If your budget is tight you may have already thought about getting hitched in a second hand wedding dress. This is ever more common in a world where everyone is feeling the pinch and recycling is big news – with many brides picking up amazing vintage or designer pieces that they would never be able to afford new. Read these top tips on buying second hand wedding dresses.
The photos of the dress
If you’re buying online, the photos of the dress will be crucial. If you only have access to the front view of your desired dress, ask the seller to send you other images displaying the gown at different angles. You could ask for a back view or close up shots of any features. You might also want pictures of the straps or neckline.
Most dresses will have been altered as very few brides are a perfect size 10. It is advantageous to know how much the dress has been altered as this will give you an idea of whether the gown will fit or not and whether it can be further changed. Should you be concerned about it fitting, look for a dress in a size larger than you need so you have more material to play with.
The original bride’s height
Don’t forget to ask about the length of the dress. While gowns that are too long can be shortened by a skilled seamstress, those that are too short can’t be altered so easily. If the bride who originally wore the dress is shorter than you, you may well run into problems.
The dress’ movement
Knowing how a dress moves when you’re walking and dancing is invaluable to any bride-to-be, and most former brides will be happy to let you know. It is also important to find out whether or not the skirt can be bustled for dancing in the evening.
Trying your dress on
Ask whether the seller would allow you to try the dress on before you buy it should they live within a reasonable distance. If they don’t, ask if they offer a returns service and whether you would be able to post it back to them in exchange for a refund should you not be entirely happy once you’ve tried it on.
The dress’ original price
While some brides will tell you the original price on their advertisement, others may choose to hide it away in an attempt to receive the best return. Find out the designer and get a good idea of the original price before you start to haggle. Simply, by knowing the original RRP of the dress you can figure out if you are getting value for money – it doesn’t really matter what the bride paid for it.
The storage method
Unless the dress is being sold immediately after the seller’s wedding, the item will have been stored for at least a few months. In an ideal world, your dress will have been hermetically sealed or stored in an heirloom box. By sealing it in a plastic bag, the seller risks damaging the material of the dress through trapped moisture.
The cleaning method
Though you might think that you would like to have the dress cleaned yourself to ensure it has been done to a high standard, but it should have already been cleaned soon after the wedding. This is because stains from sweat, spilled food, and drink, may turn the dress permanently yellow should it not be cleaned straight away.
The precise colour
Cameras can be deceptive when it comes to subtle colour shades and tones so it always pays to check the exact colour of your dress. If you are pinning your hopes on tying the knot in pure white it would be infuriating to have your dress delivered and find out that it is a pale shade of ivory.
You might want to ask the bride whether she is selling accessories such as a veil or tiara as well. While these are not especially expensive items they will have been bought to match the dress so this could save you a hunt for accessories of your own.
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