The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Wedding Dresses
Where (and How) to Sell or Donate Your Wedding Dress
Selling a preowned wedding dress comes with a series of considerations in terms of how to get it done right, but it also comes with a serious question in terms of how much your used design is actually worth. What factors determine their price point? How can you get the most money for a special garment with history attached? There are ways to break down what you’ve got in the closet and determine fair value. According to Time:
“A bridal gown is like a new car, says Jacqueline Courtney, founder 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.”
In a nutshell, the sooner you sell, the higher the price tag you’re able to uncover. If you’re opting to take this route with your chosen piece, then do so within six months from your time of wear. This makes the design still on-trend and relevant, but also not stowed away in a closet asking for dust, mildew, or damage from discoloration to occurs.
Six Ideas for Giving Your Wedding Dress a Life After the Ceremony
The I do’s have been exchanged, the guests have gone home, and you’ve been unzipped—for the final time—from your wedding gown. Now what? What do you do with a piece of clothing that you quite literally don’t have a place to wear it again? Well, there are a few options we would like to guide you through. It seems silly to just box it up and forget about it. So much time, money, planning, and photography went into this ensemble. Thankfully, there are ways to keep its memory alive or get creative. From getting it professionally preserved to several artistic options for reusing or recycling it, here are 8 things you can do with your dress after the wedding (and tips on getting it done right).
Sell Your Dress
We are a bit biased, but obviously selling your wedding dress is a great option. If you want to declutter and earn some cash back on your purchase, you can quickly and seamlessly list your wedding dress for sale on platforms like ours and others. The process going to be different depending on the platform, but generally speaking it is straightforward to sell your gown.
At Preowned Wedding Dresses, you can list your gown for sale and we process payments (no risk of fraud), provide a secure built-in messaging platform, and insure every shipment. And for other dresses, such as bridesmaids’ or flower girls’, and accessories, you can also sell those too.
This is always a win-win, because you get money back in the bank and another bride gets to acquire a beautiful gown at an attractive price. In a world where frugality is becoming increasingly important, this is a great option for all parties.
Display Your Dress
Of course, you can always get your gown professionally cleaned and display it! There are so many different ways to make this happen depending on your vision and style preferences. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Shadow Box: When you choose to clean and preserve your dress, you can choose a shadow box preference. This includes proper preservation but with the value of displaying the bodice of your gown and including it in your home’s decor.
Frame It: You can also frame your gown in a classic display. Or, you can display pieces, such as your veil, belt, or just the bodice of your dress.
Dress Form: Use a dress form to display your wedding day look. Use it to highlight the corner of your office. You can even add your necklace to top off the scene.
This is a great option for those who have an ongoing attachment to their gown or one day want to hand it down.
Donate Your Dress
There’s always the option of donating a gown and feeling the joy of directly helping a bride in need. Several firms will help with this including many that donate to charity on your behalf. The process is easy. We have partners with Brides Against Breast Cancer who are an amazing organization.
Some benefits of this decision:
Helping out a bride in need. Whether it’s finances or a natural disaster, there are brides that would absolutely love the support and help.
Perpetuate a cleaner earth. Donating and reusing is an eco-friendly way to live. The fashion industry causes a huge amount of pollution—if you didn’t know already.
Tax deductions! Donations—both in goods and money—can be deducted off your taxes. Keep a record and use this to your advantage come spring. Platforms will handle this for you.
Preserve & Store Your Dress
If you’ve chosen to preserve your wedding gown, most certified wedding dress cleaners offer this service alongside the cleaning process. Preserving and storing your gown is perfect for those that won’t be unboxing the piece for a long time and want to keep it in good form—maybe even to pass down to a family member one day.
Without preservation, you risk the gown succumbing to mold or mildew growth, permanent creasing, browning, or yellowing. Here are the steps to take to ensure proper preservation or storage:
Step 1: Check your label. Your wedding dress will give you hints on what kind of cleaning and care the fabric needs. There are specific solvents needed.
Step 2: Ensure a certified professional. You don’t want anyone touching and preserving your dress.
Step 3: Preserving comes right after professional cleaning. And the sooner you can get it done, the better.
Step 4: Ensure an airtight box. These boxes do not have oxygen inside—instead it’s replaced with nitrogen.
Step 5: Store in a cool, dry place.
Photograph Your Dress
Grab your dress, zip yourself back into it, and get to photographing.
This may be in the form of a “trash the dress” style photoshoot or for some extra “after the wedding” photos, to give yourself ample opportunity for the photos you’ve always wanted and without the time limit of a cocktail hour to do it in.
Trash the Dress Ideas that we have seen before and think are quite fun include:
Nature-inspired: Roll around in the red clay in Georgia or jump in the Pacific. Use nature to guide your photoshoot experience. The beach, waterfalls, the desert, the forest or farms—wherever you are, you’ll have plenty of options.
Family-inspired: When the little ones show up in your lives, you can always shimmy back into your dress and let the kiddos do the trashing. This could be in the form of fingerpaints or a spaghetti-infused food fight. The pets can get in on the action as well!
Art-inspired: Powder bombs or paint can be the inspiration you need to trash the dress and create some photos with gorgeous memories of your gown.
Craft Your Dress
Finally, you can learn to take pieces of your gown to create brand new memorabilia.
These homemade items can be useful for years to come but hold the same sentimental value because they’re quite literally created using the fabric, scraps and details of your original wedding gown. Here are some of our favorites examples:
Make scarves or shawls.
Use the beading to craft necklaces, bracelets, or even a set of earrings for yourself and future kiddos.
Flip the fabric into a clutch to carry to future events.
Use your scraps to make doll clothes, baby blankets, or other odds and ends for your children.
Turn more simplistic dresses into cocktail pieces.
Learn how to take pieces from the dress and use them to create acrylic pieces like serving trays or coasters.
Make Christmas ornaments from the detailing or stockings from the skirts.
Use the fabric to make pillows.
Turn the skirt into a table runner or soft chargers for the table.
The Best Time To Sell Your Wedding Dress
Millennials are changing the wedding industry, re-inventing it in a modern kind of way and it’s pretty exciting. For thousands of years wedding traditions, decor, venues, etc pretty much remained the same. It got to the point that if you were invited to a wedding you kind of knew what to expect for decor, dress, and venue. And we have to admit it made weddings pretty boring. But now, with the new wedding evolution that is being driven by millennials, every wedding is unique, exciting and unexpected. Everything from more “interactive wedding activities” to selling your wedding dress after the wedding, the sky is limit for weddings today. So, it got us thinking…If you aren’t sentimental and planning to keep your wedding dress forever, what is the best time to sell your wedding dress?
After The Wedding?
This is a question that is asked by every bride. At some point in your wedding planning, you have to think about what you are going to do with your wedding dress after the wedding. Many brides decide to stick to tradition and save it forever. Maybe for their daughter to wear, or just as a keepsake to look back on (and dream of fitting into again). But today, Millennials are seeing the world, life and weddings differently. Those ancient traditions are not as important. One of the most popular trends in recent weddings is to give your dress a second trip down the aisle. In previous years Brides wanted to get their wedding dress preserved and keep it forever, modern-day Brides want to see their wedding gown make another Bride happy. Giving your dress a new life is like a right of passage.
How To Sell My Dress?
We would like to say there is an “exact science” to selling your wedding dress online. But the truth is each and every dress is unique. We have stories from Brides that their wedding dress sold within a few days and some that took months, or even a year. It all boils down to when you sell it, how you price it, and if it is a popular style that Brides are searching for now.
Think about it this way. If you got married 15 years ago and are now considering selling your wedding dress, you may not have as much luck as someone that is selling a dress from the most current wedding dress collections. Styles and trends come and go, so older wedding gowns may not sell too fast, where newer styles are in higher demand.
A Guide To The Best Time To Sell Your Wedding Dress
To make your wedding planning and after the wedding life easier we put together a great guide on the best time to sell your wedding dress. And while there is no perfect science to it, there certainly are advantages to selling at the right time. Here are some great tips for being successful in selling your bridal gown.
One of the most important aspects of selling your wedding dress is to not wait too long. We know, after the wedding you will still be swooning over all the emotions and high on love for weeks. But the secret, insider tip to selling your wedding dress is this: list it on your favorite used wedding dress websites two weeks BEFORE the wedding.
What? Sounds crazy right? Well, to be honest, it’s not. You see it will take a little time for newly engaged brides to find your dress so the sooner you list it the better! Current trending styles are the easiest to sell so getting your gown listed on websites such as PreOwnedWeddingDresses or Once Wed sooner rather than later is best!
Imagine being on your honeymoon and receiving offers to buy your wedding dress? This can be a reality if you do it right. Get your wedding dress listed before or immediately after the wedding for the best results. Now that you know the best time to sell your wedding dress is immediately (or definitely within 6-12 months) of your wedding, we want to give you a little insight into which months are the best time to list your bridal gown to get the best results.
October seems to be the most popular month for listing your wedding dress for sale. The reason? Most weddings across the United States happen between June and September so it only makes sense that more wedding dresses will be listed for sale in October. Does that mean it is the best month to sell? Well, it could be because your dress is still popular and being searched for by Brides. But since it is the most popular month to list dresses means there may be more competition.
Everyone knows that the most popular time of year for engagements is, of course, the holidays. But a little known fact is that most brides will begin shopping right away, or within 3-4 months of getting engaged. So, that means if you want to be successful selling your wedding dress the best time to get it listed is January! Listing your wedding dress in January ensures that newly engaged Brides will be trying on the gown you purchased in the boutique and searching for it online at a better price. Which means they will be looking for the gown you have for sale! A win-win!
The time of the day may not be too significant in selling your wedding dress, but there are some advantages to certain times. People are more active on their phones during idle time such as lunchtime or in the evening. Because of this, we suggest that you complete your listing during one of these timeframes. At lunch, Brides will hop onto the internet to find inspiration and search for wedding dresses. If you complete your listing, and she is online scrolling through wedding gowns, yours would appear early in the results because it is a new listing.
What’s My Wedding Dress Worth?
Any bride will tell you that she felt and looked her most beautiful in her wedding dress. She also likely say how much she truly adored her gown. But today, instead of keeping the dress for a future daughter, brides are selling their gowns. So they can be loved again. Now.
If you’re a modern bride considering resale, use our Calculator tool to determine exactly what your wedding dress is worth.
Our Dress Value Calculator, instantly computes an estimated value of your wedding dress and even shows you examples of identical and similar gowns currently for sale and recently sold.
It’s useful not just for a woman looking to earn extra cash after she walked down the aisle, but it can also help a bride in the midst of wedding planning factor in her dress resale into her overall wedding budget.
In other words, your $5,000 dream gown can “cost” you a whole lot less than that when you consider what you can recoup if you sell it down the road.
Say, for example, you’re planning on wearing the stunning Berta Bridal gown to your wedding this June. Enter a few quick numbers and facts about your dress and we’ll show you what it will be worth after your Big Day. Or perhaps you got married in August 2012 and are now ready to sell your Maggie Sottero. With a few quick clicks you can see our recommending pricing and the potential cash flow currently in your closet.
Our Dress Value Calculator will show you the value of any gown, by any designer, of any age…in seconds.
The Calculator factors in all the criteria we know affect a dress’ resale value – the original cost, of course, and also the purchase date, the designer and style, whether it’s new, sample or used, its condition and if it’s been cleaned. All those factors contribute to the resale value. We’ve extracted this formula from collected from the thousands of wedding dresses brides have listed and sold on our site since it was launched in 2004.
We hope our helps you. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!
How-To Determine Fair Value for Your Wedding Dress
Discover The Basics
Before we dive into the basic breakdown of calculating your own fair price for your gown’s resale, know that there are several deciding calculator tools out there to use. All you have to do is punch in the relevant info and be given the advised price point.
This is the first question you’ll be asked by a resale store or the first bit of information you’ll fill out when using one of the previously mentioned calculators.
Who is the designer?
Is he/she a popular brand?
Are they on the upper end of the bridal spectrum such as Vera Wang or Monique Lhuillier?
Or are they more mainstream like Maggie Sottero or Watters?
Can the design be easily searched?
The more expensive the piece from the time of purchase, the more money it’ll be worth – obviously. But, you have to take in consideration the name that it’s coming from. High-quality designer versus company churn outs. Iconic designs versus niche, trendy pieces.
Take a good, hard look at the condition your gown is in.
Does it look brand new?
Are there reparable rips, stains, or tears?
Do appliques need reattaching or beading fallen off or missing in action?
The better the condition, the more dollar signs you’ll be able to squeeze into the price tag.
Some fabrics, such as silk mikado, are more expensive than a simple satin or chiffon. This is something else that you’ll want to take into consideration.
Is your gown made of Chantilly lace or the scratchy, hard tulle that’s associated with princess ball gowns? The higher quality materials used for the gown – paired with the condition of the entire design – will help decipher how much you should be asking for on the bottom line.
The history of the gown coincides nicely with the condition its in.
How many times was this piece worn?
Who wore it?
How many times has it been cleaned? And who did that too?
Was it always done professionally?
Also, were there any alterations to the original design?
Were cups sewn into the bodice?
Was the corset cut?
How much was taken off of the hem?
All of these are imperative questions that should be answered not only when determining the fair market price but to a potential buyer.
Finally, when considering how much you should sell your pre-owned wedding dress, take into account what the buyer will be getting along with the gown.
Will it just be the dress itself?
Or is there a crystal-accented sash that goes along with it?
Is there a veil?
Maybe some jewelry that matches it?
The more the accessories included in the purchase, the higher you can go on the price point.
Tips To Help You Sell Your Wedding Dress Faster
If you’d like to pass your dress along to another happy bride (not to mention make some money back in the process), here are 5 tips to help you sell your gown faster.
Sell & Transact On Trusted Platform
The first tip is the most important, and that is to use a known platform that not only lists your dress, but also handles the transaction. Fraud is rampant on platforms that only let you list your item and then leave it to you to transact using Paypal or peer to peer networks. Platforms like PreOwnedWeddingDresses, NearlyNewlywed and Poshmark handle the full transaction and protect both sides. At PreOwned, we also cover insurance which most people don't think about.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
This old saying is really true – and nothing will showcase your beautiful dress better than pictures. Include an image of the full front of your dress, as well one from the back and a close up on any detailing. Natural light is always best and a picture of someone wearing the gown is better than flat or an a hanger. This is the most important thing to get right.
Details, Details & More Details
When providing a description of the dress, write it as if the perspective buyer doesn’t know anything about the gown’s designer or style. Talk about the fit, the fabric and the weight of the dress. Include information about the alterations you made as well as any imperfections. The more information you provide, the less questions you will get.
Price Your Dress to Sell Fast
Typically a used wedding dress, 2.5 years old or less, is worth about 50% of what you paid for it. Other factors like the designer, condition, and if the gown has been dry-cleaned, will also influence the gown’s value. Use a Wedding Dress Value Calculator like ours to get an estimate of what your wedding dress is worth. Price accordingly.
Be Social & Share Your Listing
Sharing your new wedding dress listing via your social circles is a great way to get it extra exposure. (You never know what friend of a friend has been eyeing up that exact style). So after you list your dress, spread the word with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels you use.
The Best Way to Ship A Wedding Dress
We often hear from wedding dress sellers that part of the reason they decided to sell their gown was so that someone else could get as much joy from it as they it. Rather than have the dress sit in the closet for 20 years, they want to share it with another bride now.This gown recently sold on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and is currently enroute to its new owner. If you are passing your dress to its second bride, here are the three things you should do to ensure that it gets to its new home safely. Package it properly. Insure it for the full value (its selling price, not the retail price) (at PreOwned we handle this for you so you don't need to add insurance). Use a trackable shipping method and require a signature release (again, at PreOwned we will supply you with a pre-paid printed label and tracking built in so you don't need to worry about that either).
Use a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. Boxes are rated according to “burst strength.” Look for a box that is rated for 200-lbs-per-square-inch burst strength or the equivalent. (A reputable wedding dress cleaner is a good source for this).
Make sure you get a box that is the right size for your wedding dress. You want to ensure the dress doesn’t move around too much inside the box. If the box is too big, fill extra space with tightly wadded kraft paper, peanuts or other materials.
Fold the gown as required and use plastic to cover it (for the unlikely, but possible event, that the box gets wet).
Seal the flaps and seams with strong mailing tape that is a minimum width of two inches.
Place the shipping label on top and avoid putting the label over a seam/closure or on top of the tape. Put a duplicate label (with a phone number) inside the box.