How to Sell Your Wedding Gown

Three Methods:Maximizing The ValueSelling It In PersonSelling It Online

Some brides hold on to their wedding dresses as a keepsake, preserving it and packing it away until a daughter or niece can wear it someday. Other brides don't want a dress that they only wore once collecting dust in their closet, and decide to sell it to get back some return on their investment. If you're interested in selling your wedding dress but aren't sure where to start, the right tips and tricks can make all the difference.

Method 1
Maximizing The Value

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    Have the dress cleaned after your wedding. The delicate fabric can hold onto white wine, champagne, and even perspiration stains that, while not immediately visible, may appear months after your wedding. A dress that has been properly cleaned is much more marketable.[1]
    • Even if you think you didn't get anything on the dress, it’s best to have it cleaned right after the wedding. Old stains are more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to remove without damaging the dress.
    • Take the dress to a specialist in cleaning wedding gowns and formal wear. If there isn't one in your area, ask your neighborhood dry cleaner about their expertise and even ask for references before leaving your dress with them. Paying a little more for a specialist is well worth the cost to know that it's done right.
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    Take photos of the dress. Whether you plan to sell your dress directly or use an online service, it helps to have several clear, well-lit pictures of the dress to entice potential buyers. Make sure to take photos from both the front and back, so buyers can see what the entire dress looks like.[2]
    • When you’re taking the photos, it's better to place the dress on a hanger rather than lay it on a flat surface.
    • Take close-up photos of any detail work, such as beading, sequins, or lace.
    • If there is any damage to your dress, make sure to include photos of it. It’s better to let buyers know ahead of time, so they can decide if they’re still serious about buying the dress.
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    Set a fair price. Asking the right amount for your dress can help increase your chances of selling it. In most cases, you can expect to sell a used dress that’s in good condition and less than two and a half years old for half the retail price. You may want to start off asking slightly more than that, though, so you have some room to negotiate.[3]
    • You can often resell dresses made by well known designers, such as Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, or Monique Lhuillier, for 60 to 70 percent of the price that you paid it.
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    Sell it as quickly as possible. You’re usually going to get the best price for your dress if you sell it within two and a half years of purchasing it because the style will probably still be on trend. If you know that you want to sell your dress, don’t waste time after the wedding -- the sooner you sell it, the more value it will have.[4]
    • While you’re probably going to get more money for a newer dress, that doesn’t mean you can’t make money on a vintage dress. Even ‘80s and ‘90s styles can be popular these days.
    • In terms of timing, you’re better off selling your dress in February and March because those are the peak months for wedding dress sales. The holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the worst time to sell.[5]

Method 2
Selling It In Person

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    Visit a local consignment or resale shop. These types of stores will either buy the dress directly from you, or sell it for you and keep some of the profit. Make sure to ask about their selling policy, so you understand exactly how much of the final price of the dress you can expect to pocket.[6]
    • You may want to contact the bridal boutique where you purchased the dress too. While they’re in the business of selling new dresses, the owner or manager may consider working out a deal to either purchase the dress for resale or sell it for you, provided they keep a percentage of the sale price.
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    Sell it to a dress rental company. You may have boutiques in your area that rent wedding dresses, and they’re often looking for new styles to add to their inventory. Some of these stores will buy the dress from you directly, while others will take the dress on a trial basis to see how popular the style is and give you a portion of the profit.[7]
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    Contact wedding-related businesses. Florists, bakers, caterers, and photographers who specialize in weddings may come across brides who are looking for a budget-friendly wedding dress options, and are willing to pass on information about your dress. It may take longer to sell, but you won’t have to share any of the profit.[8]
    • Make it easy for these business to advertise your dress by providing them with a flier that has photos of the dress and its specifications. They can pass it onto interested brides, or hang it up where potential buyers can see it.

Method 3
Selling It Online

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    Write an online description. Because prospective buyers aren't able to see the dress in person, you'll want to include as detailed a description as possible. Make sure to include the designer, size, and original price, and describe the style, including any embellishments, such as pearls, sequins, or beading.[9]
    • If you’re having trouble coming up with a description, try to find the designer’s description to help you along.
    • Certain keywords can help draw a prospective buyer's attention. Words like "Plus-Size," "Vintage," or "Lace" should go in the listing's title, along with the designer's name. For example, you might write "Plus-Size Short Sleeve Vera Wang Wedding Dress With Lace Details" or "Vintage Alfred Angelo Wedding Dress With Pearl Beading Size 8."
    • Prospective buyers will want to know if the dress is exactly as the designer intended, so be sure to mention any alterations that have been made and whether they can be reversed or not.
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    Offer it on eBay. It’s probably the most widely known e-commerce website, so you may already have experience with the company. While they don’t specialize in wedding dresses, they do sell 1000 to 2000 a week, so there’s definitely a market. Keep in mind that eBay charges listing and sales fees, so you won’t receive the full price that you sell the dress for.[10]
    • Make sure to include photos of the dress in your listing to catch the eye of potential buyers.
    • You can sell your dress on eBay via an auction style listing that allows interested parties to bid on it, which can sometimes help drive up the price. You don’t have to worry about losing it for a price that you don’t think is fair, though -- you can set a reserve price that must be met before the sale goes through.
    • eBay also allows you to sell items with the “Buy It Now” feature, so you can set a specific price. If you are determined to get a certain amount for your dress, that’s usually the best way to go.
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    List it on Craigslist. It’s a good option if you don’t want to deal with shipping your dress off to a buyer because the site is divided by locations. That allows you to sell the dress to someone in your area, and arrange an in-person pickup. There are also no fees to sell items on Craigslist, so you can expect to keep the entire sale price.[11]
    • Just as with eBay, make sure to include photos in your Craigslist ad. Buyers don’t want to take your word that the dress is in good condition. They want to see what it looks like with their own eyes.
    • Most of the shoppers on Craigslist are hunting for bargains, so keep that in mind when you price the dress.
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    Sell it on a wedding specialty site. These days, there are a variety of companies, including PreownedWeddingDresses.com, StillWhite.com, NearlyNewlywed.com, OnceWed.com, and Tradesy.com, that are dedicated to reselling bridal items. Each site has different requirements for their listings and charge different fees, so you should do some research to find the best fit for your needs.[12]
    • While you’ll want to include detailed specs and photos of the dress as you would on other online commerce sites, you may also want to include a photo of the dress at your wedding on a bridal-focused site. It’ll give prospective buyers an idea of what it looks like “in action.”

Tips

  • Never worn dresses have the highest resale value, but once-worn dresses with no stains or damage aren’t far behind.
  • Certain types of wedding dresses, such as plus-sized, lace, and short styles, usually sell better than others.
  • If you're selling your dress online, use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to advertise your listing and alert prospective buyers.

Warnings

  • Many brides want to be able to try on a wedding dress before they purchase it, so selling one sight unseen can sometimes be a challenge.
  • There are many pre-owned wedding dresses available online, which means prospective buyers have plenty of options to choose from. You may need to be patient when you’re trying to sell yours.
  • If you’re planning to sell your dress via Craigslist, it’s a good idea to take a friend or family member and meet in a public place when you go to make the sale. Meeting strangers from the internet is always a little risky, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Categories: Dress Flowers and Accessories