The idea of a pre-owned wedding dress really excites me. I realize not everyone feels that way. If you’re in the latter camp, I’d like to try to persuade you to reconsider, for the good of the Earth and others.
Reasons to buy a pre-owned wedding dress:
- You escape from subscribing to the multi-billion-dollar wedding industry– instead, you financially support another wonderful individual.
- Buying pre-owned means buying sustainably. The production and one-time use of wedding dresses is wasteful and damaging to the environment.
- Just think of all the love and happiness vibes that are passed down through that dress.
- By re-selling your pre-owned dress after your wedding, you can recoup much of the initial cost. This makes it an extremely budget-friendly option.
- You can see photos of the dress on a real woman rather than on unrealistically proportioned models.
- You could go to bridal shops and try on any dress you like, without worrying about budget. Note the name of the dress and your size. Then find it pre-owned for half the price! (Then re-sell it after your wedding.)
- If you can’t find a specific dress, you can at least try on different brands and take note of the fit. That way, you can have more confidence in the fit of a pre-owned dress before purchasing.
- Remember that all dresses can be altered. Purchase one size above your usual, spend a couple hundred to customize the fit, then it’s guaranteed to work for your body.
Where to look for gorgeous pre-owned dresses
Should I have convinced you to at least take a look at some inexpensive pre-owned dresses, check out this comprehensive list of top pre-owned wedding attire websites:
Stillwhite.com, while probably the least well-known, is my favorite. It has such a large selection. It’s actually based on Australia, but all dresses will ship to the U.S.
Remember that you cannot try on dresses from these websites (unless you happen to find a dress that is local and arrange to see it first). Therefore, it’s best to search for dresses one or two sizes up from your usual size. Most brides have dresses altered anyway, so it’s not a big deal to order an initially imperfect fit. For my hand-selected, favorite pre-owned dresses from the websites above, see my post Gorgeous Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses You Can Purchase Today. I hope you find one you love!
How to try on a pre-owned dress before buying
While one of the downsides of pre-owned dresses is that you usually can’t try them on before purchasing, or return them, there are some ways around that. Go to consignment and pre-owned clothing websites like tradesy.com or therealreal.com and search for white gowns or white maxi dresses (or any other color you love) that happen to not be listed in their bridal shop. That way, their no-return policy on bridal attire does not apply.
Craigslist is another option for trying on pre-owned dresses. You might be surprised by how many inexpensive wedding dresses are posted in your area. Don’t give up if you don’t see anything initially. It can take weeks or months of checking for new postings… but you may eventually find one you really like for a fraction of its original price.
So should you buy a pre-owned wedding dress? For me, the answer is a resounding “yes!” But you do you. I would encourage you to at least take a look at some dresses and see what comes up, even if you are still squeamish. For me, the search for that hidden and deeply discounted gem was so much fun, it convinced me that I could have it no other way. Perhaps you’ll be similarly charmed. You never know until you try!