Buying a pre-owned wedding dress makes a lot of sense and can save you a ton of money. You can think of it like buying a car that someone only drove once. The great thing is that the value of wedding dresses drops more significantly and you can always make some alterations it to make it your own. I know that does not sound very romantic but you are just is likely to get something unique pre-owned as you are brand new. That is unless you have it completely custom made. It is definitely worth taking a look at and I am providing you some tips to help you along the way.
Tip 1 – Understand What You Are Buying
Knowing exactly what you are getting is the first step to purchasing the perfect pre-owned wedding dress. There are a number of things you should look for. Here are a few of them.
- Authenticity: You can request the original receipt and pictures of the label to make sure the dress is not a replica. Some dresses may have a certificate of authenticity as well.
- Fabric: Request that the seller provide you with detailed information on the fabrics and their conditions. Getting a picture of the label can help you better understand what you are getting.
- Alterations: Ask the seller if any alterations have been made and have them explain the alterations in detail. Request photos of the alterations.
- Blemishes: Request that the seller disclose any known flaws with the dress. The dress should be cleaned prior to purchasing so any flaws identified in the photos are most likely permanent.
- Age: If the dress is well taken care of the age should not be a big deal but the older the dress the more you should be concerned with discoloring and condition. Make sure you have updated photos of the dress and not photos that were taken months or years ago.
Most websites will request that the seller provide this information when posting the dress. That way you do not have to interact with every seller about every dress you are interested in to get all of the information. Once you have limited your search down to a couple dresses you can get into more detail. Just make sure that you have payment protection and return options just in case something was not as advertised.
Tip 2 – Try It On
Trying on a pre-owned dress you purchase online is not as simple as trying on a dress in the store. Check local stores to see if they have the same dress in stock or similar dresses that you can try on. Some sites will even let you try on the dress and send it back if you do not like it. Others require that you negotiate the return policy directly with the seller. If you use a site like www.Escrow.com for the payment processor they have an inspection period where you can return the merchandise.
Tip 3 – Do Not Overpay
Purchasing a wedding dress has a lot of emotion around it and that can sometimes lead to making poor purchasing choices. If you find that “perfect” dress the price is often ignored. But just like buying anything you need to make sure you are paying what it is worth. That is why we recommend you do these simple things to make sure you do not overpay.
- Request Original Purchase Amount: Ask for the original receipt from the seller or any other documents that came with the purchase of the dress. Knowing how much they paid for it will help you negotiate a fair price.
- Research Similar Dresses: Take a look around online at both pre-owned and new dresses. Dresses go on clearance so just because they paid full price that does not mean that is what the dress is worth now. Also, seeing what other people are selling similar dresses for will help you determine how much you are willing to pay.
- Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. I believe things should be bought and sold at a fair price so if you feel that the price is high, you should see if you can negotiate it down.
- Control Emotions: I know it will be hard when you find the perfect dress but if they are not offering it at a fair price you need to have the discipline to walk away. Of course this is your decision but if you want to cut costs and recoup your investment in the dress after the wedding, you should only pay what the dress is worth.
The Profitable Wedding philosophy is to get your wedding dress at as close to zero dollars as possible. If you purchase pre-owned at a fair price and take care of the dress you should be able to sell it at roughly the same price after the wedding. You can also do the same for bridesmaids’ dresses. By following these tips you should be able to get your wedding dress at the costs of the alterations plus any devaluation that comes through wear and tear. That means the cost of the dress is not important. It is just important to make sure you get a fair price and take care of it.
Tip 4 – Purchase Safely
The amount of fraud that happens online is mind boggling. When it comes to buying and selling things online you can never be too careful. That is why you must be prepared. There are really only two options that you have that I would consider safe for buying a pre-owned dress online.
- Reputable Website: Some websites will handle everything for you. This includes seller verification, processing, quality control and returns. These usually cost more for the seller to list the dress so the selection will be more limited than others. It is still a good option, especially if you are buying a very high end pre-owned dress.
- Escrow.com: Many sites simply act as a middleman to connect buyers and sellers. It is then up to you and the seller to negotiate the terms and the payment processor. We recommend you use www.Escrow.com for this because they hold the money until you are satisfied with the product (or the inspection period expires). This provides protection against online fraud.
The website where you are purchasing the dress will have guidelines around purchasing. Make sure and read them carefully because things change all the time. One things is for sure, it is never appropriate to pay with cash, money order, check or direct deposit directly to a seller. You will have no protection if you use any of those methods.
Purchasing a pre-owned wedding dress can be a great experience. You can get the wedding dress of your dreams at a fraction of the cost. I have seen dresses for sale at more than 90% original purchase price. The goal is to be smart about your wedding expenses but still have the wedding you have always dreamed of. Purchasing a low cost or pre-owned wedding dress is a step in the right direction.