Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Whether you want to wear a gown that’s been passed down through your family or love the idea of picking up something from a bygone era, it’s a lovely way to express your personal sense of style and celebrate the past. There is something truly romantic about wearing a vintage wedding dress that already has its own history before you’ve even walked down the aisle.
It’s unlikely that anyone else will be sporting the same dress as you at their wedding. It can also often be a cheaper option, bear in mind that you may need to alter it to be brought more up to date or so that it fits you perfectly.
One of the downsides to shopping for vintage dresses is that there will only be one and it will only be available in that size and there’s only so much help alterations can make – if it’s way too big or way too small you’ll have to leave it behind. Be wary that there may be some damage or discolouration to the dress that would need to be fixed as these dresses tend to be more delicate so handle with care.
Some of the places you can find beautiful vintage dresses are listed below:
Heavenly Vintage Bridal
The collection of vintage wedding gowns available at Heavenly Vintage Brides have been selected and sourced from around the world and have been carefully adapted to make them perfect for the modern bride, whilst retaining their unique charm. They range from Edwardian to the 1970s. Alongside this, they also offer a range of vintage-inspired dresses that have been designed to be true to their origins but have the advantage of being available in larger contemporary sizes, an issue that brides often encounter when shopping vintage. You can see some of the collection on their Etsy page.
Now located in Islington, Pennies has a unique and bespoke collection of gowns. They offer a range of old and new wedding dresses, from elegant Edwardian pieces to antique lace gowns to a large collection of 1920s beaded dresses. They even supplied a vintage dress worn by Lily James on Downton Abbey. The store is open Tuesday until Saturday or by appointment and there is a £10 fee to try on and/or photograph the dresses.
The Vintage Wedding Dress Company
Founded by Stylist Charlie Brear (who has her own cult-following, vintage-inspired bridal collection), the showroom has a range of hand-picked vintage wedding dresses from all over the world, you’ll be able to find unique pieces from the early 1900s up until the ‘70s. Viewings are by appointment only at the London showroom on Tottenham Street. The dresses start from £950 and have all been immaculately restored and can be altered to fit perfectly, a service that is included in the price.
Annie's Vintage Clothing
Another London establishment, this time in Islington’s Camden Passage, Annie’s Vintage Costume and Textiles shop has an amazing collection of quirky dresses. Anyone who’s anyone in the fashion industry has at some time raided the place for one-off pieces and unusual trimmings and accessories, from Alexander McQueen to Ralph Lauren. Kate Moss is also a regular customer. There are some bargains to be had here and wedding dresses can sell for around £200, it’s a particularly great spot if you're looking for an original Twenties lace wedding gown.
Real Green Dress
At Real Green Dress there are two gorgeous collections available: The Pure Collection of original restored vintage dresses from the Edwardian era up until the 1980s and The Evolution Collection of re-modelled gowns created with vintage and ethically sourced fabrics. The store prides itself on providing eco-friendly shopping for its customers by being as green as possible. It ships all over the world and their studio is based in Hampshire, appointments are available on weekdays and Saturdays. There are over 100 unique vintage dresses in stock, ranging from £450 to £2,000 and from £95 for bridesmaids’ dresses, there are also vintage veils and headdresses on sale too.
Mill Crest Vintage
Mill Crest Vintage dresses are sold exclusively from their website which is ready for you to search through and buy direct. Split by decade, each dress has a detailed description listing measurements and condition with new dresses added weekly All styles are genuinely authentic and are great for a unique look. Prices vary but are around £200, obviously being an online business, any alterations will need to be arranged by the bride.
Abigail's Vintage Bridal
Abigail’s Vintage Bridal has one of the most comprehensive collections of vintage gowns in the country, from intricate lace Edwardian dresses through to the silk dresses of the 1920s and ‘30s, the drapery of the 1940s and the New Look of the 1950s. The store has around 200 dresses at any one time and Abigail takes great pleasure in showcasing them to brides to be. It’s best to make an appointment to see which items are in stock in her converted home located in Oakham, Rutland.