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Wedding Budget Tip #17: Buy a Used Wedding Dress

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Want to save money on your wedding dress? Try this wedding budget hack to save over 50%: buy a used wedding dress for your big day!

Wedding Budget Tip #17: Buy a Used Wedding Dress

This post is part of a recurring series here on BSB where we share wedding budget tips to help you save money on your wedding! You can access all the wedding budget tips on a single page for your convenience and future reference. This post outlines why buying a used wedding dress is a great idea for budget-savvy brides!

Wedding Budget Tip #17: Consider Choosing a Pre-Owned Gown

Wedding Budget Tip #17:

Buy a used wedding dress to save big on your wedding attire.

Have you considered buying a used wedding dress to wear on your big day?

This can be a great option to save money on your wedding — especially if you have your eye on a designer frock that would otherwise bust a modest budget. Buying a second-hand wedding dress can easily save you over 50% off the price of your gown. Sounds pretty #budgetsavvy to us!

You might have reservations about buying a pre-owned wedding dress, or maybe you just aren’t sure where to start. In this post, we outline everything you need to know about purchasing a previously-owned wedding dress from a reseller or former bride!

Why buying a used wedding dress is the best idea for a budget savvy bride

A budget-savvy bride loves getting great quality at a great price– this is the definition of value.

shopping for a used wedding dress

Budget savvy brides value (v.) getting a good value (n.)

Buying a used wedding dress is a great opportunity to get a high-quality designer gown at a fraction of the cost of buying new. It doesn’t get more budget savvy than that!

Perhaps you consider yourself a green goddess– you love all things eco-friendly and want to do your part to preserve our planet with your wedding plans. Buying a dress from another bride helps reduce the amount of waste your wedding is creating. Buying a used dress allows you to save green and go green at the same time!

pros and cons of buying a used wedding dress

Consider the Cost-Per-Wear of Your Wedding Gown

Maybe you’re not into the idea of forking over a bundle of cash for an outfit you’ll only wear once. That’s an epic fail on the cost-per-wear test.

Or maybe you’re the type of bride who wants to rock two frocks on your big day. If you’re going all YOLO for your wedding, you might choose a used dress for at least one of those options to cut costs.

There are many other benefits to buying a used dress for your wedding, from the cost savings to your carbon footprint. There are also some mild risks involved, but fear not! We’ll give you the best advice to keep you from getting scammed or bamboozled.

If you’re still on the fence, let’s weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a pre-owned wedding gown. We got some great advice from Susan Shapiro of BravoBride, a popular wedding gown re-sale site:

Pros of buying a used wedding dress

  • Eco-friendly (re-using clothing)
  • Lower prices (all dresses are good as new but at a discount)
  • Really unique (resell sites receive vintage/hand-made/discontinued styles all the time so there are a wide variety of options)
  • Always new merchandise (if you don’t see something you like, you can come back a week later and find completely new items – you don’t have to wait for a new “season” of styles)
  • Charity (there are both charities that provide used wedding dresses to disadvantaged groups for free/greatly reduced cost, and charities that sell used dresses and give the proceeds to charity)

Cons of buying a used wedding dress

  • Limited availability (fewer sizes, fewer dresses available at a discount, etc.)
  • More Work (Finding a dress is more of a treasure hunt– more difficult to find a dress you like in your size)
  • Potential Risk (The uncertainty of buying online. You have to be careful of scams. Your dress may not fit well. You may not like it in person. Want to know how to avoid scams? Check out these tips (under the heading “Can I Trust the Seller?”)
  • Shipping costs (shipping can be expensive, and you would not pay for this if you bought your item in-store)

Tips for buying a used wedding gown

If you’ve made the decision to purchase a wedding dress secondhand, you’ll definitely want to make note of these tips:

tips for buying a used wedding dress

1. Try on dresses IRL before shopping online.

You want to be sure you know the designers and styles you actually like. You may even fall in love with a specific gown and decide to hunt for it online to score a deal.

2. Compare Prices

A savvy bride does her research! Know the sale price of the gowns that you’re interested in, so you know whether or not a dress you see online is a good deal.

3. Ask Questions

Ask about alterations, damage, defects etc proof of purchase/price. Authenticity check? Ask your seller questions and get to know them if possible. You may even want to try a quick Facebook stalk!

4. Get Lots of Photos

Most listing sites allow the user to upload their own photos. you’ll want to make sure you see photos of the *actual* dress instead of stock imagery from the designer. Ask for professional real wedding photos and photos of the current state of the dress from the seller if possible.

5. Use a Secure Payment Method

Be alert for sellers who ask you to pay using a method not mentioned in the listing. Try services like Escrow.com or Paypal to ensure your transaction and purchase is protected in case of any damage or funny business.

Where to Buy a Used Wedding Dress

There are SO many great resources out there now to help you find a secondhand wedding dress for less online these days, so we wanted to share with you a few of our favorites. Below are five great options that offer key things that we think are important: a large selection, high-quality brands, protection tips for the buyer and seller, as well as great prices.

Check out these sites if you want to find your dream dress for a steal of a deal!

Buy a pre-owned wedding gown from Nearly Newlywed

Nearly Newlywed

Nearly Newlywed is a great option if you’re on the hunt for a designer gown. Browse new, sample and used dresses– you can try on any dress at home and get a full refund (less a small return fee per dress) if you don’t love it. Don’t miss the dresses under $1500 section; perfect for budget-savvy brides!

Buy a used wedding dress from StillWhite


StillWhite is a safe and way to buy a used wedding dress. There are tons of search options so you can browse by designer, size, condition, price and more. This gives you really specific results to find exactly what you’re looking for! Shop secure with Paypal Buyer Protection.

Buy a used wedding dress from BravoBride


BravoBride is another great option for shopping used wedding dresses. Shop by size, silhouette, neckline, price, color or designer to find exactly what you’re looking for. They also have a section for used wedding decor, which is definitely worth checking out as well!

Buy a used wedding dress from PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com


PreOwnedWeddingDresses has been around for quite a while, so this site has longevity on its side. Brides and boutiques are able to list gowns for sale– so you can get a gently used sample gown at great prices! Search by designer, silhouette or price to help you find what you’re looking for.

Buy a used wedding dress from OnceWed


Popular wedding blog OnceWed also has a used wedding dress section where brides can sell their gowns to another bride. Our favorite part? Many listings show real wedding photos of the sellers in the dress, which gives you a better feel for sizing and fit.

Buy a used wedding dress from Tradesy


Tradesy has practically perfected the art of selling pre-owned clothing online– why should wedding dresses be any different? The vast majority of the dresses sold on Tradesy are being sold by the bride who wore them, and you can contact them directly with all your questions.

Don’t want to buy a used wedding dress? Check out these $100 Amazon Wedding Dresses Instead!

Where to Sell a Used Wedding Dress

If you’re wondering what to do with your wedding dress after the big day, why not try this wedding budget hack! Sell your wedding dress after the big day to recoup some of your costs! Check out this article to learn our top picks for places to sell a used wedding dress after the big day.

So tell us: would you buy a used wedding dress?

Most budget brides don’t have much wiggle room in their wedding budget for designer wedding dresses. Thankfully, there are more options than ever to score used wedding dresses via these online platforms. Who knows, you may even get lucky and find a brand new wedding dress from a bride who had a change of heart!

Whether you’ve got your heart set on a designer wedding dress from Monique Lhullier, Oscar de la Renta, or Hayley Paige, searching for your dream dress through a wedding dress marketplace like the ones listed above is a great way to get your wedding dress for less!

Join us in our community to chat more about wedding budgets and more!

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Wedding Budget Tip #17: Consider Choosing a Pre-Owned Gown
Wedding Budget Tip #17: Consider Choosing a Pre-Owned Gown

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The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!