Updated 01/04/23

How to Buy Used & Save Money on your Wedding Dress

As brides, we want to look our absolute best on our big day in our gorgeous wedding dress, but how can you get the “champagne” look on a “light beer” budget?

1. Buy pre-owned

A pre-owned wedding dress does not have bad juju.

So many people feel like wearing someone else’s dress is going to be bad luck somehow but how can that possibly be true?

Don’t we create our own luck by making smart decisions, planning appropriately and if bad things do happen, positively controlling our response to it?

So why not make the smart decision to buy a dress that someone else has (very likely) lovingly cared for, and is selling for less than half price! That’s the going rate for gently used (and sometimes brand new!) wedding dresses these days. You can pick up a designer gown for around 60-70% off retail price. You’ll need to shop around but you’d be shopping around for a new dress anyways. Then if you’d like, pass that good love and intentions to the next Bride!

A quick note on where to buy and sell inexpensive dresses:

  • Wedding Recycle of course (non-subtle plug)
  • Facebook Marketplace and wedding resale groups
  • Consignment shops
  • Many bridal shops and designers have “off-the-rack” or trunk sales
  • Wedding “swaps” or wedding “garage sales”

2. Buy a wedding-ish dress

Who says a “wedding dress” has to be a dress from an actual wedding dress designer? What if you found a gorgeous white (or ivory…or champagne…or purple) dress that you loved, made you feel special and awesome and fit with the look and feel you were going for on your Big Day? If you love it and it’s in your budget, no one says you can’t wear it.

A girlfriend of mine had always wanted a purple wedding dress…so she wore one. Found a dress in her favourite colour, one that made her feel like a princess, so she bought it and wore it confidently and comfortably on her wedding day (and her pictures are gorgeous!).

3. Have someone make it for you

Is there a seamstress in your life? Someone with a talent for design and vision that could turn seemingly ordinary tulle, silk or taffeta into a gorgeous dress? Why not ask them to create something beautiful for you? It would be custom, it would have exactly what you wanted and it would be extra special because it was made with love. This is probably not the least expensive option, depending on the material you use and the time it’ll take to create the dress but could definitely be an option if the design you have your eye on could be recreated from hand and customized to you. Can’t hurt to ask.

There is so much about weddings these days that lends itself to creativity, options and choice. You don’t have to stick to “tradition” – we have the power of the Internet and social media so make use of all your resources, friends and creative powers and find yourself the perfect, most gorgeous dress for you…and well within your budget.