The cost of a wedding dress can vary wildly, depending on the places that you shop and exactly what you’re looking for. For the bride, it is one of the key considerations. Extravagant, designer wedding dresses can go for many thousands of pounds, but the average seems to be much closer to £1,500. Of course, a beautiful dress does not have to cost this much and there are ways to ensure that the wedding dress doesn’t break the bank.
In recent years, and particularly with the emergence of auction and ecommerce sites, buying second hand wedding dresses is now a very viable option, with a great selection available online. In this post we will highlight some of the best places to buy, and suggest a few other tips for keeping wedding dress costs down.
UK Second Hand Wedding Dresses
As we’re based in the UK, we have stuck with generally UK-based websites; there are some other blogs which discuss US second hand wedding dress sites.
Bride2Bride is purely a marketplace for wedding items – think of it as an ebay for just wedding stuff. All manner of items can be bought and sold on the site, from dresses to wedding favours and when purchasing, you are dealing direct with the seller. The benefits of this site are that as the dresses are being sold by former brides, there is no shop increasing the cost or trying to make a profit – it is simply brides trying to make something back by selling on their dresses! This also means that the site can be the ideal place to pick up a bargain, with some incredible second hand designer wedding dresses available at times.
Sell My Wedding Dress is another great UK based site, which allows you to search by a wide range of factors, including by designer, and again this means that you can pick up a designer dress for hundreds, rather than thousands of pounds. Plus, if you don’t fancy a second hand dress, you can search for a ‘sample’ dress – which has been tried on in store, but not worn by another bride!
The benefits of buying from Oxfam are that you know your money is going to charity – which is always a plus. In addition, they have a lot of dresses for under £100 and a range of styles. At the time of writing there are a lot of vintage wedding dresses available at Oxfam so a great place to look if that’s the style you’re after.
Preloved is another site with potential for some incredible bargains. However, the search and filters are a little awkward so you may have to click through hundreds of search pages to find something you like in the preloved wedding dresses category. You may also find multiple bridesmaid/mother of the bride outfits in the listings as well.
Second Hand Wedding Dress Shops
All three of these sites are second hand wedding dress shops with physical locations and some great bargains, with loads of dresses at over £500 off the retail price. If you’re on a tight budget, some real gems can be found on the Suffolk Wedding Dress Exchange sale page, which lists dresses under £500 – again, with a range of styles available.
The benefit of a few of these sites are that they also have a physical location, meaning you can visit the store, rather than buy online. Try searching for a shop in your local area that sells second hand dresses – and see if they have any pictures on their website, which might save a wasted trip.
Look Out For!
Before buying any dress online make sure that you have tried some on, so that you can get a good idea of the style that you are looking for based on what suits you. You will also need to get an idea of what fits you best.
The main downside of buying second hand is that you may struggle to find the right style and size for you – which is why it helps to look at a number of different websites. There are loads more out there in addition to those highlighted above.
Make sure when you are buying second hand online that you are able to send back if it doesn’t fit, or if you find problems with it when it arrives. Buying new online you should have these rights from the seller, but things can be a little more tricky when using open marketplaces where you deal direct with the seller.
Our price rating research on dresses suggests that with a £5000 budget, approximately £330 would be spent on a dress, which is perfectly possible when buying second hand so this is an ideal choice for anyone looking to work on a really tight budget, or who want to save some money for a longer honeymoon!
Price rating of 1; the suggestions in this post would suit a £5k+ wedding budget.
Post updated 12/09/2015