Here comes the bride and the first thing your esteemed guests will notice is what you are wearing. Chances are you have been thinking about your wedding day for a long time, hands up who has looked through wedding mags even before getting engaged (or even meeting a partner to settle down with)? Up and down the country little girls doodle pictures of themselves as brides and stare out of the window day-dreaming about their wedding day (beats geometry anyway)!
It may be old-fashioned to state that girls dream of getting married, it’s not the be all and end all anymore, and married life is not for everyone. The days of longing for a man to sweep you off your feet and buy you a home to clean are long gone (thank goodness)! Nowadays sisters are doing it for themselves, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t picture herself walking down the aisle in a gorgeous dress and sparkly shoes to meet the love of her life.
You probably have an idea of what the dress of your dreams looks like, and why shouldn’t you have it? It’s not every day you tie the knot, and on your big day you should look and feel like a million dollars if only you had a million dollars to spend on your gown! Unfortunately, most wedding days come with the dreaded “B” word- budget, and while you desperately long for the Vera Wang gown featured in Vogue your painstakingly laboured over spreadsheet screams NO. So, you have to set your sights lower, or do you? There could be a way of sourcing the dress of your dreams without re-mortgaging your home or selling a kidney. You could go for a used (or pre-loved as we prefer to describe it) wedding dress.
Pre-Owned and Pre-Loved.
A pre-owned, used, second-hand or pre-loved dress refers to a wedding dress that has been owned by another. On most occasions, the dress has already seen one round of “I do’s” but is still in gorgeous condition and ready to go for round two and take another trip down the aisle.
In some cases, the dress may be pre-owned but remain unworn and could be sitting in someone’s closet complete with tags and desperate to be the star of the show. This is sometimes due to a change of circumstances or the fact that the bride has changed her mind about wearing that particular bridal gown and has found something else to wear. In this case, her loss is your gain, everyone has different tastes, and you may love the dress she’s cast aside!
Save Your Pennies.
Whether the gown has been worn once before or not, buying second-hand will save you a pretty penny. “Used” wedding dresses are much cheaper than buying brand new, and you will get so much more bang for your buck! This means you might be able to get your hands on the dress that you’ve longed for, but the thought was too far over budget to be in reach.
You can typically expect discounts of about 20-40% on expensive designer gowns, around a 50% discount on pre-loved bridal gowns and an even bigger discount on wedding dresses that have been used and need a little TLC, i.e. the dress is stained or has lost a few sequins.
Make sure you ask the seller what you get for your money. The picture might show the bride wearing the fairy-tale style dress in all its glory complete with tiara and stunning veil, but the price might be just for the dress. Check if the price includes any accessories (don’t forget the underskirt too if the dress requires one – the seller may want extra payment for it or might not be selling it).
Make Sure It Fits.
You’ve found the pre-loved dress of your dreams, and it’s advertised in your size. Before you start jumping up and down with glee you need to check if it fits. Bridal gowns are often tailored to meet the bride’s size requirements, so they may have been shortened or taken in slightly. A size 8 on the label doesn’t necessarily mean the dress will fit standard size 8. Of course, you can get the dress altered yourself if necessary, but don’t buy on the premise you will lose weight before your wedding, that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself at an already stressful time! It’s better to buy a slightly larger dress and get it altered so that it looks as though it was made just for you.
Check the Condition.
You will also need to check the wedding dress over for wear and tear or any damage. Even if you love it make sure you can remedy any potential problems, that red wine stain may look like it will come off with a good scrub, but if the material is delicate, you could end up with a ruined dress. It’s worth enquiring if the dress has been professionally cleaned and if it’s been stored carefully (a wedding dress that’s been hanging in a room where people smoke or where dogs and cats roam free might not have fared very well)! Finally make sure you try before you buy go and look the dress over properly, try it on for fit and decide if you do like it. Most used dresses are sold as seen and non-refundable, so you can’t change your mind once you’ve handed over your hard-earned cash.
It’s Yours – Wear it Well.
Whatever the background of your used wedding dress, treat it as if it was always meant to be yours. Imagine whoever owned it the first time around went on to have a fantastically happy wedding day and are now all loved up with their better half. It’s time to breathe new life into your used wedding dress and remember you can wear it any way you like. Add new accessories and feel thoroughly pleased with yourself – you have been able to buy the dress of your dreams for a fraction of the price.
Written by E. Challoner-Miles for Bridalosophy
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