By Debra Shepperson with Relish Photography by Lee

You’ve been to countless wedding dress salons with your entourage, but you still can’t find “the one.” Have you considered a vintage gown? With the advances in gown preservation and alterations, vintage gowns have started to trend in a new light. From totally unique shapes to intricate details you just don’t see anymore, this might be your dream dress! Here’s a list of pros and cons to help you decide if the vintage route is the way for you.

Unique options with unmatched character. With your vintage gown, no other bride will be wearing the same dress. You will be a one-of-a-kind stand out. Most vintage dresses have a style unlike most that are off the rack today.

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Quality. There’s a reason why this dress has stood the test of time! Most vintage dresses involve a level of meticulous workmanship. You’ll be happy with the attention-to-detail and wonderful little touches.

History. It’s fun to research the gown, designer, and how it was used. Try searching on sites like Etsy to see if you can find a match. Planning on wearing an heirloom? This is a nice way to pay homage to your family and the history surrounding your dress.

Pricing. Most vintage dresses are very affordably priced.

You’re recycling! Weddings can create a lot of trash and waste, but wearing a vintage dress is one way to make your wedding more earth-friendly.

Increased time and budget for alterations and repairs. A lot of times a vintage dress will be slightly deteriorated and fragile in places, leading to fraying, loose beading, and stitching. Luckily, these are all things a talented seamstress can fix. But alterations take time, especially if there is more than one round. If you’re looking to wear a vintage dress, start early to avoid any last-minute stresses.

Not for the perfectionist. It’s vintage! It might have staining, creasing from previous hemlines, or other wear marks. Most stains and creasing can be steamed and removed by a professional dry cleaner. But remember those imperfections will add character and honor its history as a beloved item of clothing.

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Missing out on the “dress experience.” Depending on where you’re shopping for a vintage dress, you might not have the experience of trying on your dress in a shop with a group. Bring your close family and a friend to a fitting to have that wedding dress moment!

Limited selection and sizing. Any bride thinking about a vintage gown should approach it with an open mind and heart to different styles, fabrics, and shapes.

Selecting a vintage dress isn’t just for the non-traditional bride. Take a look through your grandmother’s (or great-grandmother’s!) wedding photos and you’ll see that dresses back in the day were equally gorgeous and totally unique. With a variety of necklines and embellishments, a vintage dress might be the dream gown you’ve been waiting for! Plus, just think of the story you’ll be able to tell your guests when they ask, “Where did you get that fabulous dress?”

Debra Shepperson is Co-Owner of Relish Photography by Lee, a full-service wedding and portrait photography company. To learn more about the Relish wedding collections and services, please visit All photos courtesy of Relish Photography by Lee.