Buying a wedding dress that someone has only worn once will help you save plenty of bucks, and although it sounds like a great deal, you need to be aware that there are some risks involved. To reduce the chances of a purchase gone wrong, make sure you ask the seller these questions before whipping out your credit card.
- Dress Care: Ask the seller what her method of cleaning and preservation is. It’s better if she took it to a professional cleaner who specializes in wedding dresses to lower the risks of “invisible stains” that may show up when you take the dress to the cleaners. You can also ask whether the wedding was held (outdoors or on a beach) so you’ll have a better idea of the condition of the dress was put through. Reader suggested asking if the dress was kept in a smoke-free environment. It might be a good idea to ask if the dress was kept in a house with pets.
- Legitimacy: Make sure you trust the seller before you make a purchase — you don’t want to be swindled. Ask for personal references if you feel that you need it or talk to the admin of the site if you're suspicious.
- The Measurements: You and the seller might be using different measurement systems, so it’s very important to ask for the specific measurements instead of just the sizes. The bride may also have altered the dress, so you need to know what the measurements are post alternations.
- Location and Return Policy: Where is the dress being shipped from and is delivery costs included? Will the seller pay for the mailing fee if you want to return the dress? There are very important things to consider when you’re buying a dress off the Internet.
- The History: Find out when the wedding was to have a better gauge on the condition the dress is in. If it’s important to you to find out the story behind the dress, you might want to consider asking if the wedding led to a fairy-tale marriage or an unhappy divorce. If you’re the superstitious kind, you might want check with the seller about that.
For more tips, read after the jump.
- Show the Receipt: You should ask for the receipt just to make sure that the dress you’re buying is not a knockoff and to make sure that you’re getting the true price of what the seller paid for. For example, the dress she bought could’ve been heavily discounted, which is fine, but she should provide a lower price for a discounted dress — you want to make sure that you’re not paying the same price she paid!
- All-Inclusive: Ask what you’re getting, because sometimes the seller may spruce up the dress with some accessories like sashes. Make sure she details out what she will be sending you. Sometimes you might even be charged extra for the accessories.
- Picture and Video Proof: You need to look at personal pictures of the dress, preferably of the owner wearing the dress and of the dress after the wedding. Ask for recent pictures. Our pal LearnVest suggested asking the seller to Skype with you and to show you the dress via webcam.
OnceWed.com, the eBay for used wedding dresses, says that the rule of thumb to go by regarding prices is half off most gently worn dresses, 25 to 40 percent off dresses from highly sought-after designers and recent seasons, and 90 percent off old, stained, or damaged dresses. Now that you have all these tips in mind, would you consider buying a gently worn dress?