Before: The Second-hand Dress

16 Jul

Why I went for a pre-loved wedding gown

My wedding dress – the gorgeous gown of my dreams, in which I will float down the aisle toward my future husband – is second-hand. And I don’t mean a grandmother’s wedding gown, lovingly passed down through the generations. It’s pre-loved, pre-owned, and pre-worn.

As I mentioned in a previous post about deciding on my wedding gown, after trying on Maggie Sottero’s “Ellen” design, it became the dress I compared everyone other one against. The reason I kept comparing other dresses to it, instead of snapping it up right away, was the price tag. In both my home country and the one I live in now, the gown retailed for US$2000. We could more than afford it, but the question for us was “Is a dress that I’m going to wear for one day really what we choose to spend our money on? Isn’t it better to spend our wedding budget on a fantastic meal or great music to keep everyone dancing all night long?” (Or, to put things into perspective, on a holiday or paying our mortgage?)

This question arose again when I attended the nuptials of one of my fiancé’s friends. When the happy couple stopped by the day after for a last chat before jetting off for their honeymoon, I could see through their open car door a pile of wedding gifts on the backseat, covered with what looked like an old blanket – thrown over them and balled up in a corner. But there was something odd about this blanket. I must have puzzled over it a while, because the bride noticed me staring and asked with a laugh, “So, wanna buy a wedding dress?” Yes, that balled up blanket on the backseat was her wedding gown. I couldn’t believe it. The bride had just thrown her wedding dress, not in a dress bag or any protective covering, haphazardly over a pile of stuff on the backseat. The point hit me straight away: the day after the wedding, that gown you spent all your money on is pretty much useless.

So when I couldn’t find another, cheaper wedding gown that satisfied my girlish dreams like “Ellen” did, I turned to other options. Firstly, I considered renting a wedding dress, but no stores in my hometown offered that service. Next, I looked at knock-off stores in China for “Ellen”, but nixed the idea when most reviews pointed to shoddy workmanship and imitations that look nothing like the advertised picture. Lastly, I turned to online classified ads for second-hand wedding dresses. Jackpot.

I found in a nearby country several brides selling their “Ellen” gowns for less than half the retail price. After e-interrogating three brides about any marks on the dresses, sizing and alterations that had been done, I picked the dress I wanted. We started arranging payments and how the seller would actually get the dress to me. In a couple of weeks, my dream dress – at a dreamy price – had arrived in my hot little hands. I adored the dress and remain super-happy with my decision to take the pre-loved path.

Tune in next time for my first-hand tips on buying a second-hand wedding gown!


One Response to “Before: The Second-hand Dress”


  1. Before: Buying the Second-hand Dress « The Reflective Bride - July 24, 2012

    […] last week’s thrilling episode, you found out why I went for a pre-loved wedding dress. I have found very few guides online about how to go about buying a second-hand bridal gown, so I […]

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