Whether you’re on a budget by choice or force, buying a beautiful wedding dress for your special day doesn’t have to cost the Earth.
If more people shopped secondhand, there’d be thousands of meters of fabric saved a year, which would serve to BENEFIT our planet, too. It’s an eco-friendly choice that contributes to saving the planet, while you save money at the same time.
I know what you’re thinking: nobody wants to wear somebody’s gross stained old dress when they’re supposed to feel their most beautiful. But nobody has to! You can find near perfect, hardly worn dresses for dirt cheap - if you know where to look.
Today I’ll be taking you through some places to check out before you head to those designer boutiques or apply to be on Say Yes To The Dress. You could be wearing vintage Vera Wang with a hefty discount on your wedding day… just keep reading!
Okay, I can hear you getting frustrated, so hear me out. Anyone can sell anything on eBay, which is why there are so many unpleasant, unattractive or unclean items on there.
However, with the right eye and a discerning palate, you can find some absolute GEMS in this online auction house.
Seller ratings and feedback are your friends, as are the search parameter tools. By using the advanced search settings, you can specify the size of dress, style, color, fabric, location of seller… all of these choices bring you closer to your dream dress.
Before you buy the most important dress you’ve ever worn by bidding on it, however, you want to thoroughly inspect not only the photos the seller has provided, but all of their information, and their most recent pages of feedback from other buyers.
Worried that eBay won’t have what you need, or it will be hard to find? Don’t despair. They list all of their dresses on one specific page, separated by brand, size, silhouette and more, so everything can be located with ease.
Worried about shipping and potential damage? It’s worth looking to see if there is anyone selling dresses within driving distance, so that you can go and collect them personally and not have to stress the whole time it’s in transit.
Rent The Runway
Want to wear a stunning designer dress, without having to pay the ridiculous price? Your solution is Rent The Runway, a fashion subscription service allowing you to rent any outfit you’d like, for events, work functions, weekend vacations and more.
Of course, this does mean that you can’t keep the dress - you can only rent for a couple of days at a time. And if you’re worried about fit and sizing, it’s not exactly the best for guaranteeing everything will fasten up and look beautiful.
However, for the price of a monthly membership fee (which you can of course cancel after the big day, so it’s only a one off charge really) you get access to over 700 designers from around the world, between sizes zero to twenty two.
You don’t need to dry clean the garment or even wash it before you return it - just send it back in the same condition you got it in! That does mean that you’re liable for the full cost of the garment if anything happens to it, though…
A handmade haven for all things arts and crafts, Etsy is another place you might not have thought to check. Not only are there thousands of vintage wedding dresses being resold on there, but you can also find custom pieces at budget prices, too!
Although Etsy has a reputation for being a more expensive site than others, this is primarily because most sellers are listing products they have manufactured by hand, a time consuming process that requires charging more than a store-bought price.
However, because many of the wedding dresses listed on Etsy are vintage, usually having been upcycled to appeal to a more contemporary audience, they don’t tend to carry the heftier price tag that comes with being handmade.
You can find some real fairytale gowns on here for far less than you’d expect to pay at a bridal boutique or wedding fair - most sellers are just hoping their beloved gown will go to a beautiful new home that’s going to care for it!
Of course, you want to set yourself a budget in advance and stick for it - just because some dresses are being resold, doesn’t mean you won’t see some stunning one of a kind designs to fall in love with and regret instantly when you see the cost.
Not just a secondhand wedding dress store, Nearly Newlywed is a bride’s best friend, packed full of gorgeous blogs to pique your interest and inspire your big day beyond just what you’re going to wear.
Their website promises that you can find “your dream wedding dress for less” by providing access to sample, preowned and new dresses, all priced at a discount, with some being as hugely reduced as ninety percent off of the original ticket cost.
Not only do they cut out the middle man by removing any interactions with the buyer or having to handle shipping, they will also answer any questions you might have about the dress before you buy, so you can make a purchase with full peace of mind.
When buying a dress, the extremely secure vetting and authentication process established by Nearly Newlywed ensures that any designer labels are always entirely legitimate. Unlike eBay, there’s no potential to get scammed here.
You can shop by category, designer, silhouette, recently listed… finding your ideal characteristics is easy and simple thanks to their efficient site layout. A designer dress for half the price?! It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not!
Just head to the website and check out all of the customer reviews - this is a brilliant way to save the earth, minimize wastage, and ensure some genuinely gorgeous dresses aren’t wasted by only being worn once and then put away forever.
Inherit Your Dress!
I don’t mean literally - nobody has to die so you have something to get married in! However, you could consult any family members who have been married and ask to try their dress on. No relevant family? What about your partner to be?
Not only is this one of the cheapest methods of scoring a gorgeous dress, as most genuinely kind family members surely will not make you pay for it, but it’s also an excellent method of recycling, and a tiny way of making your big day eco-friendly.
Many brides choose to wear their mom’s dress as a “something old” - but this doesn’t mean you can’t bring the garment into the modern age with a bit of tailoring!
For way less than you’d spend on a brand new gown, you could get a relative’s adjusted until it’s absolutely perfect for you.
Don’t like the sleeves? Take them off! Want better sleeves? Add some more! With the right seamstress, the world is your oyster, and it really isn’t going to cost that much to have any alterations done for the perfect fit.
Another way to save even more money here is to find out if any of your family or friends have tailoring experience and can do the alterations for free or at least with a significant discount!
Although they might be reluctant to give the dress up at first, remind them that it’s only going to sit around in their closet forever, taking up space and gathering dust. Unless they’re saving it for future children, in which case you’re out of luck…
Okay, so you don’t get the joy and luxury of a brand new dress, just for you. But think about it this way: the money you would have budgeted for that dress can now be relocated… can you say giant donut wall, anyone? Sweet cart? Open bar?