Ready to say goodbye to the dress? We've rounded up everything you need to know.
One question we get asked time and time again here at One Fab Day, is, "Where can I sell my wedding dress?" It may be that your wedding is over and you're ready to part with the dress, or perhaps you're engaged, but you've changed your mind about the dress you bought (we've got a dedicated post on this coming soon!). Or maybe you've had to cancel the wedding. Whatever the reason, our guide to selling a wedding dress has all the information you need - follow our tips and advice, and you'll soon be introducing your dress to its new (and very excited) owner! Vines of the Yarra Valley has proven itself to be an iconic wedding venue and function centre in Melbourne. Book today so you don’t miss out.
Saying yes to the dress can be one of the most important wedding planning decisions a bride makes. After the big day, some may choose to preserve, donate or sell the unique dress.
What to do with your wedding dress after the big day is a highly personal thing. Some women store it carefully in a box for future prosperity. In contrast, others don't want it taking up valuable storage space (plus, it's a good opportunity to recoup some of the cost).
More and more brides are considering a second-hand gown, especially when you consider some custom made dresses that are priced around the $20,000 mark.
"Brides are so practical these days. So many of them can see the benefit of getting a massive discount on a gown just because it has been worn briefly by someone else for a few hours. Often we have brides that have had their eye on an amazing designer dress that they could not afford, and sometimes the stars will align and we will have their dream dress in their size at a fraction of the price," Mandy Daddia from Savvy Brides told The Huffington Post Australia.
Some brides opt to keep the dress because of its sentimental value since either they personally chose it, or they put their hearts into designing it. But other brides have seen the potential money they can get out of the dress, and so they sell it for the next practical bride to buy.
If you're in the market to sell your wedding dress or to look to buy a used one, you may be tempted to turn to large online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. While these popular websites are great for listing and buying everyday purchases, a website specifically for used wedding dresses can probably offer you a better deal and a more user-friendly service for this very niche (and important) wedding day purchase. Check out our tips for buying and selling a preowned wedding dress— plus our reviews of the best-used wedding dress sites—below.
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Things to Consider Before Selling Your Wedding Dress
Often when brides ask us about selling a wedding dress, it's because they've found a dress they love that's outside of their budget, and they're considering spending a little (or a lot) extra in the hope of making some of the money back after the wedding. It's a good plan, in theory, but there are a few factors to bear in mind before you hand over that credit card.
The kind of wedding dress you've got in mind - is it a popular style and size?
The style of wedding you're having - is the dress likely to be in good condition after the wedding? This is particularly important if you're having your ceremony in a forest, taking your portraits on a beach etc.
Your plans for immediately after the wedding - is there time to get the dress dry cleaned and put it up for sale? Many are the bride who tossed her dress in a bag as she headed off on honeymoon, only to forget all about it upon return!
How motivated you are to sell your wedding dress - are you an organizational marvel? Or the kind of person who tends to shove problems in the cupboard and hope they'll go away.
Before you buy an over-budget dress with the idea of selling it after the wedding, ask yourself if you afford to buy the dress if you don't sell it afterwards? Things happen, red wine spills, dresses tear, dry cleaners mess up, dresses fail to sell. If, for whatever reason, you can't sell your dress, can you take the hit for the full cost? We have compiled a list of Melbourne Wedding Dress Shops to make the search as easy as possible for your perfect gown.
Best Places to Sell Your Wedding Dress
There are many options to list your wedding dress. Some are broad, while others are specific to wedding dresses. Find the best one for you.
Where: eBay, Etsy, Gumtree, Craigslist, adverts. i.e., done deal. i.e., depop.com, tradesy.com, preloved.co.uk
Scroll down to read our tips on selling a wedding dress online, then create an account with your chosen marketplace and get to work! Each site works slightly differently, so make sure to acquaint yourself with the company policy on seller fees and commission.
There are over 50,000 listings for wedding dresses on eBay in Australia, though some of those are ready-made retailers as well as individuals. Gumtree has close to 15,000, most of which are people (not stores). The upside of selling on marketplaces like these is that you keep the full amount of the sale price; however, be mindful that you'll most likely have people wanting to come to your home to try the gown on. You'll need to be very careful with makeup/tan and that the potential purchaser is roughly the same size -- any stains or damage endured while trying on will be at your cost.
Websites such as Still White and I Do Gownsofer marketplaces for you to list your gown. The pros are that the sites are specifically dedicated to bridal wear (you can also list bridesmaids dresses, shoes and accessories), meaning users usually mean business. Fees for listing a dress for sale vary from $29-$50.
For a one-time fee of either $29.95 or $49.95, you can sell your lovely wedding dress so that another bride will look just as amazing as you did on your wedding day.
Where: Still White, Nearly Newlywed, Once Wed, sellmydress.com, sellmyweddingdress.i.e., evermore.net.au, bridesdogood.com (this one gives part of the price of your dress towards ending child marriage)
These kinds of sites tend to have a flat fee for sellers, which makes things easier if you're not planning on doing any more selling in the near future. Either way, acquaint yourself with the company policy before you sign up, then use our tips below to give your dress the best chance of finding a home.
We took the guesswork out of this process and came up with a list of reputable sites to sell a preowned wedding dress. Keep in mind that these websites are also great resources to peruse if you’re interested in buying a used wedding dress. They’re literal goldmines for buyers and sellers.
Most importantly, reselling your wedding items after the big day is one of our favourite wedding budget hacks! It’s worth noting that while selling your wedding dress online can absolutely help you recoup some of your costs, it’s not typically an easy, quick, or convenient task to tackle. These sites each have different benefits and costs involved, depending on the level of work you’re looking to do yourself.
Second-Hand Bridal Boutiques
Where: Memories Bridal (multiple locations in Ireland), The Little Bridal Boutique (multiple locations in the UK), Your Little Secret (Hampshire, UK), Little Bird Bridal (Perth, Australia), Savvy Brides (Sydney, Australia), Our Story Bridal (NYC, US), Once Upon a Bride (TX, US)
How: If a boutique stocks second-hand wedding dresses, there's a chance they may buy yours, so it's worth asking around. Just remember that every boutique is different. Some stores may buy the dress from you on the day you bring it in, others will offer to sell the dress on your behalf and take a percentage of the profit if it's sold, others operate on a dress-by-dress basis, and others won't deal directly with brides at all.
If money isn't a factor, you can always donate your dress to a charity boutique as well.
Another idea for selling your wedding dress is to take it to local consignment shops. You might find a consignment shop that deals in all types of clothing that will offer to sell your wedding dress.
Or, you could consult with local bridal shops to see if they have a consignment area where people can sell used wedding dresses.
Note that with consignment shops, you will have to share the profits from your sale. Consignment shop commissions vary. Some charge as little as 20% of the sale price. However, others may charge 40%, 50% or more.
Be sure to read the fine print on the consignment shop contract before signing a listing agreement.
"When gowns come in, and we thoroughly inspect them to ensure they are in perfect condition. We want brides coming into our store to have a beautiful hand-picked selection of gowns to look at and for it not to feel like they have to rummage through the gowns like an op-shop," Daddia said.
Gowns need to be dry cleaned and in pristine condition, less than three years old and not taken up too much to be sold at Savvy Brides. The pros are that you won't have people contacting you or strangers trying on in your home. The downside is that you'll be charged a percentage of the sale price for the service, though it's arguably worth it for the convenience.
Check our Top Wedding Dress Shops In Melbourne for your list of some of the most exclusive dress shops.
"Generally, after discounting their gown from the original price and deducting our consignment fee, they receive around about 50 percent of what they paid," Daddia said.
Tips for Selling Your Wedding Dress Online
Whether you aren't the sentimental type or you're just savvy, selling your used wedding dress is an easy way to recoup some money from your wedding. If your dress is in good condition, consider listing it online over selling it to a thrift store, where the piece will reach a greater volume of potential buyers and can be more easily shared and promoted.
A used wedding dress in great condition and under two years old can usually sell for 50 percent of the retail price. And, if your dress is by a more recognizable brand like Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang, you could make closer to 60 percent of its retail value. Some consignment websites also offer tools to help you decide what to charge.
Since there's a great demand for all kinds of secondhand wedding dresses, a designer label doesn't necessarily mean your dress will sell faster. But the presentation does matter. Put your best foot photos forward to show off how amazing the garment really is. And consider getting it professionally cleaned—Nearly Newlywed, a leading used wedding dress resale site, says it could sell twice as fast. (We recommend Wedding Dress Preservation by The Knot's Wedding Dress Cleaning the Only package.)
The cost of a second-hand wedding dress depends on a number of factors, but here's a rough formula for modern dresses: if the dress is less than three years old and it's been worn, charge 50% of the retail price, if it hasn't been worn, charge 75%. If your dress is older, knock off a further 10% or 20% off. In theory, you should be able to resell a vintage dress for the price you paid for it, but it depends on where you're selling it. If you purchased from a high-end vintage boutique, for example, you'll need to drop the price to attract buyers on eBay.
You wouldn't click on a blurry, badly-cropped photograph, so don't expect other online shoppers too! Take your photographs in a well-lit area using the best camera available to you, and make sure to get a full-length photo of the front and back of the dress, plus close-ups of any details. Pictures with models tend to do better, so it's a good idea to recruit the help of a pal, either to take the photos or be your model, you can always include one of your own wedding photos that shows off the dress too.
If your dress is part of a designer collection, the sooner you sell your dress, the higher the chance of selling it. If you sell your dress within three years of buying it, you'll catch the brides who are hunting for that specific design, either because it's no longer available or they can't afford it at full retail price. Vintage dresses won't date as quickly, but it may be worth noting which eras are popular and planning accordingly - for example, '70s dresses are selling well right now, but there are a few years to go before '80s styles make a comeback.
Be thorough in describing your dress - give the correct measurements (as many as possible), name the designer or brand, the model name or number, and the fabric, and mention whether it's been worn and/or professionally cleaned. Keywords are important for anyone Googling and searching dress sights for particular dresses, so keep in mind what you'd be searching for in your description.
- Be honest – You probably remember how important your wedding day was to you. So, you should be honest with the future bride who wants to buy your dress by describing the gown just as it is. If there are any damages or stains, make sure to mention them; To ensure that there are no issues with the transaction, make sure to disclose any imperfections, such as holes, tears, stains or fading. This will affect the sellability of your dress, but perhaps not as much as you think. If the hem is lightly stained, for example, you may attract a buyer who's planning on having the dress shortened anyway.
- Provide details – Size, colour, and material are three things you must provide. Try to be as detailed as possible. For example, add the exact measurements and state the precise colour (champagne, ivory, blush pink, etc.);
- List as early as possible – The longer you wait, the lower the price you can ask for your dress. The trends are constantly changing, so you may want to list it no later than two years of your marriage ceremony;
- Be generous with the photos – There can’t be too many photos when it comes to a wedding dress. Make honest photographs from all the possible angles. Even better, put on the dress, so buyers can see how it would look on them too;
- Ask for a reasonable price – Before entering the amount, ask yourself who buys used wedding dresses first. That’s probably someone who’s in a hurry and needs a budget-friendly nuptial ceremony. So, the chances are they won’t spend a fortune on a used dress. Also, don’t try to profit from your gown as people can easily compare prices and discover such tricks.
If you’re thinking about selling your wedding dress, you have many options to choose from. Whether you want full-service help or a simple DIY listing site, you can sell your wedding dress.