Birmingham Wedding Gown Care Blog

Guide To Selling A Preserved Wedding Dress

Posted by David Whitehurst on September 11, 2012

BoxedgownGetting your gown preserved can ensure the highest resale value.

You decided on Wedding Gown Preservation and now you want to sell your Gown.  What do you do now?

Selling a preserved wedding gown requires almost as much thought as buying one!  This guide will help you decide which route you want to go.

Step 1: Determine Your Purpose for Selling

The reasons for selling your Wedding Dress are many, so there are a lot of ways to sell your gown.  Are you looking to recoup every possible penny?  Is it taking up valuable closet space?  Do you just want it gone? 


Looking to get the most money out of it is a popular purpose but it is also the most labor intensive.  Be prepared to put a little time and effort into the selling process.  If you're just looking to reclaim your space or just want to get rid of it for other reasons and money isn't what you're after, it's alot easier.

 Step 2: Gather Intel

For money minded folks, you'll need to know the ins and outs of what you're selling.  Regardless of how old the dress is or how many years about ou purchased it you'll need the facts.  Here is a list of what you should know about the dress:

  • Who made it?
  • What size is it?
  • Does it have a style number or model number?
  • How old is it?
  • How many times has it been worn?
  • Has it ever been altered? (hemmed, tailored, embellished... etc)
  • Does it have any stains?
  • Does it have any rips/tears/holes/damage?
  • Do you have several flattering photos of the dress from multiple angles and in good lighting?


For those who aren't really concerned with what they get back for the dress, it's much easier.  If you don't want to put any effort into it at all, consider donating it to a charity and take it as a tax write off.  Taking it to a consignment shop would be an option as well.  Choosing one of these options will mean that you're now done with your task. 

Step 3:  Determine Your Price

Now, we're only talking to the money folks here.  

Even if your dress was only worn once, it's still considered used. New dresses will have never been worn or tried on excessively.  A good starting price is the wholesale cost. Most bridal boutiques set their retail prices at double the wholesale price.  if you paid $1,000 for your wedding gown, figure the wholesale cost is around $500.

Asking Price Guide

  • If you are selling a currently made wedding gown, try to get the wholesale price plus 10%.
  • If it is a discontinued gown, start at the wholesale price.
  • If it is a dress that has been discontinued for 6 months or more, start at 10% below wholesale.
  • If there are noticible spots/stains/tears, then you might get 20% below wholesale, if you're lucky

Remember, a little bit of something is better that a whole lot of nothing. If it is a dress that you purchased at a consignment shop or yard sale, auction, etc. most likely you will only be able to get around $50-$300 for the dress. Especially, if you don't know how old the dress is or if it is still current. Remember, people are looking to get a bargain. Any more than that and you will be competing against retail bridal shops selling brand new wedding gowns.

Step 4:  Go Do Work!

Still talking to the money folks here.

Now we do the footwork. 

Consignment Shops

  • Check out a nearby consignment shop to see if they'll give you you're asking price.  How much will the shop across town offer?  

  • Start by asking them what they can give you.  Avoid telling them what you want for it before they give you an offer on the chance they might offer you more.  If they're willing to give you $500 but you tell them you are looking for $300, they will be more than willing to give you you're $300 and add the $200 difference to thier profit margin.  If they offer less than your asking price, then see if they'd be willing to accept your price.  You can either accept the lower price or try elsewhere.

Classified Ads

  • Try your local paper or independent classified publications.
  • Give a detailed, accurate description using the information you gathered in step 2.
  • List your asking price
  • Decide if you're willing to haggle.  State whether your asking price is firm or "obo."
  • There are many online classified sites you can use.  Consider if you're willing to ship the dress somewhere.  Find Classified websites for areas you're willing to mail to.


Auctions are a great place to get items sold, however be prepared.  You may get your asking price, you may get way more, or you may get way less.

Step 5:  Consider Revising your strategy

If you've gone through steps 1-4 and you still have not sold your dress, revisions may be needed.   Things to consider revising:

  • Price:  Are you asking too much?  Do some research to see if you can find the same or similar dress online for sale, keeping in mind the condition of the gowns.  How close is their asking price to yours? 
  • Description:  How enticing does the description of your gown sound?  Don't call a dress "old-fashioned", instead use the word "modest" or "tasteful".  Read your description pretending you are the person who's considering buying it.  Does it sound appealing?  If not, edit, edit, edit.
  • Photos:  Ever heard the term "eating with your eyes"?  It's relevent in this situation as well.  It doesn't matter how beautiful and flowery your description is, if it's accompanied by unattractive photos, it will not be appealing.

Where to Sell a Dress Online:

If you follow all of these steps, you should be able to successfully sell your wedding dress. Good Luck and Happy Selling!

Topics: second hand wedding dresses, preowned wedding dresses, sell preowned wedding dress, Cleaning and Preservation

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