Life in Transition

Navigating Personal Finances During Life Transitions

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Tips for Selling Your Wedding Dress

In a previous post, I shared some places where you can sell your wedding dress (or buy a pre-owned one).  I successfully sold my dress with RecycledBride and I wanted to share my experience and some tips.

I bought my dress and floral sash from David’s Bridal for $718.68 including tax.  I sold mine for a total $415, almost 60% of the original cost.

Tips for Selling your Dress Online

  1. Price your dress right.  The listing sites suggest listing the dress from 50%-75% of the original price.  If you price your dress too high, it will not sell.  My listing price was $375 for the dress and $40 for the sash.  I’m assuming that I priced it just right, since I received five inquiries within a week
  2. List on multiple sites, but avoid those with listing fees.  With sites that don’t require a fee, why list them on ones that do? Especially when a sale is not guaranteed?
  3. Include plenty of pictures from a variety of angles.  Your first two pictures should come off of the designer’s website with their model wearing the dress.  That way, if a bride-to-be is looking for a particular dress from a certain designer, she would be able to instantly recognize it.  The next few should be picture of you wearing the dress at different angles.  A woman looking for a size 8 dress will want to make sure that it looks good on a size 8 woman.  A dress that looks good on a size 0 model might not be flattering for someone wearing a different size.
  4. Write an honest, detailed description.  Let brides know whether the dress has been altered, if there is a small rip or stain, etc.  Be sure to include other accessories you may want to sell with the dress.
  5. Be prompt in answering inquiries about the dress.  Buyers love good customer service.
  6. Beware of scammers.  Never accept checks, cash, money orders or Western Union transfers.  Stick with Paypal and Escrow as your method of payment.
  7. Don’t underestimate shipping costs.  Remember that shipping cost also includes the box, packing material and tape in addition.  If the bride is not in a rush to receive the dress, the cheapest shipping option is the parcel post through USPS.  Make sure to spend the extra money to provide a tracking number and delivery confirmation.  It could potentially save you a lot of headaches.
  8. Dry clean the dress before you ship.
Side Note: In my area, drying cleaning a wedding dress starts at $130. In other words, it is not cheap to dry clean a wedding gown.  However, since my dress was simple with no extensive beading or lace, my dry cleaner charged me the prom dress dry cleaning rate of $30.  So, a less ornate dress will save you about $100 on dry cleaning, which is an expense that a lot of brides do not think about.
 
Have any of you bought a used wedding dress or tried selling one?

Selling Your Wedding Dress Online

I’ve never had any intentions of holding onto my wedding dress.  It’s been only worn once and I’ll never wear again.  I can’t picture my future daughters wearing it either.  It’s just taking up space, so to me the only option that makes sense is to sell it. 

Now-a-days, there are many ways to sell a used wedding dress.  You can take it to the consignment store, sell it on ebay, or craigslist.  Other options include websites that only sell things related to weddings, Facebook, or on a blog.  I plan on trying the last three methods, but for this post I’ll focus on website that exclusively sell wedding related items.

OnceWed

Oncewed.com is one of the most popular wedding sites.  The listings are almost exclusively for dresses, though I saw a few listings for accessories.  The best part about using their listing service is that there is no listing fee or commission, except the the commission paid the the third party payment portal Escrow (Oncewed allows sellers to use any payment service but strongly recommends Escrow for the buyers and sellers’ security).  Listing the dress was really easy, and sellers can include up to five pictures.

BravoBride

In addition to secondhand dresses, Bravobride allows you to sell anything wedding related such as jewelery, accessories, flower girl baskets, and decorations.  The site as a $19.95 listing fee for dresses and wedding bands, but no listing fee for anything else.  Sellers also have the option of paying an extra $4.95 to have a highlighted listing or and $9.95 to have your dress show up first in buyers’ searches.  I decided not to list my dress on the site becuase of the listing fee.  I don’t want to pay anything upfront when my dress isn’t guarenteed to sell on this site.  I plan on selling my other items on this site.

Preowned Wedding Dresses

Preownedweddingdresses.com is another popular site for budget-savvy brides.  This site is similar to Oncewed with a user-friendly search tool.  However, out of all the sites that I searched, this one had the steepest listing fee of $25.  Listings expire after 18 months. I will not list my dress on this site for the same reason I didn’t list it on BravoBride.

Recycled Bride

I recently learned about this site.  Like BravoBride, brides can sell other wedding-related items.  For the basic listing package, you can list one item for free.  Sellers can upgrade to the Plus package for $9.95 a month.  The upgraded package allows sellers to list up to 6 items, and have the items listed as a featured product.  There is a 6% commission if the item sells.  I went ahead and listed my dress on this site since I don’t have to pay extra fees if I sell through another website.

I also plan on creating a photo album of wedding items I’m selling on my personal Facebook page.  I have a lot of Facebook friends who are engaged and on a small budget.  As soon as get all my wedding pictures, I will also post them on this blog.

Do you plan on keeping or selling your wedding dress? If you have already sold yours, where did you sell it and how long did it take?

Wedding Trimmings-Part 1

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive–with the average wedding topping $24,000. Unfortunately, most of us twenty-somethings (and their parents) cannot realistically spend that much money (and even if you can afford that much on a wedding, I am still not convinced anyone should spend that much money on a single event). After checking out the websites of the major wedding vendors in my city, I quickly saw how the costs could quickly add up to 20K. So, here are some ways I tried to trim costs to keep my wedding under $8000.

Venue
The most popular venues in in my city cost about $2000 and require you to use certain caterers. I expanded my search to other nearby cities, especially after I found out that the only day we could realistically schedule my wedding was on the Kentucky Derby (which meant the price of everything would at least triple and all hotels were booked two years in advance). My finace ended up finding a horse farm for $1200 thirty minutes outside of Cincinnati. It’s about twenty minutes away from my fiance’s parents’ house, and an hour and a half away from where I live. I could have both the ceremony and reception at the location, which would help cut costs. The best part was that they didn’t have a catering list. In fact, we were free to bring our own food and alcohol. They required us to use a certain tent rental company, since Kentucky weather is extremely unpredictable (last month, we had a deadly tornado one day, three inches of snow the next day, followed by an 80-degree sunny day). Soon after, I learned that tent rentals were expensive. The cost of renting chairs, tables, and linens added up quickly. Overall, I’m not sure if I saved money in the end. An indoor venue does not require a tent, but most require an expensive caterer.

Tips to trim venue costs: Find a location that allows you to have the ceremony and reception at the same place, if you are in a major city search for venues thirty to forty away. Also, avoid venues that have an exclusive caterer list.

Reception
Typically, brides-to-be are advised to budget half of their expenses towards the reception. The easiest way to control reception costs is to trim the guest list. Unfortunately, this wasn’t really an option for me and my fiance since 1) a lot of people would get offended if we didn’t invite them, and 2) there were a lot of people we wanted to share our special day with. So, we decided to have a dessert and cocktail reception, since we wanted a more casual atmosphere. I picked out a few dessert items, and enlisted family and friends to help me bake. For drinks, we picked a few cases of red and white wine from Trader Joes and ordered a keg of beer. I have a friend who is a licensed bartender, so he will bartend for free as a gift. Word of caution: If you are hosting a dessert reception, make sure you let people know on the invitation, so that your guests will know to get a quick bite to eat before the wedding. We’ve been to a few weddings expecting dinner, and went home hungry instead.

Tips to trim food costs: Limit the guest list if possible. Ditch the traditional sit-down dinners, and opt for a buffet, hor d’ourves, or dessert reception. If you are serving alcohol, stick with wine and beer.

Dress
This is an easy area to blow your budget. It takes little effort to fall in love with the perfect dress that happens to be a couple thousand dollars over budget. To prevent this from happening, I limited my dress search to stores that offered dresses in my price range. The only store that fit that criteria in town was David’s Bridal, so that was the only place I tried on dresses. I know that the quality of their dresses aren’t great, but I am okay with that since I’ll only be wearing the dress one time for a few hours. I still ended up buying one of the more expensive dresses –one from Vera Wang’s White collection–and a $78 (my one splurge) floral sash to go with it. Overall, I’m still pleased that I spent less than $700 on my dress. Once my wedding is over, I plan on selling my dress on secondhand dress sites like oncewed.com.

For shoes, I’m wearing a pair of flats that I already own. For jewelery, I’m borrowing pearl earrings and a pearl necklace from a friend.

Tips to trim dress costs: Avoid stores that don’t have dresses priced within your budget, don’t try on dresses you can’t afford, and if possible buy a used dress. For accessories, borrow them from friends.

Next up: Invitations, flowers, music

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