Congrats, you’re married! You wore a gorgeous gown to your wedding, did a Just Married shoot with the Roots, now what do you plan on doing with the dress? If you’re sentimental and wanting to keep it, I get that. If you’re looking to make a few bucks back from the kick-ass wedding you just hosted, maybe you’d consider selling your dress…
Warning: This is a long read, but hang in there with me. I’m sharing my own dress selling experience and all the tips you need to sell yours. :)
You may remember from this blog post that the dress I wore on my wedding day was actually the second one I purchased. I never had my first dress altered to fit, so I never had the chance to wear it. Post wedding, I would see it peeking at me every once in awhile in my closet, and my husband would occasionally ask, “What’s that? Can I see it?” And with a death stare, I’d reply, “NO! That’s my first wedding dress, and I’m not ready to talk about it, ok?!!” The truth was, I wasn’t ready to let her go. Even though I never had the chance to wear her, I thought maybe someday we’d do a vow renewal, and I could wear that dress. So for nearly nine months after our wedding, she sat in my closet.
I’m not sure what exactly sparked the aha moment that I would sell the dress, but I came to the realization that if we were going to do a vow renewal it would be many years from now, and knowing me, I’d find something else I’d want to wear. In order for me to capitalize on this dress, I needed to sell it before it went out of style.
When I decided to sell, I knew right away that I wanted to list it on Once Wed. Branding and user functionality are big for me, and I figured if I like reading or looking at a particular site, chances are other people do too.
Their website is just plain pretty, and it draws in the type of brides that I thought would be interested in my dress. Unlike eBay, which reaches more viewers, Once Wed’s listing site is dedicated exclusively to selling dresses. I liked the way the listings look, and it is a 100% free service. I promise they’re not paying me to say this. ;)
And so began my listing process. Usually when I have anything quasi-tech related, I call Nate. He’s my go-to geek, but this time I ventured to give it a go by myself. And surprisingly, once I had all my info and photos ready, it took literally 5 minutes to complete the listing and was super easy! After emailing several potential buyers back and forth, I ended up selling my dress to a buyer that contacted me only 2 days after the listing went up! :)
Some tips to help you get started:
Price: Do your research. See if there’s already a dress like yours being sold, and price yourself competitively. Remember to factor in alterations, stains, pulls, tears and smells and whether or not you had it cleaned after your wedding. I saw dresses like mine priced at $1000-2300. Because mine was a sample, I decided to price it at $950, which covered my costs for the dress and would would draw in buyers. If you find yourself not getting any inquiries you can always lower the price, but keep in mind that the newest dresses are defaulted to be listed first on Once Wed, so do your best to grab the buyer’s attention.
Photos: The best way to draw in a potential buyer is the photos! I cannot emphasize this enough. Whether you use the designer’s photos (hello Google search!) or some that the Roots took at your wedding, make sure you are showcasing the dress. Women are visual buyers and if we see a sad dress hanging on a dinky hanger with poor lighting, we’re not going to be inclined to spend potentially thousands of dollars. Also, you want the buyer to envision herself in the dress, so leave out the photos of you and your groom kissing at the altar or anything else too personal. You’re able to list 5 photos, but every buyer that contacted me asked for more. That’s when I sent detail shots of my actual dress.
Measurements: Laying the dress flat, I had no idea what to measure or where. I searched the designer’s size chart online since I didn’t have any alterations made and this gave me a more exact number. **If you’re measuring it yourself, lay the dress flat and be sure not to stretch it when measuring.
Payment: Be smart about it, and watch out for scammers. After corresponding with a buyer, who wanted to pay by check, give me extra money for packaging (that I didn’t request!), and arrange for a shipper to pick it up, I declined the buyer. It all sounded a bit too fishy. I decided to only accept Paypal as the form of payment and it worked out perfectly for me. After the money was deposited into my account, I shipped the dress. Paypal typically takes about a 3% cut off the payment on the receiver’s end, and Once Wed recommends Escrow.
Description: When writing the description, highlight the design elements and what makes the gown special. And, if you’re listing a designer gown, you may want to mention where you purchased it and if you have any COAs. It helps reassure the buyer that they are buying something authentic and not getting scammed.
Terms of Sale: This is a personal preference. I gave all the details to any interested buyers when they contacted me- including any loose threads, dust marks, etc. (all of which I included photos for). Because I was upfront with them, I knew there wouldn’t be any disputes once they received the dress, so I felt comfortable listing it as a final sale.
After you’ve created your listing, Once Wed has to approve it before it goes live, so if you don’t see the listing right away, don’t fret! It can take up to 48 hours. They will email you a link after approved, which allows you to edit the listing or mark it as sold. If you have any questions or want to share your own selling experience, please do in the comment section! Good luck and happy selling! :)