This post is part of a recurring series here on BSB – we share a wedding budget tip every Tuesday to help you save money on your wedding! You can also access all the wedding budget tips on a single page for your convenience and future reference.
Wedding Budget Tip #17:
Buy a pre-owned 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.
You might have reservations about buying a used wedding dress, or maybe you just aren't sure where to start. In this post, we outline everything you need to know about buying a 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.
Budget savvy brides value (v.) getting a good value (n.)
Buying a pre-owned 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. 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!
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 dress 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 which provide used wedding dresses to disadvantaged groups for free/greatly reduced cost, and charities which sell used dresses and give the proceeds to charity)
👎🏻 Cons of buying a used wedding dress
- Limited availability (fewer sizes, fewer dresses available at 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:
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Another fabulous option for finding a pre-owned wedding gown is NYC-based Our Story Bridal. This one-of-a-kind shop offers previously-owned wedding gowns in a wide range of styles, designers, and sizes. You'll get the benefit of trying on these pre-loved dresses in their beautiful salon space in NYC, and you can definitely score a major deal! Even better, after your big day you can then re-consign the dress with Our Story to recoup some of the cost. Now that's budget-savvy! Appointments can be booked at www.ourstorybridal.com
Where to Sell Your Used Wedding Dress
Want to be extra savvy? You could also 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 your wedding dresses after the big day.
So tell us: have you considered choosing a pre-owned wedding gown?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
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