If you’re considering selling or donating your wedding gown after the big day, or you’re looking to purchase a pre-owned dress to cut down on costs, you’re not alone. There’s a vast marketplace for second-hand wedding dresses, so we’ve asked expert Erin Richardson to share her tips and insight.
Meet the Expert
Tips for Selling Your Dress
Make sure to include photos.
“The most important thing you can do to market your dress is to include quality photos,” advises Richardson. Include photos from your wedding so brides can see how it photographs and envision how it might look on their own big day. Plus, most gowns look better on a body than they do on a hanger. If you don’t feel comfortable showcasing your wedding photos, make sure to include some shots of the dress on your body so other brides can get an idea of how the fabric lays.
This is a big investment for buyers both emotionally and mentally, so take the time to answer questions, provide additional information, and ease any concerns in a timely fashion.
Cover your bases.
When it comes to the transaction, only accept payment from trusted methods and document your conversations with the buyer for added protection in case of a dispute.
Finally, be honest and try to remember what it was like when you were making the decision about your dress. Be upfront about alterations, staining, and imperfections, and be kind when dealing with anxious brides—you were in their shoes not too long ago.
Tips for Buying a Used Dress
Determine your style beforehand.
The first step in selecting any wedding dress, whether second-hand or not, is to try on gowns. Head to your local boutique to narrow down styles, designers, and sizes. Once you know what you’re looking for, sign up for alerts to be notified as soon as someone puts your dream dress up for sale or search for similar looks.
Be smart and steadfast.
Act fast when you find what you’re looking for, but don’t be shy when it comes to asking questions. While coveted designers and styles tend to get snatched up quickly, be smart when it comes to shopping and negotiating one of these sought-after gowns. “Request even more photos of the dress's condition (zippers, alterations, stains) and consider asking the seller to allow for a return should the dress not fit or be as described.”
Protect your purchase.
Finally, when it comes time to make your purchase, only use trusted payment methods such as Paypal, which protects both the buyer and seller.
How Much Can Dresses Sell For?
Whether you’re buying or selling a preowned gown, you need to be realistic about the cost. “While 10% of designer dresses resale for above $2,500, 70% of used dresses are priced at $1,000 or below, which is something to consider when pricing your gown,” says Richardson. Do research to see what other similar used dresses are going for and consider factors like age, wear, and designer.
If you’re hesitant about purchasing a pre-owned dress, know that used dresses don’t necessarily mean old. Of all dresses sold across A07 Online Media’s marketplaces, 25% are from the past year or two, and 37% of all the dresses sold are new. Purchasing from a bride who changed her mind or a boutique with a canceled order could save you hundreds.
Where to Sell or Buy a Used Dress
After you’ve decided to buy or sell your wedding dress, you might be wondering where to do so. Consider utilizing multiple sites, especially if you need to sell or buy your dress quickly. Sites typically take a commission from the sale, which ranges depending on how hands-on you want to be during the process.
- Nearly Newlywed: $25 listing fee and 40% commission for hassle-free selling
- Tradesy: 19.8% commission fee on sales over $50
- Still White: one-time $20 fee; $30 for a premium listing
- PreOwned Wedding Dresses: $25 listing fee
- Poshmark: 20% flat commission fee
- Wedding Bee: no fee
- Wore It Once: $20 listing fee
- Sell My Wedding Dress: $19.97 for a basic listing; $29.97 for a premium listing
- Once Wed: $19.95 listing fee
Another great option is utilizing Facebook Marketplace. “There’s always someone looking for a wedding gown,” says Bridals by Madison owner Madison Blackburn. “If you sell on Facebook, you won’t have to pay any consigning fees or transaction fees.”
Want to buy or sell in-person? Reach out to local consignment shops in your area, but note that commission fees tend to be higher.
Where to Donate Your Dress
Donating your dress is another great way to pay it forward, so consider the following organizations:
- Brides Across America
- Adorned in Grace
- Brides for a Cause
- Brides Against Breast Cancer
- Brides for Haiti
- The Angel Gown Program
- Fairy Tale Brides On A Shoestring