How To Accessorise Your Vintage Wedding Dress…

Afternoon ladies :)  I'd like to feature an advice piece from one of my favourite vintage bridal wear specialists, Helena Butler, of Heavenly Vintage Brides.  Helena runs a vintage wedding dress company from her home based studio in West London, where she sells dresses dating from the1930's through to the 1970s, carrying 60 – 70 beautiful original vintage wedding dresses in stock at any one time.

Helena has kitted out many a Love My Dress bride in one of her gorgeous original vintage wedding dresses, so knows a thing or two about how to team vintage dresses with different bridal accessories…

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I often get asked by my lovely brides for my advice regarding accessorising their vintage wedding dress.
With this in mind I have some images to share – all the dresses are vintage and are from my own stock over at Heavenly Vintage Brides, but the accessories are a mix of old {original vintage} and new.


with a short wedding dress like the first few photographed  here, there is  great scope for fabulous statement shoes, which don't have to be ivory or white.  Lots of my Brides wear coloured shoes, red or pink in various shades being the most popular.  Several of my lovely brides have chosen the Melissa shoe, by Vivienne Westwood {below right in various shades}, and in the photo below {left}, the model is wearing' Lady Dragon' by Vivienne Westwood in red…


The sweet little 50s' tiered lace dress the model above is wearing is unfortunately sold, but I will be making some copies of it in the Spring in fabulous French lace – keep an eye on my site for news of my own little collection of vintage inspired wedding dresses.

The shoes that my model Patience is wearing below, are very modern but go well with the dresses,  they are in a great nude pink colour which make her legs look super-long…


The lovely knee length dress here is 1960's Tulip style and has a very elegant, couture look and feel.  It is approx a size 10 to small 12 and priced at £900, and is currently available to try on at the Heavenly Vintage Brides studio…


When my clients ask me for shoe ideas,  I often suggest a Spanish designer called Chie Mihara, her designs manage to look  both vintage and contemporary at the same time. Take a look at Chie's website – her price start from around £240..

Chie Mihara

A more cost effective alternative is to have a look at 'Next' wedding shoes, the prices start from £30 and the shoes are really very pretty, and fantastic value. 


Vintage Bling…

I do love a bit of 'bling', so I often add a vintage brooch to a dress,  the 1940's brooch  Patience  is wearing goes well as it's the same age as the dress and adds a bit of subtle sparkle, and the diamante pattern is quite 'lacey'.

A great place to buy affordable vintage jewellery is the Hammersmith Town Hall Vintage Fair, run by Paola of P & A Antique Fairs, I get lots of great accessories , and petticoats there…


The little white flower and heart hat is by Cherished Vintage and the cocktail ring is from Top shop and is just added for fun…


In one shot we have the ultimate accessory -  the 'handbag-sized' dog….! In this case 'JJ', who behaved very well considering she is only a few months old!

This dress by the way, is in beautiful cotton lace original vintage number, that was worn by a bride in Richmond back in the 1940's. I love the fact that I know her name and the year it was worn.  The Bride stored it so carefully with a little mother of pearl Bible and a coin dated 1940. It is in fantastic condition so it was obviously a treasured possession.

The dress is approximately  8/10 and priced at £900, and is available to buy from Heavenly Vintage Brides


The next dress is a 1950's tulle prom style dress I have used a dainty little vintage diamante necklace which belonged to my model Cordelia's  Grandmother.  I think it's lovely to try and use a 'family' piece of jewellery, it doesn't need to be a valuable piece, just go through "Granny's" jewellery box!


The headdress the model is wearing is made from vintage gold leaves and delicate diamante jewellery – a design by Cherished Vintage.   The dress is priced at £850 and is size 8….



The headwear is of course very important an accessory, particularly for my photoshoots. I have used a range of styles made by Abby and Debbie at the wonderful Cherished Vintage.  They use original vintage jewellery to make lovely unique headpieces and bands, and to my delight -  great little hats, which are a recent addition to their range.  All the headpieces I used on my shoot were made by Cherished Vintage


The dress here is a 1960's very classic style with a beaded neckline, and tulip skirt. The headdress made from vintage pearl jewellery was perfect with it – I needed something very simple in shape, to reflect the simplicity of the dress and the beaded neckline, and  It had just the right kind of beading and just the right 'weight' to it – again, from Cherished Vintage.

I though the style demanded a simple Audrey Hepburn style 'hairdo', but  I made it a bit loose, to keep it modern.  The dress size is approximately a size 8…



Hairstyles are of course very important and I feel that they should echo the period of the dress but with a modern feel. Hair styles of the past were very fixed and lacquered and these days, girls don't want anything quite as stiff. 

Here, I again used a cute little hat from Cherished Vintage, and false eye lashes, which are great for capturing that vintage feel…


The dress, again modelled by Cordelia is silk organza from the 1950's with French Lace appliques, priced at £1200, it has a long sweeping train and a beautiful sash and fits approx a size 8.The little hats are hand made on new bases using vintage flowers and textiles,  and will be a feature of Cherished's  new ready to wear collection for 2011, or can be made bespoke to order…



The dress shown below is again from the 1950's and is beautifully constructed with  many panels forming the skirt.  It almost has a corset-like effect to draw attention to a neat waist.  It is approximately a size 8 or small size 10, and priced at £1100…



The final dress is a cute sparkly tulle and lace 1950's prom dress with pearls and sequins following the pattern of the lace around the neckline.  I have used a great headpiece which has a sparkly vintage brooch at it's centre, as of course the sparkles on the dress demand a bit more sparkle in the hair!  The dress is a size 8 and priced at £1000…


All these dresses are available at Heavenly Vintage Brides, and I love to meet 'Love My Dress' brides, so please feel free to contact me to book in for an appointment sometime to try some on!

My prices range from £350/400 to around £1250 for an original vintage wedding dress. Unfortunately I don't have space to stock many accessories,  but I do have some nice original vintage wedding veils, and some great cocktail veils – designed by Helena Talbot of HT Headwear, that compliment my dresses in the most wonderful way.  Helena can also create headpiece designs to match your specific ideas.

I hope you've found this helpful,



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.