According to this article, the average cost of a wedding dress is $1,259. Additional alterations can run from $200 – $400. I couldn’t justify the cost of buying a new gown, because I know that it will only be worn for a day. Instead, I bought my dress online and saved so much, not just with the dress but with the alterations. It took some time and a lot of research, but I ultimately found the dress. This will not work for all, especially if you’re set with a specific style, but if you keep an open mind, buying a dress online is easier than you think and can be a lot of fun.
Tip 1 – Try on some clothes in-store and check out what you like and what you don’t like
This is the fun part. I went to 5 different stores to check out their gowns. I tried on different styles. I realized that it’s a lot easier for me to decide on what I don’t want than what I want. Going through the iterations also made me realize what fits me well, and the style and fabric that is most comfortable with the venue
Tip 2 – Take some pictures of dresses you tried on
Once you tried it on, take a lot of pictures. Ask for the designer and the style number. Go back home and see if you can find it online. If not, look at the same designer and the year. Design and styles are very cohesive. There’s a big chance that you can find the same style. Use these photos while shopping online as a resource.
Tip 3 – Go to a reputable online store
I visited 3 online stores while shopping for a gown
- Nearly Newlywed – this store curates the dresses and guarantee authenticity. The seller sends the dress to get inspected, which is then shipped to the buyer. They also have a 5 day risk free return. You can order as much dress as you want for $25 return shipping fee. This is a good choice if you have a specific designer dress in mind. Since this is risk free, you basically pay for your peace of mind. Prices of the gown are only 20 to 30 percent off the original price.
- Tradesy – this site sells high end designer items. They also guarantee authenticity but returns are set by the seller. The price are set by the seller. If you’re lucky you might find one on a good deal.
- PreOwned Wedding dress – this site have thousands and thousands of wedding dresses. This is where I bought my dress. It can be overwhelming but if you know the style and size, it’s easy to filter it. You deal directly with the seller and can negotiate the price. I had a smooth transaction and only paid 20% of the original price, including shipping.
Tip 4 – Ask for receipt, both the original and dry cleaning purchase
If you’re dealing with the seller directly, ask if she kept the original receipt and the dry cleaner receipt. This is important if you are planning to sell the gown after.
Tip 5 – Get the wedding venue details
If the wedding is outdoors, chances are there will be some dirt in the gown, especially the hem. You can either plan for this to be included in the price or negotiate the price
Tip 6 – Ask for specific measurements, both street size and gown size.
This is very important to me. I want to save some money on alterations so I specifically look for the gown on my size, including the hemline with a shoe in mind. If the seller can’t give me measurements, I move on.
Tip 7 – Secure the shipment
Depending on the price of the gown, you can get some insurance to ship it. I personally didn’t bother. I just asked it to be delivered at the Fedex office to guarantee my signature
Tip 8 – Use secure payment
Paypal is the option at preownedweddingdresses. The seller will send you the invoice to pay. It’s the only way to file for a claim in case you had an issue with the seller.
Tip 9 – Be polite
Buying online is a very different experience. I don’t think you can be a bridezilla here. There will be sellers that don’t respond right away and you just have to be patient. Once you find a dress you like, contact the seller, but don’t rush into buying it. It took me about a month with some back and forth from the time I first contacted the seller. This is very important if there’s no return policy. At the end of it, I feel like I know the seller personally and it’s such a joy to give life to the dress once again.
Cost of my Gown: $436.00 (including shipping)
Enjoy and happy hunting!