The best places to buy a second-hand wedding dress
The best places to buy a second-hand wedding dress
- May 27, 2021
From colour schemes to seating plans, speeches and flower arrangements, brides-to-be are forced to make a number of decisions when planning their big day. But for many, choosing what to wear is the most important thing of all.
A decision that often involves months of planning, aside from colour, cut and whether or not to wear a veil, today’s brides find themselves confronted with another gown-related dilemma: sustainability.
A wedding dress is arguably one of the most unsustainable purchases you can make as, the majority of the time, it’s worn just once before being relegated to the back of your wardrobe. So, if you’re an environmentally-conscious bride, it can be tricky to find “the one” while ensuring you’re being as kind to the planet as possible. The solution? Shop second-hand.
In recent years, pre-loved wedding dresses have experienced a well-deserved moment in the spotlight, with Pinterest reporting that the search term “low-waste wedding” was up by 235 per cent in 2019. Similarly, resale site Vestiaire Collective has reported a 56 per cent increase in searches for wedding dresses, while global fashion search platform Lyst said searches for wedding dresses that include the words “vintage”, “second-hand” or “pre-owned” have increased by 38 per cent.
Plus, while most brides would be thankful to cut down on waste, it’s not just the sustainability credentials that make pre-loved options so appealing to contemporary brides – there’s the cost too.
Almost without fail, a second-hand dress will set you back a lot less than a new counterpart and, with the average British wedding costing a whopping £30,355, any kind of saving is not to be sniffed at.
So, whether you’re looking to lessen your environmental impact, want a specific style that’s been discontinued or want a purse-friendly option, we’ve rounded up the best places to find second-hand wedding dresses online, from marketplaces to vintage stores and even eBay.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
While you might associate eBay with late-night bidding wars on pieces of retro furniture you don’t really need, it’s also a great place to look for a wedding dress.
The website has a huge array of options to choose from, including high street and designer styles from well-known bridal brands such as Monsoon, Maggie Sottero, Jenny Packham and Vera Wang. There are currently more than 14,000 listings up for grabs and you can filter the selection by price, designer, size, colour and silhouette to make scouring for “the one” that little bit easier.
As always when shopping on eBay, make sure that what you're buying is genuine, check the seller ratings and make sure you read a wide range of buyer reviews.
Visit eBay.co.uk now
Vestiaire Collective is a well-known shopping destination for second-hand designer clothes, bags and accessories, but it also has a number of wedding dresses.
There are more than 4,000 styles currently available from brands like Roksanda, Suzanne Neville and Needle and Thread, all of which have impressive savings. If purchasing a fake is putting you off buying pre-loved, this could be the site for you as every item listed is independently verified by professional authenticators, so you can shop with peace of mind.
Visit Vestiairecollective.com now
For a dress that goes the extra mile, consider shopping at Brides Do Good, which stocks a collection of sustainable wedding dresses that have been donated by brides and brands.
The website’s collections are all up to 70 per cent off the RRP, to ensure that every woman can afford their dream dress, and each sale also helps to make a difference. For every £3 Brides Do Good makes, it invests £1 back into charity projects that empower women and work to end child marriage.
If you’d like to try a dress on, the brand also has a showroom in London which is by appointment only.
Visit Bridesdogood.com now
Small business supporters are likely to know all about Asos Marketplace, the fashion giant's platform for independent brands. Aside from stocking an abundance of trend-led garments, accessories and shoes, the site is also a great place to find authentic vintage wedding dresses.
Mostly sold by small boutiques across the country, the dresses span some of the most stylish decades, from form-fitting 1950s gowns to free-flowing designs from the 1970s and puff-sleeved styles that hark back to the 1980s.
Visit Marketplace.asos.com now
If you’re worried about missing out on the experience of visiting a boutique in person, consider Bridal Reloved, which has a chain of stores all over the UK where you can try pre-owned dresses.
There are also a number of gowns available on its website, with ex-sample and second-hand gems on offer from brands like Morilee, Jenny Packham and Stewart Parvin, many of which have more than 50 per cent off.
Visit Bridalreloved.co.uk now
Oxfam might not have been on your radar but it actually has 12 dedicated bridal stores across the UK as well as an extensive range you can order online with a 28-day returns policy.
As well as pre-owned dresses, Oxfam’s bridal departments stock gowns that have been donated directly by bridal stores. In fact, 95 per cent of the dresses end up on the rails this way and customers are charged a third of the original price.
Visit Oxfam.org.uk now
A brand adored by vintage lovers, Beyond Retro is a one-stop shop for all your retro clothing needs, including wedding dresses.
While you can take a gamble by perusing your nearest store to see what’s in stock, Beyond Retro also stocks a range of dresses online so, whether you’re looking for something from the 1930s or 1970s, you’re likely to the perfect outfit to suit your tastes.
If you have a specific look in mind, you can filter your search by decade, fabric, style, brand and size.
Visit Beyondretro.com now
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pre-loved dresses on offer, check out The Loop, where you’ll find a curated collection of designer gowns that have been carefully chosen by founders Grace Richmond and Abi Gadsby.
The site has dresses from a number of well-known designers including Valentino, Jenny Packham and Brandon Maxwell, to name a few, and all pieces are stocked with the view that you can wear them on your big day and beyond.
Visit The-loop.uk now
One of the best-known platforms for bridal resale, Still White has more than 51,000 pre-loved wedding dresses on its website from individual sellers around the world.
It's a particularly good place to look if you've fallen in love with a gown that's been discontinued, as you can search by designer, while many of the listings are also ex-samples or display items, so you can even pick one up that’s still brand new.
The website also allows you to filter your search by country, condition, size, silhouette, sleeve length and price.
Visit Stillwhite.com now
For the latest fashion discounts, try the links below:
For more wedding inspiration, read our guide to everything you need for a low-key ceremony
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