As some of you may know, I sold my Christos wedding gown a few months after my wedding. It was the only way I was able to afford wearing that beautiful brand, and I was happy to do it — especially knowing that it was going to another lovely bride who would get to wear her dream gown! I’ve gotten so many emails from readers since then asking for advice on how to sell or consign their own gowns, so today, we’re bringing in our friends Liz and Ty from Meant to Be Boutique, a luxury wedding dress consignment shop in Lexington, Kentucky, to offer some advice on both purchasing a consigned or previously-loved gown, and for selling your beloved gown post-wedding!
First things first: tell us a little bit about your shop! Meant To Be is the sister store to Blue Ribbon Vendor Twirl Boutique, and it serves our community in complimentary ways. After many calls about bridal consignment during the summer of 2015, we decided that our idea for a new store was simply that… meant to be. After a few short months, we opened the doors to Meant To Be in December 2015. We want our brides to have the most amazing experience possible AND to walk away with a gorgeous, high quality gown that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg.
At Meant To Be, we believe that a bride’s dream dress was always “meant to be” hers. Regardless of how the dress found its way to our boutique, it was always meant to belong to the bride who says the joyful “yes!” when she steps into it at our sweet little shop.
Tell us about what y’all offer to brides and gals. Loving people well is the heartbeat of our businesses, so we like to pride ourselves on offering our brides and their loved ones an exceptional bridal gown shopping experience. At Meant To Be, brides are given the entire shoppe to themselves with a consultant who works with them one-on-one. With a mimosa in hand (if desired!), our brides look through a selection of about 100 gowns. We offer a wide variety of dresses, all off the rack, varying in styles, designers, sizes, and price range. Our selection of gowns starts at $200 and goes up to around $3000, with sizes ranging from zero to plus size. Our inventory is continually changing, which keeps things exciting!
That sounds fabulous. What’s your advice for a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to buy a consigned gown? We highly encourage brides to make an appointment at a consignment/sample shoppe like Meant To Be because we think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. At our shop and other quality boutiques, brides will find high quality, gorgeous gowns at a fraction of their original cost. If it’s the right gown for you, you’ll feel just as radiant on your wedding day regardless of how you purchased it. All your guests are going to see is a gorgeous bride in a gorgeous gown with a gorgeous smile!
Any tips for brides specifically shopping for a consigned gown? Our biggest piece of advice is to have an open mind about consigned/sample gowns. We feel like a lot of people are hesitant about shopping this kind of inventory because it may have “bad juju,” but that’s just silly! Consigned/sample gowns can make you feel just as beautiful as special-ordered, never-worn ones. Once a bride grabs ahold of that perspective, shopping is smooth sailing!
Perfect. How about after the wedding? What would you say to a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to consign her gown? Whether or not you’ve made up your mind, we suggest you get your dress cleaned and preserved soon after your wedding. You’ll nip stains from the big day in the bud, which is important whether you’re preserving or selling! After that, we’d encourage you to take your time — at least six months. The last thing we want is for someone to say goodbye to the most precious dress they’ll ever own before they are really ready. If after six months you still want to sell it with the hope that it will bring another bride joy on her big day, then we say go for it!
What can a bride expect to make from the sale of her gown? This depends on the way you choose to sell it. If you consign your gown through a boutique like Meant To Be, you can expect to get 50% of the profit at most. This may not seem like much to some brides, but we can almost guarantee that you’ll have more success selling your dress through a brick and mortar shop over a website. By consigning through a brick and mortar, a sales consultant is doing all the hard work for you! They are advocating for your dress and working hard to find it a good home. Selling through a website may help a bride gain more profit off the sale, but she may not have much success in actually having the sale go through.
A few more things to note about buying and selling a used wedding gown:
— As a general rule of thumb, a used gown that’s in great condition and less than 2 1/2 years old can sell for 50 percent of the retail price. Gowns from recognizable names like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier can sell for 60-70 percent of the retail value. Never-worn gowns can sell for even more.
— We love Meant to Be’s tip to wait six months before selling your gown — but don’t wait too long, either! You’ll maximize your chances of selling your gown by listing it within 2 1/2 years of buying it.
— If you choose to sell your gown online (at a site like Once Wed, PreOwned Wedding Dresses, or Nearly Newlywed), know that some sites charge a one-time listing fee, and a few, like Nearly Newlywed, take a commission similar to a brick and mortar.
— When preparing your listing, upload several photos, including a photo from the designer’s website, a photo from your wedding (feel free to crop your head out! :)), photos of details like lace or sleeves, and photos of any damage. Choose a plain background and aim for great natural lighting. Include all the pertinent details, but also consider including a brief note about why you loved your gown – those personal details can help another gal fall in love with it, too!
— Still on the fence about selling your gown? Consider holding onto your veil or jewelry from your big day instead. So many brides we feature on SW wear heirloom veils, and we don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. Plus, veils don’t really go out of style, their styles don’t really change drastically over time, and one size fits all! :)
If you’re in the Lexington, Kentucky area, we can’t recommend Meant to Be (for consigned dresses) and Twirl (for new dresses) highly enough! Either way, we hope these tips for buying and selling a previously-loved wedding dress are helpful!
This post is brought to you by Meant to Be Boutique. Thank you for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!