What could be more romantic--and beautiful--than a beach wedding in a vintage wedding dress? Imagine if your whole bridal party were dressed up in vintage style to match. Glamorous and fun, vintage-themed weddings are a memorably whimsical way to tie the knot in style. We've all been to a thousand ordinary, forgettable weddings--make yours something to remember.
When you get ready to choose your vintage wedding dress for your beach wedding, consider all your favorite decades in history. It's amazing how much dresses have changed over the years, and your dream gown might be located farther back in history than you would assume. For this article, I'm going to discuss several different styles seen in wedding dresses from the early 1900s to the 1940s, as well as some modern dresses with a beautiful retro style, any of which would look marvelous for that special beach wedding, whether you are the bride or a guest. The 1900s were a lush, opulent time, and gowns were much bulkier than today. Often a women's undergarments alone would weigh upwards of ten pounds, and the beautiful dresses had long trains for a beautiful line. Satin, lace, chiffon silk, and tulle were all very popular materials used in these dresses, and the decadent trains could be removed if necessary, as they were so long they could be arranged around the bride's feet in pictures. If you'd like a vintage wedding dress from the 1900s, you will likely need a corset, slip, and bustle. In vintage pictures from the time, you can see many women with beautiful flowers arranged around them, tucked into the train of their wedding dress. This would make an especially lovely photograph for a beach wedding--you could have your loved ones all around you, with the dress arranged around your feet, full of flowers.
1910 was a strange, exciting time--it was the close of the prim, Edwardian era, and the very beginning of the first World War. We can see wedding dresses beginning to change--waistlines rose, sometimes all the way up to empire levels, and hemlines became shorter. Sometimes you might even see a toe-tip in one of the wedding pictures, which would have been scandalous just a few years prior. We also begin to see "bretelles"--lacy bands of elaborate fabric draped in patterns around the bodice of wedding dresses. Sleeves were often very full, only tapering at the wrist. This is a dramatic look which would be very striking for a gothic wedding on the beach--especially if you choose a high collar.
By 1915 we see the bias technique beautifully utilized in many vintage wedding dresses, as well as art deco embellishments. Straighter lines cut more closely to the body made for a strikingly beautiful look which is just as modern today. If you would love a wedding dress of this style for your beach wedding, consider setting your hair in shiny finger waves. In the 1920s women had learned they could appear even more feminine when they dressed more boyishly. So waistlines dropped and dresses became shorter and less structured. Scarf hemlines were commonly used, which skittered beautifully around the legs as women walked. These dresses would be absolutely perfect for a beach wedding, as you wouldn't have to worry about wet sand collecting in the hem, and 1920s wedding dresses look absolutely wonderful worn without shoes, as they fall at just the perfect point on the leg. They look darling with charming vintage styled shoes, too, of course. In the 1930s, wedding dresses became more long and streamlined, still with that lovely bias design, and in the 1940s, we continue to see the drop waist design but often with festive full skirts. These would be marvelous for a beach wedding as well--a vintage 1930s dress would be supremely dramatic and glamorous, and a 1940s vintage styled one would be so much fun. It can be tricky as well as expensive to find a vintage wedding dress which both fits you and is in good enough condition to be worn to your beach wedding. You don't want all that precious fabric dissolving in the sun and surf--what a shame that would be. Thankfully, modern designers have just as much love for these beautiful vintage styles as you do, and they've designed a beautiful array of dresses which look just like the real vintage ones from previous periods. However, you'll be able to find the fit which is tailored just to you, and the fabric will be in mint condition. Nataya is one of the most popular ones, and her designs are all perfect for a beach wedding. One of my favorite Nataya designs for a beach wedding would be from the 1920s/1930s Angel Dream Vintage Collection--I especially love the black tulle, which is so dramatic and a lovely way to emphasize beautiful shoulders and arms. I also adore the Romantic 1920s/1930s Pearls and Stockings Vintage Collection--especially in that wonderful scarlet. What a showstopper! Whatever style vintage dress is right for you, your beach wedding will be especially memorable for all the extra effort you put into styling it. Have a wonderful time!