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How to recover some of your wedding spending for a down payment

Are you newly married and wondering how you’re ever going to save enough to cover the 5% minimum down payment (approximately $18K on the average home in Canada), especially with wedding bills piling up?

We chatted with our friends at, a premium wedding classifieds website where brides can buy, sell and save on everything wedding, from new and used wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses to wedding décor and accessories.  Their number one piece of advice is to consider selling your wedding dress (and other wedding items) online to recover some money from your recent wedding.

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The average cost of a wedding dress in Canada is about $1150, with many brides spending upwards of $2000 +.  If you decide to sell your wedding dress after the wedding, you can recover about 50% of your cost.  Depending on how much you paid for your dress, this could go a long way in providing a nice little nest egg for your first home purchase.

Beyond that, selling your wedding dress, plus other wedding accessories (veils, jewelry) and wedding décor (vases, table runners) online, lets you:

  • Clear up space to make room for shared closets
  • Love the Earth! Recycling wedding items reduces carbon emissions from shipping
  • Get karma points by helping another bride save on her wedding

Sound like something you’d be interested in?  Here are 7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress:

1.  There’s no time like the present!

Post your dress for sale as soon after your wedding as possible. You’re not going to wear it again, so why leave it hanging in your closet?  Used dresses continue to hold their resale value for roughly 2 – 3 years after they’re purchased and worn (depending on the style) but generally sell for the most money within the first year when they are most current.

2.  Price it Right

Many recently married brides wonder what exactly to sell their dress for.  Here’s our recommended pricing guideline:

  • 50 – 70% of the original value for a NEW designer gown that’s still in stores
  • 50% of original value for a USED designer gown from the last two years
  • 30% to 40% of original value for a USED custom-made gown
  • Reduce the price further if your dress has not been cleaned, is stained/damaged or is more than two years old

3.  Use a Fabulous Photo

Buyers will want to see your dress looking its best, so be sure to use photos that show it off! After all, it could be someone else’s dream wedding dress!

When selling your dress online it’s best to include:

  • A full length picture of the front & back of your dress (preferably on a person or mannequin)
  • A close-up picture of any detailing, beading or embellishments on your dress
  • A close-up picture of any damage or stains on the dress (if applicable)
  • A picture from the manufacturer

Posting less than stellar photos (i.e. on a hanger, a badly lit photo etc.) or no photo at all, will make it more difficult for the bride-to-be to visualize the dress and could hurt your chances of selling.

4.  Be Specific

  • Brides will be scanning many listings in their search for a wedding dress, so providing more information will likely sell your dress more quickly
  • Be specific about color, brand and model number. Often, brides-to-be will try the dress on in a store before they search online for a budget-friendly version, so the more information you can provide, the better.

5.  List any Alterations

It’s important to be up-front about the condition of your dress. Describe any alterations that were made and specify whether or not they’re reversible.

For example, the original dress might have been a size 10, but if it was altered to fit a size 6, buyers need to know. Let brides-to-be know of any damage to the dress such as stains, tears or runs. Be honest and you won’t waste your time or their time.

6.  Get it Cleaned

It’s important to clean your dress right away. A clean dress shows that you have cared for and loved your dress, and helps it present better.

7.  Be Prepared to Sell!

Once your dress is posted with great pictures and all the details, ensure both you and your home are ready to show the dress to potential buyers.

3 easy steps to prepare for the sale:

  • Make time to meet interested brides-to-be. Try to be available on evenings and weekends if possible.
  • Create a place for brides-to-be to try on the dress, preferably a private space with a full length mirror.
  • Be ready to negotiate the price and know your limits so you can make decisions on-the-spot.

We’d like to thank SmartBride Boutique for this guest post. Weddings and new home purchases typically follow one another closely. Selling used wedding items is a great way to raise funds for your down payment. And similarly, purchasing discounted wedding items is a clever approach to reducing your wedding costs to ensure you still have the money left to purchase your first home together.

Don’t forget to follow @SmartBride on Twitter.


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