11 Places To Find The Best Secondhand Wedding Dresses
When it comes to buying a
wedding dress, brides tend to have a laundry list of things to consider. White or coloured? Long or short? Traditional or unconventional? To veil or not to veil? It’s an expensive process and, paired with all the other wedding and honeymoon purchases, it’s no wonder the global wedding industry is estimated to be worth a staggering $80 billion.
In 2019, there’s another thing to consider: with
sustainability on everyone’s minds, many brides are buying secondhand dresses to cut costs and their ecological footprint. Circular shopping – buying secondhand and used garments rather than introducing new product to the market – is now considered to be the most sustainable way to shop.
In the last year alone, global search platform Lyst
found that there has been a 93% increase in views of pre-owned wedding dresses, and a 42% combined increase for related searches using terms such as ‘vintage’ and ‘second hand’.
For the bride conscious of her bank account and her environmental impact, we’ve rounded up the best places to find secondhand
wedding dresses, from online marketplaces to vintage markets and (believe it or not) good old eBay.
What’s on offer? Dispel any preconceptions about eBay – not only is it great for random knick-knacks that you can’t find anywhere else, it’s also a treasure trove of secondhand wedding dresses. Fallen in love with a designer dress way out of your price range? Use eBay to track and bid on it for a fraction of the cost – just get ready to spend a lot of time browsing. eBay also pulls together its top-selling wedding dresses on one page, making shopping a lot easier.
What’s the price range? eBay has dresses as low as £50 on sale. Watch out though, you might end up in a bidding war for any bargains you spot.
What’s our top pick? This Phase Eight Cathlyn Wedding Dress usually retails at £495. On eBay you can get it for just £119.99. Photo courtesy of Phase Eight.
Magpie Wedding (formerly the National Vintage Wedding Fair)
What’s on offer? Thanks to fast fashion and our influencer-led culture, brides often find themselves struggling to find a unique dress. When buying vintage, not only are you guaranteed to be the only person with your dress, but the quality is often higher and the style timeless. Launched as the National Vintage Wedding Fair, Magpie Wedding describes itself as “artisan creative wedding inspiration for the free thinking bride” and hosts vintage wedding fairs across the country. The next event is in Manchester’s Victoria Baths on 13th October with more events to be announced soon. It also runs the UK’s first virtual wedding fair.
Magpie Wedding also has a
super helpful directory of vintage sellers on its website and runs – a must for any bride. BOND Bride magazine
What’s the price range? Prices can start from as little as £100 but go up to £1,000 depending on the age of the dress.
What’s our top pick? Check out Magpie Wedding’s ‘Eclectic Boutique’ at The National Wedding Fair.
What’s on offer? All hail Etsy, the online marketplace bringing together independent and unique sellers from across the world in one spot. Not only is this site great for all your other wedding needs (see: hand-crafted decorations, quirky bridesmaid gifts and bridal crowns fit for a royal wedding), Etsy also hosts brilliant vintage wedding dress sellers such as UK-based Vintage Bridal Studio, Heavenly Vintage Bride and Vintage Lane Bridal. Etsy also has a dedicated guide to buying vintage wedding dresses including trends and editors’ picks.
What’s the price range? Prices start from £150.
What’s our top pick? We love this chiffon ’50s Emma Domb dress featuring a nipped-in waist, full skirt and rhinestone detailing.
Where? Online and stores across the UK.
What’s on offer? Bridal Reloved is the only chain of pre-owned wedding dress boutiques and sells pre-owned and ex-sample designer gowns. Given Bridal Reloved’s strict vetting system, you’re guaranteed to find only dresses that are five years or younger, clean and damage-free. With store locations across the UK, they also allow brides the chance to have that luxury store visit without compromising on price.
What’s the price range? Bridal Reloved stock gowns starting at £100.
What’s our top pick? This Lusan Mandongus Georgiana dress is vintage-inspired and has a back to die for ( it’s also only £750).
Where? Online and with bridal departments across the UK.
What’s on offer? Oxfam probably isn’t your first go-to when buying a wedding dress, but did you know that it has 12 dedicated bridal departments run by wedding experts? You can make an appointment at any location or, if travelling is difficult, check out their selection of wedding dresses online.
What’s the price range? Oxfam is selling dresses as cheap as £19.99 ( yes, really).
What’s our top pick? We’re loving this BNWT JS Boutique at House of Fraser dress (£80).
What’s on offer? With over 44,000 registered users and 30,000 visitors per month, Bride2Bride is one of the UK’s biggest used bridal wear sellers. As the name suggests they connect brides who want to sell their dress with brides-to-be; customers can contact sellers directly with any questions they have via Bride2Bride’s messaging service. They stock a huge range of brands, from high street to designer, such as Vera Wang, Maggie Sottero and Jenny Packham.
What’s the price range? Bride2Bride stocks dresses from £80.
What’s our top pick? This bejewelled Maggie Sottero gown (£450).
Bristol Bridal Boutique
What’s on offer? Bristol Bridal Boutique offers brides that quintessential boutique experience – complete with a glass of bubbly – from founder Laura McFadden’s home, meaning brides feel extra welcome and relaxed. Laura set up the store with the goal of allowing brides with smaller budgets the chance to find their perfect dress, and offers a mixture of preloved and sample gowns. A seamstress is on hand to help with alterations.
What’s the price range? Dresses from £300.
What’s our top pick? This glamorous Jesus Peiro gown (£800). Photo courtesy of Bristol Bridal Boutique.
What’s on offer? Still White has a whopping 44,851 preloved gowns on sale from across the world. This is the biggest (and slickest) seller on this list – perfect for brides a little scared about delving into the secondhand dress marketplace. Thanks to a super easy-to-use website, brides can search based on condition, silhouette, sleeve, neckline, length, back design, colour and fabric type. Once you find your perfect dress, you can even sell it again on Still White the day after the wedding and recoup most of your money.
What’s the price range? The lowest price on Still White is £40.
What’s our top pick? For brides looking for something specific, Still White is great. We love this short dress at only £350.
Where? Online and in stores across the UK and Sweden.
What’s on offer? While you’ve probably shopped at Beyond Retro for vintage Levi’s jackets or those tongue-in-cheek homage T-shirts, did you know that they also stock a huge range of vintage and secondhand wedding dresses? They’ve even done the hard work and put their selection online.
What’s the price range? The cheapest dress is only £37.
What’s our top pick? We love the sweetheart neckline on this £40 floral lace dress. Photo courtesy of Beyond Retro.
What’s on offer? Founded by designer Jan Knibbs, Atelier 19 embroiders vintage dresses and is the perfect place for unconventional and bohemian brides. Atelier 19 also stocks antique lace and bridal accessories to complete your wedding look.
What’s the price range? £125 to £850.
What’s our top pick? As customised pieces, Atelier 19’s designs are unique to each bride.
Cambridge Vintage Bridal
What’s on offer? Cambridge Vintage Bridal not only sells vintage dresses (all in ready-to-wear condition), it also allows brides to hire them for their big day.
What’s the price range? To buy a dress the range is £250 to £1,000. Dress rentals cost £300 and include a £150 refundable damage deposit.
What’s our top pick? This ’80s cocktail dress.
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