Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
A good vintage dress ticks off at LEAST the first three of these criteria. And here's where to get the best in Dublin...
1. Cork – Bella Bleu Vintage Bridal
Stocking exquisite vintage finds from the 1920s to 1970s, Paris to New York, the gorgeous Bella Bleu boutique on French Church Street, Cork City, is more than just a dress shop, it’s an experience.
Staff understand the importance of shopping for ‘the one’ and go all out to spoil the bride-to-be.
And as well as a fabulous vintage stock, they can make new dresses with original vintage patterns, so it will technically be a vintage dress – just new, and tailored to fit you exclusively. Pretty cool right?
2. Belfast – Archive 12
A mere glimpse of the Archive 12 website is enough to have vintage lovers reaching for the smelling salts.
The bohemian bridal boutique, located at Conway Mill in Belfast, is packed to the rafters with a pretty unreal edit of cool and unusual frocks as well as a beautiful range of handmade crowns to buy as seen or to custom order. By appointment only.
3. Belfast – Well Made
Belfast is notorious for its great vintage shops so if you’ve a hankering to channel the likes of Priscilla Presley or Elizabeth Taylor on your big day get thee across the border.
Well Made on Belmont Road has some really beautiful pieces at great prices. And don’t forget, vintage dresses can be reworked and restyled, so keep an open mind about gowns that aren't completely perfect – they may very well have the potential to be turned into something incredible.
4. Dublin – Jenny Vander
Jenny Vander on Drury Street is a bit of Dublin vintage institution. We’re talking expertly-chosen, intricate gowns from every era as well as jaw-dropping collection of vintage jewellery, accessories and cover ups.
Velvet cape anyone?
5. Limerick – Lilac Rose
Lilac Rose on George’s Quay, Limerick City is special in that it sells both ‘regular’ wedding dresses from some of the best designers in the biz like Charlie Brear and Eliza Jane Howell, as well a stunning selection of original vintage – a great opportunity to get a feel for both retro and more contemporary styles.
The vintage dresses date from the 1920s to the 1970s and are professionally cleaned and preserved by an antique clothing specialist, so you know you’ll be getting the best. But be warned: it's by appointment only.
6. Dublin – A Store is Born
Even the name of this vintage wonderland screams jazzy retro glamour. Open on Saturdays only from 11-6, this place on Clarendon Street is jammers with expertly-chosen stock. And why wouldn’t it be?
It’s going since 1983, a good while before vintage really, properly took off in Ireland as a relatively mainstream thing.
The guys in A Store is Born are always sourcing for weddings and have a wide range of long and short frocks in a variety of colours, perfect for a bride who wants to go her own way (thanks Stevie).
7. Dublin – The Harlequin
Another Dublin vintage institution (as a teenager I would get the bus to Dublin especially to go here) The Harlequin in Castle Market is a treasure trove bursting with bridal dresses, capes, headpieces, shoes and jewellery.
And while you’re there why not kit out your bridesmaids? They’ve a massive range of vintage dresses, beaded clutches and spangly jackets perfect for a retro maid who wants to complement the bride's old school vibe.
8. Dublin – Dirty Fabulous
For the bridal showroom experience, with a floor packed full of frothy vintage concoctions, headpieces and accessories, Dirty Fabulous on Dublin’s Wicklow Street is your go-to.
Sisters Kathy and Caroline source their gowns from all over the world and have even designed their own new-but-inspired-by-vintage range so you can get the best of both worlds. Also by appointment only.
9. Vintage Bride
Vintage Bride in Clontarf has a brilliant selection of original vintage gowns sourced from all over the world and lovingly restored to their former glory, as well as an exclusive range of vintage-inspired pieces designed by the seriously amazing Joanne Fleming.
There's also a selection of unique Edwardian-style pieces by Katya Shehurina. So g'wan. Get in there.