Top Tips on Navigating the Wedding Aftermarket

by BravoBride
Save to Stuff I Love!

Special feature by Susan Alexander Shapiro of BravoBride

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If you just got married, you might be staring at a closet full of candles, vases and other wedding items that you’ll never use again. Instead of shutting the door and dealing with it later, consider selling your items to another bride. Not only will you be helping her save some money, but you can recoup some of your wedding costs, too.

Online after-wedding marketplaces are becoming very popular. With the average cost of a wedding now more than $27,000, a growing number of smart brides are looking to save money but still have the wedding they’ve always wanted. We’ve come up with some helpful tips to help you buy and sell wedding items.

If you are selling, here are some helpful pricing guidelines:

  • A discontinued style of dress should be priced lower than designer items still in stores.
  • For new items, 25% off the retail price is a good idea.
  • The older the item, the greater the discount. For a dress that's five or more years old, for example, 60% off the original retail price would be appropriate.
  • For worn items, we recommend a 50% deduction from the retail price.

When you find a buyer for your wedding items, remember these important tips:

  • Don’t accept wire transfers, money orders or cashier’s checks. Use only online payment services such as PayPal or Escrow.com
  • If a buyer sends an e-mail saying she has sent payment and/or if you receive a receipt from PayPal or Escrow.com, make sure the funds were deposited in your account before sending the item.
  • Don’t accept payment in excess of your purchase price—this is a huge red flag.
  • Always ship an item with insurance and a tracking number.
  • Sell locally when possible.


Be on the alert for signs of a scammer:

  • The buyer is eager to buy immediately without asking any questions about the item.
  • Poor spelling and grammar.
  • Often have overseas addresses.
  • The buyer wants to pay via wire transfer, money order or cashier’s check and use a third-party shipper.
  • The buyer is purchasing an item for his family member or friend.


If you are a buyer, we’ve got some helpful ideas for you too:

When buying an item:

  • Compare your seller’s price with the retail price of the item so you’ll know that you’re paying a fair amount.
  • Don’t be shy about asking your seller detailed questions about the item you’re interested in, such as:
    - When did the seller acquire the item, and did she buy it new or used?
    - Is there proof that the item is authentic?
    - Are there any problems or imperfections with the item?
    - If the item is a dress, has it been altered in any way?
    - If the item image is a stock photo, ask the seller to take photos of the actual item.


You should also know the following about the seller:

  • Name
  • Street address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

When it comes to making payment, use an online payment service like PayPal or Escrow.com. Don’t wire cash or send a money order or cashier’s check.

With these tips, you should be well on your way to navigating the after-wedding market. Remember, you’re not only saving money when you buy or sell pre-owned wedding items. You’re also making the Earth-friendly choice to reuse and pass along. And that’s just a little something extra to be happy about when you walk down the aisle.

BravoBride is a popular online marketplace where brides and newlyweds can buy and sell new and pre-owned wedding items, from designer wedding dresses and jewelry to shoes, favors, reception items and more.