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And the royal bride wore... vintage

Unlike many royal brides before her, Princess Beatrice wore an upcycled wedding dress lent to her by the Queen for her nuptials. Prudence Wade discovers how you too can find the perfect vintage wedding dress

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Princess Beatrice on her wedding day with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Beatrice on her wedding day with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

PA

The Queen, wearing the same dress in 1962

The Queen, wearing the same dress in 1962

Press Association Images

Lady Diana Spencer's fabulous creation by David and Elizabeth Emanuel

Lady Diana Spencer's fabulous creation by David and Elizabeth Emanuel

Princess Beatrice on her wedding day with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Beatrice on her wedding day with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Press Association Images

Princess Eugenie

Princess Eugenie

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle

Royal bride, Kate Middleton

Royal bride, Kate Middleton

Princess Beatrice on her wedding day with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a surprise ceremony last week, but what's more unexpected was her choice of wedding dress. So many royal brides have enlisted a top designer to make a gown from scratch - who can forget Lady Diana Spencer's fabulous creation by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Kate Middleton's stunning creation by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen and Beatrice's sister Eugenie's dress, which was designed by Zac Posen?

However, Beatrice opted for a customised vintage dress.

For her big day, she dipped into the Queen's archives and found a Peau De Soie ivory taffeta dress by Norman Hartnell, trimmed with duchess satin and encrusted with diamantes.

The Queen wore the gown to the premier of Lawrence Of Arabia at the Odeon Leicester Square in December 1962, and again to the State Opening of Parliament in 1966.

Beatrice had the Queen's senior dresser Angela Kelly and designer Stewart Parvin remodel the dress to make it appropriate for her wedding day, adding delicate capped sleeves. She topped off the outfit with another loan from the Queen - the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara, which Elizabeth II also wore on her wedding day in 1947.

Over the last decade we've seen royals get married in pieces by top designers from Alexander McQueen to Givenchy, so Beatrice's vintage choice is quite unique. The outfit was well received on social media, with one Twitter user writing: "Adorable couple and could not have picked a more perfect wedding dress for her than that elegant/whimsical, yet very vintage, sentimental ensemble she wore."

Beatrice has also been praised for choosing a more sustainable option for her big day. Not only is re or upcycling an existing dress eco-friendly, but people often turn to pre-loved wedding dresses as they can offer something a little different to more modern designs.

"Princess Beatrice's choice of wedding dress marks a point in the royal family's iconic fashion choices, taking steps towards mindful consumption even on such an important day," says Victoria Prew from rental platform HURR Collective (hurrcollective.com).

So if you're looking to wear a vintage outfit on your wedding day, these top tips may help you find the perfect outfit...

Be open-minded and set aside plenty of time

You might have your heart set on a particular designer from a certain era, but Prew warns against this. "Try not to be too focused on the designer; there are incredible options out there without the labels," she says.

Head of pre-loved at eBay (ebay.co.uk) Emma Grant recommends you commit a fair amount of time to the hunt, saying: "The nature of vintage clothing is that you'll need to have a good scroll before that one-of-a-kind gown catches your eye."

Be targeted in your search

"Try and find the best vintage sellers online, starting with Etsy or 1stdibs," advises Prew.

To make life a bit easier for yourself, Grant says: "If you're looking for a particular cut, style or era, be specific in your search.

Naming brands or eras that are associated with the style you're looking to emulate will help you narrow down the search to the most relevant items."

Plan in advance

Vintage wedding dresses tend to be one-of-a-kind, so it's unlikely you'll find a dress that fits you like a glove. This doesn't mean you can't wear it on your big day, but you'll have to be a bit smart with planning.

"Make sure there's enough time to have your perfect piece altered," says Prew.

"Get the dress, then get it altered to perfection."

Grant also says you should be flexible with sizing: "As it's pre-loved, it might have also been altered at the time of buying to fit the owner, so you may have to size up or down to get the fit that works for you. Always get in touch with the seller to check the specific measurements."

As well as tailoring the outfit to fit, Grant recommends shortening hemlines or streamlining waists to give your vintage look a modern touch.

Search for accessories

You might not have the Queen's tiara handy for your wedding, that doesn't mean you can't take inspiration from Beatrice and hunt for vintage accessories to go with your dress.

"Vintage is also great for crowns and earrings," says Prew. "Going vintage means you can guarantee your choice will be 'timeless' rather than 'trendy' - it's your day, so make a statement."

Consider its condition

"While a few buttons or sequins missing shouldn't put you off investing in a great quality, pre-owned wedding dress, more significant signs of wear and tear require further thought," Grant says. "Don't risk your money on items that are fraying, holed and stained as, chances are, trying to repair a gown and get a good colour match will be trickier to get away with. If the dress hasn't been professionally cleaned by the seller, consider getting this done yourself."

Belfast Telegraph