I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.
A bride may have found her true love, but she is still out there in the world searching, dreaming, and waiting for “the one”….or, in other words: the perfect wedding dress.
Well, at least that is how we all see it in movies, right?
In truth, I’ve always secretly feared wedding dress shopping. To me, it feels a little bit like speed dating–if, of course, your date was a dress and was being carefully watched/judged by 3-5 close friends or family members.
Lately I’ve been looking into a modern, untraditional idea: buying a pre-owned wedding dress online.
There are a few reasons I’m intrigued by this idea:
- I like the “history/story” behind vintage or used clothing
- I love finding great deals on good designers (just snagged a neon floral Rachel Roy party dress for $25 at a consignment shop!)
- I’m trying to be more eco-friendly with my clothing choices
- I want to save money to use toward adding some cultural, DIY flair to my dress
Fortunately, there are a handful of websites out there that allow past and future brides to sell and buy pre-owned wedding dresses–perhaps because of the tough economy and the rising trend of vintage/antique fashion.
To help me narrow my shopping focus, I’ve created a list of dress priorities:
- Flattering fit/size (I’m barely five feet tall, but I’m also curvy)
- Simple silhouette that can be easily altered/adjusted (to add some DIY flair)
- Good quality fabric, beadwork, etc.(can’t look “cheap” up close)
However, since this is such a big wedding decision, I’ve been asking myself: Should I buy a pre-owned wedding dress? Is it the right choice for me?
To help me decide, I crafted my own list of pros and cons to buying a pre-owned wedding dress:
Pre-Owned Wedding Dress: Pros
Good Condition: Although not “brand new”, pre-owned dresses are typically only worn a few times, and by only one bride (unlike sample dresses, which could have been worn by many different brides).
High Quality, Low Cost: There are a few designers whose style/quality I really like, but unfortunately, their prices are outside my budget. However, pre-owned designer dresses are often sold at 40, 50, even 75% off the original price.
Ability to Splurge on Other Details: By spending less money on the dress itself, I can transfer those savings toward other details that are important to me–such as incorporating aspects of an Indian saree into my gown (my fiance is Indian Jamaican).
Promoting “Green” While Wearing White: I’m trying to be more eco-conscious with my clothing, and buying a pre-owned dress would allow me to reduce my own waste by reusing someone else’s dress. Plus, after my wedding, I can recycle the dress further by donating it or re-purposing it into a summer or cocktail dress. The dress gets to enjoy a long life filled with lots of love (now that’s a fashion trend I can definitely follow!).
Pre-Owned Wedding Dress: Cons
Blind Shopping/Buying: It’s definitely a risk to invest in a dress that I haven’t even seen or tried on–not only because of the fit, but also because of the quality/condition. However, some sellers do accept returns (knowing that brides are more likely to buy if they have the option to return), and I could narrow my purchase choices to returnable dresses only.
Pre-altered: Chances are that the bride had it altered to fit her individual body, which makes it hard to know the true size/fit, despite the dress and street size listed. However, many brides post pictures of them wearing the gown, which helps me see if her body type is similar to mine.
No “Brand New” Sparkle: The simple truth is this: the dress isn’t new. It’s already been purchased and worn. For something so personal and intimate as a wedding dress, buying it “used” might not feel as special and unique. And like many brides, I do want to feel special and unique on my wedding day.
So, there they are: my pros and cons to buying a pre-owned wedding dress. I’m still making my final decision, but this list has really helped me see the bigger picture to make an informed decision. Maybe you can use this list as a starting point to create your own pro/con wedding dress list.
Are you a bride who bought or sold a pre-owned wedding dress? I’d love to hear your thoughts about the experience!
Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings