Sometimes your dream wedding dress can be just a little bit out of reach when it comes to price. Buy today’s smart bride know she can find her perfect gown for less, in the PreOwned market.
Since 2004, we’ve helped thousands of brides find their perfect dress at an affordable price. And we love that. Buying online, through our site, or any other online option, can be safe and secure if you follow three simple rules.
1. Do Your Homework
With google, it’s easy to find out the retail price of the item you want to buy. Your seller will tell you, but you can also validate this information independently with a few quick keystrokes. And any other information you want to find out about the item can easily found online too.
2. Don’t Wonder. Ask.
Most often, your seller will happily answer any question you have. She loved the dress and wants you to be happy with your transaction. Ask her questions about the fit, fabric, alterations or any imperfections on the dress. Ask your questions upfront to avoid any surprises later.
3. Transact Safely
Always use a secure payment method. We only recommend Paypal or Escrow.com because your transaction is protected and both offer a mediation channel in the unlikely event of a transaction dispute. We never recommend checks or wire transfers in any circumstance. Of course, cash in person is a great option too.
And like your mother always told you, trust your gut. Inbal Dror for $2300? Berta Bridal for $2,000? If something in the back of your mind is telling you the price is just too good to be true, it is a good a reminder to follow the three rules above. Buying online is very safe, and legitimate sellers will always be willing to following these guidelines. Be watchful for sellers who try to get you to deviate from them for any reason.
The following email addresses are of sellers who regularly attempt fraud via wedding dress resale. Do not transact with:
At PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, we love helping brides buy, sell and save. And we’re committed to helping them do it safely. Have a question? Reach out to our team anytime, and we’ll be happy to answer.
Chances are, if you find yourself reading this article, you’ve begun the search for your wedding gown. Welcome to this fun journey! Of course, hunting for the perfect wedding gown can seem overwhelming and exhausting at times, so we’ve drawn up a handy guide with tips on how to find your dream wedding dress. From where to begin before you set foot in a wedding gown boutique to what to do once you’ve found the gown (SPOILER: stop looking!) we’ve got you covered!
Determine Your Bridal Style Before you dive into the white sea of tulle, you might find it useful to just spend time thinking about what is important to you in your wedding gown and asking some questions. What style or designers appeal keep you coming back for a second look? What materials, length and even color do you like? Think too about your style personality. From The Romantic to The Siren, this post on different wedding dress personalities is a great tool to get you started.
Knowing the time of day and venue style for your wedding will also help guide your dress style.
Set a Budget
Early on in the search is a great time to set a budget for your wedding dress, before emotions get involved. There’s a dress for every budget, but don’t tempt yourself by trying dresses on that are outside of yours. Keep in mind too that many dresses go on to a second life and are resold to a new bride, just like here on PreOwnedWeddingDresses! It’s a great way to recoup some of your cash (or save upfront) and still enjoy an amazing bridal style.
Maybe you’re not sure what your dream wedding dress looks like, so get inspired! Check out the PreOwnedWeddingDresses boards on Pinterest to get your fill of wedding dresses and start a wedding dress board for yourself. We’re always pinning something pretty, in all silhouettes, styles and budgets. Watch to see the trends or patterns that emerge from your Pins….and you’ll see your bridal style come to life.
Time to Try: Inside the Salon
Make appointments at bridal salons as needed, six to nine months out from your wedding date, if possible. Weekends are the busiest times, but most bridal salons will have one night they are open late to work around your schedule. Bring a pair of comfortable shoes at the height you are thinking you might like to wear on your wedding day. Some salons suggest you wear a strapless bra to trials, but don’t buy a bra specifically for your wedding gown until you begin the fitting and alterations process. Don’t know your ballgowns from trumpets? Getting savvy on wedding dress silhouettes and shapes will educate you on the differences and make you feel like a pro.
Who (and What) to Bring
Gather a list key bridal party members, excited confidantes and trusted fashion advisors you’d like to bring along, but tailor the list to a select few. Opinions are important, but too many cooks in the kitchen might cause confusion not clarity.
Make a day of your salon visits and combine the trip with a hair trial or spa day beforehand so you feel and look your best. Keep makeup to a minimum as it can damage the gowns, but wearing your hair like you think you’ll want it on your wedding day will help you envision the walk down the aisle.
Keep an Open Mind
Most importantly during the process, stay open minded. Bridal consultants are experienced professionals who can suggest what works best for certain body types and figures. Countless brides will tell you the dress they loved most was the one they were reluctant to even try on.
Visualizing alterations is important too. If all that separates a dress from your dream gown is sleeves or a certain neckline, they may be added or changed. The same goes for detailing like beading, crinolines and crystals, which often can be added (or removed) as well.
How to Know When It’s Your Dress You just will. Monique Lhuillier says when you find the dress “it sings to you.” You’ll feel your most beautiful, and look it too.
When You’ve Found the Gown
Once you’ve found the dress and put a deposit down – stop doing everything above! Be confident in your choice, and revel in the fact that that luxurious, delicious dress you found will be on hand to help you look amazing on your wedding day, perfectly tailored to your gorgeous curves. Sleep easy knowing this happy part of wedding planning is now complete!
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a wedding dress may be worth a million. Your gown is one of the most personal and special dresses you’ll ever wear, and it’s also a statement of self expression.
What’s your wedding dress personality?
The Romantic wedding dress personality is soft and delicate. Lace, ruffles, cascading tiers, and gorgeous tulle are hallmarks of this gorgeous gown personality. If you’re a Romantic, you are a very feminine woman. You enjoy the dainty and beautiful moments in life, and are totally in love with, well, love!
The Traditionalist wedding dress personality is very feminine and elegant, featuring refined tailoring and simple ruffles, subtle bows and even pockets rather than extreme embellishment. The woman drawn to this style is undeniably lady-like, has fresh, effortless personal style.
Minimalist wedding dress personalities feature minimal embellishment with a sleek and chic cut and deceptively simple architectural detailing. Luxe fabrics and textures are more important than with other dress styles. If you are drawn to this wedding dress personality, your personal style mantra is probably less is more! You think outside the box and are seeking something out of the ordinary for the altar, but is still classic and stylish.
The Glamour Girl wedding dress personality is not one to fall in line and is not content to follow regular bridal fashion. The woman drawn to this personality marches to the beat of her own style and is not a follower, but instead one who prefers to stand out in a crowd.
This wedding dress personality commands attention! The Siren shows off her best assets with sexy shapes featuring daring divalicious details like low backs, corsets or décolletage baring bodices. If you are drawn to The Siren, you are in touch with your body and love to work with it to reveal your best assets and turn up the heat on your wedding day (and every day)!
The confetti has long since fallen, the photos are in an album, the thank you notes are written. Yet your wedding dress still hangs in the closet, carefully cleaned and preserved. You meant to sell it, but you just never got around to it. What options do you have now?
Did you know your wedding dress could help the environment, support the terminally ill, or provide a bride with her dream wedding gown after you are done wearing it? While selling your wedding dress to a new owner is a wonderful way to spread the love and continue the story of your dress, some brides choose to donate their wedding dresses. And there are great places to do that.
Whether you are looking to support a local, national or international charity, would like to find a unique use for your wedding dress (art project, anyone?) or would prefer to provide a dress directly to a bride in less fortunate financial circumstances to help her feel her best, here is a list of opportunities to donate and up cycle your pre-loved wedding gown around the world.
The dress donation opportunities are separated by method of donation and country – local/in-person only and mail-in or in-person donations. In addition to accepting wedding gowns of varying ages, many of these nonprofits will take other wedding items as well: veils, jewelry, shoes and more, including bridesmaids dresses and menswear – even wedding decor and favors in some instances!
That being said, do be sure to check the guidelines for your chosen organization carefully before sending all your wedding goods. It’s very costly for charities to deal with unwanted items, and not all are interested in accepting every last piece of your wedding day. Also be sure that your wedding gown is in good condition, and also fits the age requirements some charities have.
Find a cause you feel great about that not only supports your interests, but lets your wedding gown live on!
– General Donation Opportunities – Local Charities and Thrift Shops
There are many local thrift shops and charities you might consider first before sending your gown through the mail to a larger organization. Locally we suggest checking with:
Churches – Contact the local clergy to see if they know of a bride to be in need of a wedding dress, or if they operate a thrift shop
Brotherhood of St Laurence – This Australian op shop chain accepts wedding gowns (Store Locator)
Local Schools – Contact a nearby school’s drama department or a college’s photography or theatre department. Your gown may star in any number of theatrical productions, photo shoots or art projects!
Freecycle It! – Freecycling is a growing global movement to usefully recycle goods that would otherwise end up in landfills. Forums and message boards help connect users giving away and looking for specific items in your local area, and is not just limited to wedding gowns. ReUseIt Network, FreeSharing and Recycling Group Finder offer local groups in many different countries
– In Person Only Donations – United States
American Kidney Services Atlanta – Donations help support valuable programs initiated by the American Kidney Fund, which is a nonprofit health organization that gives financial assistance to people suffering from chronic kidney disease. Also accepts: wedding decorations, wedding favors, or any other garments and accessories. Dresses may be dropped off at dropboxes in the cities of Atlanta, Dunwoody, Marietta, Chamblee, Norcross and Lawrenceville. Pickups can also be arranged.
The Bridal Garden New York – Donations to this boutique benefit education for New York City’s disadvantaged children. Dresses must be newer than 5 years old. Also accepts: veils, headpieces, and boleros or shawls that accompanied a wedding gown. Dresses may be dropped off at their shop in New York City.
Catherine’s Glass Slipper Project – Donations to this nonprofit organization provides wedding gowns to lend to women who might not otherwise be able to afford a bridal gown. Serves the areas of Sacramento, Stockton, Lodi, and Galt, CA. Also accepts: formal wear, bridesmaids gowns, jewelry and accessories. Dresses may be dropped off at their headquarters in Galt, CA.
National Kidney Services Ohio & North Carolina – Donations to the Ohio and North Carolina chapters of the National Kidney Services benefit the National Kidney Foundation and its programs. Also accepts: bridal accessories, bridesmaids dresses, men’s suits and tuxedos, wedding decor and leftover favors. Dresses may be dropped off at locations and donation bins in North Carolina and Ohio. Local pickups may also be arranged.
refashionNYC – Donations to these bins and drop off points scattered all across New York City are meant to encourage the recycling and reuse of clothing that is otherwise thrown out – up to 200,000 tons a year in the city! Dresses may be dropped off at various shops and bins around New York City.
– In Person Only Donations – United Kingdom & Ireland
Bridal Re-Dress – Donations to this Essex bridal shop support a variety of charities such as the WWF, cancer research and more. Also accepts: wedding accessories: jewelry, hairpieces, etc. Dresses may be mailed (within the UK) and once the gown is sold your postage is reimbursed. Contact the shop before you send your gown.
Cancer Research Wales Bridal Suite – Donations to this organization helps to fund cancer research in Wales. Also accepts: mother-of-the-bride outfits, accessories and bridesmaid dresses. Dresses may be dropped off at their boutique in Cardiff.
Red Cross – Donations to this bridal charity shop in Surrey support the work of the British Red Cross with conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies globally. Also accepts: wedding accessories, veils, hats, bags, shoes and jewelry, as well as books giving wedding advice and bridal magazines. Wedding gown donations are accepted at all British Red Cross charity shops.
Saint Francis Hospice – Donations to this hospice charity in Greater London support patient care at the hospice. Also accepts: mother of the bride outfits, bridesmaids gowns, wedding hats, fascinators and other bridal accessories. Donations may be made at one of their locations.
St Giles Hospice – Donations to this charity shop’s bridal room support people living with cancer and other serious illnesses, as well as offering support for their families and helpers. Dresses may be dropped off at the a hospice shop or to St Giles’ warehouse.
Society of St Vincent de Paul – Donations to this Dublin, Ireland charity shop go towards benefiting the poor and disadvantaged and supporting social justice. Also accepts: shoes, tiaras as well as bridesmaids and mother of the bride outfits. Dresses may be dropped off at Vincent’s Bridal Wear Shop in Dublin.
Wedding Wishing Well Foundation – Donations to this nonprofit help fund weddings for the terminally ill in England and Wales, as well as provide gowns for brides receiving a Wishing Well Foundation wedding. Also accepts: bridesmaid dresses, suits, mother of the bride outfits and bridal accessories as well as wedding related supplies, props such as table decorations, confetti, centrepieces, chair covers and more. Drop offs may be made at locations of Johnsons Cleaners in England and Wales.
– In Person Only Donations – South Africa
South African Princess Project – Donations provide wedding gowns (and prom/graduation dresses) to those less fortunate South African women. Drop offs may be made in Gauteng and Cape Town, South Africa.
Mailing Your Wedding Dress
If you can’t find a suitable donation center near you, you might considering investing in a little postage and mailing your gown to one of the nonprofits below. No matter where they are and where you are, they all accept gowns shipped via the mail if you are willing to pay the postage to that location. All of these organizations also accept in-person donations as well, in case you happen to live near them.
Tips on Mailing Your Wedding Gown
It is helpful if you have your gown cleaned before you send it, or if you provide a donation to help clean the gown
If you require a tax receipt, include self addressed, stamped envelope for the nonprofit to mail one to you
Remove the gown from preservation or storage box and slim down the package as much as possible. Often shipping is calculated by both weight and dimensions of the package
You might consider attaching a note for the lucky new owner sharing a personal story about your wedding dress or wedding day
– Mailed or In Person Donations – United States
Adorned in Grace – Donations benefit Compassion Connect based in Portland, OR., which raises awareness about the problem of human trafficking, funds outreach events and training for the prevention of human trafficking, and provides support for rescued victims of sexual exploitation in the area. Also accepts: formals, petticoats, veils, accessories, and other wedding items. Dresses may be mailed to or dropped off at the Adorned in Grace boutique in Portland, OR.
Brides Across America – Donations to this nonprofit provides wedding gowns to military brides in need. Dresses must be newer than 5 years old. Also accepts: veils, tiaras and accessories. They do not accept petticoats or undergarments. You must contact BAA for donation approval of your gown before you ship it to their offices!
Brides Against Breast Cancer – Donations to this nonprofit organization are put up for sale in a “Nationwide Tour of Gowns” from which sales benefit programs for cancer patients and their families. Dresses must be newer than 5 years old. Also accepts: veils and slips. Dresses may be mailed to the BABC headquarters in Sarasota, FL.
Brides for a Cause – Donations benefit Wish Upon a Wedding, a nonprofit organization dedicated to granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering situations. Dresses must be newer than 8 years old. Also accepts: veils, tiaras, headpieces, sashes and slips. Donations may be mailed to or dropped off at the Brides for a Cause headquarters in Portland, OR.
Brides for Haiti – Donations to St Joseph’s Parish in Carcasse, Haiti serve two purposes: dress resales benefit Haitian charities and also provide baby burial gowns. Dresses must be newer than 7 years old, or over30 years old (vintage). Dresses may be mailed to a volunteer in Poolesville, MD.
The Bride’s Project (US) – Donations help support families touched by cancer seeking help from the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. Dresses must be newer than 8 years old. Dresses may be mailed to or dropped off at The Bride’s Project headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI.
Every Girls Dream – Donations to this nonprofit provide wedding gowns to brides undergoing financial hardship in the Southeast Michigan area. Their mission is to make every girl’s dream come true! Dresses must be newer than 15 years old. Also accepts: Petticoats, veils, flower girl dresses, bridesmaids gowns, mother of the bride dresses, shoes, tiaras, gloves, and tuxedos. Donations may be mailed or dropped off at EGD’s office in Eastpointe, MI.
Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring – Donations to this nonprofit bridal boutique serving the Washington, D.C. metro area provide reduced price bridal gowns and accessories for underprivileged women while contributing to other nonprofit charities in the area, including the Victims Rights Foundation. The boutique also provides opportunities for local high school students to learn about the fashion industry and gain retail work experience. Dresses must be newer than 8 years old. Also accepts: veils, headpieces, jewelry, sashes, shoes, and boleros or shawls. Donations may be mailed or dropped off at the Fairytale Brides boutique in Rockville, MD.
Mary Madeline Project – This nonprofit organization in Nebraska refashions bridal gowns into blankets and baby burial outfits which are then donated to hospitals around the United States to bereaved parents. Although they are currently not accepting gowns due to a lack of seamstresses, you might check back at a later date to donate to this cause.
St Anthony’s Bridal – Donations to this nonprofit organization provide a wedding gown to qualified brides who are on a budget of $3,000 or less. Also accepts: veils, crinolines, bridal shoes, boleros, wraps, tiaras, gloves, and bridal jewelry. Dresses may be mailed to or dropped off at St Anthony’s Bridal in Mitchellville, MD.
The Wedding Dress Project – Donations to The Wedding Dress Project provide an artful way to help victims of domestic violence cope, help teens envision and engage in dialogue about what healthy relationships look like and help participants learn to recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse. The project engages the community in a variety of ways, most notably through wedding dress “deconstruction workshops.” Also accepts: tuxedos, prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses and art supplies. Dresses may be mailed or dropped off to The Wedding Dress Project office in Greensboro, NC. Local pickups can also be arranged.
– Mailed or In Person Donations – Canada
The Brides’ Project (Canada) – Donations to this nonprofit serves two very important purposes: to provide brides with the things she needs for a beautiful wedding within her budget, and to support cancer charities. Dresses must be newer than 5 years old. Dresses may be mailed to or dropped off at the headquarters in Toronto, ON.
The Princess Shop – Donations to this nonprofit program provides gowns and accessories to lend to women in need. Dresses must be newer than 5 years old. Also accepts: bridesmaid and evening gowns as well as purses/handbags, shoes and jewelry. Dresses may be mailed to or dropped off at the headquarters in Saskatoon, SK. There are also other donation spots around Saskatoon and in Lloydminster, SK.