Thrifting your Wedding Dress: Love it or leave it?

June 2, 2022

couple photo session vintage beach

A little love note to the bride who wants to keep things flirty, fun, have a wedding dress that is a TOTAL VIBE✨, all the while not breaking the wedding bank budget…if that sounds like you, Sis pull up a seat! We’re serving up all the inspo with this fun thrift find to show you all the deets on thrifting your wedding dress!

Here’s the tea-

  1. It *IS* in fact possible to thrift your wedding dress! I’m a firm believer that anyone can! it’s not just a pursuit for the thrift queens – even if you’ve never stepped into a thrift store in your life, you can find a gem of a dress, too!  It just requires patience and a little bit of strategy!
  2. Saving on a dress does not mean you have to compromise in any way. You don’t have to have a boring dress when balling on a wedding budget. Heyyy, you may even love it more?? 😉
  3. Secondhand shopping is impactful shopping. I could probably write an entire essay on the benefits but I’ll try to keep this sweet n’ simple! Outside of making a positive impact on the environment and helping reduce “fast fashion” culture, you can find sweet treasures that are one of a kind. ✨

We scored this vintage beauty for $12 dollars…yes you heard me right: $12!!!!!


vintage wedding dress beach photoshoot


Okay, Hans, but where the heck do I start?! Maybe you’re reading this energized thinking of it like a fun treasure hunt or perhaps that overwhelming feeling is starting to creep in…wherever you are, I totally see you friend! Honestly, I’ve been in both places. That is why I am sitting down to share my thoughts with you, in hopes that I could help guide you on your way to the dress of your dreams!

Okay, I think we are ready to dive in! You ready?

Here are my best thrift tips for beginners:

Begin by looking up what second hand shops are in your area and compile a list. Once that list is made, designate a day to hit as many of those stores as possible. While you’re shopping, take note of what each shop is known for. Some spots tend to have better home decor pieces while others have better clothing/accessories, etc. It won’t take long before you start to notice a theme. This will be extremely helpful to be aware of as you are honing in on what you are looking for on that particular day.

More often than not, you’re not going to ball out after hitting your first shop, buuuut, with the nature of thrifting it is very ‘hit or miss’. My biggest tip is to make a routine of popping in to a thrift store while you’re in town regularly; consistency is the biggest tip for striking gold. ✨


A few things to keep in mind while searching the racks!

  • Color of the week – Shops like Goodwill will choose a new color each week to mark down an extra 50%, so this is definitely something you want to pay attention to. 😉
  • Learn which day of the week they restock – This is probably self-explanatory, but the advantage here is having first dibs on the fresh racks of clothing before they’ve been picked through.
  • Damages: rips/tears/stains – To some, this may be a dealbreaker but I would challenge you to keep an open mind and first assess if that stain could be easily scrubbed out or if a hole could be easily sewn? This is coming from the gal who is by know means a DIY queen or even good at sewing for that matter. 😂 But some things only require a little love & attention (or you could easily take in to get altered/patched up, etc.). The main point of this step is to not write it off but to evaluate if it could be easily transformed with a little extra care. I’ve challenged myself  to think more this way this season and I have personally LOVED some of the easy-fix projects I’ve taken home! Sometimes it can be worth it and actually make you appreciate the piece all the more. ✨😊🙌🏻
  • Last little note I want to leave you with (for now) – For gowns and pieces that are a little more delicate–> check your tags and read to make sure they are washable/able to be dry-cleaned. I know that’s sounds like a no-brainer but *sometimes* when you’re having a thrift moment ✨ in awe of your beautiful treasure, you tend forget minor details like these and I doubt you would want to wear a second hand dress that you could never wash again. 😂😉 I’m just sayin!


Alright sunshines, after reading through these little tips + tricks, I hope you feel both excited & ready to embark on your thrifting adventure (maybe even thrifting your wedding dress?!) and are inspired for the possibilities! If you’re interested in me sharing more on thrifting or want me to write more detailed “how-to’s”, tell me in the comment section below or send me a message on instagram and lets carry on the conversation! Lastly, if you’ve found some GOLD while thrifting and are excited to share, story it and tag me @hannahsmithphotography on IG so I can celebrate those treasures you’re finding alongside you! Nothing makes me more giddy. 🤍💁‍♀️🌞


It’s taken a lot of self control to wait to share this thrifted bridal portrait session with you but it is FINALLY the day and I couldn’t be more stoked! So without further ado, Max + Adair and their dreamy golden hour romantics. ✨


Show me the gold!


couple spinning beach portrait sessionvintage wedding dress portrait session


couple nuggle golden hourwedding couple holding hands beachblack and white vintage wedding dress couple

couple portrait session beach golden hour

thrifted wedding dress black and white golden hour


thrifted wedding dress details couple hugging

wedding couple hugging beachblack and white couple holding hands vintage detailsblack and white couple hugging kissing

well this just melts me🥺

wedding couple golden hour portrait sessionblack and white wedding dress detailsthrifted wedding dress details golden hourcouple walking on the beach

feels like stepping into a story book✨

wedding couple holding hands beachblack and white couple hugging wedding dress detailscouple sitting on the beach golden hourblack and white couple kissing sitting on the beach

couple hugging thrifted wedding dress details

max & adair, you two share the sweetest love!

black and white wedding couple laughingwedding couple kissing wedding dress detailscouple portrait session beach golden hourcouple holding hands on the beachwedding couple piggyback on the beachcouple holding hands on the beachcouple holding hands thrifted wedding dress detailscouple hugging thrifted wedding dress detailsgolden hour portrait session beachwedding couple dance on the beachwedding couple portrait session golden hourwedding couple smiling beachblack and white thrifted wedding dress detailswedding couple kissing beachthrifted wedding dress details couple hugging

i mean…can we talk about these sleeves for a second?!? A MOMENT

bride beach photo session vintagebridal photo session vintage dress black and white


xoxo, Hannah






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your sunshine girl

MEET Hannah

cozying up in a coffeeshop, never missing a sunset, being my couples #1 fan

If you're looking for a hype girl to guide you throughout your portrait experience, create an atmosphere for you to feel genuinely good in your skin and want to walk away having created *core memories* with the love of your life that you'll be reminded of whenever you flip through your photos? You're absolutely in the right place, friend!


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