It became clear quite earlier on that buying a vintage wedding dress on Etsy was going to be the way forward for me. I always had a very clear picture in my head of what style dress I wanted for my wedding but I knew early on, after peaking in a few boutiques that I wasn’t going to find what I was after on the high street. Another thing I was sure of is that I didn’t want my wedding dress to come with a crazy price tag!
If you’re looking for a wedding dress that’s unique and doesn’t cost the earth then going vintage is the way forward. One of the many beauties of using Etsy is that you are able to browse items from a multitude of different vintage boutiques at once, making finding your dream dress that much easier. I found that the best boutiques were based in the USA but that the vast majority delivery internationally. Price wise, in my experience at least, vintage dresses on Etsy seem to be a fraction of the cost of dresses in bridal boutiques. Mine was less than £200! So if, like me, you’re keen on a genuine 1950’s tea dress or whether your bridal style inspiration is anything from 20’s glamour to 70’s boho – there will be a vintage wedding dress on Etsy that could be perfect for you, not to mention one that comes with a whole history of its own.
My Tips for Buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy
When browsing on Etsy you can click the heart to favourite any item you like the look of. Search for dresses in the style or era you’re looking for then use the favourites tool to keep track of dresses on the ‘maybe’ list; saving them for looking at in more detail later. Etsy is also very clever at showing you lovely items related to your favourites so next time you log on your home page will be full of dresses that will be up your street.
First things first you need to know your vital stats when looking to buy a dress online. As well as the garment measurement, Etsy stores tend to include their model’s measurements too and often use the same model for all their listings. Study pictures of the model in other items and get a feel for how you’d compare. Obviously comparing yourself to a model is not normally sensible life advice but seeing how my dress looked on the lovely Consetta’s Closet model and comparing her measurements to mine definitely helped me get an idea of how the dress might fit me – especially height wise.
If you find a dress that is almost a perfect fit it may be possible to make alterations,
have a professional seamstress deal with anything major like letting out seams or adjusting hemlines. You make be brave enough to attempt smaller modifications yourself. For example, I unpicked bands which were at the edge of the sleeves with *extreme* care.
Sellers often post sneak peaks of items due to be listed on Instagram and other social media channels so if you see something that takes your fancy you can be poised to snap it up.
Etsy sellers tend to be lovely so don’t be afraid to contact them with any questions you might have about the condition or details of a dress. Ultimately they can’t make your mind up for you but I’m sure sellers would be happy to help if they can.
You should expect to pay import duty if you’re buying a dress from overseas. My dress actually managed to avoid it but many an item I’ve bought from The States has not. There are details on what you can expect to be charged here. The most annoying thing about being charged for imports isn’t the tax itself but the £8 handling fee. Just remember if you do return the item you can claim the tax back.
Go For It!
Obviously, with buying a vintage wedding dress online there’s a risk that it won’t be quite perfect for you when it arrives but the end of the day if it’s not right you can always send it back or even sell it on. However, if you do find something right for you, you’ll have the pleasure of wearing something truly unique on your wedding day. Ultimately if you come across a dress you love the look of in your size don’t agonise over it, go for it!
A Few of My Favourite Etsy Stores:
Concettas’s Closet – This is shop my lovely dress came from. Currently stocking beautiful vintage wedding dresses from as early as the 1900’s! Not to mention their non-bridal selection is so dreamy!
Dear Golden – A large and stunning collection of vintage bridal wear.
Breanne Faouzi – Particularly unique styles from the 50s, 60s & 70s
The Vintage Studio – Perfect dresses for your inner the Prom Queen!
In taking a chance on a vintage wedding dress on Etsy I found just what I was looking for! You can check out my bridal inspiration board on Pinterest.
I hope my tips may encourage you to at least have a look at what Etsy has to offer – do you have any tips of your own? I’d love to hear them. Oh and any tips on removing a cranberry juice stain from a vintage wedding dress would be nice too! (Whoops!)