7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

By on February 9, 2016

The wedding dress is usually one of the most important things that reminds a bride of her wedding day. Nonetheless, it is a dress that is seldom worn more than once. Unless you plan to have a vow renewal ceremony wearing your original wedding dress years later, or wish to hand it down as an heirloom for the future generations, it will usually just be boxed and sit in your closet in the years to come.

Although most brides aren’t too eager to sell off their wedding dresses soon after they are married, many decide to let it go after a while. When you think that you’ve spent a huge amount of money on it, it is pretty sensible to recoup some of that amount by selling it. This money could be used to celebrate a honeymoon, or it could go into the family’s financial budget, wedding day debt or a similar need. Then there are also those dresses that are sold for other reasons. It could be that the marriage didn’t work out and the bride decides to give up everything that reminds her of it. Or, it could be that the bride wasn’t sure she wanted to wear the dress she bought, and so decided to sell it and buy another.

Either way, it would be a great favor to another bride who wishes to look splendid on her wedding day, but doesn’t want to or can’t afford to spend too much on her wedding dress. So, we can say that both parties are benefited by your decision to sell your dress.

Now, lets get on to the more important part of how you can make sure that your gown is sold, and get the best deal for it. Here are some tips that will help you sell your gown at the best possible rate.

1.Sell it as soon as is possible

You know how volatile fashion is. A design that is trendy and stylish today, may seem dated in a year’s time. Wedding dresses are no exception. There are very few designs that are timeless, and will always be sought after. So, once you decide to sell your gown, it only makes sense to do so as early as is possible. The Green Bride Guide mentions that used gowns will have a good resale value for up to 2 to 3 years, after which their worth starts dwindling. This means that you shouldn’t leave it lying around in your closet for too long after your wedding, if you wish to get a good price off it. If you sell it within the first year itself, you can recoup most of the money you spent. Remember that selling off a gown when the style is still current means you will have more buyers looking at it, and this will potentially improve your chances of getting a good price. However, if you have a dress from the 80’s or 90’s to be sold, don’t hesitate to do so. These are considered vintage and in great demand by brides who choose vintage wedding themes. Just spend some time to research the details, and you can decide on the price accordingly.

2.Prepare your gown by having it professionally cleaned

Don’t make the mistake of believing that another bride will take over your gown just the way it is, after you have worn it. You will have to get it cleaned professionally so it is in top shape, if you want it to be sold. Every wedding gown should be dry cleaned and boxed, so its look is preserved and it isn’t prone to yellowing or damage from the stains that have set in from it’s one-time use. If you intend to sell off your wedding gown, make sure that it is quickly sent to a professional wedding gown cleaning service soon after your wedding. The longer you take to get it to a professional cleaner, greater the chances of the stains setting in and becoming permanent. If you will be going away on your honeymoon, entrust the task to your bridesmaid, so it is cleaned promptly and all the stains are taken out. When your dress reaches the cleaners, they will carefully inspect every stain and every form of damage, and address it appropriately. When a potential buyer sees a clean dress, they get the idea that you’ve taken care to preserve it. Immediately, the dress becomes more attractive. This will help you negotiate your price and get a better deal. So, don’t skimp on this part, as it will be worth the money you spend on cleaning. To read all about cleaning and preserving your gown, check out this link on Best for Bride.

3.Decide on the price to list

Be sensible about the price you expect from selling your gown. In general, a gown that is less than 3 years old and is in excellent condition can fetch you close to fifty percent of the price you spent on it. You can get a expect a slightly higher return on designer gowns, as these are in greater demand. There is an online tool on the Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses website, that allows you to calculate your wedding gown’s worth. You can check it out here. What this calculator does is to compute the value of your second-hand wedding dress, by asking you to input information like the designer collection it belongs to, age of the dress, original price, the condition it is in and whether it has been cleaned after use. It will then not only give you a realistic price that you can expect for it, but also provides you a list of real examples of sold and currently on-sale gowns that are identical to yours. You can thus obtain a starting price for your gown and plan your sale around it.

This article on the Daily mail also provides some real examples of how this tool’s calculated values for various gowns correspond to the actual price they were sold at. One of the examples on this link mentions that the bride who made a purchase did so because she was under a time constraint to find the designer gown she wanted. So, buying it second-hand made more sense. In such cases, you can usually get slightly more than what the calculator suggests as your sale price. Also remember that although you may list a certain price when you decide to put it up for sale, be prepared to sell it off if a customer offers you a price that is close enough.

4.Look at both online options as well as boutiques to sell it at

Don’t limit yourself to just one of these options. Since your chances of selling it off are equal in either case, make sure you explore both. Your immediate destination may be eBay and Craiglist, but there are also websites specifically catering to second-hand wedding dress sales. These are Still White, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses.com and Nearly Newly Wed.com.  These websites usually have a one-time listing fee, but allow you to keep your advertisement on till the dress is sold. Since these are online destinations that many to-be brides frequently visit, it improves the chances of your dress being picked. So, it is worth the nominal listing fee. The other option you can consider is going through consignment wedding shops and boutiques that offer dress rental services. These shops may be prepared to do an outright purchase of your gown for a fixed commission. If you buy your wedding dress from a shop that also buys used wedding gowns, you may like to obtain a quote for how much they will pay you if you sell it back to them. One of the advantages of doing so, or even using the second hand dress price calculator, is to budget for your wedding dress accordingly. If you factor in the price you can get on the sale, your dress will seem to be more affordable, as you will actually be paying only the difference amount and still get the look you desire.

5.Make sure your listing is complete, accurate and informative

Brides who seek second-hand gowns want to find out all they can about the listed dress. This allows them to compare options and pursue the one that looks best. So, make sure your advertisement caters to this expectation. Provide all the details you can about the dress, including the model number, color, collection, year of manufacture and where you bought it from. Also list the original price, so they get a fair idea of what you actually spent on the gown. Additionally, if you had any alterations done, this information should also be provided. Remember that not all alterations are reversible. So, specify how it is in your case. It will also help if you mention whether you had the gown personalized with any extra details. Since this will usually alter the original look of the dress, it will help to state this upfront than have to say this at a later point of time.

6.Add both original and actual pictures of the gown

An attractive picture immensely helps your listing. So, make sure you search out the original picture from the designer and add it to your advertisement. Brides also want to see how the gown compares to the picture, and more importantly how it looks after you’ve used it. So, it will be good if you can include a picture of the gown on a mannequin, after it’s been cleaned. Also add one or two of your best wedding day pictures to help them see how it looked on you. Make sure that you upload only good quality photos of high resolution. It should be clicked under good light, and the dress should be highlighted beautifully. If there are attractive motifs like embellishments or signature design elements that make the gown attractive, add pictures of these too. Also, remember to include pictures of the gown taken from the back. If there are any damages that couldn’t be rectified during cleaning, make sure that you mention these and where possible, add pictures of them. Your potential buyers can understand the extent of damage based on this, and can decide if it will affect their decision. Just think of what you would like to know when you have to buy something as important, and tailor your listing to meet these expectations. This will improve your chances of making the sale.

7.Welcome buyers to come and inspect the dress before buying

A bride who has to shell out a huge amount of money for her wedding dress will do so only after she is certain it is the right choice. With so many online frauds, they usually choose to check it out in person, before proceeding with the transaction. Be prepared for this. You can discuss your availability and convenience with a buyer, so they can come and check the dress to make sure they are satisfied. Some buyers may want to try on the dress prior to buying it. It is up to you to decide whether you think this is alright. Buyers who usually come all the way to check out dresses are usually serious about it. They may proceed with negotiations and buying it on the spot if they are happy with what they see. So, if you have an appointment lined up, make sure you know your limits so you can make the right decision, should the opportunity arise.

With these tips, it is likely that you will have no trouble selling the wedding dress that served you so well. Remember that when you do so, you are gifting another bride a magical chance at feeling as fantastic as you did on your special day. And if you aren’t certain you want to buy a wedding dress yourself, consider renting your own. Our rental services at Best for Bride feature a great selection of designer wedding dresses at a fraction of the original cost. You can always make your wedding day dreams come true, without the hefty price tag attached to it, by opting for this route. Visit our Rental Services Page on Best for Bride to find out more about this option.

About Olga Pomeransky

Olga is manager at Best for Bride since 2005. Currently Best for Bride operates 4 bridal stores in Canada (Toronto, Etobicoke, Hamilton and Barrie). Best for Bride sells wedding, bridesmaids, mob dresses and more. http://www.BestForBride.com

4 Comments

  1. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Beverly Sherrill

    March 13, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    I had no issue selling mine at all online, however, I did it right away. After the wedding and everything was settled again, I had it dry cleaned and it was sold within 30 days.

  2. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Traci Medford

    March 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    Coming up with a price was the hardest thing for me. I sold it online and it was only posted for about a week.

  3. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Dorothy Keefer

    March 13, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    My mom waited too long to sell her dress. Even though a vintage look is out there, the group of woman that want it are much smaller these days.

  4. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Dale Cox

    March 13, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    With online stores, getting a price nailed down is even easier.

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