Wedding Traditions

Pre-owned wedding dresses

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Pre-owned wedding dresses are a girl's true best friend

Throwing the ceremony of your dreams doesn’t have to cost every pretty penny in the bank. From making their own, to re-fashioning grandma’s, brides have always found creative ways to save money on the dress without comprising their style.

Referred to today as “recycled”, “used” or “once worn”, pre-owned wedding dresses are giving women everywhere the opportunity to have the dress of the dreams for a mere fraction of the cost. Store like,, and are just a few of the sites with hundreds of designer gowns listed for as low as a few hundred dollars.

Buying a once worn gown leaves you with money to spend on more important things, like a longer honeymoon, DJ at the reception or specially engraved keepsakes.

And bargain hunting brides still have the best of the best to choose from. According to a New York Times article, 90% of the gowns offered are rejected because they’re out of style or more than three years old. 

Accessorizing pre-owned wedding dresses

Once you find the dress of your dreams for, say, 30-75% off, it’s time to make it yours. One or two accessories are really all you need with a gown. The veil or tiara will help you choose an elegant, beautiful hair style. The groom is taking care of the ring. Let’s focus on other jewelry and sexy suspenders, also known as garter belts.

Choosing a Metal

Silver and gold are timeless choices, but different metals work best with the variations of white in a gown. Ivory gowns look great with gold because of the slightly yellowish hue, while stark white gowns look striking with pearl or platinum jewelry.


Pearl bracelets add the sort of detail that makes a dress look and feel unforgettable. Whether holding the bouquet or girlishly smearing cake in your hubby’s face, people will notice the gorgeous jewelry on your wrist.


The right earrings can bring out your best features and complement the dress style. If you choose to go with statement earrings, skip wearing a necklace so the two don’t compete.

Strapless dresses with sweetheart tops paired with chandelier earrings draw attention to your smile. Choose crystal or a metal for a sophisticated look. If you prefer color, consider earrings that feature your birthstone.


A fabulous necklace adds some personality to the ensemble, and softens a simple V-neck cut. Go for a short chain or choker with a meaningful pendant, like a locket, birthstone or family charm.

The Garter

A few things to keep in mind if you’re a sucker for tradition: single ladies can get scary competitive fighting for the bouquet AND there will be an obligatory pause for the happy husband to lift your dress and remove the garter. So you should probably have one on. Ruffled garters with a dainty blue flowers or blue embroidery take care of that nod to odd traditions and something blue.

Tips for buying pre-owned wedding dresses

  • Set aside some of that money you saved. Once worn dresses often require alterations.  
  • Before buying the gown, make sure it is cleaned so there are no stains or lingering perfume.  
  • Check to see if the person or website re-selling the dress accepts returns should the fit be completely wrong. 
  • Once you find a gown you want, go to a bridal shop to try it on so you know for sure that you like the cut and fit before buying the same one used online. This can save you a lot of time, grief and money. 
  • Recycled dresses aren’t only sold online. Check out local thrift and vintage shops if you’re personal style leans more retro than modern. 
  • Don’t buy dresses with food or sweat stains as even the best cleaning services may not be able to remove these stains without damaging the dress. However, dirt stains are completely removable.  

The phrase ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ is just as relevant now as when our grandparents walked the aisle. Saving money on the ceremony is a smart decision - and that's an auspicious way to start a new life.


The New York Times

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