Lily and Blake Swindell got married on May 14.
Lily transformed two vintage wedding dresses she bought from thrift stores for the nuptials.
She worked with a seamstress to turn the gowns into the wedding looks of her dreams.
Thrifting is a big part of Lily and Blake Swindell’s relationship.
Thrifted fashion is pretty much Lily Swindell’s life, as the 20-year-old student told Insider.
“I thrift and resell,” she told Insider, often via Instagram. “I don’t buy anything new. I haven’t in I don’t even know how long.”
Likewise, Blake Swindell, 21, loves vintage fashion, wearing almost exclusively clothes from the 1940s to 1970s or re-creations of them. Also a student, it’s no surprise he’s studying history.
The couple both grew up in Oklahoma and have had mutual friends since middle school, but they didn’t fall for each other until they reconnected in college.
Blake proposed to Lily in April 2021.
The Swindells planned their wedding for May 14, 2022, and they knew they wanted their love of vintage things to play a central role in their nuptials.
“Both of us just decided to make that not only our style, but also make it a sustainable wedding,” Lily told Insider. She also wanted the wedding to be affordable, and focusing on used materials made that more possible.
“Going into the real world, we would much rather spend money on other things, so we made the wedding affordable, sustainable, and vintage-inspired,” she said.
Lily fell in love with a wedding dress from the 1970s that she bought for just $50.
Lily knew she wanted to buy her dress secondhand.
“I wanted something vintage, and I loved the idea of upcycling something to make it more modern,” she said.
A few months after Blake proposed, Lily took a trip to Galveston, Texas, where she stumbled upon a wedding dress from the 1970s at a Goodwill that cost just $50. She knew instantly it was perfect for her wedding ceremony.
When Lily bought the dress, it had a high neckline with a ruffled trim, lace sleeves, and a tiered skirt.
She worked with a seamstress to keep the integrity of the dress while giving it a more modern feel.
Although she fell in love with the 1970s gown, Lily knew she wanted to make some updates to the dress.
Because she was getting married in May, long sleeves and a high neckline wouldn’t work for Lily’s wedding.
“I knew that it was going to be 100 degrees in Oklahoma, and for the summer, I did not want that,” she said.
Lily removed the high neckline and shortened the sleeves.
Lily has worked with her seamstress Jan Brock for years, so she trusted her to transform her dress.
She kept the skirt and rest of the bodice intact, blending the more modern sleeves with the original skirt.
“I loved making it more romantic and more modernized,” Lily said of her gown.
The alterations cost $60.
The short sleeves allowed the details to shine.
The floral-patterned lace on the sleeves stood out thanks to their shortened length and the ruffled trim.
The trim also mimicked the shape of the neckline, creating a cohesive look.
Lily loved that she got her dream dress on a budget.
Although Lily’s dress was one-of-a-kind, she knows she could have bought something similar that was new.
“I found a dress almost exactly like it from BHLDN, and I could have bought it for $2,000,” she said. “But instead I got it for $50.”
Lily’s hair and makeup were also romantic yet modern.
Lily wore her hair down, but the chic bob was out of the ordinary for her.
“I cut all of my hair off the morning of the wedding,” she told Insider. “I had long hair, and I cut it above my shoulders.”
Brittany Boles was Lily’s hairdresser.
Blake wore a vintage ensemble for the ceremony as well.
Blake found his vintage charcoal suit on eBay and altered it himself.
He paired the look with a pale-yellow tie and brown shoes.
“He’s a stud,” Lily said of her husband. “He’s so talented.”
Lily and Blake didn’t see each other on their wedding day until the ceremony.
The couple said their vows at Marlow First Chapel.
It’s always emotional for a couple to see each other for the first time on their wedding day, but it was extra exciting for the Swindells because Blake had no idea Lily chopped her hair off until she walked down the aisle.
“His mouth was wide open,” Lily said of Blake’s reaction to her new look. “It was awesome. He loved it.”
Around 75 people attended the intimate ceremony.
Lily found a second vintage dress for her reception.
Lily felt like the 1970s gown was perfect for her ceremony, but she wanted something she could dance in for her reception, picturing a tea-length dress.
When she found a prom dress from the 1950s for just $100 by happenstance, she knew she could bring her dream to life.
“It just kind of fell into my lap,” she said of the dress. “I never even really was looking for it.”
Lily transformed the vintage gown into a party dress.
Lily had Brock remove the spaghetti straps from the dress to create a strapless look and shorten the tiered skirt.
The full skirt was still fluffy and bridal, but the tea length made it ideal for dancing.
The alterations cost $50.
The detailing on the second dress fit the party feel.
The Swindells’ reception was at the Magnolia Room, and nearly 300 people attended.
The ruffles on the bodice and flowy skirt of Lily’s second dress were perfect for the big party.
“You think that it would be more traditional because it was vintage and because it was secondhand, but I felt like it was very nontraditional,” Lily said of the dress. “I don’t see very many people going like the tea-length route, so I loved that. I loved that I could dance in it.”
Blake had a second look for the reception, too.
Matching Lily’s vintage, prom-inspired look, Blake wore a tuxedo that used to belong to his father at the reception.
“It was so fun to get re-dressed up and get all excited,” Lily said of their wardrobe changes.
Lily and Blake danced the night away at their reception, and Lily kicked off her shoes for most of the event.
They had decorations from Marianne’s Rentals at the reception, while Eric Wall provided music with sound-system support from Gam Gam Audio.
Little Bear Photography by Denver Miller photographed the wedding.
Lily told Insider she loved how both of her dresses turned out.
“I was so happy with it, and I felt so confident,” she said of her dresses. “I didn’t have any regrets.”
Lily thinks there’s too much pressure on brides to find “the” dress as they get married.
“I think there are so many pressures when you’re getting married to have the perfect dress. Like, you’re supposed to put on that dress and you cry and everyone in the room knows it’s the one and you have the special feeling,” she said. “And that isn’t really true.”
“I know so many people who have that emotional experience and then aren’t happy with the dress they got married in because it looks like just like everyone else’s or they weren’t really confident,” she went on to say.
Lily believes focusing less on the dress as a whole would help many brides.
“Of course you should feel the most beautiful that you’ve ever felt on your wedding day, but that’s not why you’re there,” she said, adding that brides should ignore trends or the pressure of other people as much as they can.
“Get married in what you want to get married in. It doesn’t matter what it feels like, what it looks like, any of that,” she said. “Ultimately, I think that’s going to make a much better story.”
It was also helpful for Lily and Blake that neither of them spent thousands of dollars on their wedding looks.
Choosing affordable outfits and an affordable wedding as a whole relieved the Swindells of a lot of stress many newlyweds carry.
“It was great because when we went on our honeymoon, we didn’t have to worry about anything,” she said. “Life just went on as normal.”
“I know so many people who took out loans and borrowed so much money or took from their savings because they want this perfect wedding,” she said. “We didn’t have to worry about that, which was so awesome.”
And for Lily, marrying the love of her life was what it was all about.
“He really is such an amazing man,” Lily said of Blake. “He supports me in everything that I do.”
“Any time I’ve had a crazy idea that I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I should do this, but I have this idea or I have this dream,’ he’s like, ‘Go for it.’ And he helps me with everything,” she said.
“He’s always just been so supportive and so loving through all of it and helps make any of my dreams possible,” Lily went on to say. “I love that he has no boundaries on that. He is all for me going for whatever.”
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