Would you really ever wear your wedding dress again? It’s a question that many brides ask themselves before they blow their budget on a dream gown and, as it’s becoming more popular than ever to eek every last drop out of the big day, many of us are now actively creating new opportunities and events to ensure that we fulfill the re-wear promise.
“A lot of people are trying to extend their weddings now, whether that’s with immediate follow-up events like lunches and garden parties on the day after, or by taking group trips to events like festivals for a first anniversary,” says Rachel Attwell, founder of the popular Wimbledon boutique Luella’s Bridal. “People are sad to see it end, and holding onto the dress has traditionally been a sentiment of that. But now there are more ways to both extend the celebrations and incorporate the dress too.”
For those who think that their tulle confection may deserve a better after-life than one spent in a muddy field (or for those who simply want to get rid) Attwell says that the market for pre-loved dresses is also surging, with options to donate to charity, make some cash back for yourself, or both.
“A lot of women still like to hang on to them,” she notes “but there are also women who are learning that afterwards it is possible to sell it on. If you spent a lot of money on your dress then you might want to earn some of that back and use it for something else - people tend to not come to us immediately after the wedding, but six months to a year down the line, when they have had their honeymoon and are starting to think about the next stage of their life, maybe buying a house or starting a family.”
At Luella’s Bridal, their ‘Once Loved’ section offers customers who previously bought a gown with them the chance to re-sell their purchase, with a portion of the sale going to Cancer Research.
“You can expect to get up to 50% back of what you originally paid,” Attwell notes. “We work with a tailor who will help alter anything for the bride that is buying a second hand dress, as well as an amazing dry cleaner who makes everything look professional and ready for re-sale. For us it’s an opportunity to do something extra for our customers and to give some money to charity.”
For those who are keen to have a go at wearing their wedding dress again though (even if it’s just before cashing it in) Attwell has some styling suggestions. “The best things to do would be to either dress it up or dress it down,” she advises. “A bohemian, slim wedding dress could be made more glamorous for the red carpet, or a black tie event with glamorous heels and not-bridal jewellery, like an earcuff instead of a tiara.”
Attwell notes celebrities Liberty Ross and Keira Knightley as inspirations, after Ross wore her wedding dress again at the Oscars last year, and Knightley simply threw a leather biker jacket over her short Chanel tulle frock for a party.
Deconstructing the dress is another modern option, where you may ask a tailor to create separates, or a tunic to be worn with trousers.
“I think it’s important to give people ideas about what you can do with your dress afterwards, because traditionally the advice would be that you could shorten it or dye it,” Attwell says. “They are both still valid options, but a lot of wedding dresses today are less formal than they used to be, meaning that you could easily wear it again to a festival, a summer party, a day at the races... it’s all in the styling.”
See more at green bridesmaid dresses