Sunday, February 8, 2009

'Pre-loved' Wedding Gowns

We all know that wedding dresses cost a fortune. It doesn't help that the 'fortune' is only worn for one day (or for a mere few hours). I often gripe about spending a few hundred dollars on a bridesmaid dress and not being able to wear it again, so I can't even imagine how I would feel about spending several hundred dollars or thousands on an 'once in a lifetime' dress. Sure you could go and buy yourself a non-designer gown made with itchy & scratchy materials - but will you be able to forget about the Monique Lhuillier you once mistakenly let yourself try on?

Thank goodness for websites like Once Wed and PreOwnedWeddingDresses which offer brides the opportunity to purchase used or sample wedding gowns. You can wear the Monique of your dreams and at a fraction of the price. Most of the sellers are in the U.S. but from time to time you find Canadian ones as well.

Here are some dresses who are currently residing in Canada and need a new home:

This lovely Adele Wechsler 'Ariella' is in Toronto has a selling price of USD$2900 (and the bride is throwing in a matching veil). FYI - Adele Wechsler is a Canadian designer based in Toronto. Click here for the link to the listing.

Image via Adele Wechsler

This sample Vera Wang sheath is also in Toronto and her current owner is asking for USD $1600. Click here for listing.

Image via

If you're lucky enough, you could score a BRAND NEW gown, like this Watters Bari dress in Calgary, Alberta. Here is the link to the listing.

Image via

A majority of the gowns have been professionally cleaned and preserved by the original owner, however you may want to confirm this before you purchase. Other things you should inquire with the original bride - the exact measurements of the gown, and if and how the gown has been altered; how many times/hours the dress has been worn (it may be a 'pre-pre loved' dress!); does the gown have any stains/rips/tears; whether the price includes shipping; and does the bride have the original receipt (to prove authenticity). Don't forget to negotiate with the seller - it may lead to even more savings! One word of caution though - make sure you exchange funds in a secure manner (e.g. PayPal,, or cash if your purchase the dress in person). Unfortunately there are a number of scammers out there targeting brides so avoid paying via cheque, cashier's cheque, money order or wired money. Finally, consider buying insurance if your dress is being shipped to you.

Other websites to visit if you're looking for a 'pre-loved' dress - Dream Bridal LA, Bride Power, eBay, craigslist, Encore Bridal, the classifieds sections on the WeddingBee and VintageGlam Weddings websites.

If you've purchased a 'pre-loved' gown, let me know, I would love to hear your experiences. Happy dress shopping!

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