The Consigned Wedding Dress Appeal

by Kristina Rosen

It wasn’t until I started interning at Meant To Be this summer that I realized how vital a consignment based wedding boutique can be. With Lexington being a prominent destination for dress hunting, there are several bridal stores in the area, but none like Meant To Be. Nowadays more women are choosing to spend less on a wedding gown, likewise more women are opting to sell their gown instead of holding onto it. The idea of a boutique that thrives off of consigned wedding dresses is new and innovative, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. Whether you’re familiar with this concept or curious about why it’s becoming marketable, I encourage you to consider the benefits and why it appeals to many.

Before any assumptions are made about the inventory of a consignment boutique, keep in mind that not all of the dresses have been worn. If the idea of wearing someone else’s dress doesn’t appeal to you, don’t let that be the reason you don’t make an appointment. Bridal boutiques that sell consigned dresses also sell samples of discontinued dresses.

At Meant To Be, there are over 80 bridal gowns with less than ten of those being consigned. The majority of the dresses in the boutique are samples from their sister store, Twirl, as well as samples from other boutiques and vendors. Since samples are tried on briefly, these dresses are worn for only a few minutes at a time. It’s like buying a new dress, but with additional benefits, including cost.

It’s no surprise that wedding dresses are expensive, especially when factored into an entire wedding budget. Consigned gowns, which have been previously owned or altered, are often less expensive than dresses found at typical bridal stores. Even if a consigned dress was never worn or even taken out of the bag, it’s still discounted from the original price it was purchased for. With no special ordering or shipping involved, the purchasing process is both faster and less expensive. This allows you to potentially buy a dress you may not have been able to afford under other circumstances.

A bride knows she’s found the right dress when she can’t bear the idea of walking out of the store without her dress coming with her. As most brides can attest, the worst part about ordering a dress is waiting for it to come in. Fortunately, when buying at a consignment boutique, your dress is yours to take home that same day. With this off the rack purchase, there’s no need to worry about the dress not arriving in time for alterations. Plus, receiving the dress so quickly makes it easier to stick with that gut feeling and not second guess the choice that was made.   

Not to mention, consignment boutiques are ideal for women who face a time limit for finding a dress. From brides who move up their wedding dates to brides who find themselves amidst a spur of the moment wedding, it’s difficult to buy, order, and alter a dress within a short period of time. No bride should have to settle for less or rush into a decision despite being pressed for time.

The higher the price of the dresses doesn’t mean a higher experience. Just because a bride is buying a consigned gown does not mean she is rushing, or even compromising her shopping experience. Whether your appointment is at Kleinfeld in New York or at a local boutique in your town, it’s the job of any bridal consultant to help you find what you’re looking for. A bride’s shopping experience is just as special and memorable regardless of where the dress came from or the price on the tag.

In a world obsessed with fast fashion, what’s wrong with wanting to reuse a wedding dress?

Wedding gowns by no means fall into the fast fashion category, but likewise to fast fashion apparel, gowns are often disregarded after just one wear. Most dresses are worn for no more than a day before they’re shoved in a closet for years to come. Choosing to buy a used or sample wedding dress limits the number of textiles and resources employed, especially when there are plenty of accessible dresses to be chosen from and worn again.

So what if you’re not in the market to buy a dress, but you’re looking to sell one? Consignment boutiques benefit brides-to-be as much as they benefit women looking to recycle their own dress. As you can imagine though, selling a wedding dress on your own is challenging. Since brides often use the Internet solely for browsing rather than buying, selling online can be especially difficult. This is where consignment bridal boutiques become vital. With most consignment boutiques, the selling process is simple: hand over the dress and leave it to the boutique to sell it. It doesn’t become much easier than that.

Regardless of where a dress comes from or the price it was purchased for; a bride will always look beautiful. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a dress was brand new, or used, ordered seven months ago, or found a day before the wedding. What’s most important is for a bride to feel beautiful, happy and confident not only because of her dress, but because she is starting a new chapter in her life.