Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Enjoying Vintage Wedding Gowns by Tami Parks

When looking for ways to “green” your wedding, don’t overlook the tradition of wearing a family or vintage wedding gown. Perhaps your mother, grandmother, or an aunt saved her gown. It’s not your style? That’s ok; with the original owner’s permission and a qualified gown expert’s help, you can have the gown of your dreams with sentimental style.

I’ve had the privilege of preparing several wedding gowns and flower girl dresses for wearing by the second- and third- generations. Other of my customers have fallen in love with gown that they purchased from a vintage store or EBay. During the first meeting with the bride, I spend a lot of time looking at the construction of the gown, the fabric, and color; while listening to the bride’s expectations for the gown. Usually, I begin by cleaning and/or restoring the color of the gown. This can usually be done with lots of TLC, water, and mild detergent; I try to minimize the use of any harsh chemicals. Next, the bride tries on the gown for me and my seamstress and we begin to envision any changes, alterations, or restyling that needs to be done. The entire process can take from 2-6 months and cost $100-$500.

Unless you’re planning a “period wedding”; where all the elements come from the same decade, let me make a few suggestions. If the bride wears a vintage gown, keep other elements, such as the bridesmaid dresses, more modern or classic. Add a new veil and jewelry to your ensemble. The balance of new and vintage style can combine beautifully!

Photo A: A vintage gown, restyled for a modern bride.
Photo B, C: Jackie wore her mother’s gown, which we completely restored and restyled

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