6 Vintage Hippie Wedding Dress Ideas for Your Second Marriage
by Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire)
If you're a bride over 40, 50, or 60, chances are good that mumsy and daddy are probably not going to pay for your second or third or twentieth wedding. So, it's very likely that you will want to keep your wedding costs down... even for your dress. Hey, your "gown" is one place where you can go low cost without compromising on flair and panache.
Hippie Chic is Groovy
One of the easiest ways to throw yourselves a cheap, wedding shindig is to go hippie chic, because hippies broke all the rules and did whatever felt groovy and creative. Hippies made up their own rules. So, let's start searching for a fabulous wedding-gown style for you.
I Was a Real 60's Boho Hippie
Yes, I actually went to Haight Ashbury for the Summer of Love. Everyone went there… if they could find a way. It was like Beatlemania. Every teen or teenybopper in the US caught the San Francisco virus. So, I know what “real” hippie dresses actually looked like. In fact, I wore an off-white, muslin, boho peasant dress (from Nordstrom's) for my first wedding in 1972. Groovy… man.
Hippie-style Wedding Gowns Online
One of the coolest places to look for vintage, boho-hippie wedding dresses is Etsy.com. The problem with Etsy is that those really cool, truly vintage dresses (the dresses that are actually from the 60's and 70's) are essentially "one of a kind." What I mean is that (as with most vintage finds) you can't pick out your fave Etsy frock and order it in "your" size.
We Wear Bigger Sizes Now
Most of the vintage wedding gowns (made in the 60's) will not fit your current body. If you're skinny, you might be lucky enough to find an authentic hippie dress for yourself. But, look around the room. Most of us are a bit heavier than we were in the 1960's and 1970's. Even 20-somethings from today are chubbier than 20-somethings from a few decades ago.
Many Real Vintage Dresses Were Homemade
Many of the wedding dresses from the 60's (seen on Etsy, Rusty Zipper, and other vintage sites) were made at home with a Butterick pattern and a Singer sewing machine. And, those old-school, groovy, dress patterns were usually altered to fit the original bride's body.
If you have your heart set on a vintage boho wedding (and you should, because hippie weddings are more fun, more spontaneous, and much cheaper than big, splashy, lah-di-dah weddings), you are probably going to have to find a new(er) dress with a vintage feel. So, let’s look at Etsy for ideas and inspiration.
I've put together a list of groovy dress ideas that I've seen on the Etsy site. However, for some of the following dresses, you may need to get out the old Singer or find a dressmaker who can sew an inexpensive, cotton gown for you.
Yeah, baby! What a gorgeous find. This fabulous 60's style prairie dress is old enough that it was made out of cotton fabric. Hippies loved natural materials. Of course, it will be impossible for you to end up with a dress like this, unless you happen to fit into an extra-small... that's the size of this Etsy dress. So, if you love this groovy, embroidered dress, you will need to have it made in your size, and someone will have to embroider the cotton fabric. Alternately, you might be able to find a top and a maxi skirt on Etsy and put together a similar, genuine, hippie wedding gown.
Two ways to get a Victorian cowgirl wedding dress in your size:
- You can look for a prairie dress pattern (sometimes called a granny dress) on Etsy.
- You can buy a Victorian or Edwardian dress on a site that specializes in period clothing, such as ForestCreekRenaissance.com and Recollections.biz. One example is Recollections' Edwardian "Bella" Dress. Many outfits on these sites can be ordered in plus sizes. (XS - 4X)
If you are a size 6, you might look great in this white, lacy, flower-child dress and a big floppy hat. Lace is one of the hottest trends for everyday wear in 2013, so you should be able to find lace dresses in tons of colors (and in white) right off the rack.
For a similar feel that comes in plus sizes, try something like Joe Browns Swan Lake Vintage Lace Dress: This short dress at JoeBrowns.co.uk goes up to size 18. Wear it short or wear it as a tunic over a pair of pants or a long, gypsy skirt. Another gorgeous top that can be worn with a pair of white pants or a gauzy skirt is this Johnny Was tunic top.
This wonderful "Edie" gown (sold on Etsy.com) with its hippie-trippy bell sleeves can be made to fit. The store sells this fab knockoff in sizes S, M, L, and XL. However, it is fairly expensive at $680.
This authentic 1960's dress is absolutely perfect for an indie wedding. Unfortunately, you can only buy this gown in a size 4. However, if you look around on other sites you will find new maxi dresses in colorful 60's and 70's prints. Trina Turk's Surfside Halter Printed Maxi Dress is a good example of an updated, hippie-style print.
This Lord and Taylor fringed dress is beautiful for any bride whose measurements are 34-36" in the bust, 30" in the waist, and 34" in the hips. If you don't fit into this Etsy find, you could try googling "white crocheted dresses with fringe," and see what pops up. And, if you have a choice, crocheted daisies will look the best.
This hand-embroidered caftan was probably made in Mexico or India, and back in the day, it would have been considered unisex (worn by both women and men). If you find a cool caftan that's short like a top or a tunic, just wear it over some off-white muslin, gauzy drawstring pants. (One of my girlfriends wore this type of outfit for her own authentic 1960's wedding.) If you find a maxi-length or knee-length caftan, wear it as is, but check to see if you need to wear a slip under it. You probably don't want a dress that's so sheer that the whole world can tell what color undies you're wearing.
These are just a few dresses, minis, and tops that you can use for inspiration or use as a focal point for your hippie-boho-themed wedding. Sure, you can start planning without knowing what your dress will look like, but I like to start my wedding plans with a dress that looks good on me. And, if you are going to be a bride over 40, 50, or 60... you will quickly see why the "gown" is the best place to start. In other words, it's easy to change the color of your bouquet or your daughter's bridesmaid dress, but the hardest thing to find is a great, inexpensive wedding dress for yourself.
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