How to Get Top Dollar Selling Your Wedding Dress Online

How To Get Top Dollar Selling Your Wedding Dress Online

Here comes the bride, all dressed in your white taffeta wedding gown, which you sold online.

In years past, brides dry-cleaned and packed away their wedding gowns, keeping them for daughters they hoped would someday wear them down the aisle, too. These days, financially savvy brides are selling their wedding dresses online and using proceeds to, among other things, pay off the wedding that cost almost $30,000, on average, according to TheKnot.com.

Pre-Internet, once- or never-worn wedding gowns were sold via sad newspaper ads and in consignment shops that often charged 50 percent commission. Now, sites that specialize in selling wedding dresses and reach prospective brides around the globe are becoming the go-to places to hawk gowns.

On average, eBay sells between 1,000 and 2,000 new and used wedding gowns each week, with an average price tag of $127.34. On one recent listing, a bride asked $495 for a once-worn Vera Wang she bought at a trunk show for $6,000.

"Listing your dress online maximizes the exposure of your wedding dress to future brides who are in the market," said Tracy DiNunzio, founder and CEO of Tradesy, a site that sells thousands of preowned wedding gowns each week during the buying season, which she says runs from January through May.

Sites for Selling

Although eBay and Craigslist list wedding dresses among their many wares, several sites specialize in selling preowned wedding gowns, including Tradesy, Nearly Newlywed,Once Wed, PreOwned Wedding Dresses and Still White.

Comparison shop among the sites to make sure you select the one that fits your needs and budget -- and you accept its own listing and commission policy. Tradesy, for instance, charges a 9 percent commission, which you can spend on the site or pay a 2.9 percent transfer fee to place into PayPal, a banking account or debit card. Still White charges $19.95 or $29.95, depending on the listing promotion package you select. Nearly Newlywed only takes dresses selling for more than $500 and then grabs a 25 percent commission; if the dress sells for less than $500, the site takes $200.

Wedding Dress Selling Tips
  • Timing: Wedding dress sales peak in February and March, the best time to list your dress online, according to Terapeak, an e-commerce data tracker for eBay. Slowest period for wedding dress sales is between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
  • Dress condition: Time is not on your side if you want the best price, so list dresses as soon as possible while they're still in style. Some brides even pre-sell their gowns before their wedding day. Never-worn will reap the best price, while once-worn with no damage is a close second. Dresses older than three years are a tough sell, while vintage dresses from the 1980 and 1990s are popular.
  • Listing info: Include designer, size, original price and a detailed description of style and extras like beads, pearls, crystals and sequins. Be honest, which informs buyers and reduces return rates.
  • Pictures: Buyers want to see what they're getting, so don't skimp on pictures. Take photos of the dress in its entirety on a hanger; close-up photos of detailing like lace, sequins or unique pattern; back views including labels, zippers and clasps; and shots of damage, if any. Keep the background plain so your dress and details stand out.
  • Best-sellers: Typically, plus-sized, short, lace, white and ivory gowns are top-sellers. When you write a description, use those keywords in the headline or listing body.
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