Weddings

Benefits of choosing a Second-hand Wedding Dress

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When I’m not writing about wedding and finances, one thing I’m extremely passionate about is slow fashion.

Slow fashion is choosing to be considerate of the environment when buying clothes and also being aware of those in the supply chain and whether they could be being exploited.

Typically wedding dresses wouldn’t come under fast fashion the way many other garments would. However, as they are often only worn once and often take a lot of resources to make, they do put a strain on the environment.

The tradition for wearing a white wedding dress actually started with Queen Victoria. Up until that point, women would wear the nicest dress they owned, usually their Sunday best.

Until wedding dresses started to become more extravagant, they were often reworn or repurposed so they could be used over and over again. This is something which happens a lot less nowadays!

Keep it in the family

In recent years there had been a trend for brides wearing their mothers or grandmothers wedding dresses.

Princess Beatrice recently made headlines when it was revealed her wedding dress was a ballgown given to her by the Queen for the occasion. Beatrice added some sleeves and had some layers removed for a more modern feel, but still looked stunning.

In this piece, seven women share their experience of wearing their grandmother’s dress.

Wearing a wedding dress that was previously owned by a member of your family is brilliant way to feel close to someone who may no longer be around. It’s also good for the environments and will likely save you money too, even if some adjustments are needed.

If wearing a family heirloom dress isn’t possible there may be other options such as using a vintage veil or hairpiece that belonged to a family member.

Buy A Second-hand Wedding Dress

There are lots of benefits to buying a second-hand wedding dress and having a pre-owned wedding gown is something I would like to see become more normalised.

Advantages of second-hand wedding dress include

  • Better for the environment
  • Can cost significantly less
  • You may be able to afford a style or designer that would be out of the budget if you were to buy new.
  • Supports charity if you buy from a charity shop
  • A great option if you’re wedding is last minute as new dresses often take months to be made
  • Accessories can be secondhand too such as jewellery, veils and shoes.

Of course, there are some disadvantages, such as not being able to try it on. However, unless you get a dress made to measure, most new wedding dresses come in standard sizes, so will need some form of alteration anyway.

Places to buy a second-hand dress online include:

eBay
Gumtree
Vinted
Shpock
Pre-Loved
Depop
Facebook Marketplace
Instagram

Keep it simple

Choosing a wedding dress that is simple means you’ll be much more likely to either rewear it at a later date or have it adjusted to suit other occasions in the future.

If white isn’t usually your colour, a dress in a simple style could be dyed a different colour.

There are lots of benefits to buying a second-hand wedding dress and having a pre-owned wedding gown is something I would like to see become more normalised.

What can I do with my wedding dress after my wedding?

It can be tricky to know what to do with your wedding dress after your wedding.

This is something I am 100% guilty off – my wedding dress currently resides on our attic. As it cost over £700 that’s a lot of money for one wear for it to be doing nothing. At the same time I’m quite a sentimental person and for the time being can’t bear to part with it.

  • Firstly there are several charities that accept donations of wedding dresses these include
  • Charities that donate them to brides with a terminal illness
  • Charities that sell them in dedicated wedding shops, such as Oxfam.
  • Charities that turn them into gowns for babies that are stillborn.

You could also have part of your wedding dress made into a christening gown if you plan to have children.

Some women choose to display their wedding dresses on specially made boxes – at least they are getting seen!

You could choose to sell your wedding dress – there are some dress shops will buy back your dress and then sell it on.

Where to sell your wedding dress

eBay
Gumtree
Vinted
Shpock
Pre-Loved
Depop
Facebook Marketplace
Instagram

Until wedding dresses started to become more extravagant, they were often reworn or repurposed so they could be used over and over again. This is something which happens a lot less nowadays!