You absolutely loved your wedding dress—someone else can, too. And there’s never been a better time to sell: Used gowns comprise a small, but steadily growing segment of the bridal dress market. In fact, it’s one that has only increased since the 2008 recession caused the budget-minded betrothed to seek more affordable alternatives.
Experts say that today’s brides are seemingly less attached to material things as generations past and have grown up regularly selling items on Poshmark and eBay—not to mention they’re more concerned about the environment and more comfortable making large purchases online. All these signs point to selling one’s wedding dress or gown becoming a much more common occurrence. So get ready to clear out some space in your closet, pay forward the magic from your wedding day, and make some money back in the process. Here’s how to sell your wedding dress.
Determine which online bridal consignment shop is best for you. To up your chances of finding a potential buyer, you can even sell your preowned wedding dress on multiple different websites. Just remember: Most charge a listing fee in addition to a commission on the sale. Options for wedding dress resale include:
Facebook Marketplace is another fee-free option, in addition to resale sites like eBay and Etsy. These sites are also great for those that want to resell wedding accessories or a bridesmaid dress. Of course, you can also try your local consignment shop, but keep in mind commission fees tend to be higher, up to 50 percent.
Quality, clear photos of the bridal gown from all angles are of the utmost importance and increase the chances it will sell. Be sure to include the most flattering full-length images (the more the better!) from your wedding, so an interested buyer can see exactly how it looks on and in photographs.
If you don’t want to share your own wedding photos, opt for pictures of you or a friend wearing the dress instead. (Gowns tend to look better on a body than on a hanger.) Take close-up shots of any alterations and details that are harder to see from further away. And don’t forget to have your bridal gown professionally cleaned first (average cost: $100 to $200)—it will sell much faster and have a lower chance of return.
Be as specific as possible in your description of the dress, and include all measurements and alterations, since wedding dress sizing can vary widely. Answer any questions and provide information or more photos in a timely fashion.
Remember, this purchase is a big commitment, emotionally and financially, so do what you can to reassure anxious buyers, especially those who aren’t able to see the dress up close in person. Also, be honest about its condition and any imperfections—alterations, stains, snags, or tears. It’s just good business, not to mention good karma.
The average cost of a wedding dress in the US is about $1,600, including alterations. But the majority of used bridal gowns sell at or below $1,000. Research what similar dresses are being sold for, taking age, wear, and designer into account. If the used dress is less than two years old and in excellent condition, you can expect to recoup between 50 to 70 percent of the original value. Several sites have calculators to help estimate the value of a used wedding dress. And assess the dress honestly—gowns with significant stains or rips that would be expensive or impossible to repair or clean may not sell at all.
Dresses bought within the past few years are more likely to sell (two or three years for the optimal price), and those that were never worn at all are even more enticing. Some sellers even list their wedding dress before their big day, so they can ship it out as soon as possible after wearing it. An older dress may sell for between 20 and 40 percent of its original price.
Dresses from the ’80s and ’90s are now considered vintage. An older dress could come back into fashion in a few years time. It’s never too late to sell an old wedding dress or wedding items after you’ve used them for your big day.
The average wedding dress sells in about six months; newer styles and well-known designers—like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier—sell faster, in about 60 to 90 days. Adjust the pricing as time goes on.
Accept payment only through trusted methods, and document all of your interactions with the buyer in case of any dispute over the used gown. Carefully package the dress, and consider insuring your shipment (you can include that cost in the pricing as well).