After seeing Britain’s Princess Beatrice’s stunning vintage wedding dress loaned to her by her grandmother the Queen, it seemed like the apt time to finish up the list that I’ve been compiling of stunning vintage wedding dresses. With the world the way it is, and with the economy the direction it’s heading in, it’s always advisable to set your precious money that you would have spent on a brand new wedding dress aside, and opt for something more low-key but lovely and tasteful nonetheless. Besides, pre-owned bridal dresses are great examples of sustainable fashion, and artfully restored dresses can be unique and beautiful. If we can get over the stigma attached to the word “secondhand” when it comes to weddings, then nothing like it! It’s the perfect time to have an understated, intimate wedding while wearing a lovely upcycled vintage gown to start off your married life. (Here are gorgeous photos along with tips on how to wear vintage wedding dresses.)
Now, your grandmother may not have an appropriate dress for you to use, or your grandmother may not be a queen, but that’s not a problem. There are plenty of affordable options online, of dreamy, gorgeous, thoughtfully crafted or thrifted wedding dresses. Vogue has an article listing out some of the best brands to look for when shopping for vintage wedding dresses. I personally love the idea of restored or modified vintage clothing, especially since they have an old story to tell, along with the new story of sustainability.
- Secondhand Vintage Wedding Dresses on Etsy
- Where to Shop for Vintage Wedding Dresses
- 1 // 1st Dibs | Online
- 2 // Adored Vintage | Online
- 3 // Decades | Los Angeles
- 4 // Etsy | Online
- 5 // Farfetch | Online
- 6 // Happy Isles | Los Angeles
- 7 // Hardly Ever Worn It | Online
- 8 // Jane Bourvis | London
- 9 // June’s Uniquely Yours | New Jersey
- 10 // Madly Vintage | California
- 11 // Meringue Vintage | Chicago
- 12 // Mill Crest Vintage | Online
- 13 // Preowned Wedding Dresses | Online
- 14 // Re-SEE | Online
- 15 // Shareen Bridal | New York
- 16 // Open for Vintage | Online
- 17 // Unique Vintage | California
- 18 // Vestiaire Collective | Online
- Find a Good Tailor
- Read More About Ethical Fashion
Secondhand Vintage Wedding Dresses on Etsy
If you’re looking for a vintage-style wedding dress, the pre-owned wedding dresses listed below are all from Etsy and can be purchased online. The owners are lovely, and will work with you to alter the measurements accordingly. Check them out!
1 // THE LYDIA GOWN
1950s lace vintage wedding dress
Shop: 1907 Bridal
1950s strapless dress in ethereal tiered creamy ivory chiffon
Shop: Vintage Vortex
Ivory lace with taffeta and tulle petticoats, c. 1950s
Shop: Alson & Ascher
Detachable train; refashioned from an almost vintage gown
Shop: By the Way
1940s wedding dress with a drop waist and gathered skirt
Shop: Straylight Vintage
Vintage 1900s wedding dress with antique lacework
Shop: Sixpenny Bride
Sheer neckline with daisy and leaf appliqué adorned with seed pearls
Shop: Dakota’s Vintage
NOTE: All brand photographs belong to the respective brands/businesses.
Where to Shop for Vintage Wedding Dresses
If you’re too overwhelmed to do your own wedding gown hunting, here are 14 of the best stores (both online and physical) to shop for vintage wedding dresses (listed in alphabetical order). Go ahead and dig in, and we hope you find your beautiful and unique bridal gown for your happy day!
1 // 1st Dibs | Online
This website has some rare finds that could turn you into a movie star (almost lol). Check out wedding dresses by designers such as Dior, John Galliano and Gianni Versace calming sitting and waiting for you to claim them. You’ll also be saving a lot of money by buying from here, instead of brand new designer wear.
2 // Adored Vintage | Online
Adored Vintage has clothes that are “vintage + modern for the feminine romantic spirit,” with a leaning towards bohemian frocks. Their website is such a pleasure to browse through, and if you love the boho-chic aesthetic, there’s plenty of pretty white dresses that would double as a lovely bridal gown for a simple wedding. They also have beautiful accessories that you could also consider as gifts for someone else’s wedding.
3 // Decades | Los Angeles
Looking for Dior, McQueen or Ralph Lauren? This is your stop. Decades was founded in 1997, sells a wide range of vintage white gowns for weddings, and claims to be “a world leader in the sale of pre-loved vintage, neo-vintage and contemporary designer clothing.” Take a look and find out that they’re right!
4 // Etsy | Online
Etsy is where all the gorgeous dresses in the first section of this article are from. Etsy isn’t just for crafts, but for all manner of unique, vintage items (they also have a section titled ‘vintage’). It’s a great place to do some online window shopping for the perfect dress. You never know: you might find something spectacular.
5 // Farfetch | Online
Rummage through their collection to find that perfect wedding dress! While Farfetch doesn’t explicitly do wedding collections, the beautiful thing about thrift stores – even fancy ones – is that there’s a chance you could find the most amazing dress right there, perhaps when you were least expecting it.
6 // Happy Isles | Los Angeles
Vintage designer wedding gowns are here. Happy Isles carries a very thoughtfully curated collection, with Oscar de la Renta on the one hand, and Lilly Ashwell on the other. They have outfits from the 1950s onwards, and the options are delicious!
7 // Hardly Ever Worn It | Online
Affordable designer gowns (Vera Wang, anyone?) have pride of place at HEWI. They also have gorgeous accessories and fine jewelry for the big day (or any other day!).
8 // Jane Bourvis | London
This London-based store is like taking a step into history: lace, costumes, and intricate needlework. Their website is also a great way to spend an entire afternoon, ogling at the craftsmanship of vintage clothing items. Check them out if only for their stunning photographs. Finding a unique wedding gown here doesn’t seem impossible, and would in fact be a total thrill!
9 // June’s Uniquely Yours | New Jersey
More history coming up, at June’s Uniquely Yours. The family-owned store features styles from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, as well as the Jazz Age and later. Their items are handmade and “artist-inspired.” They only have a Facebook page, so check it out and make sure your make an appointment before showing up for wedding dress shopping!
10 // Madly Vintage | California
Madly Vintage is based on “good vibes,” and has a bridal section (Madly Bridal) where you are sure to find several intriguing pieces. Each piece is cleaned and repaired by founder Maddy Anderson.
11 // Meringue Vintage | Chicago
Renowned designer Kristine Engel is in charge of Meringue Vintage’s collection, which aims to be a “curated vintage for the modern bride.” This bridal boutique has the best of vintage wedding gowns, as well as vintage shoes, all lovingly rescued and restored.
12 // Mill Crest Vintage | Online
Want a gown from the 1940s? Or prefer one from the Sixties? This bridal boutique has mesmerizing bridal gowns sectioned by the decade, and all priced very reasonably.
13 // Preowned Wedding Dresses | Online
So this one’s unique: This is a reseller where the designer wedding dresses here are sold directly by the brides themselves. The listing displays the original price along with the asking price. Plus, there’s no commission charged.
14 // Re-SEE | Online
Re-SEE sells “exclusive and authentic Vintage and second-hand fashion” sectioned by the decade, from the 1930s onwards. Founded in 2013, Re-SEE was the marketplace that, according to the two Parisian founders, to keep “great fashion in circulation.” Awesome goal, if you ask us!
15 // Shareen Bridal | New York
Shareen is a bridal boutique that offers custom gowns. Named for the owner & designer Shareen Mitchell, the boutique began in New York and Los Angeles and a vintage store. Mitchell designs the wedding gowns, and often combines the designs with vintage pieces.
16 // Open for Vintage | Online
Open for Vintage is another store that doesn’t specifically carry wedding dresses, but you may find one there nonetheless. Givenchy, Dior, and a host of other top brands that find a second life here. Open for Vintage was launched in 2015 and connects you with the world’s finest vintage boutiques, thus supporting several independent businesses. They offer an authenticity guarantee, 14-day free returns, and free carbon-neutral worldwide delivery. Their goal is to preserve and re-house “fashion’s most quality craftsmanship from decades past.”
17 // Unique Vintage | California
Unique Vintage has a collection of seriously stunning dresses, many with intricate lacework.
18 // Vestiaire Collective | Online
Vestiaire Collection has clothing from several top designers, but it takes a bit of digging through the site to really come across wedding gowns. But you never know – their subpar cataloging could be hiding your perfect dress in one of their pages….
Find a Good Tailor
There are enough meticulously made pre-owned vintage wedding dresses to go around, and ideally each bride will find the one that she loves. But an important bit of vintage wedding dress hunting is to find a tailor who can customize the fit to your body. That makes all the difference! A well-fitted outfit versus badly fitted outfit is day and night. Bad fitting can take all the attention away from the beauty of the vintage dress, so do not skip this step!
I hope you liked this shortlist of secondhand wedding dresses, and the shops where you can find more of them. Explore and you’ll find many, many more suitable options. And check out this post for fair-trade and ethical wedding jewelry.
And hey, if you’re getting married soon, congratulations!<3
Read More About Ethical Fashion
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NOTE: All brand photographs belong to the respective brands/businesses.
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