Maybe it's Elizabeth Taylor's yellow dress she wore to marry Richard Burton. Or perhaps it's Bianca Jagger's white suit for her nuptials to Mick Jagger. Then, of course, there's one of the most iconic bridal looks of all time: Grace Kelly's stunning lace gown for her wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Whatever the decade, whatever the style, if you're engaged and planning a wedding, vintage wedding dresses are always a great place to get inspiration. But it doesn't just have to be about getting ideas—real vintage wedding dresses are available to buy.
Elizabeth Taylor in the wedding dress she wore to marry Richard Burton
Vintage frocks are good for many reasons, but the most persuasive reason brides-to-be should consider one is that they come with a guarantee: You can own and wear something no one else will have seen at any other wedding in real life or otherwise (and by otherwise, we're talking about Instagram, of course). Not only that, but these dresses are a more sustainable option too. Adding to this, vintage dresses also tend to be less expensive than brand-new creations. A hyper-detailed dress you don't have to fork out the big bucks for, and are good for the environment? Sounds like a stylish, sustainable plan.
That said, it's not easy to find vintage bridal gowns. Sure, some might be vintage-inspired, but when it comes to the real deal, there are only a few select shops and brands that provide what you're looking for. If you're a bride who's been hunting for something more retro, you've come to the right place. We've put together a curated list of the chicest places to find vintage wedding dresses. From the more expensive couture gowns to the affordable frocks that cost as little as £65, we've got something for every budget. Below, click through our gallery of the best vintage wedding dresses.
Pictured: Bianca Jagger at her wedding to Mick Jagger
PLACES TO FIND VINTAGE WEDDING DRESSES
Real Green Dress
Real Green Dress
Not only does Real Green Dress source some gorgeous vintage wedding dresses (such as this Edwardian one pictured), but it also prides itself on being as "green" as possible when cleaning the dresses, using the most environmentally friendly methods. The store ships its dresses all over the world, and it's a regular presence at vintage fairs, in case you're not able to get to the Hampshire HQ.
Most people head to Beyond Retro for an old-school Levi's 501 fix, but did you know it also stocks wedding dresses? This '40s vintage wedding dress (£200) is a pretty good steal for brides on a budget, don't you think?
Strictly speaking, William Vintage doesn't stock wedding dresses. But if you're looking for a frock that totally wows, such as this Versace gown (which costs £2795), we suggest you take a look at this A-list–adored mecca.
Glance over the Instagram account for Fur Coat No Knickers and you'll see brides wearing vintage frocks, from long and lacy to short strapless dresses. It stocks both vintage and vintage-inspired pieces from various eras.
Pennies opened in 2011 in Islington, and it is a trove of gorgeous vintage wedding dresses. From Edwardian crochet pieces to 1920s beaded gowns that are incredibly elegant. Pennies was even featured on Downton Abbey, with one of its wedding dresses worn by Lady Rose (played by Lily James).
Also located in Islington, Annie's Vintage Clothing is another great place to discover retro gems. While there isn't much info on the website, we suggest you get in touch, or head straight there and browse until you find your perfect wedding dress. And you don't even need to make an appointment.
Obsessed with wedding dresses from the '20s and '30s? Then Notting Hill–based Jane Bourvis's shop is the place to go. The atelier specialises in restoring and re-creating beautiful antique wedding dresses, with many of the pieces having featured on film and TV, from Sex and the City to Sherlock.
Featuring dresses from the '30s to the '50s, Abigail's Vintage Bridal focuses on divine Edwardian gowns in intricate lacing as well as long, ethereal dresses. Styles are constantly changing, although the store has about 200 dresses available at any given point. It's best to make an appointment to see which pieces it has—and perhaps worth a second trip if you don't find something you instantly fall in love with.