I don’t know about y’all, but I was personally shocked at the price tags on wedding dresses when shopping for my own. Yes, I can appreciate that many dresses use premium, expensive fabrics and that sewing on beading is truly a labor of love. But spending upwards of $5,000 on a dress I would only wear for a few hours? Not for me, belles. If you’re looking for a way to keep dress costs down, here’s an idea: choose an “already-loved” dress.
I purposefully use the phrase “already-loved” rather than “used” because “used” sometimes carries a negative connotation. Yet, most already-loved dresses are in premium condition – no stains, tears, or worn out fabric. Many already-loved dresses have been worn for just five or six hours…that’s likely less wear time than a sample dress you can buy from a bridal salon! And, the savings can be hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
One way to find an already-loved dress is to wear a friend or family member’s (think: Mom’s or older sister’s dress). However, there are also lots of helpful websites and physical stores to help you find already-loved dresses, as well. Some of my favorites:
OnceWed: Search by designer, price, size, location, neckline, color, and so many other categories! If you’ve fallen in love with a gown at a store but aren’t quite ready to make the plunge with the price tag, search OnceWed to see if that style is being sold by another bride. Even if not in your size, alterations may cost quite a bit less than purchasing the dress new.
The Marketplace at 100 Layer Cake: Like OnceWed, the marketplace over at 100 Layer Cake features already-loved wedding dresses at fractions of their original price. The only downside is that there is not a helpful search feature like the one on OnceWed. On the upside, however, the marketplace features much more than just wedding dresses, so you can score deals on not only your dress, but also favors, decor, and accessories, all at the same time!
Tradesy: Has a helpful search tool like OnceWed, and currently features over 30,000 dresses! There’s no way you could NOT find something you love.
Physical Stores: If you’re more of an in-person type of gal, or don’t really know what style you want and need to try on dresses in person, there are many bridal salons that sell consigned dresses in top condition. One I can personally vouch for is Lineage Bridal in Charlotte, NC. They handpick designer gowns to sell and have fabulous customer service. Bonus: They are currently having a major anniversary sale as of May 1! Other stores selling already-loved wedding dresses include Gorgeous Gowns in Cary, NC, The Dress in Mauldin, SC, Fabulous Frocks in Charleston, SC and in Charlotte, NC, and Budget Bridal in Matthews, NC.
craigslist: Oh, you thought I was joking when I wrote that? Nope. Believe it or not, thousands of brides are selling their beautiful already-loved gowns on craigslist. The bonus of using this method for your search is that you can go try on the dress if you find one from a local seller, and prices are often negotiable. And, no tax! Just be safe about meeting up with strangers…take a buddy and meet in a public place, if possible.
What do you think, belles? Would you consider an already-loved wedding dress? Do you have experience shopping for or purchasing one that you’d like to share? Let’s discuss in the comments section!
Oh, and p.s. – I am not receiving sponsorships from any of these stores or companies…just enjoy sharing helpful hints with my belles!