Where To Look For A Vintage Wedding Dress You'll Adore For Your Big Day

Finding the perfect wedding dress is one of the most exciting tasks for any bride-to-be, but with so many options, the search can feel overwhelming. Finding the right style, fit, design, and cut for your big day may prove complicated, but once you know what you want, it's all the easier to narrow your search! We already know what wedding dress trends are hot with brides in 2023, and vintage dresses — including ones with elements that need to make a comeback — tick a lot of the boxes. A vintage gown can be a beautiful and charming staple that ties the rest of your wedding together. Whether it be with a tasteful application of vintage-style lace, a call-back to another era's designs, or a simplistic style, a vintage dress brings elegance to your look and makes for lasting memories.


Those looking for beautiful vintage dresses will find there are countless places to begin. Narrowing your search can help with any looming anxieties about finding The One, and finding the exact boutique or shopping method you want to employ can help expedite the process. Get your vision board ready and take notes because finding the vintage wedding dress of your dreams has never been easier.


Etsy is a perfect place to start looking for your vintage wedding dress if you have the time to try buying directly from an online store. Etsy offers hundreds of vintage dresses from ones custom-made to those available in selectable sizes from smaller shops. Etsy is perfect to search through if you're looking for something unique, as the site offers the services of thousands of original creators and offers vastly differing price points, so no matter your wedding budget, Etsy has something to offer. 


Etsy also offers vintage wedding dresses in a wide variety of categories, making a refined search much easier. Some popular filters include lace dresses, 1950s, long sleeves, and silk. You can also sort by price, with the lower-price end falling at under $100, and the higher end of the auto-search being over $500, along with a custom price search bar to find gowns fitting within your exact budget. Like any private seller-based site, be sure to look at each seller's reviews and ratings to avoid any scams or low-quality items. Also, keep an eye on preparation and shipping times when buying through Etsy, and allow for extra time to account for delays and alterations. 

Maggie Sottero

Maggie Sottero defines vintage as anything inspired by styles from the 1920s to the early 1990s. The designer offers hundreds of vintage wedding dresses to choose from, with the lower end of the price-search function falling under $1,200 and the higher end over $2,000. Like many bridal-specific retailers, Maggie Sottero offers a detailed search function where you can choose specific style details, such as buttons, sleeves, necks, fabrics, colors, and silhouettes. The site also offers a style quiz to provide personal suggestions to jump-start your selection process. 


With three designers to choose from under the brand, Maggie Sottero offers vintage dresses with touches of modern appeal. Ranging from styles with a fairy-tale feel to more regal and sexy looks, you can be sure to find something that fits your dream ideal. The brand's mission statement, "a lifelong commitment with bridalwear," certainly shows in the uniqueness of each gown. 

Maggie Sottero gowns are available at a wide selection of retailers, so once you've narrowed your search, you can use their "Find a Boutique" tab to locate a seller near you to try your dresses on before making that major commitment. While these locations don't always carry the exact dress you're looking for, they often have dresses with a similar style and fit for you to try before ordering your dream dress.


David's Bridal

David's Bridal offers 16 different brands to choose from, with nearly 100 vintage wedding dresses to peruse. David's offers gowns in a wide price range, from $35 to $2,000, so there are options for just about any bride. Additionally, David's is known for hosting frequent sales, so if you have a little time on your hands, you may be able to wait out your favorite dress and get it at a reduced price. If you're looking for a dress with a pop of color, David's also showcases some dresses with unique color options, such as champagne, cocoa, dusty blue, and vintage rose, with many others to pick from. For those looking for easy-to-find, plus-size dresses, David's has a wonderful selection of gowns up to size 30w, or 5X.


David's also rolled out a 3D viewing feature, so you can view your dress online from any angle. So far, about 60 of their gowns provide this digital capability. The retailer also offers several guides, including their bridal inspiration guide and bridal brand guide, to help you find your perfect dress. David's is a fairly common retailer to see in any city, so finding a physical location near you shouldn't be difficult, and each appointment includes a bridal consultation with a trained dress specialist. Finally, David's Bridal frequently hosts events and shows featuring new gowns and access to exclusive offers.

Unique Vintage's bridal shop

Unique Vintage's bridal shop has a feature that more specific-era-minded brides will appreciate: the ability to shop by decade, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Unique Vintage offers affordable options, with prices ranging from under $50 to above $200, so "you can save money without sacrificing style and still have the wedding you've always imagined." While Unique Vintage has a smaller collection than other bridal shops, their budget-friendly options are top-of-the-line, and their styles vary greatly from dress to dress. If you're looking for a short wedding dress, for example, this is a great place to start.


Currently, Unique Vintage only has one physical location based in California, but their online shop offers full refunds for items returned within 30 days if they are "unworn, unwashed, new condition with all original tags attached." They also offer a decent array of colors and sizes, starting from W2/XS going up to 26W/3X. Best of all, the shop offers free international shipping on orders over $150 and only charges $8.99 for order totals falling beneath the $150 mark. 

Happy Isles

While Happy Isles may have a rather unconventional method of online shopping, you can be sure that what they supply is truly vintage, as they feature gowns from the 1930s to the early 2000s. This high-end vintage bridal shop, which has been featured in Vogue, California Style, Harper's Bazaar, Brides, and more, is perfect for brides who have a good amount of time to look for their dress and those with a slightly larger budget, as an online appointment with Happy Isles currently costs a non-refundable $385. This appointment, however, includes 24 hours of access to their virtual database and a follow-up Facetime appointment.


The best way to view the kinds of items Happy Isles carries is to either visit their Los Angeles store or to look through their Instagram LookBook, as they do not offer a traditional e-commerce platform. So, how do you know what's currently for sale? Happy Isles acquires true vintage and shows new arrivals in real-time via their Instagram reels, displaying what's currently available for purchase. They also have pinned "how to shop" and "FAQ" sections to help navigate their unique selling format as well as a variety of items available at the top of their Instagram page.


Decades is for those who know exactly what they want and who won't accept an imitation version of their dream gown. Offering access to designer collections from Christian Dior and Chanel, Decades carries a vast collection of dresses and gowns. Decades' gowns tend to be on the pricier side, with the most expensive gown on their site priced at a whopping $22,000 and their most expensive dress sold being $32,000. The lower end of their gowns falls around $1,295, with their lowest-priced dress priced at $175.


Decades currently does not have a search function to sort out wedding and bridal wear from the rest of their collection, so any bride searching their site online will either have to know what they're looking for or accept that finding the right gown can take some time. That said, Decades states they're "a world leader in the sale of pre-loved vintage, neo-vintage and contemporary designer clothing," so you can be sure you won't find their dresses anywhere else.

At this writing, Decade's only physical store is located in Los Angeles, and while they have extensive photos and information online for each dress sold, all sales at Decades are final. The retailer also provides the measurements of each garment instead of a size, however, which can help with the need to return because of sizing issues, which is common in the bridal shopping world.


Miranda's Vintage Bridal

Miranda's Vintage Bridal is another shop offering vintage styles that are accurate, beautiful, and unmistakably historic. Though Miranda's offers a small collection, the items available are simply stunning and surprisingly affordable. The least expensive dress in their collection is currently only $124, with the most expensive priced at $1,150, though most fall around the $400 to $500 mark. Each dress in their shop offers detailed information, including measurements of both the dress and the model wearing the dress and the year made along with its features, materials, silhouette, and more. Miranda's also offers furs, outerwear, lingerie and boudoir, rehearsal dinner attire, and bridal shower dresses, including a beautiful display of vintage kimonos.


Their jewelry and accessory shop also offers beautiful options for a true, full-on vintage wedding. The hairpieces, especially, feature dazzling displays of crystal and pearl. Miranda's Vintage Bridal only has one physical retail location as of now in Cleveland, Ohio, so any alterations you may need for a dress purchased online must be sourced at another location. Shipping within the U.S. only takes between one and five business days, though, which is faster than some of the large chain bridal retailers.

Sophia Tolli Australia

Sophia Tolli Australia is a larger vintage store but one without online shopping. While you can browse their collection, you have to locate the nearest retail location to purchase. That said, there are a ton of locations all across the U.S., with over 400 locations worldwide. Regardless, it's always best to try on your wedding dress before purchasing, if possible. Sophia Tolli doesn't post prices online, though Celestial Brides reports that the gowns are usually between $1,500 to $2,500. 


Sophia Tolli offers a vintage collection of over 100 dresses with plenty of fabrics, silhouettes, sleeves, and necklines to choose from. The collection blends modern trends and glamour into the romantic and classic design of vintage gowns, with each one asserting itself as a true statement piece for your special day. Sophia Apostolides, the award-winning designer behind Sophia Tolli, has also been cited as one of the top designers in the bridal industry, according to the Sophia Tolli website.


Wed2B is another great shop for those looking to capture that vintage feeling without having to sort through old dresses. With four designer brands to choose from and a price range of $500 to $800, Wed2B has some of the more intricate filters to search their collection for your perfect fit. You can look for specific details, such as embroidery or beads, hidden details like internal corsets, and any style feature you can think of. Additionally, Wed2B offers a special "Affordable Collection" starting at $399. The site also provides videos, instead of photos, of models wearing each dress, letting you see how each gown moves, breathes, and catches the light. 


The only downside is that Wed2B only operates out of the U.K. If you're planning a destination wedding, though, this may be the perfect place to shop. Wed2B stocks hundreds of designers and has bridal experts ready within 39 stores across the U.K. for contact by email, chat, or phone seven days a week.

Azazie Bridal

With vintage dresses all under $600, Azazie Bridal has a small collection, but everything is available to be purchased online and shipped. The shop offers sizes 0W-30W, with a special complimentary custom sizing tool to help make alterations less costly. Additionally, before making your purchase, you can order swatches of the dress's color to see how the fabric and color hold up in real life. Each dress details its processing time and returns policy, with regular-sized gowns returnable for up to 30 days and custom sizes being final purchases. At the bottom of the web page for each dress are customer photos, so you can see how the dress looks on different body types and in various lighting. 


Azazie Bridal's site also features a surplus of filters to search for your perfect dress. These include illustrations of styles and cuts as well as an option for rush-ordering. They also offer a try before you buy tab, where they'll ship you the dress for only $15 to try in the moment. With a clear FAQ, fast shipping, easy returns, and a multitude of online reviews and customer support, Azazie appears to be one of the most convenient places to purchase a vintage gown online. 


As with most private-seller sites, eBay can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to results and ease of purchase. However, the broad range of options nearly always outweighs some of the less exciting caveats of the site. Not only are the dresses likely to be unique, but there's something for just about every price point and style. It's all a matter of knowing how to get the most out of shopping for vintage online. If you're thinking about getting your dress on eBay, make sure you allow for plenty of time, as you're sure to get burned if you wait until the last minute. Allowing for mistakes, miscommunications with the seller, and the possibility of being outbid is a must. However, eBay's bidding system also means you may get your chosen dress for much less than you may otherwise, and if that's not your cup of tea, you can filter out the auction options and only look at "buy it now" postings.


eBay also offers the possibility of one-of-a-kind dresses and true vintage at good prices. Many people post an incredible dress for a low price because they feel it's taking up valuable storage space, especially when cleaning out their closets, which may hold true vintage gems. Be certain to scope out the seller and be wary of scams, but, otherwise, freely peruse eBay until you find the dress of your dreams.

Local bridal boutiques

When looking for something no one's seen before, turn to your local retail bridal boutiques. A quick internet search can tell you which mom-and-pop shops are around and which offer in-house styles and the possibility of custom-made gowns. Even better, most local shops offer in-store alterations, sometimes at a discounted price. This is also a great way to support women-owned businesses, so you can also proudly support your local economy while you're at it. Price points for local stores vary greatly, especially when taking into account the area you live. If you live in a smaller town, your next biggest city may sometimes be the way to go for more options. 


If you're worried about too many options to choose from, check out the reviews for your local shops online and see what people had to say about the owners, the experience, and the dress they walked away with. You may even get to see a few photos of happy customers with their gowns, which can be a great inspirational tool for selecting your own dress. While your local boutiques may not offer as many options as large retail chains, they're usually more eager to help you find exactly what you're looking for and often have laxer policies when it comes to returns, cleanings, and appointments. 

Second-hand stores

When it comes to vintage clothing, there are few better options than second-hand stores. While many wedding trends and traditions are totally outdated, having "something old" or "something borrowed" certainly isn't one. Whether it be in-person stores, such as the well-known Arc, other local stores, or online second-hand shops, such as StillWhite, you'll find hundreds of options to choose from. Second-hand shops are usually also more budget-friendly, and even if sizes may be difficult to navigate, alterations can go a long way. 


The only drawback for second-hand clothing is the possibility of damage. When buying online, make sure to ask about any stains, odors, or tears in the garment. In person, go over every inch with a critical eye to be sure you haven't missed a blemish while looking at the big picture. Oftentimes, you can fix these things anyway, and if you have your heart set on a dress with some damage, there are hundreds of ways to go about bringing it back to life — you may just get a discount for that missing button or snag in the hem, too.