go forth and upcycle or not? Love these tips for buying a vintage wedding gown! go forth and upcycle or not? Love these tips for buying a vintage wedding gown!


Bridal Tips

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To go forth and upcycle or not? Deciding between upcycling a vintage original, either sourced, or a sentimental heirloom; or creating a modern dress with a vintage twist, Cape Town-based wedding designer, Cindy Bam who starred in this free Wedding Magazine & Bridal Guide - The Vintage Edition, believes that there is no better choice as "it's all up to the bride and her own personal style". If you can find an original vintage wedding dress that you love and that fits you perfectly (or can be altered) then brilliant, says Ciara Mullan, from Dita Florita, in Kent, UK.

Several wedding gown experts from all vintage and vintage-inspired corners of the globe share their take on going the vintage route when choosing your wedding dress. Follow these 13 expert tips to help you decide between upcycling a vintage wedding gown or creating a modern vintage-inspired wedding dress:

A Vintage Love Affair

(Above) 1950s Lace and Sea Pearl Vintage Wedding Gown designed by Millcrest Vintage | Shot by: Modern Flare Photography

Why we Love Authentic Vintage Finds

  • According to London-based designer, 1. Vintage tells a story:Elizabeth Avey, "It is wonderful to wear a vintage one-off, the fact that it has been sought out for you and is rare and original is a lovely feeling for such an important dress. Cindy Bam loves authentic vintage wedding gowns, whether it's your mother's, grandmother's, or purchased from a shop, she feels that vintage gowns have a history and nostalgic elegance that many current wedding dresses strive to capture.
  • "There is something to be said for a vintage wedding dress that has stood the test of time by virtue of its construction and design", says Paula Cooperman, from 2. Vintage is rare: Millcrest Vintage, in New Jersey, USA. Hannah O'Byrne, from The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, in London, UK adds that vintage dresses can often be made from exquisite, handmade fabrics, which would probably cost more should you choose to create a new dress that is made from fabric of equivalent quality.

"There is something to be said for a vintage wedding dress that has stood the test of time" - Millcrest Vintage, in New Jersey, USA

  • Paula, from 3. Vintage is kinder: Millcrest Vintage greatly appreciates the idea of reducing one's carbon footprint by "up-cycling" and wearing a vintage original.
  • Breaking away from the mould of 'the traditional wedding dress', choosing a vintage wedding dress from a wider range of choices than the usual selection of newer wedding dresses offer, will ensure that you are wearing a wedding dress that no other bride has, says Hannah, from 4. Vintage is one-of-a-kind:The Vintage Wedding Dress Company. She reveals that owning a vintage original is like owning a piece of bespoke couture at an affordable price.
  • 5. Vintage is (nearly) ready to wear: Aside from altering the dress to fit, vintage wedding dress specialist, Hannah, adds that as it has already been made, you can purchase a vintage original straight away so there is no waiting period.

Proceed with Caution

Things to Consider When Sourcing A Vintage Original

  • 6. The quality: The Cape Town-based Biji Couture Team, Biji and Laura Stewart, warn us about the preservation of vintage gowns, many which "have not been stored properly and as a result may be damaged, moth-eaten or stained".
  • 7. The fit: As women of the 1950's and early 1960's tended to marry younger and to corset their waists, Dolly Thicke, from Dolly Couture, based in LA and New York, USA explains that sometimes it can be difficult for a modern day bride to find a well-fitting garment from these eras.

"There is no better choice as it's all up to the bride and her own personal style". - Cindy Bam, in Cape Town, South Africa

  • 8. The cost: Depending on the condition of the vintage dress, it can be tricky and very expensive if the fabrics are badly damaged, cautions South African designer, Elbeth Gillis. View an exclusive first lookatthis esteemed designer's latest collection here: Elbeth Gillis Bridal Collection 2014 Premiere {Exclusive}. Also, buying a vintage dress and having to adapt it to suit you can quite often cost more than the actual original vintage dress, says London-based, Kate Edmondson.
  • 9. The time to find: Tina Lieberman, from Vintage Lunatique, in Illinois, USA tells us that searching for a vintage wedding dress that is a perfect fit, is a quite a task all on its own. For the bride who doesn't have the time to hunt for the right vintage dress, she suggests that adding a vintage touch to a modern dress would be a good alternative.

Best of Both: Vintage and Modern

(Above) 1950s Champagne Silk and Beaded Taffeta Vintage Wedding Dress designed by Millcrest Vintage | Shot by: Modern Flare Photography
    10. Compromise by incorporating Vintage Fabrics: You may have wanted to use a vintage original like your mother's or grandmothers wedding dress, but for some reason or other, the dress is not right for you. Sometimes, a good compromise, suggests the Biji Couture team, is to incorporate the lace of the original dress by appliquéing it in many unusual ways onto a new gown, breathing a fresh breath of life into it. Using original vintage lace fabric and trims suited to those eras and recycling it into your new wedding dress, is the perfect way to create a dress that is vintage-inspired, says designer, Kate Edmondson.

Savvy Sourcing Tips

Wedding gown designer, Cindy Bam, shares three important things to consider when deciding on an authentic vintage wedding gown:

  • 11. Check the Sizing: Sizing was different 50 years ago, so make sure you take that into consideration when shopping.
  • 12. Check the Condition: Inspect the gown to ensure that it is wearable.
  • 13. Check the Authenticity: Educate yourself on how to buy a vintage original wedding dress and ensure that you purchase your vintage gown from someone you can trust.

Here's more Vintage Wedding Tips!

Sign up for access to our freebie digital Wedding Magazine & Bridal Guide - The Vintage Edition. Featuring wedding ideas, bridal style inspiration and expert advice from those in-the-know in a cute online wedding magazine package, you'll be all set for your vintage inspired wedding!

Founding Editor: Storm Buckingham

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