A barn wedding, a lakeside affair, a fete in your own backyard — all of these weddings call for very special rustic or vintage wedding gowns. While you may find something you love at a bridal salon, many of our brides look elsewhere for their dream dresses — with great results. We’ve put together a list of five places to look for the perfect rustic, country or vintage wedding dress. Good luck with your search, and have fun!
1. Vintage/consignment shops
The easiest place to start your search for an offbeat gown is at a high-end vintage or consignment store in your area. Shops like Shareen’s Vintage offer beautiful selections of reworked vintage gowns, while good quality consignment stores carry a rotating selection of gently used wedding dresses. If you find something you love but the fit is not quite right, consider having it tailored to your measurements.
2. Custom dress
If you have the time, money and vision, a custom-made wedding dress can be the easiest way to get exactly the gown you’re looking for. Seek out the best bridal tailors in your area or browse Etsy to find a made-to-measure dress.
3. Your mother/grandmother
Your mom may have married in the ’70s (hello, high necklines and long sleeves!) but even if you’re not looking for that particular style, dresses from the era were often made from beautiful laces. If your mother’s wedding gown fits you, consider having it altered for a more modern look — or keep it as-is if you’re having a boho-chic affair. As for your grandmother: If her dress was preserved, it may still be in good enough shape for you to wear on your big day. If not, see if a local tailor can use the fabric to create your “something new” from “something old.”
4. Shop online for vintage-inspired gowns in contemporary sizes
One of the most challenging things about buying a vintage dress is finding something in your size. Standard sizes have changed a lot in the last 40 years — heck, they’ve changed a lot in the last 20 years — so if you want a rustic or vintage dress but don’t want the hassle of tracking down something secondhand and having it altered, consider buying a vintage-inspired dress online. BHLDN and Ruche, for example, both offer great selections of retro-chic gowns in contemporary sizes.
5. Thrift stores
If all that comes to mind when you think of thrift stores and wedding gowns is a puffy-sleeved, satin number from the ’80s, allow us to change your mind! There are plenty of thrift stores that carry higher-end items — particularly in places like Los Angeles where you can score gowns from TV and film sets — and there are even Goodwill locations that specifically stock wedding dresses. Scour the web and stop by the thrift stores with the best selection on a regular basis — you could save yourself thousands of dollars and land the dress of your dreams!