A second-hand wedding dress” you may exclaim. “No way am I going to do that. It’s my big day and I want a dress that’s been created just for me.

But hold that thought a minute. A second-hand or a preloved wedding dress could be just perfect for you.

Not second-rate

  • Second-hand doesn’t mean second-best. You can buy pristine dresses from specialist sites, guaranteed to be in excellent condition
  • You can have a preloved gown altered to fit you to perfection
  • It may make the difference between you having a gown from a designer you’ve always wanted to wear or making do with a mass-produced High Street gown
  • You’re more likely to find a gown that’s unique to you
  • Second-hand gowns often represent excellent value and you’re likely to save hundreds of pounds on your wedding dress, which you’ll be able to put towards the cost of your wedding
  • Instead of investing a lot of money on a dress you’ll only wear once, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you had a beautiful dress that’s freed up your cash in other ways
  • If you don’t tell anyone your dress is second-hand, how would anyone know anyway? Particularly if you buy from a reputable supplier which guarantees a dress in top quality condition

Second-hand doesn’t mean second-best. You can buy pristine dresses from specialist sites, guaranteed to be in excellent condition

Buying a pre-loved dress online

There are various ways of doing this. You’re almost certain to save a lot of money doing things this way but be careful. Make sure the seller is reputable and check to see if you can get your money back if the dress isn’t exactly as pictured and described.

Another route that seems to us to be more secure is going to a site like Still White or PreLoved.

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On PreLoved there is currently a beautiful Jenny Packham original wedding dress for sale for £2,100 or nearest offer. That’s still not cheap, but it’s greatly reduced from the price when new of £3,800.

Currently there’s also a Blue by Enzoani wedding dress for sale at £550.

Tread warily

There are certainly some bargains to be had. But you still need to tread warily, making sure that your money is held securely and that the dress, if it is a designer number, is authentic.

On the StillWhite site you are lead through various steps.

  • You can chat with the seller about the dress
  • Exchange photographs
  • Confirm your measurements
  • Negotiate a price that suits you both
  • You can organise a time to meet
  • Purchase the dress securely online using the Buy Now button.
  • Meeting the seller in person is a good idea because you can try the dress on, touch and feel the fabric and ensure that the description matches up. You can pay there and then if you want and take the dress home with you afterwards. You can also hear the back story of the dress!

On StillWhite you can also chat online through the secure messaging service but feel confident that your contact details are private. The company monitors all activity and any behaviour that is odd is flagged up and blocked.

If your dress is damaged, doesn’t match the description or doesn’t arrive you get a full refund. But if you do the deal face to face then it is final.

What do we think?

If you’re on a strict budget for your wedding day but still yearn for a special designer dress, then it’s certainly worth investigating the preloved option. You could end up with an amazing gown. We also think that a site like StillWhite seems to have some good safeguards in place for brides-to-be looking for quality second-hand wedding gowns.

Setting a wedding budget and sticking to it is always crucial. It’s very easy to get carried away when you’re wedding planning and overspend on things that you don’t really need. Which is why we think that you and your other half should set your wedding budget first, before you do anything else.

The next things most brides then do is shop around for their bridal gown and so if you find a good second-hand wedding dress that you fall in love with, then that is almost certainly going to help your budget.

Remember to consider the time of year in which you’re getting married and the venue for example a wedding on a beach somewhere tropical will demand a different style of dress to a wedding in a country church!