I do, now what? Tips for selling your used wedding dress

Your wedding dress is likely to be the most expensive part of your marriage ceremony, so it's understandable that you'd want to recoup part of the cost of the gown after the rings have been exchanged.

Selling your worn gown online is a great way to offset the cost of your wedding while helping another bride-to-be create her perfect day for less. Below are some tips for selling your used wedding dress online.

Clean your bridal gown

The first and most important step to preparing your bridal gown for sale is to clean it. While you can attempt to do this yourself by hand or in a washing machine, it’s important to keep in mind that some marks and stains — such as those created by wine or cake frosting — may not be visible to the naked eye. Consider having your gown cleaned by a professional preservationist, who will use a special black light to find “hidden” stains. If you do decide to clean your dress yourself, here are few tips for getting near-professional results:

  • Use a spot cleaner. Use a spot cleaning solution or a detergent pen to remove small stains on the bodice and hemline of the gown. Be sure to test the spot cleaner on a small area of the dress to ensure it won’t ruin the fabric.
  • Soak the dress. Soak your dress in a bathtub filled halfway with warm, sudsy water. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub away stains, then rinse the gown thoroughly. Hang the dress to dry.
  • Use a garment bag in the washer. If your dress is made with a manmade material like polyester, you may be able to get away with cleaning it in a washing machine. To do, place the gown inside of a garment bag and run the washer on the “gentle” or ” delicate” cycle.

Set a price for your used wedding dress

Since wedding dress styles come and go, you’ll want to sell the gown while the design is still popular. As a general rule of thumb, a dress can be sold for 50 percent of its retail price if listed within 2 1/2 years of when it was first worn. If you’re not sure how much your dress is worth, you can use an online wedding dress value calculator to get an idea of how much you should charge for the gown based on the designer, purchase date, condition, and original price.

List your wedding dress online

When listing your wedding dress for sale online, you’ll want to be sure to include as many pictures of the gown as possible. Be honest about the condition of the dress, and clearly state in your listing whether the dress has any stains, tears, or damage. Be prepared to use a video conferencing service, such as Skype or Facetime, to allow potential buyers to get a closer look at the gown.

Selling your pre-owned wedding dress doesn’t just benefit you — it can also help make a future bride’s dream wedding a reality. The above tips will help you get top dollar for your used wedding gown while making it possible for another bride-to-be to purchase a designer gown at a price she may not otherwise be able to afford.