We Found the Best Places to Buy and Sell Used Wedding Dresses

photo of used wedding dress on mannequin
Photo by Shutterstock

You’ve heard the saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” right? While most brides turn to an heirloom like a handkerchief or jewelry to qualify as something old, more and more brides are following through with a commitment to fashion sustainability and budget friendliness by turning to used wedding dresses. It’s not only eco-friendly and economical (you can often find a dress for 25%-60% off retail), but it also counts as your something old. It’s pretty much a win-win. 

Whether you’re looking for a dress with vintage glam, or a more modern, trendy silhouette – there are literally hundreds of thousands of used wedding gowns out there for you to shop from. You just need to know what to look for, to trust the process, and to find the right source. 

What to Know About Buying Used Wedding Dresses

Finding a wedding dress is such a personal process, and it can take time. The same goes for buying a second hand or “used” dress, too. Go into the process knowing that it may take some time and patience before you find “the one” is important. Rest assured knowing the perfect bridal gown is out there – it just may take a little digging. 

WGM Says: Before you start shopping, create a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet that allows you to keep track of dresses you like. Include the designer, style number or name, price, size, and link as well as any shipping costs.

Where to Look for Used Wedding Dresses

The beauty of purchasing a second hand wedding dress is that the world is your oyster. You can find a plethora of online shops and services (we’ll include our favorites below!) but most areas also may have local second-hand wedding shops so you can see, feel and try on the dress in person. 

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Also, it may sound strange at first but hear us out – social media is your friend! Facebook Marketplace has a plethora of options being resold by the bride themselves, and they’ll often show photos of them on their wedding day to help you envision how it could work for you, and if you’d like the dress overall. Also – if you’ve seen a friend or acquaintance who recently got married and you just can’t stop thinking about their  gown – don’t be shy! Why not ask them if they’d be open to selling it to you second hand? They’ll feel flattered, and just might appreciate being able to make a few bucks back (plus freeing up some storage space!) 

Before you buy a used wedding dress, make sure you’re doing it safely with these tips:

  • If you’re meeting in person to see the dress, do it in a public place. Meeting somebody at home? Make sure you bring a friend.
  • Avoid giving your personal information, such as your full name, address, and even phone number.
  • Reputable websites typically offer payment options that have buyer protection. However, if you’re purchasing a dress independently you won’t necessarily have that. If that’s the case make sure you inspect the dress thoroughly in person before purchasing it.
Used Wedding Dresses

Now that we’ve covered those basics, here are some of our favorite online shops for used wedding dresses:

PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com

Serving new brides and brides-to-be for over 17 years, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses makes both buying and selling wedding dresses safe, and simple. Their online marketplace has an easy to navigate search feature that offers ample filters to let you pick the perfect criteria, and listing dresses for resale is super easy, too. Their website states, “If you loved it, chances are someone else will too!” but that also gives you the opportunity to re-resell your dress, should you choose to.  On each listing look for information such as size and what alterations were done. You’ll also want to note the shipping cost and location.

Nearly Newlywed

Nearly Newlywed offers a white-glove concierge service to all brides-to-be, and offer a comforting risk-free 5 day return policy on all items including new and used wedding dresses, for just a $50 return fee. And, to be sure the gown you receive looks how it says it will, each gown has to pass their inspection team’s review prior to shipping it out.

WGM Says: I would give dresses with pictures of the seller actually wearing it more clout than listings with photos taken from other sites. It’s not to say that listings with photos of a model wearing the dress aren’t real, I just have to question why a bride wouldn’t include a real-life photo of the wedding dress. If it’s because the seller doesn’t want to share a personal wedding photo online for everybody to see, ask if she has one she can e-mail you. Better yet, see if the seller will FaceTime with you and show you the dress.

Still White

Still White has over 18,400 positive reviews and has sold over $48 million in wedding gowns. They enable you to chat with the seller directly through a secure messaging platform that keeps personal details private. Currently, there are over 52,000 dresses to browse, so the odds of finding the perfect gently-used wedding gown for you are certainly in your favor. Purchases are done via PayPal, so you’ll have Buyer Protection up to $20,000 if your dress arrives damaged or significantly different than the description provided by the seller.

Poshmark

One of the most popular sites for reselling, Poshmark can be a great jumping off point to begin your dress search. You can negotiate with the sellers, ask for more photos, and Poshmark also offers buyer protection. 

WGM Says: Don’t forget to check local consignment shops for wedding dresses, too! I’ve seen beautiful gowns on sale for a fraction of their retail price at vintage and resale stores. It can also be less of a hassle to be able to visit a store in person and shop vs. getting a dress shipped to you that you bought online.

The Real Tips for Buying a Used Wedding Dress

If you’ve fallen in love with a pre-owned gown, there are still a few things to check (and double check!) for prior to purchasing. 

1. Research First, Shop Later

Before diving into the sea of gorgeous gowns, do a little homework. Familiarize yourself with the brands, styles, and fabrics you love. This way, you’ll not only find a dress that’s stunning but also one that truly fits your vision.

2. Get Your Exact Measurements

When it comes to pre-loved dresses, fit is everything. Unlike new purchases, there might be limited wiggle room for alterations. So, arm yourself with your exact measurements. To do this you should head to your local seamstress or tailor (and tell them you are looking to buy a used wedding dress. They will ideally be the one to do any future alterations).

Once you know your measurements, try to shop for dresses within your size range, or above. It’s relatively easy to make a dress smaller and to conform it to your body. However, making a dress larger, adding fabric or taking out seams can be a bit more complicated – so try to avoid that.  

It’s always a good idea to take photos of the dress to your preferred seamstress or tailor as well. That way you can make sure they are confident working with it. You’ll also want to try and get an estimate of how much alterations will cost. While you may be saving on the price of the dress, having to do $700 worth of alterations may end up costing you more.

3. Know the Dress’s History

Every dress has a tale to tell. Find out its age, how it was stored, and if it underwent any alterations. It’s like getting to know a character in your favorite novel; the details make it come alive.

The alterations history is especially important, as you’ll want to make sure that it can still be modified to fit your body during fittings. Check to see if extra fabric, beading, rhinestones, etc. will be provided.

It’s always a good idea to take photos of the dress to your preferred seamstress or tailor as well. That way you can make sure they are confident working with it. You’ll also want to try and get an estimate of how much alterations will cost. While you may be saving on the price of the dress, having to do $700 worth of alterations may end up costing you more.

4. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect

Pictures can be worth a thousand words, but they might not show every detail. If possible, view the dress in person or, if buying online, request detailed and close-up photos. Little quirks or blemishes might be hidden in wide shots. You’ll want to inspect for any damage, rips, holes, stains, or other flaws (including smells – yuck!), and a seller should disclose every issue.

5. Budget for Some TLC

Even if you score a killer deal on the dress, you’ll very likely need funds for alterations as well as potential dry cleaning or other minor tweaks. Think of it as pampering your dress before its big moment on the runway… I mean, aisle!

Regardless of where you choose to shop for your pre-owned or second hand wedding gown, rest assured that if you shop smart and take your time, you can definitely still end up with your dream wedding dress. 

How to Sell Your Wedding Dress Online

Maybe you’re looking to sell your wedding dress and need a little help figuring out where to start? The online sites listed above are a great place to list your dress. Once you found the marketplace you like best, follow these tips to ensure you not only get the best price, but sell it safely.

WGM Says: Some wedding dress marketplaces will charge a feee and/or commission to list your dress. For instance Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses charges a $25 listing fee and 20% commission, but you ship the dress directly to them (and they cover that cost), protecting both the buyer and seller.

1. Get Your Dress Ready for It’s Closeup

First impressions are everything. The more real photos you can show of your dress, the better. (Unless you’re selling a completely unworn/new sample wedding dress, then the original product photos will suffice). If you’re selling your used wedding dress, photos of you wearing it from your wedding are perfect, just be sure to crop out any faces for privacy. 

If you’re photographing your dress specifically for the listing, make sure it appears clean and unwrinkled. (A quick steam is always a good idea. Just make sure you test a small sample of your fabric beforehad). Photograph it in a well-lit space, ideally on a mannequin or a model (like you!), to showcase its shape and details. The more professional the photos look, the better.

WGM Says: Cleaning your wedding dress will cost you at least a few hundred dollars, but you can often recoup that cost when selling it, since used and cleaned wedding dresses can sell for $700+ more.

2. Be Detailed in Your Description 

You want to make sure you provide as many details about the dress as possible. Where you bought it, the designer, the size, as well any alternations you had done to it. If the dress has any imperfections such as stains or tears from all that dancing, share every detail. You don’t want a surprised and unhappy buyer.

3. Set a Realistic Price

Research similar dresses to see what they’re selling for. Remember, most used wedding dresses sell for about 50% of the retail price, depending on their condition and age. Factor in if it’s a designer label and its current demand in the market.

4. Offer Proof of Authenticity

If you have a certificate of authenticity or a purchase receipt (with personal details blacked out), include it. This can be especially vital if you’re selling a designer gown, as it assures the buyer they’re getting the real deal.

5. Be Safe and Smart with Transactions

If meeting a buyer in person, choose a public place and bring a friend. If selling online, use a secure payment method and consider using platforms specifically designed for selling wedding dresses. They might take a commission, but they can offer a level of security and a built-in audience.

6. Consider the Return Policy

Decide if you’ll allow returns. While allowing returns can make a listing more appealing, it’s also essential to protect yourself. If you do allow returns, specify the conditions under which you’ll accept them.

7. Packaging is Key

When shipping, you want to make sure your dress gets to the buyer (or marketplace) safe and sound. Many resale sites have tips for how to do that, and we’ve included some of our own, below. Just remember to use quality materials and consider insuring the package as well as requiring a signature for delivery. It’s also a sweet idea to include a note wishing the bride-to-be a wonderful wedding day!

  • Packing the Dress: Start with a solid corrugated cardboard box, ideally sized around (L: 18 x W: 16 x H: 9). Skip the fancy preservation box and head to Staples or a local moving store. Sometimes, local bridal salons might even have a spare or two lying around.
  • Handling the Details: Emphasize protection. When folding, use tissue paper or muslin cloth to prevent any snags from beads or embellishments. If you’re feeling brave, turn the dress inside out. This trick acts as an extra shield, especially if the box encounters any mishaps en route.
  • Safety Measures: For an added layer of safety, wrap the dress in protective plastic – think of those bags your duvets come in or maybe a pristine recycling bag.
  • Sealing the Deal: Once it’s all tucked in, seal the box with robust 2-inch mailing tape. Affix the shipping label, ensuring it’s not slapped over a seam or tape. Oh, and toss in a duplicate label inside the box, just in case the outer one decides to take a detour.
  • Send Off: Whether it’s UPS, FedEx, or your trusty Post Office, drop off the package and pocket the receipt as your drop-off evidence.

8. Stay Patient

Depending on the style, size, and price of your dress, it might not sell overnight. Stay patient and consider refreshing your listing or adjusting the price if you don’t see interest after a while.

9. Engage with Potential Buyers

Respond to inquiries promptly and be open to negotiation. A swift, friendly response can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

10. Share Your Dress’s Story

A personal touch can go a long way. Sharing a bit about your wedding day or why you chose the dress can resonate with potential buyers, making your listing more memorable.

Used Wedding Dresses FAQ

Are used wedding dresses worth anything?


Used wedding dresses can absolutely hold their value, especially if they’re from sought-after designers. On average, depending on the brand and condition, a used wedding dress can fetch anywhere from 40% to 75% of its original price. Of course, rare pieces or iconic designs might see even smaller decreases

Is a used wedding dress bad luck?


The belief that used wedding dresses bring bad luck is more folklore than fact. In reality, many brides are opting for pre-loved dresses not just for sustainability or budget reasons, but because they value the history and sentiment behind them. Ultimately, the most important factor is how the dress makes you feel; if you adore it and it resonates with your style, any superstitions fade in comparison.

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  1. says: Theresa Shaunnessey

    Would like to know if you buy used/professional cleaned wedding dresses?
    I would appreciate it if you could get back to me.

    Thank you
    Theresa

  2. says: Shelli lang

    I want to sell my wedding dress it only has been on me twice and I never got to wear it and I have no use for it now