Second hand wedding dresses are finally having a well deserved moment both worldwide and in the UK. Formerly considered a taboo for future brides, using someone else’s one-time treasure other than your own is seen not only as wallet-friendly but also as more sustainable.
Once the big day is over, there is little chance (hopefully) that you will ever wear your dress again, which begs questions about why we accept the average wedding dress price of £ 1,385.
However, if you shop second hand, you could likely save a sizeable 50% of that cost, meaning you could indulge in something that wasn’t previously on the budget. You also don’t have to worry about extreme wear and tear as these have only been worn for one day.
And if your New Year’s resolution is to go a little greener, why not redesign your wardrobe in a circular fashion?
It seems like people are getting more used to the idea of used wedding dresses. Research by Lyst has shown that searches for “vintage” and “second hand” wedding dresses have increased by 38% over the previous year. You may even remember that Princess Beatrice went for a vintage design on loan from the Queen for her socially distant wedding in 2020.
What should you look for when looking for your dream second-hand wedding dress?
Things to Consider When Buying a Used Wedding Dress
While the financial and environmental factors of buying a used wedding dress far outweigh the disadvantages, there are a few more things to consider when shopping:
- Despite the labeled size, most of the dresses have been adjusted to the exact measurements of the previous owners – and may not suit you in the same way. If anything, buy a dress that you think is too big for you to at least make it smaller. Getting a dress that is too small and trying to make it bigger is a much tougher task.
- Given the nature of wedding dresses, it is likely that they have been kept in a warehouse or in a wardrobe for some time. When purchasing from a single seller, verify that it comes from a smoke-free, pet-free home and has already been professionally dry cleaned to ensure there are no unexpected odors.
- It’s also helpful to know if the previous owner had their wedding indoors or outdoorsSo you know if you need to be on the lookout for patches of grass or other dirt from the day.
- If you’re shopping for a high-end designer dress, it may be worth asking for proof of purchase to check that you are getting the right deal and not parting with your cash at a discount.
That being said, most transactions go pretty smoothly – but better to play it safe, right?
So let’s take a look at where to find the best used wedding dresses …
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Vestiaire Collective is a well-known e-commerce website for used designer clothing. Not only can you get great discounts, but every item listed is independently verified by professional authenticators so you can be sure that you are not receiving a counterfeit. There is also a 14-day return policy for professional sellers. So if it doesn’t arrive as expected, all is not lost. In fact, upon checking out, we even managed to find a Jenny Packham silk dress for just £ 495. A steel.
Shop Vestiaire Collective
The Loop founders Grace Richmond and Abi Gadsby saw tremendous growth in future brides looking for bridal fashion that crushed the traditional and moved towards practical, affordable, and reusable dresses that go beyond just wearing them on your wedding day . Expect occasion gowns from designers like Valentino, Jenny Packham, and Brandon Maxwell (and more) in styles that not only are wedding gowns but can be worn over and over again.
Buy the bow
If you’re looking for a specific style, cut, or even designer, Still White has over 51,000 popular wedding dresses from individual sellers on their website. But that’s not all, because Still White is even the go-to point for picking up samples or exhibits, so you might even get a bargain right away.
Boho Ivory wedding dress size 10 UK, brand new, never used
While it seems like an obvious choice, eBay can be a gold mine for used wedding dresses. Knowing the ins and outs of the size and styles you like can actually be fun browsing the hundreds of vintage offerings.
Shop on eBay
Chic, minimalist clothing brand Retold specializes in bridal wear and now has an entire section on their website dedicated to vintage bridal gowns and separations.
Shop Retold Vintage
Jane Bourvis London
Jane Bourvis is the go-to place in London for anything to do with antique bridal wear. After Jane once boasted with Kate Moss as a customer, she handcrafted and handcrafted these incredible dresses ready to be loved again by a future bride. She specializes in delicate tulle and intricately decorated dresses.
Shop Jane Bourvis London
Brides do good
Brides Do Good is both an ethical and sustainable movement with affordability a priority. For every £ 3 they make, Brides Do Good invest £ 1 in charities that empower women and help end child marriage. Best of all, they focus on zero waste (they never throw away a dress) and breathe new life into every dress donated.
Shop brides do good
Etsy is the destination for handmade, bespoke wedding dresses. There are so many little designers and stickers out there that use the site and charge far less than some of the bigger brands for arguably more detailed work. Some great Etsy stores are: Me & My Girl Vintage and Harriet’s Frocks.
Cambridge Vintage Bride
Bringing stunning boho dresses from the 1920s to 1980s, Cambridge Vintage Bridal offers a sustainable and affordable choice for budget conscious customers. They also have a directory of other eco-friendly brands to use as part of your big day from makeup to photographer.
Buy Cambridge Vintage Bridal
Bridal Reloved has boutiques across the UK. So if you can’t find something you like online, you’re not too far off from one of their personal experiences (you know, when non-essential business is back – opening). If you want a designer dress but not a designer price, Bridal Reloved specializes in ex-pattern and popular gemstones from Mori Lee, Jenny Packham and Stewart Parvin – only 50% off the retail price.
Shop Bridal Reloved
If you are looking for a real piece of vintage gold, Abigail’s Vintage Bridal has over 200 dresses from the 1890s to 1970s that are in perfect condition and look like they could be brand new! The store also offers a comprehensive modification service so that your new treasure fits like a glove.
Buy Abigail’s Vintage
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