First dance wedding

True life: I sold my wedding dress

Classic wedding ballgown

My gorgeous, classic, ballgown 👰🏻

So much of a wedding is about the dress. It’s why we all stand as the bride walks down the aisle. It dictates personal style, wedding style, and for many women, it’s probably the most expensive piece of clothing she’ll ever wear. But what do you do with the dress after the wedding?

After you say “I do,” you have a few options:

  1. You can preserve your dress.
  2. You can donate your dress.
  3. You can sell your dress.

I wrestled with what to do with my dress after our wedding. On the one hand, I bought the dress with my own, hard-earned dollars, it’s a classic style, and I loved it. So why not clean and preserve it?

But on the other hand, if someday in the future we have a daughter, and she one day grows up and gets engaged, what are the odds that she’ll want to wear my smelly old dress? And it’s a ballgown. Where am I going to store this thing?

Ultimately, I decided to let someone else use it and love it now (versus waiting 20+ years for a daughter). I started researching organizations where I could donate my dress, but most of the ones I found were not currently accepting donations and they all required you to clean the dress first. At that point, I didn’t want to put any more money into my dress, and cleaning it would cost around $200.

So I resorted to option #3: selling it as-is. I again researched the best sites/platforms to sell wedding dresses, and I ultimately chose Tradesy. I liked Tradesy because it doesn’t charge you anything to list your item. Instead, it takes a small commission when your item sells. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I listed it.

More than a year went by. Then, a couple weeks ago, I received a notification that it had sold. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel sad. On the contrary, I was happy. My dress had served its purpose for me, and I thought it was sadder to let it gather dust in the closet of my childhood bedroom.

Since I left my dress home in New York, my mom shipped it for me. I imagine that if I had to stuff it in a box myself I may have changed my mind. I did feel a twinge of sadness as I checked its tracking and saw it traveling across the country. But I know I made the right decision. So in its honor, here are some of the best dress moments from our wedding:

Beading on ballgown

Closeup of the beading 😍

Wedding ceremony vows

I do 💒

Winter wedding in New York

Post-ceremony snowflakes ☃️

Wedding reception old bank

Reception entrance 🍾

First dance wedding

First dance 💋

Father daughter dance twirl

Father-Daughter dance ❤️

Here are 5 tips for selling your wedding dress:

  1. Write an emotional description. A dress is just a dress, but with the right words you can make it sound magical.
  2. Be honest about the condition of your dress. If it hasn’t been cleaned, make that clear. If it was damaged at all during your wedding (think people stepping on your train), list it. Also include photos of all stains and/or damage. It’s not fair to the buyer to try to conceal those things.
  3. List all alterations made. The dress tag may say size 6, but if you ended up losing weight and having it taken in, the buyer needs to know that. Include things like how much the dress was shortened, if a bustle was added, and if cups were added. Check your receipt to see if your measurements were written down at the time of purchase, and add those, too.
  4. Research similar dresses for sale. Get an idea for how much dresses from the same designer and similar styles are selling for so you can list your dress at a competitive price.
  5. Pad the price for shipping costs. I did a lot of research on shipping wedding dresses, and the majority of sites I saw said you should be able to ship a dress for $10 max. Well, mine ended up costing $50. Granted, my dress is a ballgown, but I was still blindsided by the cost. It would be smart to visit your local UPS store and figure out the shipping costs first.

What did you do with your dress post-wedding?  

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