In many cases, a wedding dress will be the single most expensive clothing purchase of a woman’s life. It is also the ultimate ‘wear once’ garment, a big no no in the world of sustainable fashion. But as recent trends show a spike in search terms such as ‘second hand’, ‘pre-loved’ and ‘vintage’, it seems that savvy brides-to-be understand there are many reasons to consider buying a second hand wedding dress. From lessening your environmental impact to serious cost-saving, we take a look at some of the key benefits.
Why buy second hand?
You Can Save (A LOT OF) Money – Wedding dresses can be very expensive. In the UK the average bride spends approximately £1,000 on their wedding dress whilst price tags for designer dresses often contain a staggering 5 figures. Buying second hand can result in savings of as much as 60% on the original price, meaning that dream dress that was previously unaffordable could well be within your reach.
You Can Help Save The Environment – A wedding dress is the ultimate ‘wear once’ garment. Buying second hand not only reduces waste but also extends the lifespan of existing pieces that would otherwise be likely to sit in storage for decades. Whether it be a vintage gown with history or a beautiful dress enjoying a second life, buying pre loved is a wonderful solution to help lessen the environmental impact of your wedding day.
You Can Save Time – Most wedding dresses are sold as made-to-order and lead time spans can be as long as 6-9 months or more depending on the designer. Not everyone is willing or able to wait that long and this is likely to be especially true for brides trying to plan in a post-pandemic world. Buying second hand means you don’t have to wait at all with many retailers offering express delivery.
What should I consider before buying?
Size – don’t just go off a labelled size. Be careful to get the measurements and check them beforehand. Get a second opinion from a tailor and if in doubt, you’re better off buying a dress you think will be too large as it is much easier to alter something to make it smaller.
Condition – Always make sure you get a thorough report on the condition of the dress before you buy it. Ask if it has been professionally dry cleaned, how it has been stored and make sure the seller specifies if there are any defects to be aware of.
Quality – If you’re buying a high-end designer gown, it may be worth asking to see proof of purchase to verify the garment’s authenticity.
Where to shop?
This is a fantastic place to search for styles that may have been discontinued or a designer dress you love but can’t afford brand new. You will even find listings from brides looking for someone to ‘time share’ an expensive gown they can’t afford to buy alone.
It’s not unusual these days to slide into someone’s DM’s and ask if they would consider selling or renting out their wedding dress. If you’ve been blown away by a bride you follow, why not take the plunge and ask?
This is a fantastic place to discover a small but punchy edit of hand-sourced bridal wear from vintage Valentino to pre-loved mega gowns by the likes of Zuhair Murad.
Rental sites like this have a ‘buy now’ option which we would recommend if you’re sourcing a wedding gown so that you can make any alterations required to ensure an excellent fit on your big day.
Here you can shop a beautifully curated edit of pre-loved pieces from classic bridal brands like Jenny Packham to contemporary labels like Khaite.
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