I was recently a guest blogger on Next Brides, an online resource to buy, rent, or sell your wedding gear. I wrote a super long post (oops!) but was still featured.
I think every girl dreams of buying the big, beautiful princess gown for her dream day. The reality is, that may not always be possible. The quickest place that people go over their budgets is when they buy the wedding day garb.
For me, I just didn’t want something cookie cutter and looking like everyone else’s wedding dress, so checking out a consignment shop was at least an option on my radar.
So as it turned out, by “green,” I meant recycled.
Check out my post in its entirety:
I Bought a (Not So New) Wedding Dress
In November 2011, my now husband missed his opportunity to run away and got stuck with me. I mean, I was lucky enough to marry my best friend in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by our family and friends.
He proposed marriage on June 29, 2011 and we decided to get married on November 19; that gave us just under 4 months from ring to altar.
Of all of the things that you have to worry about for your big day, the dress is a major part of that planning process. Unless you’re into a nudist colony sort of ceremony, I’m going to run out on a limb and say that you NEED something to wear on your wedding day.
In Memphis, we’d recently had a boutique open called The Barefoot Bride. It was started with the owner’s personal collection of almost 30 wedding gowns…she couldn’t decide upon one, and just kept shopping. My kinda gal…
I went by to check her store out (pre-engagement, but post-wedding discussion, and just to be prepared) and saw a beautiful gown in our wedding colors. It cost $150; it was a sign that it was THE dress. A few weeks later, I was actually engaged and RAN back to the store to get that dress!
I couldn’t get it over my thighs.
I looked around and found another dress in a different color…but it was even more stunning. This dress cost a bit more, but it was still available at almost 50% off the retail price. I thought it was a great deal, but my mom was a little skeptical because I was purchasing it from a bridal consignment shop.
My goal was to save as much money as possible…and to buy the second gown with which I’d fallen in love.
The things that you do and look for when buying a used gown are the same things that you should do and look for when buying a new gown:
- Book an appointment to see the dresses. Your wedding day is very important. So is every other bride’s wedding day. Make sure that you schedule time to have all of the attention focused on you and what you need.
- Make sure you shop in enough time to have the dress ready on your big day. Even though you’re buying a used gown, you still may need to have it altered in some form. Make sure that you purchase it early enough to have the proper alterations completed. I had to have mine let out; I’m a stress eater.
- Decide on how much you can spend before you shop. Yes, consignment shops will usually have amazing deals on dresses, but if $600 is all you can afford for your dress, it’s the same amount of money whether you’re purchasing off-the-rack, consigned, or wholesale. Remember you taxes and alteration fees. Purchasing a gown right at your limit will put you over your budget quickly.
- Decide on your style. Don’t settle on a look because it fits in your budget. Yes, you’re planning on wearing it for one day, but it’s your big day and you need to be happy. And be comfortable.
- Shop for the body you have, not the one you want. Don’t order the dress too small, hoping that you’ll get into by the big day. I had enough room in mine, but still had to wear under armor to keep things in place. Because I did stress eat, I wasn’t entirely comfortable and didn’t like all of my photos on our wedding day. Shop bigger…it’s always better to have to take it in than to need it let out. There’s only so much extra material…
- Bring your bridal accessories when selecting your dress (and when you’re getting fitted.) If you’re really in love with your accessories, and may have purchased the non-refundable items ahead of time, bring them when looking for your dress. If your veil makes the dress you want terrible or takes attention away from the dress, you’ll want to know that before it’s too late to make any changes. I bought a pair of shoes I HAD to have and they were horrendous with my dress! Side note: I got my choker from another consignment shop for $4 and hand made my veil and bracelet!
- Check your dress. Look for any manufacturer’s defects or imperfections. If it’s a big deal (like uneven seams) and will drive you crazy, after you purchase the dress might be too late to do anything about it.
- Check the agreement. Make sure you know the shop’s policy for what will happen if you find something wrong post-purchase.
- Have fun! It’s about you and what makes you happy. Don’t buy what someone else thinks you should be wearing down the aisle.
What should you do when you buy your used gown?
- Have it cleaned! You just purchased a dress which may have actually been worn by someone else. Even if they don’t have any cooties, you want to be sure that your dress is free from stains…the cameras will pick that up if the lighting is just right. The cleaner can also steam/straighten it for you at the same time.
- Wear it fabulously! Enjoy your big day and be beautiful!