Where did you get that dress? {Part 2}

Following on from the last two wedding dress posts, here’s my final say on the matter….

Back at the beginning of wedding dress hunting, I would have told you that I definitely didn’t want a second hand dress. I wanted my own special dress that was untouched by human hand (ok, that’s taking it a bit too far, but you get my point).
As time’s gone on though, I’ve actually begun to think that a dress with a bit of a history could be so much more meaningful. I’ve also begun to realise that wedding dresses are bloody expensive, and practically speaking, you’re only going to wear it for one day.
So the  three options below are for people who have either fallen in love with a dress out of their price range (ahem…that’ll be me then), or just don’t have enough time to go the normal bridal route (ahem…yep, that’s me too then).

Sample Shops. 

I have the lovely Charley from London Bride to thank for this suggestion. When I was in my ohmygodicantbelieveimgettingmarriedinthreemonthsandhavenodress panic, several people suggested I try looking for a sample dress.
The trouble is, I am not a size 12-14, which seems to be what almost every sample dress is. But Charley suggested I visit Berkshire Brides and Belle Bridal who specifically sell sample dresses. I actually couldn’t get there in the end, but purely down to the fact that it wasn’t easy for me to get across the country to see them. I did spend a long time drooling over the websites though. If I lived in the UK, they would be first on my list of places to go. They have hundreds of sample dresses, all ready to take away on the day. In every shape and size. I know, great right?

The internet.

Seriously. This is such an option, especially if you already know what dress you want.   

Rock My Wedding’s Undress, Ebay Preloved, and even Once Wed (yes it’s based in America, but the savings could be worth paying the shipping charges), are all full of dresses that have either been worn once, or not even been worn at all.  And seriously, the discounts that you can get on even some of the big name designers are enormous. If you do know what dress you want, I would urge you to have a look at these sites just to check that yours isn’t on there, unworn, and heavily discounted. And if ‘yours’ happens to be a lovely little Mark Lesley fishtail number, I happen to know of a rather lovely one over on Preloved right now….
And I do believe, that the lovely Anna K bought her stunner of a dress from ebay too. If someone as wise as she can be down with it, it’s got to be a good option, no? She will be following this up with a post on the process because evidently it’s not as easy as you’d think.

And so, onto my final suggestion….

The Designer Dress Agency.

This find was also a product of the ‘I hate my dress’ crazies that I had a few months before the wedding. While frantically googling the dress that I really reeeeeally wanted, to see if anywhere had one that wasn’t going to take 6 months, I came across Brides of Bath, who are sort of the real life equivalent to Undress. They sell ‘used’ dresses on behalf of brides, and seem to have a he-uge selection (unfortunately not the one that I wanted, but it could be your lucky day). And unlike buying online, you can go along and try these all on, just like in a real dress shop.

I’m sure that these, and the options I mentioned on the last post are not the only options, so lets open this up, and make this a forum for alternative dress choices. Where did you get your dress from? Or where would you if you had your time again? I would love it if we could help other brides avoid my mistake….

Categories: Wedding Planning, Wedding Pretty
8 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted April 7, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I got my dress from a salon, but I bought their sample. I'm normally not a sample size, but for whatever reason, this one fit (at least at the time…). So I wouldn't rule that out!

  2. Posted April 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    (Posted by request of blog owner!)I am the owner and designer of Black Rattle Designs and we offer several options for brides. We can remake a design from photos or sketches, create something completely new, or remake an existing dress at very affordable prices. Our made to measure service reduces (if not eliminates) alterations to your dress and works perfect for "off" sizes (plus, petite, tall).

    We can work within your budget and suggest fabrics/options to reduce costs. Most classic/retro dresses end up costing between $300 and $600. Full, traditional gowns start at $1200. Quotes are free, and most brides are nicely surprised.

    As for timing, if a client is ready to go with a design and measurements, we can get a dress out in as little as a month. We recommend giving us 4-6 months if possible :)

  3. Posted April 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    My sister got a dress on pre-loved just the other day. It's stunning, been worn once and cleaned immaculately and cost £700 (as opposed to £1800). Err, who WOULDN'T?

  4. Posted April 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    you are full of wisdom, lady. FULL of it.

  5. Posted April 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Grandma's attic? Sounds like it should be the name of a really cool shop, but I mean actual grandma's attics.

    My grandma's 1940s lace dress is a beauty though to wear it I would have had to chop out a chunk of my legs so as to shorten myself by a few inches or slash the length of the dress and cut off the train…I couldn't bring myself to do either.

    Seriously, someone must have a grandma's dress (or mum's or aunt's) they could wear or update/alter and wear?

  6. Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I was lucky to get my dress from Berkshire brides it was a sample Benjamin Roberts gorgeous ivory vintage style lace and beaded number it was half the price and the only way I could have afforded designer it was perfect. I would so recommend giving them a visit

  7. Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    @ hitchdied – that's a realy good point, I just didn't have time to browse in shops, but for any-one who does, that's a really good idea.

    @ Carole – I love that you 're-make' dresses – I would have loved to have worn my mum's dress but it just wouldn't fit.

    @ laura – Exactly!!

    @ Lizzie – thanks, coming from someone as wise as you that makes me blush!

    @ Lucy – My mum wore my gran's dress, and like I said to Carole, I would have loved to have carried on the tradition, but alas, they are both smaller in all measurements than me. Such a good idea though.

    @ Stacey that is so good to know – it's always a bit difficult recommending somewhere with no personal experience – glad it worked well for you!

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  • By Oxfam Bridal…an Oxymoron? on February 29, 2012 at 12:29 am

    [...] Bridal…an Oxymoron? When I wrote the two posts about ideas as to where you could get your wedding dress from a few weeks back, it was hugely inspiring to hear from brides who had actually got their [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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