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Vintage Wedding Dresses are in Style Again — 35 Photos That’ll Transport You to the Past

The surprising and fascinating history behind some of the most popular bridal gowns

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Your wedding dress is probably the most memorable (and likely the most expensive) dress you’ll ever buy — and you only wear it once! But this wasn’t always the case. According to London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, in the 18th and 19th centuries, brides would often rewear their dresses and make alterations to them. The now commonly-held concept of a “dress for a day” didn’t take off until the early 20th century, and over time, wedding gowns have become increasingly mass-produced and commercialized.

Today, the global bridal wear market is worth tens of billions of dollars. While many women buy their wedding gowns at department stores and chains like David’s Bridal, vintage wedding dresses are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to a growing interest in sustainability, and an interest in unique, nostalgic fashions.

With the summer wedding season about to take off, and the ever-growing popularity of vintage styles, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at some of the most popular wedding dress styles from the Victorian Era all the way to the 1970s. It’s fascinating to see how much bridal fashion has changed over the years — from long to short hemlines and back again. Keep scrolling for some of our favorite vintage images of vintage wedding dresses, along with the captivating stories behind them. Who knows, you may see a family heirloom in the mix, or get inspiration for an upcoming wedding or to renew your vows. 

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