One of the most exciting aspects of wedding planning for a bride is looking for and eventually finding the dream dress. There are many in the industry who would like you to believe that a dream wedding dress has to cost a fortune but more and more future brides are discovering that this is not necessarily the case.
Second-hand or 'pre-loved ' wedding dresses have always been a great way of saving money and in these worrying times it is this area of the wedding market which is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, with some charity shops creating their own dedicated departments.
The advantages of opting for 'second- hand' are obvious once you stop to think about it. Not only is there a significant cost saving but you'll also be helping the environment too.
A little known fact is that many dresses sold as 'second-hand' are have actually never been worn. Some manufacturers and retailers regularly dispose of their overstocks through these channels and sometimes brides have been a little optimistic when buying a size too small well in advance of the wedding date. Often they are left with a dress that they can not wear and have had too long to return – you'd be surprised how often this happens!
Even a dress which has been worn will have been well looked after and professionally cleaned afterwards, so in all respects the term 'as good as new' is perfectly valid.
Finding a Pre-Owned Wedding Dress
Finding the perfect pre-owned wedding dress is not as difficult as it used to be and the internet should be your fist port of call; not necessarily to make a purchase but just because it's such a great research tool for finding suppliers and getting an idea of what's available.
Charity shops and vintage clothing outlets are an obvious choice on the High Street, with many shops now having dedicated wedding departments to meet demand.
On-line auctions and specialist websites are also a good idea provided you do your homework first. Have a good look around and only buy from reputable companies and those with a clear returns policy.
The biggest problem that people experience is with sizing of dresses. Vintage dresses tend to be undersized for historical reasons and dress imported from abroad tend to use the US sizing system which is generally one size under the UK equivalent.
It's a good idea therefore to ask plenty of questions especially about where the dress was made and, if buying directly from another bride, did she find the sizing was accurate or were alteration necessary?
Another good idea is to purposefully opt for a size above the one you need. This gives you the option of having the dress altered for a perfect fit nearer the day, and, obviously, a larger dress is easier to take in than a smaller dress is to take out.
Tips to Find a Pre-Owned Wedding Dress
- Use the internet for research and check out all the charity shops and vintage clothes stores in your area;
- Charity shops in affluent areas tend to get a better class of stock – so have a day trip out if necessary – it could well be worth your while.
- Opt for a size above rather than an a perfect fit – this gives you more options as the wedding day approaches;
- Be patient, many stores have a high turn-over of stock and it might be a while before you find the perfect dress?
- Look after your dress and consider selling it on afterwards and give another bride the opportunity of wearing it.
- Congratulate yourself – not only have you saved a considerable amount of money, you've also helped the environment too.
Have a great wedding day!