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So you want a vintage gown?

It doesn’t matter how many ethereal, boho-glam outdoor barn weddings the internet throws at you – most brides will know exactly what style of wedding they want, and outside forces ain’t gonna change that!

While there is a time and a place for those earthy, nature-loving ceremonies (we love you – and how many abandoned barns would there be otherwise?), sometimes all that will do is a glamorous hotel, some gold accents, a red lip and a super-foxy blusher veil.

One of the first things you need to do when choosing a wedding gown (in the case of vintage, a gown that will heavily influence your overall theme) is think about what suits you. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist who’s comfiest in shades of monochrome and fitted, tailored dresses, you might want to re-evaluate your vintage dream: there’s a strong chance you just won’t feel like yourself, and your groom may be a little taken aback at your sudden transformation!

Think not only about your body but about your style, too; looking back on your wedding photographs, you want to feel like the style of the day really expressed who you are as a couple. And if you’re more of a Breaking Bad than a Mad Men couple, vintage mightn’t be for you!

On the other hand, maybe you’re the kind of gal who just doesn’t feel comfortable without her red lipstick, whose idea of a great Saturday night is dancing to blues in your local mock-Depression-era boozer and whose style is all Rita Hayworth meets Joan Holloway. If this is you, then a vintage dress will be right up your alley!

If you’re going true vintage, the best advice would be to start the hunt early, engage the services of a good dressmaker for alterations and tailoring, and keep a really, really close eye on details: is this zip replaceable? Will these stains come out? If I shorten this lace hem will I lose some of the dress’s prettiest details?

Buying online may seem like the easiest way to find good vintage, but look at the returns policies – if you can’t return it, that bargainous 1960s number will seem a little less wonderful!

A smart idea, if your budget allows, is to find your perfect, dream vintage gown and have it made by a great designer. Bring as many photographs as you can get your hands on, and know going into your first design meeting what you will and will not compromise on; Chantilly lace may bump you up another couple of hundred dollars, and do you really need it? (But that petticoat? Not up for discussion!)

While weddings are all about commitment, with this one we’d say – you don’t need to commit 100% to your vintage style. Going for, say, a tea-length prom dress with a red lip, a 1920s hairstyle, blusher veil and coloured T-bar sandals would be super-cute – but will it jar with your vintage-meets-modern ceremony? Pick and choose which elements you’d like to include! Some of our favorites?

At this vintage-styled Toronto wedding, the bride and groom enlisted the help of friends and family for DIY favors, stationery and décor – and the bridesmaids were given free reign with their dress selections, which worked a treat!

This Rivini ballgown was featured in a piece on alternative ballgowns by our friends (and idols!) at The Knot. Like so many “vintage” pieces, speaking strictly it doesn’t qualify – but with the high-low hem, puff skirt and delicate lace bodice, we think it fits right in.

Brooke’s super-sweet dress was custom-made for her by Irlecia Bridal Couture, for a gorgeous vintage-meets-Southern day designed by Southern Elegance Design


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