Women Helping Women
A resourceful website sells pre-owned wedding dresses, allowing brides to share their bliss with others

preowned-wedding-dresses-2Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier, Oscar de la Renta—those names often conjure up images of cascading layers of tulle enriched with glistening rhinestones, at a price tag that is unreachable for the average bride. However, this dream may not be as farfetched as it seems. An option that is rising tremendously in popularity is buying previously used gowns, allowing brides to walk down the aisle in designer dresses that are even beyond their wildest dreams.

After the honeymoon is over, brides are faced with their dress challenge—to store it, trash it or sell it—which is exactly how Josie Daga came up with the idea for PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, a listing service that connects buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses worldwide. “I wanted to sell my own designer gown and couldn’t find a reliable way,” she explains. “Since there was no good way, I created one. I built the site and sold my dress five months later.”

Long gone are the days of keeping your wedding dress stored in a closet, with hopes of your future daughter someday walking down the aisle in it. Today, modern day brides are selling their wedding day ensembles at a fraction of the retail cost, in the hopes that it can be cherished by someone else. “Today’s bride really loves her dress,” says Daga. “So much so that she’d rather see it enjoyed again than sit in a closet for years.” And that, not the money, seems to be the motivation behind bride’s selling. A recent survey conducted by the site found that 42 percent said sharing was the biggest motivator, over storage issues and money.

preowned-wedding-dresses-1With just a few clicks of a mouse, soon-to-be-brides can browse more than 8,000 coveted gowns, narrowed down by as many or as few criteria as you so choose, ranging from designer to silhouette to size, and up to 97 percent off the retail price, letting you splurge on more widely appreciated things—like an open bar.

Brides are able to wear gowns down the aisle that are straight off the runway, such as an empire-waisted Romona Keveza for a mere $500 (90 percent off) or a tiered Lazaro for $300 (89 percent off). “The most amazing deal for me was a Baracci gown,” Daga reminisces. “It retailed at $30K and sold for $15K. The sellers said they considered these dresses to be works of art, and couldn’t stand the thought of them in a closet. And the buyers were delighted at the chance to wear such magnificent gowns.”

And it’s not limited to dresses. PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com also offers up accessories such as tiaras, clutches, shawls and jewelry. Butch brides are encouraged to post their used suits, as well. “Since we’re a listing service, we post whatever wedding attire a bride would like to sell,” says Daga. “We’d love to see a suit category added!”

Forget the something new—brides want pre-owned.

Photos/Courtesy of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com