(Closed) Thoughts/experiences: buying a used dress?

posted 10 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
1476 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Have you tried on the dress you’re going to buy used? I would recommend it. I think a lot of brides end up not being all that impressed with their dream dress once they try it on, and end up loving something totally different. Happened to me. 

I would still book a bridal apt, and then look for the dress you love on oncewed, or recycledbride.

Post # 4
6492 posts
Bee Keeper

I’ve just bought my dress; it’s a sample, worn for a photo shoot, and cost £1000 (about $1500) instead of £2200 (around $3300). I didn’t want to spend much more than that, but all the dresses I’d seen that I liked were costing around £2000 new. I looked at second hand/used, but, had the same problem as you as I’m 5’10.5″ in heels, and NONE of them were long enough. My dress is actually too long; probably because it was worn by a model. So I’m just having it taken up for a small fee

Basically, what I’m trying to say in a long-winded way is that sample sales might be worth a try; a lot of the dresses at the one I went to were very long. And you can expect to save up to 70% off the normal price.

Hope This Helps

Post # 5
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I bought my used dress at a bridal consignment shop. I am very glad that I did, because I wouldn’t have picked the dress I bought if I hadn’t tried it on – it wasn’t what I thought I was looking for. I went to a sample shop before that, and both experiences helped me realize that what I thought I wanted didn’t look as good on me as I thought they would.

There are several sites where you can buy online (I looked at oncewed.com and preownedweddingdresses.com). If you can find the same or a similar dress to try on in a bridal store so you can see how it looks on you, I recommend it. I also looked on craigslist but didn’t have a lot of luck. Some people have fantastic luck at Goodwill or other resale and consignment shops.  As with any dress, obviously be prepared to have it altered. One other note of caution if you buy online – since you don’t get to see it first, you have to rely on the seller to be accurate about any stains or tears. You might find something they missed and you usually can’t return it.

By The Way I love to say this: I bought a used Monique Lhuillier dress from a few seasons back for 75% off what it originally cost.


Post # 6
13 posts
  • Wedding: November 2012

I bought a used Amsale dress for $650 that was originally $4000 from preownedweddingdresses.com.  You just have to be really careful.  I reccommend using escrow.com when you purchase the dress because it holds your payment to the seller until you actually recieve the dress and inspect it.  I knew my taste was way too expensive lol so to be able to get exactly what I wanted I bought it used and I am really happy that I did. 

Post # 7
1476 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@OnTheTwelfth Me too! I love my monique lhuillier! I got mine at a designer bridal discount store, mine was a floor sample at a bridal salon before they got it.

Post # 8
3315 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

My wife and I both bought our dresses at a consignment shop.  That way, we got to try them on first.  We ended up with dresses quite different from what we had originally imagined, because the ones we bought really looked great on us (as opposed to on the rack or on an anorexic model).

Post # 9
1284 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Half of the dress shops I have tried on dresses at have called me this week to tell me about their “Black Friday” sales. The warehouse I went to is actually offering their dresses at 50% off! Maybe you should try calling a few of these in your area and find out if they are doing anything for Black Friday. You might be able to find something new in your budget!

Post # 10
588 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’ve purchased two used dresses and resold one of them. The first one I bought from a thrift store and it was beautiful but just too big (it was unaltered). It only cost about $50 and it was $800 new. I resold that one on EBay for what I paid for it. The woman sent me a wonderful email saying how much she loved it and was so happy to get a good deal. The second I bought off of EBay. It fits very well and it just needs a hem (I’m short). That one was also unaltered and she wore on her day but it was completely clean and only one hook needs to be sewn back on. Obviously I hadn’t tried on either before purchasing and it worked out pretty well. 

I must say though that the dress really isn’t a big deal for me. If it’s very important to you I would suggest sample sales and craigslist so that you can try it on beforehand. Good luck!

Post # 11
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Make sure you try the dress on first to make sure you like it.  For several years I oohed and aahed over Maggie Sottero’s Grace Lynette in light gold, and while browsing used wedding dresses–mind you, this was several months before I was even engaged–I found one for sale that was the right price, the right color, and even within easy driving distance to pick up.  I thought it was a sign.  Well, it turns out that the color just doesn’t look good on me; it’s too close to the color of my skin for my liking.  And, now that I’m actually engaged and went to try dresses on for the first time, I don’t even think I want an A-line!  Lesson learned: try it on first!

Post # 12
258 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I bought a sample dress and am super happy with it. I was also looking on craigslist and other websites before I found a salon that was going out of business. Like others have said, go to a salon to try on the actual dress o make sure you like it before you buy it. You can figure out what size you need that way too. I think I would’ve rather bought the dress on craigslist over another site because that way you actually get to see the dress before you commit to buying it.

Post # 13
48 posts

I purchased a used gown from the Brides Against Breast Cancer event. I would definitely recommend that you try on the dress first, then search for it on a site like oncewed.com or recycledbrides.com

Post # 15
2084 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

I think that buying from an individual requires you to do your research…make sure the deal you are getting is a good one.  There is someone who bought a dress through the Classifieds here for $400 and she’s trying to sell it on Once Wed for $4000 (claiming she paid $9000). Do your homework.  Ask to see a picture or scan of the person’a receipt for the dress if the pricing seems funny.

Vows, the sample gown shop in Boston dry cleans and repairs anything wrong with every sample they sell.  The dresses look perfect (online they are called bridepower.com, but the store is called Vows). 

Here are some of the websites to keep an eye on. I personally know the people from the first shop on the sample/resale shop list and they are wonderful people.  They even post here.

The pre-owned sites:

Pre-owned Wedding Dresses
Once Wed
Recycled Bride
Bravo Bride 


The sample/resale shops:

Church Street Bridal (online and b&m, proceeds go to charity, gets donations from Kleinfeld)
Vows (online and b&m)
Your Dream Dress
Le Dress Boutique (online and b&m)
Encore Bridal (online and b&m)
Fabulous Frocks of Charleston (online and b&m)

Post # 16
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

Hello! I also bought a pre-owned dress and absolutely recommend it. The previous owner wore the dress for about 5 hours, had it cleaned for storage, then decided to sell it. I got an Enzoani Blue that retailed for $1500 for $629. I’m very, very happy with it.

I made numerous visits to bridal stores and tried on about 30 total dresses. I finally found my dream dress for $2000, but was so on the fence about ordering it because it was WAY over my budget. I decided to make a grown-up decision and not go with my dream dress; however, I knew what I liked and the type of dress I ultimately wanted. When I found this one on eBay, I just went ahead and bid on it. Since I couldn’t see it in person or try it on, I wasn’t attached to it at all and kept my bid pretty low. It was a dress that “would do.” Once delivered and tried on, I absolutely fell in love with it. 🙂 It’s in perfect condition and it’s pretty much has everything I was looking for in a dress. Though it has a slight-sweetheart and I’d like a deeper sweetheart neckline.

My advice: If you are stuck on your dream dress, definitely go for the dream dress. But if you aren’t, know what you are looking for, be flexible, and ask a lot of questions.

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