The New York bride wore a $50 1950s wedding dress

  • A bride living in Rochester, New York wore a $50 dress made in the 1950s on her wedding day.
  • Natalia Lauer, 24, told Insider that she and her husband like thrift: “We’re vintage people.”
  • Lauer’s “dream dress” cost a fraction of her $1,000 budget — and she plans to give it away for free.

Growing up, Natalia Lauer dreamed of wearing a ball gown to her wedding. Little did she know that one day she would make her dream come true with a vintage dress that cost less than $100.

Lauer, who told Insiders that she’s a telebanker and part-time photographer from New York, recently went viral on TikTok for sharing the unique story behind her wedding dress. The clip, which was posted on Jan. 11 and had over 1.1 million views as of Friday, shows viewers a picture of Lauer in an ivory white puff sleeve dress with the caption: “When I told everyone my wedding dress was saved, from the 1950s and $50.”

Speaking to Insider, Lauer, 24, said she’s never been against wearing a second-hand wedding dress. In fact, she and her husband Sebastian, 22, prefer to save most of what they own, from their clothes to furniture, for their home. “We’re vintage people,” she said. “For us it’s definitely about sustainability.”

She and her partner met and fell in love on the set of a video shoot in New York City five years ago. A few months later, she discovered she was pregnant with their son, Jet. And a year later, her now-husband popped the question by placing an engagement ring under her pillow while she slept.

“It’s an unconventional love story,” Lauer said. “But I’m not a traditional person.”

When it came to wedding planning, Lauer said they once again decided to forego tradition by spontaneously tying the knot months after moving to a new home in Rochester.

The happy couple (L) and a solo portrait of Lauer in her wedding dress (R).

The happy couple (L) and a solo portrait of Natalia Lauer in her wedding dress (R).

Courtesy of Natalia Lauer

They quickly found an affordable spot close to home that was available for a discount when they were ready to get married in November of that year, she said.

That gave Lauer just over two months to find her perfect dress.

Lauer didn’t want to spend thousands on a dress she would only wear once

While her father gave her a clothing budget of roughly $1,000, Lauer said she didn’t feel right about spending thousands on a dress she would likely only wear once.

Because of her love for vintage clothing, she decided to see if it would be possible to save up her dream wedding dress. Lauer said she started the journey by visiting her local Goodwill stores before checking out what was available on sites like Poshmark and Depop.

A month before her wedding, after countless hours of browsing the internet, she found what she immediately thought was the perfect dress on Etsy.

Lauer's son Jet and the wedding dress.

Natalia Lauer’s son Jet and the wedding dress.

Courtesy of Natalia Lauer

It was a tiered ball gown that the seller said was originally made in the 1950’s. Although Lauer said she was petite, she said the seller told her to be sure the measurements would fit her size, as the dress was impossible to adjust.

“She wanted to make sure it fit me and I was like, guess what? This looks like it would suit me. So I’ll just buy it. It’s $50 if it doesn’t work, it’s fine,” Lauer said.

Luckily, when the dress finally arrived, it fit her like a glove. “I didn’t have to make any alterations, no size changes, no waist or arm changes,” she said. Also, the dress didn’t have the musty smell that sometimes lingers on second-hand items, Lauer added.

“It was absolutely clean. It didn’t smell at all,” she said. “I knew this was my dream dress.”

The couple and their son Jet on their wedding anniversary in November 2021.

The couple and their son Jet on their wedding anniversary in November 2021.

Courtesy of Natalia Lauer

The dress had puff sleeves and lace trimmings, a material Lauer said she didn’t initially think would work for a wedding dress. “I thought lace was more casual,” she said. “But when I saw this dress, the combination of tulle and lace, it felt like a statement.”

What made it even more special to Lauer was that it didn’t look like typical modern wedding dresses at all. “You can definitely tell it’s vintage. It’s not something you walk into like a bridal shop and find, it looks very unique. I just love that,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one who fell in love with the dress at first sight, either. When her husband saw it at the first look at their wedding, she said he “absolutely loved it.”

“Right away he was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s beautiful,'” she said.

Her grandparents were big fans too. “It was also very emotional,” added Lauer. “It was special for her because this is her time.”

Although Lauer currently has the dress safely stored away in her basement, she plans to see if she can use social media to give it away for free. “It’s not my intention to resell it or try to profit from it,” she said.

“I know how special a wedding can be, and I think gifting a wedding dress, which is a big part of it for a lot of people, would just be really special,” added Lauer.