The average bride spends $1,564 on a wedding dress, according to wedding website The Knot. Sure, it’s a lot less than the $10,000 dresses we see brides fawning over on shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” but the number still shocks me when compared to the $127 I paid for my dress, including fittings — after selling it back to the consignment shop I bought it from, that is.
Wedding dresses, much like weddings themselves, are individual. It’s up to you whether you have something over-the-top or low-key. Just don’t think that you have to sacrifice beauty and personality just because you’re not ready to drop thousands of dollars.
Click to read more about the insane cost of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding — including a 400K dress.
Why I Chose a Consignment Shop
I wasn’t a little girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I certainly wanted to be married, but being dressed up and the center of attention was way outside my comfort zone. As my husband knows well, I’m far more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, working in our back garden or reading a book with our kids, than I am almost anywhere else.
More than that, my husband and I were paying for the ceremony ourselves and had other life goals. We wanted to buy a house, have kids and stay out of debt. Thus, I wanted the day to be memorable but didn’t want to sacrifice our budget for a dress I would only wear once.
So, when my mom suggested a bridal consignment shop near our home called Brides to Be, I jumped at the idea. A consignment shop gave me the option of paying significantly less for a dress, while still getting high-quality service and the experience of finding the perfect dress.
A One-Stop Shop
I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at Brides to Be. I had high hopes that I would find something I loved, but secretly harbored a small concern that the dresses would be worn or of low quality. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The shop was primarily brand-new dresses, with inventory made up of recently discontinued samples from boutiques across the country. Prices ranged from $200 to $3,000. They also seemed to have every style imaginable.
Do You Know? The Prices of Royal Weddings Throughout History
The service was impeccable, as well. I was assigned a dressing room, offered coffee or tea, and asked about my style preferences and budget. Being asked to describe dress styles resulted in not much more than a stammering, jumble of incoherence from me, but luckily the shop attendant was willing to show my mom and me a few options and ask for our thoughts.
In a frill of white and overstuffed racks, I couldn’t imagine anything feeling right. But with the third dress I tried on, I fell in love. I bought it for $317, including alterations and a matching sash.
Without seeing the dress before our wedding day, my soon-to-be husband joked that I just picked a dress as quickly as possible. But in truth, it was perfect.
Why I Sold My Wedding Dress
My husband and I have been married almost five years now, and I cherish the photos of our wedding. Our respective siblings were ordained online and performed the ceremony for us. The weather was chilly but beautiful. It was all perfect.
At first, I held onto my wedding dress, wondering if one day I might have a daughter that would wear it on her special day. But with the birth of our sons, I knew the dress had fulfilled its place in our lives. Few daughters want to wear their mother’s wedding dress, but I’ve never met anyone who wanted to wear their mother-in-law’s.
So, I brought my dress back to the shop where I purchased it. They paid me $190 to put it back on their racks, and when I pass our wedding photo in the hallway, I smile and hope that the dress makes someone else as happy as it made me.
Click through to read more about how the latest royal wedding made Britain money.
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