There are lots of reasons why a bride might want to sell her gown after the wedding - to save on storage space and dry-cleaning/'sealing' costs or to make a little extra cash, for example!
If you're not overly-sentimental about keeping your wedding dress as a memento (after all, there are so many smaller, more easily stored wedding day souvenirs), the following tips can help you maximize your return and save time on the sale of your wedding dress.
Online classifieds and auction websites are emerging as the leading way to "sale by owner". They are extremely popular and effective. Try visiting our bridal buy & sell page: you will find thousands of new items being sold daily! Whether you plan on selling your dress online or in your local newspaper's classifieds, the description, photos, and pricing of your dress are all crucial to ensuring a good sale.
Include all of the gown's specs in your description. Include details such as the style number, designer, colour, and complete measurements ( waist, hips, bust, length). Also disclose any minor damages, such as rips, stains, etc.
Don't forget to mention the train's length along with its style name. Not all of your prospective buyers will know how long a sweep, chapel, cathedral, or royal train is, so be sure to include the measurements of your train along with its style. A sweep train is typically 1-2 feet long; a chapel train, 3-5 feet; a cathedral train, 6-8 feet; and a royal train is usually 8 feet or longer.
Use positive adjectives in your description. Instead of "old" or "used", try "vintage" or "gently-worn." If your gown has covered shoulders, sleeves, or a high neckline and low hemline, don't be afraid to use the word "modest" in your description - some brides are specifically looking for this descriptive as certain churches have modesty requirements on the type of gown worn in the church for a wedding ceremony.
Take more than one photo. Feature at least two full-length photos of the gown, including a back and front view. If you already have these types of shots available from your wedding photos, feel free to use them (and crop your face out of the picture if you're nervous about the e-xposure). Whatever you do, don't photograph the dress laying on the floor - at least photograph it on a hanger if not a body or bust/mannequin.
Use the gown's wholesale cost as the starting price. The wholesale price is typically half of what you paid if you purchased the dress through a retailer. If you purchased the gown second-hand and don't know the original price or how old the gown is, keep the pricing at no more than $300.
You might make less money if you sell your dress to a consignment shop, but you can also save yourself time and hassle by going the consignment route - particularly if you're not sales-savvy!
Consignment shops will purchase gently-used wedding gowns under the following conditions:
Be sure to also check out our other articles on buying and selling your wedding gown on consignment! (under "related articles", below)
Story by G. Melanson