A wedding dress can set you back a pretty penny these days, and if you look at it practically and not with any emotion at all, it is a huge investment for a few hours.  You would never do this with any other investment.

Some dresses are thousands of dollars, and then are stored and never used again.  Would you buy a car or maybe a used car for a few hours and then store it or get rid of it for nothing?  Not likely, but the emotional attachment can be huge to these dresses.

But recently there has been a shift in weddings.  Many people are letting the practical side of them bubble to the top and it is now “hip” to have a cheap wedding. No more going into debt for that one day.

Many brides have decided that paying the huge price to have their prized possession specially cleaned and then boxed for “what?” who knows, can be very expensive.  Many just shove it under their bed and maybe look at it through the peep hole in the box every time they pack to move.

Many think if they have a daughter that they will wear it.  That is a possibility as long as the dress was not a “themed” dress from another era that would make your future daughter cringe at the thought of it.

Wedding Dress ShopsCredit: morguefile.com

So What Will You Do With Your Wedding Dress?

I can tell you that my wedding dress from 34 years ago never ended up in one of those fancy dry cleaning preserving boxes, it ended up in a grocery bag along with my veil in a box at my mom’s house.

Years later she was cleaning out her house and came across it, and we laughed at how it looks just the same as it did back then and seemed to weather the years even without the special box.  Mine was very simple without layers of lace or beads.

I showed it to my grown daughter and she thought it was cool but would never wear it in a thousand years.  So, why do I hang on to it?  Emotional attachment.  Now in my defence, my wedding dress cost 80 dollars.  You can’t even get a decent outfit for that anymore, so the investment was not huge.  In fact it was actually a “long dress” that I simply fixed up with a veil for a wedding dress as even back then I could not stand the thought of all my parents’ hard earned money going into a dress that would sit in the closet after.  (yes they were paying!).

It looked great on the day, and no one was the wiser that it didn’t come from a wedding shop.  So, there it is, still in a bag but now in my cedar chest.

Second Hand Clothing Shop

If I had wanted a fancier dress at the time I was considering the second hand shops.  This was not a common practice in the 70s, so I had to find something that suited me.

Wedding DressCredit: morguefile.com

 It was at a time when many brides were coming away from traditions and wearing whatever they wanted.

So, this is something to consider.  If you can get past the emotio

Many brides right now are heading to these stores and there is a lot to choose from.  You will not get the same as what you paid, unless you have a retro one.  Mine is definitely from the 70s, and I saw an ad in the local newspaper offering top dollar for any wedding outfits or dresses from the 70s.  So, maybe this investment of mine will pay off and I will let it go and make some money.nal attachment to your dress and settle for the pictures when you want to see it, then you can get good money if you sell your dress in the second hand shops.

Sell Online

If you head over to eBay and a few other sites, you will find many bridal gowns and accessories for sale. 

If your dress is a set size, then it will sell faster.  If it was altered from that size, then you will need to take some measurements and include that in the ad.  If possible put the dress on and get pictures taken, dresses that are shown on a real person sell quicker than just lying on your bed and taking a picture.

If it doesn’t fit you anymore, then find a mannequin if possible or a friend that can wear it or crop your wedding photo and show it.  It is just easier for a potential customer to get a feel for it if it is on a person.

Approach Wedding Shops

Many wedding stores are now stocking a “gently used” section.  Since many couples are looking to cut the price tag on their special day the wedding shops want to be in on it. 

They may do this on consignment which would work best as you would not get paid until it sold, but then you would get more, than if they bought it off you up front. 

Brides can purchase a used dress, and then add or alter it to make it their own, this way they do not feel like they are wearing a used dress, that it is now an original.  From a recycling point of view, this works well.

Wedding Dress AlterationsCredit: morguefile.com

Retro Clothing Stores

If you have had your gown for many years, and it doesn’t look like anyone in your family wants to wear it or use it, then check out a local “retro store” 60s and 70s clothes are back in, and if they are the original item, they will sell.  I really wish I had kept my jeans from the 70s and my platform shoes, I could be rich by now!

Acid Free Wedding Dress Premium Preservation Box Bridal Keepsafe (Gold)
Amazon Price: $39.99 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 16, 2013)
if you do decide to keep yours, the supplies needed are affordable online.

Donate and Feel Great

If you know anyone that is getting married and they are on a shoestring budget, then offer up your dress to them.  What is the point of it sitting in your closet in a box for ever and a day when someone else could get the enjoyment from it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see it out shining on a happy bride for another special day?  Even if she had to alter it or wanted to update it a bit, it would still be cheaper than trying to buy a new one.

Maybe you could ask for a wedding invitation in exchange so you can see your dress in all its glory. 

Let it Go.