I (re)do: Market for used wedding dresses booms

It's a wedding trend that would have been unthinkable in the boom era that brought us Bridezilla-themed reality TV, but is gaining traction in these leaner times: more brides-to-be are opting for wedding dresses that have already taken a trip down the aisle.

According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), trade in pre-worn gowns is growing brisker as recession-minded couples look for ways to stretch their wedding budgets, and online used-dress sites bring buyers and sellers together. The average amount spent on weddings has climbed steadily over the past several years; this year, the average cost for nuptials was $30,860, according to the Bridal Association of America.

In many currently distressed real estate markets, that's a down payment.

For frugal fiancees, this is where sites like preownedweddingdresses.com come in handy. The site, which was launched by a bride looking for a way to resell her own wedding gown, now offers an array of more than 2,300 dresses at any given time. Another site, oncewed.com, includes a wedding vendor guide and DIY decor projects. A quick Google search turns up several more examples of this sign-of-the-times marketplace.