Where to Find the Best Vintage Elopement Dresses?
It’s a common trope that women have grown up dreaming of the perfect wedding dress. While this is an idea that’s largely been pushed by Hollywood films, bridal magazines, and the like, there is something to it. The desire to look your best in a traditional garment on the day you get married is certainly understandable! On the other hand, this doesn’t always mean opting for a fancy, bright-white princess gown.
Particularly where elopements are concerned, things are often — for lack of a better term — a little bit more casual. For other elopements, there may be a theme that strays from the traditional wedding style, such as the boco-chic theme we’ve highlighted in the past (or any number of others). And for many, one of the most charming ways to go about an elopement, and the dress that goes with it, is to embrace a vintage aesthetic.
This last idea is one that appeals to many, but also one that raises a tricky question: Where exactly does one go to find the best vintage elopement dresses? There are a few answers to this question that might serve you well.
Established Shops & Sites
Perhaps the “main” solution is to seek out a shop or website that is known specifically for this purpose. While there aren’t a ton of high-profile vintage elopement dress outlets people tend to be aware of, an article on vintage wedding dress shopping, in general, points out that there are some names to keep in mind. Businesses like 1stDibs, HardlyEverWornIt, and Resee, for instance, are all known to have vintage dresses available to brides-to-be. Because these stores are experienced at what they do and sometimes have fairly exquisite pieces, you are sure to find the glamorous vintage dress of your dreams. These shops are definitely worth the look!
Consignment & Thrift Shops
If you want to feel particularly authentic about your vintage elopement selection, you can also look into local consignment and thrift shops. For people who aren’t accustomed to shopping at places like these, they can seem somewhat off the radar, or even cheap in an unflattering way. But this is something of a misinformed perspective. According to one guide for people opening up consignment shops, up to 15% of consumers actually patronize consignment and thrift shops in a given year. And that’s compared to only 11.4% that shop at outlet malls, and 19.6% in apparel stores. In other words, consignment and thrift stores are more mainstream than you may think, and often have the inventory to match regular demand. It’s a little bit hit-or-miss, but you may just find the perfect vintage elopement dress in a store like this.
For something like a vintage elopement dress, your best bet can sometimes be the resale market as well. Once upon a time this market hardly would have existed. But now, thanks to a seemingly limitless number of online platforms on which people can sell their things (including Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, and more), it’s perfectly reasonable to search around for a vintage dress that might suit your needs. Just remember that buying a dress from someone else you’ll almost certainly need tailoring. Indeed, one piece on wedding dress alterations suggested that every bride requires alterations, and that doesn’t seem far from the truth. But buying vintage from someone else (or from a consignment or thrift shop for that matter), it’s even more likely that you’ll need some work done on the dress.
As you might rightfully expect, the perfect vintage elopement dress can be difficult to find. Start with these options though, and you’ll be on the right track!
Article exclusively written for Rochelle Cheever.
By Roxie Jo
Featured a Villa Cimbrone Elopement – Photography by Rochelle Cheever