Your wedding is a special day but there’s no denying the financial and environmental cost. What options are available to save money and reduce your ecological footprint? We take a look at three second-hand wedding retailers offering you the chance to look good and make a difference by saying ‘yes’ to a second-hand dress, suit or other wedding wear?
It’s your special day. Of course you want to feel amazing. However, between the venue, the photographer and the catering, many couples find themselves with an ever increasing bill of suppliers to pay. But, you don’t have to spend a fortune on wedding wear to look good.
Established in 2016, Brides do Good offers wedding dresses of all sizes at a fraction of the original price. How? It manages to get its hands on donated, pre-loved dresses and sample designer wedding gowns, meaning you can browse couture designers such as Vera Wang and Vivienne Westwood and either buy online, or view in the flesh by booking an appointment at one of their pop-up stores.
Still White has a similar model of connecting couples looking for their dream wedding attire with newlyweds who have already had their big day. The online retailer stocks more than 40,000 pre-loved gowns and you can expect to pick-up genuine designer frocks for around half the original retail price, often with savings of up to 90%.
“Wedding dresses are expensive,” says founder, Bruno Szajer. “Considering they’re only worn for a few hours, it makes sense to pass them on for someone else to wear.”
Opting for pre-loved is a growing trend. “People purchased over £650,000 worth of dresses on our website last month,” explains Bruno. “Sales have doubled over the last two years and sellers have already earned more than £21 million through our platform.”
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world (according to an article on lsx.org.uk), with £140 million worth of clothing thrown away each year and more than 300,000 tonnes of it going into landfill.
“At Still White, we are proactively sustainable and believe that pre-owned wedding dresses should be available to every bride. Buying second-hand not only saves you money, but helps save the planet.”
Indeed, the decision to buy second-hand is an antidote to fast fashion, is something that Brides do Good agrees with.
“We benefit those seeking to manage the global clothing crisis by encouraging people to say I do to sustainable wedding dress shopping,” Bethany Robinson from Brides do Good, tells us. “Brides do Good also allows ethically-minded bridal designers and retailers a solution to combat the cycle of consumption by selling their sample gowns and excess stock.”
Look Good, Do Good
Another reason to say ‘yes’ to second-hand wedding wear? Because many wedding retailers donate a portion of their profits to charitable causes.
Oxfam is a non-profit organisation focused on alleviating global poverty. Its online wedding wear portal showcases a beautiful range of vintage, pre-loved and never worn wedding dresses. If you’re buying online, delivery starts from £3.95 and new items are listed daily.
Brides do Good is another social enterprise. For every wedding gown sold, two-thirds of the proceeds fund projects that protect young girls from child marriage in underdeveloped nations. Nice.
“Around the world, 12 million girls are forced into underage marriage every year. These early marriages violate a child’s basic human rights, forcing them out of education, and often into a life of violence and abuse,” says founder, Chantal Khoueiry. “We offer a more ethical way to wed by connecting the power of wedding dress shopping with the needs of these disadvantaged young girls.”
So, not only does buying second-hand wedding attire save you cash, it improves your ecological footprint and can contribute to global charitable causes. And, like your marriage, that’s something worth celebrating.
Did you buy or are you planning on buying your wedding wear second-hand? Share your story with us by connecting on social media or submitting to our Real Weddings section.