Don’t break the bank.
While many would love a dress straight off the runway or pages of a magazine, others have budget or sentimental reasons to be a bit more practical. From Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul, to local thrift and resale boutiques, there is no shortage of shops that stock used wedding dresses.
Bargain hunting brides may find the selection of used dresses across social media platforms, and it’s a popular thing to do. Google has seen huge uptick in people searching for used wedding dresses, with the stats to back it up!
Clearly, you’re in good company if this is your goal, and to get you started, there are a few options to choose from.
“This is my favorite resource for brides open to wearing a pre-owned wedding dress on their wedding day,” says Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events.
Rather than anyone feeling shame for looking for a used or pre-owned wedding dress, Nearly Newlywed encourages brides to find the dress of their dreams without breaking the bank. “The bonus is if you buy your dress from the Nearly Newlywed site, you are automatically pre-approved to resell the dress on their site after the wedding,” Weinberg reveals.
This is a more general luxury consignment shop online, but it’s perfectly designed to filter and find some bridal gems.
“Head to the listing of designers and pick out your favorite one. Then you can filter the designer page by color to find everything white or the color of your wedding dress dreams. Each item has information on its condition, wear, measurements and more, so you feel confident in your choice,” says Weinberg.
We’re seeing more brides take the rental route, and for a good reason.
“Rent the Runway is a big hit, whether you’re seeking out a modern alternative (like a gorgeous jumpsuit!) or an elegant white dress for your beach nuptials,” says Kylie Carlson of The International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning. Better yet, if you’re keen on something more creative, you have a wealth of gowns in a variety of colors in which to select.
This a great option for gently used dresses at a great price, with as much as 80 percent off retail. Borrowing Magnolia makes sure brides get exactly what they ask for, as every dress undergoes a meticulous inspection process. And if you change your mind, you have five days to return the dress.
Happily Ever Borrowed is an e-boutique that rents designer bridal accessories for a fraction of the retail price. They also curate veils, tiaras, headpieces and jewelry. When you’re done using it, just ship it back and the company cleans it for the next bride.
Ebay isn’t just a resource for used items — you can get basically anything at all price points. And, if you can imagine it, it’s a great way to get that gently loved designer dress you’ve been coveting.
7. Ask family
Are you all about the bargain, but sentimental at heart? Says Kimberly Allen, Chief Experience Officer and Co-founder of Something Fabulous, “Post a request to family members who may be honored to loan or give their dresses a second turn down the aisle.”
One thing to remember when considering a used dress is a good dry cleaner and seamstress. Suggests Allen, “Check the underarms, collar and bottom of the skirt for stains, and remember that most wedding dresses require alterations.”
8. Broaden your search — and have fun with it
“If you’re not looking to go over-the-top with your look, consider looking at bridesmaid dresses. Many companies will offer them in white. For a whimsical look, consider a showstopping tulle skirt, which are available in a number of colors online,” says Carlson, who suggests looking at places like Etsy and Amazon.
9. Shop your mother or grandmother’s closet
“If they are willing to part with their own gown (and it’s in good shape!), you can connect with a seamstress who can alter it to make it your very own,” Carlson suggests.
10. Look into shoots
“There is an industry dedicated entirely to styled shoots, which are often run by wedding professionals globally. When seeking inspiration online, if you come across a dress you love from a shoot, be sure to take a peek at the vendor credits to see if you can locate a dress.
These days, more and more people are dedicating enough time to styled shoots that they have their own collection of dresses, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to reach out to the coordinator of the shoot (normally the photographer or planner) and inquire,” says Carlson.
Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.