Woman try on wedding bride dress in the fitting room

Maybe you don’t like the thought of spending so much money on a gown you will only wear once or you are on a strict budget.

Good news for you: It has never been easier to purchase a pre-owned wedding dress.

This is a refreshing addition to the wedding industry. With couture gowns ringing in for thousands of dollars, it’s nice to have an option available to give a little more life to a lightly worn gown at a fraction of the price.

Before you commit to a pre-owned gown, however, consider the following points.

Deal With a Reputable Seller

Unless you know the seller personally, it is best to go through a facilitator that specializes in the industry. Search online for local professionals or businesses in your area. You can also ask around to find out if any of your friends, family members or co-workers have used such a service. Even a pre-owned wedding gown can fetch a pretty penny. Buying from a reputable source — preferably a local one — protects you as a consumer.

Try Before You Buy

After you’ve conferred with some reputable sources and you’ve made a short list of styles you love, try to find bridal salons that stock them. Make a series of appointments and try on as many on your list as you can.
What you love on paper you may not love on your body. And you don’t want to find this out after you’ve purchased a gown; there is generally no returning pre-owned.

Ask For Additional Photos

Once you’ve found a gown, tried it on in person and found a potential seller, don’t be afraid to ask for additional photos. Many sellers list designer photos so the dress they are trying to sell is recognizable.
Ask for photos of the seller in the dress. Real wedding photos will tell you more about the dress’ condition than a magazine spread.

Pay Attention to Details

Many brides have their gowns altered to fit them perfectly. If you are purchasing a gown second-hand, odds are it will have been altered. A size 10 may have been brought in closer to a size eight, or a hem might have been taken up. You don’t want to purchase a gown that won’t fit — or cannot be altered to fit. A local seamstress can help you evaluate the gown to see what can be done to make it yours.