Since I started this site in 2004, I’ve seen buying and selling  preowned wedding dresses  develop from something almost unheard of, to something with a growing understanding, acceptance and desirability.  I’d venture to say that (compliments of the economy and global warming) at least half of women have considered buying preowned or selling post wedding.  It just makes sense.

Priscilla of Boston Pre-Sale Wedding Dress

Priscilla of Boston Pre-Sale. Wedding: September 19, 2009

My favorite analogy: if you bought a $90,000 car and owned it for 1 year, the cost breaks down to 17 cents a minute.  If you bought a $5,000 wedding dress and wore it for 5 hours, the cost is $16.67 a minute.   Whoa.

Another development I’ve seen recently is the idea of pre-selling a wedding dress. At first I couldn’t really get my head around it, but I think it has definitive merit.  Here’s why.

A  pre-sell a wedding dress, can be altered with “pre-sale in mind.”  This means that the seamstress leaves some fabric in the dress/hem for it to be re-sized later.   She also can save any extra fabric, which might also be useful when the gown is altered again.

Pre-sell brides will also wear the dress with resale in mind.  Just a little extra care everywhere so the gown will be in its best used condition.

A pre-sell gown also gets to the new buyer soon after the original wedding.  So it only needs to be cleaned, not preserved (a saved expense).

And a “pre-buyer” knows the gown she wants will be available on a certain date.  And she knows it will fit because it was altered with her measurements in mind.

A good friend of mine, Elizabeth, recently pre-sold her (very, very expensive) wedding dress.  It helped her justify the expense knowing that she had already found a buyer for after the wedding.  And her buyer was dead in love with the dress and very close to her in size, but couldn’t afford it new.  So it worked out very well for both of them.

If you look up “stock option” on investopedia, it says “A privilege, sold by one party to another, that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell  a stock at an agreed-upon price within a certain period or on a specific date.”

My friend Elizabeth’s arrangement is essentially the same thing.  Her buyer isn’t obligated to buy her dress, but she knows when she will get the chance to, before anyone else.

If you are thinking about “pre”, here are some things to consider:

As a pre-buyer, you need to be sure the timing allows for you to have a back up plan. (Think, God forbid, a drunk groomsman and a glass of red wine).  And be sure to discuss all terms of the sale upfront (price, payment method, who pays for the original cleaning).  Ironing out these details early will ensure there are no surprises later.

As a pre-seller, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.  It isn’t reasonable to expect she give you a deposit for a gown whose condition can’t be guaranteed. (Although if both sides agree to the terms of a deposit, it can be done).

If you have thoughts or experiences with pre buying or selling, I’d love to hear them.  Is this a trend whose time has come?

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