For a lot of women her wedding dress is like a brief love affair. It’s amazing but fleeting, so hanging onto the dress somehow keeps that feeling alive.
Planning to save your wedding dress in a box under the bed? Think your daughter might want to wear it someday? Think again. Just like you probably wouldn’t want to wear YOUR mom’s wedding dress (complete with poofy sleeves and elbow gloves), your daughter will probably be more interested in a modern style by the time she’s ready to say “I do”. So what can you do with your once-worn gown after the Big Day?
Sell it! By letting another bride buy your wedding dress, you’ll earn extra money for a honeymoon, nursery, or shopping spree, and clear out lots of space in your closet. You’ll also make another woman’s wedding dreams come true by giving her access to the dress she wants at a price she can afford.
While selling your wedding dress was unheard of a decade ago, the trend is now taking off. In fact, since 2008, twice as many brides are selling their wedding dresses, and the taboo has officially been lifted. In 2011, more than 20 percent of brides either sold or shopped for a gently used wedding dress online. With so many other things to pay for on the Big Day, most brides cite savings and sustainability as their primary reasons for reselling the dress. But is the resale trend right for you?
Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best days of your life. But once you say your vows and cut the cake, the dress you spent thousands of dollars on no longer serves a purpose. While you could keep your dress, you might be better off trading it in for cold, hard cash. Should I sell my wedding dress? If you’re trying to answer that question, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Today’s brides are saying so long to the dress. But women planning to sell their gown after their wedding better make it a short good-bye if they want to get top dollar, experts say. “Sell it within six months,” says Josie Daga, founder of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. If you sell relatively quickly, your dress will still be in showrooms, Daga explains. So brides-to-be who try it on, fall in love with it and want to buy it for less than the retail price will search online and find yours.
A 2013 survey conducted by PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com found that 87% of brides will ‘maybe’ or ‘definitely’ sell their wedding gowns. The site is preparing to field another version of the survey next month and Daga says she expects the numbers to be the same or even higher. Her site has an online calculator that estimates the value of pre-owned dresses.
“In our mothers’ generation, everyone wanted to keep their dress, because that’s what you did,” Daga says. These days, women who love their dress want someone else to enjoy it — much sooner than a possible future daughter would. What’s more, brides who plan to resell their dress know they’ll recoup some of their cost and can therefore stretch their budget farther — so what’s a $5,000 price tag if you’re going to get a big chunk of that investment back? (Buying retail comes with other risks, such as the rare but real possibility that the store could close before the wedding.)
A bridal gown is like a new car, says Jacqueline Courtney, founder and CEO of Nearly Newlywed: The biggest depreciation comes when you drive it off the lot — or wear it for the first time for a few hours. After the first wearing, the resale price of a gently worn dress could drop nearly in half; but then it declines more gradually over the next several transactions. So a Vera Wang gown that retails for $8,000 might fetch around $5,000 at the first reselling and then $4,000 at the second.
Trends in bridal wear tend to last for a few years, experts say. A popular look now is sexy enough to “make your mother blush,” Daga says. Women who can’t decide whether to part with their dress in six months should at least try to sell it within two-and-a-half years to capitalize on the current fashions, she says.
Finding the right look at the right price is all about striking a balance. “You want to look special and classic and also timely,” Courtney says. “There’s always a budget consideration, no matter what your budget is.”
It’s a dress you’ve spent a large amount of money on, but you’ll only wear once. Unless you’d like to save your wedding dress for sentimental reasons, it’s silly to let it sit in your closet collecting dust. Tracy Dinunzio, the founder and CEO of Tradesy.com, visited TODAY to answer any question you might have about selling your wedding gown.
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Reasons to Sell Your Wedding Dress
Some women keep their gowns as souvenirs from their wedding days. Others hope that they’ll have a daughter who will want to wear their dress one day.But if your wedding dress is lying around and collecting dust, selling it might be something worth considering. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you could use the money you earn from getting rid of your gown to start one. Or that extra cash could go toward paying off debt, investing in stocks or funding a retirement account.
Selling your dress could also be a good way to give to charity. Someone in a tough financial situation who can’t fit a brand-new dress into her budget might love to have a second-hand gown.Just as picking out your wedding gown is a personal choice, selling it afterward is up to the individual bride. Many modern brides, however, find that they want to recoup some money and put it toward a honeymoon, new home, baby preparations or debt acquired from the wedding day itself.In other cases, a divorce, a broken engagement or even a simple change of heart about the gown might cause a woman to sell her original dress.
How Much You Can Get for Your Dress
If you’ve decided to bite the bullet and sell your dress, you probably want to know what it’s worth. If you purchased the dress within the past 30 months (and it’s in good shape), you can potentially sell it for up to half the price you paid for it. Owners of designer dresses can sell their gowns for up to 70% of their original values.
Want a better idea of how much your dress will sell for? PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com has a wedding dress value calculator. Anyone who’s purchased a wedding gown since 1940 can find out how much her dress is worth after entering the name of her dress designer, its condition, its current status (how many times it’s been worn), its retail price and the date it was purchased. The calculator also factors in whether the dress has been cleaned.
As a general rule of thumb, a used gown that’s in great condition and less than 2 1/2 years old can sell for 50 percent of the retail price. Gowns from recognizable names like Vera Wang and Monique Lhullier can sell for 60-70 percent of the retail value. But don’t be discouraged if your dress isn’t designer, Dinunzio said, brides across the spectrum are looking to buy used gowns. Dresses that retailed for $1,000 have as good a chance of re-selling as those originally priced at $5,000.
Where are the best places to sell the dress?
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy and cost-effective to sell anything and everything from your wedding. Bought 100 votive holders or 25 tall cylinder vases for your centerpieces that you’ll never use again? Just pop on weddingbee.com or a million other sites, and there are eager brides to take them off your hands. Probably the most expensive thing a bride will purchase that is easily recyclable is her wedding dress. Who hasn’t seen a tired, old wedding dress at the Salvation Army? I always wonder if someone actually got married in it, or was it just purchased by a sketch actor or hipster? Either way, wedding dresses (both new and used) are big business.
Many websites accept gently worn and vintage wedding dresses, so selling yours might actually be easier than you think. After you receive an estimate of your dress’s value on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, you can sell it on the website (once you pay a $25 fee). The site reports that the average dress sells within 70 days.
In fact, selling your dress online might be the way to go. With an online listing, your chances of finding someone to buy your dress are higher, simply because women across the country will be able to see it. Other websites that make selling wedding gowns easy include tradesy.com, nearlynewlywed.com and oncewed.com, which lets you list your wedding dress for free after you create an account. Just don’t forget to post plenty of pictures!
If you’d prefer to sell your dress to a retailer in person, you can find a consignment shop or thrift store owner who’s willing to take it off your hands. If all else fails, you can always try listing your gown on eBay or Craigslist.online! Sites like StillWhite.com, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, NearlyNewlywed.com and Tradesy.com specialize in re-selling wedding dresses. There’s also eBay, Craigslist and consignment shops (that take 50-60 percent commission), but Dinunzio still recommends selling online since the selection is often better curated and enticing to potential buyers. Be aware that some sites may charge a one-time listing fee of about $25.
Is It Bad Luck To Sell Your Wedding Dress?
Are you contemplating selling your wedding dress but worried it might be bad luck? There are quite a few differing opinions around this matter on both sides – some say ‘yes’, while others say ‘no’. Most brides could never imagine selling their wedding dress at first thought, especially if they have yet to wear it. However, others may see it more of an investment – that once the fun has been had and the memories have been made, they are then willing to part with their dress.
Whether you are thinking of selling your dress or know you want to keep it forever, it’s really up to you as to whether or not YOU think it’s bad luck to sell your wedding dress.
Wedding Dress Myths Debunked
We figured that there’s got to be plenty of other wedding dress superstitions, so we hunted them out to debunk for you:
- It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the ceremony: false. In the past during arranged marriages, contact was prevented beforehand to prevent the groom from seeing the bride and changing his mind about the marriage.
- A bride who sews her wedding dress will cry the same number of tears as stitches she sews: false. It’s good luck to not make the last stitches until she walks down the aisle though.
- Marry in red and you’ll wish you were dead: false. Many cultures wear red to their wedding as it is seen as a happy and lucky colour.