the “something borrowed” requirement of any wedding outfit.
If you don’t have access to family mementos like these, you can still have authentic vintage pieces by shopping at Vestiaire Collective. If you want to stick to a theme, make sure you get the appropriate accessories. But it’s also cool to mix and match vintage pieces from different eras and a great way to keep your ensemble from looking like a costume. Accessories from the modern-day can also add a strong impact against a vintage dress. A sparkly new pair of earrings or a glistening pair of Manolo Blahniks can amplify the look. Just be sure to use a moodboard to make sure all of the elements will mesh together.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the City wore vintage to her wedding, while in real life, Parker wore a black dress to her nuptials. And she’s not the only one to buck trends in favour of something she truly loved. Gone are the days when a bride had to wear a traditional dress to her wedding. In today’s society, the bride has the power to decide for herself what style resonates with her. Vintage wedding dresses open up a whole world of possibilities for a bride to set her own rules for her dream wedding. A groom can even have a dress for men for a fashion-forward and socially forward-event. Vintage dresses offer many beautiful and one-of-a-kind silhouettes for a memorable look at a fraction of the cost. The future of wedding day fashion is surely by shopping the styles of the past.
As a celebration of your love, a wedding is as special and unique as your relationship. But a wedding can have a pretty significant environmental impact if we aren’t careful. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to easily and affordably have the wedding of your dreams with a lower carbon footprint. Thanks to Vestiaire Collective, you don’t have to stress about finding a pre-loved wedding dress for your big day. We have thousands of wedding dresses available, from the dainty and demure dresses of the ‘40s to the simple silhouettes of the ‘60s to the over-the-top styles of the ‘80s. Even if you don’t want to opt for a white dress-or a dress at all-we have gorgeous options to suit every bride.