Buying Pre-owned Wedding Dress

posted 3 years ago in Dress
Post # 2
763 posts
Busy bee

I bought mine from eBay. The lady didn’t dryclean it so there were faked tan stains inside the bodice and dirt stains on the inside of the train. I decided that it was too much to pay for drycleaning where I was living that would cost as much as the cost of the dress. So I washed the dress myself in the bathtub. I didn’t have much to lose except an expensive lesson (£180) if I were to ruin the dress so I might as well wash it clean. The dress is 99% stain-free, and stored in my SO’s parents’ place for our church wedding next year… Remember that some fabric does shrink so just be aware of that before deciding how to clean it. Some preowned dresses would have been dry-cleaned.

Post # 3
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

You should join your local wedding Facebook groups. People are always selling dresses there. I bought a sample dress from a girl on FB but ended up wearing a different one.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Post # 4
1596 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

View original reply
diana0329 :  I (cough cough) several used wedding dresses. (cause I was a mess at knowing what I wanted) I bought them through which is in Australia, but lots of dresses in the states and other places listed. The quality in general is really good there (lots of brand names if you know what you want) and the really important part: the sellers almost always answered my messages (preownedwedingdress sellers NEVER did) 

Lessons I learned: 

-Try on wedding dresses before you buy second hand. See what fits your body type, what embellishes and colors you love or want to avoid. Maybe you find a dress you love, but it can be purchased second hand, which is great, you tried it on, you know what it looks like and you know what size (generally) you are aiming for. But in general, trying on dresses just helps you pick out a good style for you and it may surprise you what you thought you wanted for yourself vs. what you really love. It’s best to do that before you buy a dress second hand you can not return.

-ALWAYS ask for measurements of the bride and don’t rely on the size charts of the manufacturers. I found that often (especially with higher end brands) the dress were ordered in a certain size but additionally roughly tailored to the brides measurments. This means the bride thinks she is buying a size 6 (because it was the closest to her measurements) but with an altered bustline (which may still have to be taken in, but not as radically if her measurments were not standard) Not in all cases though, so just save yourself some heartbreak and try to get the brides measurements. 

-ALWAYS take super duper good measurements of your own body or get a seamstress to take them. 

-ALWAYS ask specifially which alterations where done (lot’s of people forget to mention it, or even don’t remember it and it makes a huge difference) 

-Ask for more pics if the only have stock pictures of a model in the dress. You’ll want to see pics of the person wearing the dress if possible, esp. if it is a big ticket item. 

-Have realistic expectations. Seriously. These dresses will most likely have wear and tear. They may have small stains (even when the seller says “excellent condition” ) Because the dress has been worn and quite possibly more stains than mentioned and often little pulls and wear here and there, it will not be perfect. Know that you will not be getting a prisitine dress unless it is truly “unworn” (which would say in the listing) You have to accept you are taking a risk and go with the flow on that.Realize the dress may look different than you thought, or different on you then you expected. That is the reality of buying a dress you haen’t seen in person or tried on. And it’s usually not the sellers fault (if she had good pics and excellent descriptions) so don’t let our disappointment be the sellers problem. If you are very very picky or a perfectionist, buying second hand may not be for you.

Other than that

-be aware of scammers.  Always pay with paypal or credit card and if you do this, do not agree to a pick-up arrangment, the seller must send you the package (never paypal and then hand delivery! Bad idea!) 

-Insist on tracking (or you will go out of your mind waiting for the dress esp. if overseas) 

-Be aware of additional costs like customs charges if the sellers is overseas and expensive shipping. 


So have fun, but be aware there are lots of challenges. I loved shopping second hand for my dress  (er dresses) but it was definitely not as easy as going to a bridal salon and ordering.

Good luck! 

Post # 7
1596 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

View original reply
diana0329 :  I did! I bought a super expensive dress (Rue de Seine) , sold it again at a loss. Then I bought a handmade couture dress greatly reduced because of stains etc (which I was able to remove) which was lovely but ultimately I didn’t like it enough on me. THEN I bought a second hand older J.crew model which was silk and super simple. It was super plain so I added some french lace I bought and it was actually quite lovely. I wore this on my wedding day. I wasn’t completely absolutely in love with my dress in the end (because there are actually 4 dresses I am not even mentioning here which were also in my possession at one time. yeah. I was really really doing the wedding dress purchase thing alllllllll wrong) So in the end, with the wedding a month away and my budget absolutely blown out of the water I was super happy to have a 90 dollar dress with 20 bucks worth of lace that needed barely any alterations and was flattering and lovely. 

1-11-2018Bildschirmfoto 2018-11-01 um 10.26.07

1-11-2018Bildschirmfoto 2018-11-01 um 15.50.01

So here is my $110 wedding dress and it was just right. 🙂 


Post # 9
702 posts
Busy bee

I bought a second hand dress from eBay, it’s seriously in perfect condition, I’ve thoroughly checked it and not a single stain or mark! Best thing I ever did, got my dress for less than 1/4 of the retail price!

Post # 11
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016 - City, State

View original reply
diana0329 :  Yes! I bought my dress on I had tried several dresses, including that particular model, at a wedding dress shop near my place. As PP said it is very useful to do it so that you know which models suit your body style.

I specifically looked for dresses that had been dry cleaned because I wanted to make sure the stains would not have sat too long after the wedding.

As PP said, take accurate measurements of yourself and, if possible, of something you own that’s similar (another dress in a non stretchy material for ex) to see what fits you.

Regardless of the platform (ebay, preownedweddingdresses, stillwhite,etc) always always contact the seller. It can help answer unanswered questions but most of all it gives you a sense whether or not the seller is responsive. Better to do that before buying than after!

I got my dress for 1/4 of retail price and was able to sell it via a wedding dress consignement shop (also a a good option if you have one nearby)

Post # 12
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I got my dress for $450 off Poshmark new with tag. It was a dress I was able to try on in a salon and it retails for about $1,700. 

Post # 13
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - Green Bay, WI

YES! I did! I got mine from and had a great experience!

The woman I bought mine from was soooooo nice. She told me upfront where there were minor stains and was very honest about it. She did not have it cleaned before sending it, so I just sent it to my local drycleaners that specialize in wedding dresses and it honestly looks brand new. They got out all the minor little stains and it’s amazing.

The dress still retails at DB for $1858 (plus taxes and alterations!) so I saved a TON! I ended up getting the dress for $650 and needed no alterations since the original owner was basically my exact size and height. I got really lucky there. I say go for it!

Make sure you always use PayPal for large payments online though, just for worst case scenario you could get your money back.

IMG_4238 12.08.16 PM

Post # 14
2130 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

View original reply
diana0329 :  I know a lot of people who had good luck with the places PP have mentioned. I got my dress at a bridal consignment shop. I spent $300 on a NWT gown that retailed for $2400 originally. It needed a minor skirt repair, but was otherwise perfect. 

Google “Bridal Consignment” in your area. You might be suprised how many places offer pre-owned or even new gowns that people are trying to sell. The upside here is obviously that you get to see it and try it on in person before you make a decision. 

If you do end up buying something online, I definitely suggest trying things on first. It will really help you narrow your search to shapes or designers you like. It’s easy to think you know the shape and style you really want, but once you have it on, it isn’t what you imagined. 

I LOVE my gown, but it is practically everything I thought I didn’t want; strapless, sweetheart, kinda poofy. But when I tried on other styles I hated how I looked. Try to keep an open mind and try a bunch of styles, then take that online and hopefully find yourself a great deal!

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