My parents thought I was weird. My spouse thought I was weird. But I bought my wedding dress at full retail price ($1000), wore it twice (one domestic wedding, one international wedding, both to the same person 🙂 ), and sold it afterwards on Ebay for $400. Why did I do it?
I think there’s a stigma to selling your dress. The stigma is that you should be sentimental and treasure this piece of polyester, tulle, and lace for the rest of your life. Or the assumption is that you’re well-off enough not to “need” to sell it, and by selling it, you’re demeaning yourself. For me, though, the reasoning was: I wore it, I felt pretty while wearing it, took some nice photos, but now it’s outlived its useful purpose and is sitting in my closet taking up a whole lotta space. My condo doesn’t have a ton of closet space, yo! Why not convert that dress to something that can be useful to your daily life (through the intermediary of cash)?
Of course, it’s up to each person to decide what to do with a dress. It’s all up to you. But for me, selling was the right decision.
I looked up a couple of specialized selling websites, like Once Wed, and Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses, which had various commission fees ($20, $25 respectively). In the end I decided to go with eBay because that’s where I’ve bought and sold before. I have a good eBay reputation score which I thought would help reassure new buyers. The cons were that the commission fee is much higher than the specialized websites, at 10%.
I listed the dress for $500 as the “Buy It Now” price. In general, my rule-of-thumb for selling used items on Craigslist or eBay is to start at 50% of the retail price. I wasn’t expecting much, maybe a few nibbles, and I was fully prepared to lower the price in a couple of weeks.
Lo and behold, within a few days, someone offered $400. (There were also a few other lowball offers which I declined.) After a few back-and-forths to answer some detailed questions about the condition of the dress, we finalized the transaction and I mailed it off. All within a week! To be honest, it happened much faster than I was expecting, so I felt a bit of emotion when dropping off the dress at the post office. But looking back now, a few months later, I can honestly say I haven’t missed it one bit.
Tips for selling
- Listing speed: I think one thing that helped was selling the dress reasonably soon after the wedding (within a year), while the dress was still available in-store. The dress is a long-running and popular model at BHLDN, so I knew there would be a reasonable number of potential buyers.
- Reversible alterations: I had made alterations to the dress, but most of these alterations were reversible (i.e., taking in the dress). I noted this clearly in the item description. The only thing that wasn’t reversible was the length of them hem, which was cut to fit a 5’5″ frame. However, this is an average female height, so the dress was still long enough to fit most potential buyers.
- Good photos: I uploaded a mix of photos: a few from the actual wedding so the buyer could see the dress “in action”, and a bunch of photos of the dress hanging up, including detailed shots and zoomed-out shots.
- Responsiveness to questions: When the eventual buyer messaged me, I emailed them back right away, was honest about the condition of the dress, and took additional pictures of the areas she requested. I think this helped boost her confidence that I was a responsible person who took good care of the dress.
Would you sell your wedding dress, or have you heard of others doing it? Are wedding dresses worth the splurge in the first place?