Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the most special events of your life, so it’s only fitting that your dress rises to the occasion. The search for the perfect wedding dress is one of the most important parts of being a bride-to-be. So you might not consider buying a used wedding dress online — but maybe you should.
The high price of wedding dresses can be a deterrent to picking out a truly unique gown. In 2021, the average wedding dress cost $1,800, and your dream dress can range from $500 to $4,000 (and can go even higher than that, depending on how luxurious and custom you want!).
Still there are plenty of places online that sell beautiful used gowns for your big day — without the big price tag. We found nine places to snag the cheapest used wedding dresses online.
9 Places to Buy a Used Wedding Dress Online
Here are nine that we’ve highlighted:
- Once Wed
- Loved Twice Bridal
- Borrowing Magnolia
Stillwhite is one of a few online shops where sellers can list their preowned wedding dress for a small listing fee. Buyers sift through dresses from brands like Pronovias or Stella York and can find dresses reduced to as little as $50.
The site allows you to chat with sellers about price, measurements and any other questions. If the seller is located near you, you can even ask to meet in person (though always be cautious).
Buyers who pay with PayPal, which is integrated into the system, are protected on up to $20,000 per item, including shipping, if the item arrives in a different condition than in the photos. The buyer is typically the one who pays for shipping.
PreownedWeddingDresses.com started in 2004 as a way to give brides and their bridal party a more affordable option. You can shop by location, designer, type or size. PayPal is integrated into the site’s system, which, like on Stillwhite, allows for purchase protection up to $20,000. The buyer is usually the one to pay for shipping, although that can be negotiated between buyer and seller.
Sellers can set their own return policy, including making a wedding garment final sale. If there is a problem with the wedding dress when it arrives and the dispute can’t be resolved between buyer and seller, that’s a good time to use PayPal’s purchase protection.
If you’re looking for a backless number or a plunging neckline, then Once Wed is the site for you. Find wedding dresses organized by designer, like Kitty Chen or Enaura, or just the best deals, as much as 70%-95% off the retail price.
Queenly is a relatively new addition to the market that aims to sell not just secondhand wedding dresses but formalwear. Rather than charging sellers a one-time listing fee, the site works on a 20% commission, or what it calls a service fee.
All items over $500 are first sent to Queenly headquarters for a quality check. Queenly does not offer refunds unless its quality check missed some sort of damage. In that case, the buyer must report the issue within 24 hours of receiving the dress. The good news: Queenly pays for the shipping!
Unlike the other online wedding dress marketplaces, BravoBride allows you to sort simply by price, size or popularity rather than designer and style.
BravoBride is not just for the bride who wants a dress but the one who wants to buy shoes, accessories or even pieces for the ceremony. It’s a free-to-use site that does little to handle transactions between buyer and seller. BravoBride recommends paying, for example, with PayPal or Google Checkout, but these are payment systems handled outside of the website.
Loved Twice Bridal
Loved Twice Bridal is more than an online (and in-store) bridal marketplace. It’s really a curated store that does most of the work for sellers, hopefully making the experience even better for buyers. The site “houses, lists, markets and advises” brides on their curated collection, which is why it charges consignees a 40%-50% fee.
For buyers, this means your wedding dress has already been examined and photographed by a third party. Buyers get personalized help from the website’s experts during a virtual appointment (or in person if you’re in Los Angeles).
And if they find a dress they love, they can pay $60 (plus shipping) to try it on at home. If the bride-to-be buys the dress, that $60 is then applied to the overall cost. If a prospective buyer falls in love with more than one dress, she can pay $150 (and shipping) to get three wedding gowns sent directly to her home. If none of the dresses work, simply return them within three days of delivery.
Borrowing Magnolia lets you specify your search by sleeve, train, neckline, fabric, silhouette and other details that will make or break your dream wedding dress. Sellers pay a flat fee. Buyers get in touch with the seller through the site’s internal system and can pay through integrated PayPal. The buyer pays for shipping, and the site does allow for returns within five days of receipt.
Poshmark is a well-known platform used for the resale of secondhand clothes (and other items), so it might be the perfect place to find your designer wedding dress. It has an entire section dedicated to wedding dresses, with options to sort by size, brand, color (although you’ll probably lean toward white) and condition, among others.
Buying on Poshmark is fairly straightforward: You just choose the item you like and pay using one of its preferred payment methods, like credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay or Venmo. If an item doesn’t ship or does not look the same as the description, the buyer will get a full refund — as long as you report this within three days of receipt.
Tradesy focuses on selling secondhand items in general rather than just wedding-themed pieces. Search by style, like casual, retro or sexy, or put in your preferred designer, year it was created or price.
Once you find your perfect dress, you can pay online with a credit card or through Affirm. Unlike other sites, sellers handle the shipping. Wedding items at Tradesy are considered final sale, meaning they cannot be returned for any reason unless they are not as the seller described. In that case, contact Tradesy within four days of receipt.
But Should You Even Buy a Used Wedding Dress Online?
The big day already brings with it enough expenses — your venue, your invites, your bridesmaid dresses and your wedding planner, for starters. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a wedding dress you’re going to wear only once. That’s why buying a secondhand wedding dress is such a great option.
Seventy percent of preloved wedding dresses are priced at $1,000 or less, and only 10% of used designer wedding dresses sell for above $2,500, according to secondhand bridal site Borrowing Magnolia. You’re guaranteed to discover something beautiful for way less than new designer wedding dresses. Just expect to do some grunt work before you find it.
What to Expect From a Used Wedding Dress
When searching for pre-owned wedding dresses, there are some important questions to keep in mind. It’s always nerve-wracking to buy something as important as a wedding dress sight unseen, but any online marketplace should have built-in buyer protection that makes the process as seamless as possible. Look for important factors like whether you can return wedding dresses, whether you can communicate with the seller on a secure messaging platform before the sale and who pays the shipping costs.
Now that we’ve covered the logistics, let’s get to the fun part: the actual wedding dress.
We recommend starting your wedding hunt by identifying what the perfect wedding gown looks like to you. Is it something with beading or sequins? Does it have long sleeves or is it strapless? Is there a designer, like Vera Wang or Maggie Sottero, that you’re hoping to find? Having some specifics in mind will help you narrow down the options.
When the big day is over and you’re ready to part with your gown, here’s how and where you can sell your wedding dress.
Most of the popular sites for wedding gowns allow you to designate the style or fit of the dress — like cap sleeve or tea length — as well as the designer, so you can get results tailored to you.
When it comes to sizing, focus on measurements and look for something bigger than your actual dimensions. The Knot has an important point: It’s much easier to make a big wedding dress smaller than a small dress bigger. Know that vintage sizes or altered dresses often won’t be a one-for-one fit.
Always keep an eye on condition and ask the seller about any imperfections. Ideally, you will find a dress that has been worn only once and dry-cleaned. If it hasn’t been, that may be cause for a price reduction. It also may be enough to convince you to move on to the next dress.
Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.