Buying Used Wedding Dresses and Accessories Online

Buying Used Wedding Dresses and Accessories Online

Searching for a Wedding Dress

Whether you know exactly the gown you want or are just starting your search, we can help you find your dream dress.  For Less.

Brides who know the dress they want can use our search box to zero in on their exact gown.  Or if you are just browsing, you can view the Dresses by type to get a sense of the wedding dress style you might like.

When you find a dress you’d like to purchase, here is what we recommend:

  1. Know the gown’s retail price. Go to the designer’s website, online wedding retailers, or to your local store to see the gown’s price. Researching the price will help ensure you know its true value and will help you negotiate the amount for which you purchase it.
  2. Ask questions.  Ask the seller for a complete, clear and full disclosure of the condition of the gown.  And ask her to provide it in writing (via the OnceWed messaging inbox) and to provide images if necessary. Sellers can send pictures from our OnceWed messaging inbox, there's no need to provide your personal email. 
  3. Confirm that the gown is authentic to the designer and not a copy. A certificate of authenticity, a photo of the label, or an indication on a store receipt are all ways to confirm this.
  4. If the seller has indicated she has a receipt – ask to see it.
  5. If any information is missing from the listing (year purchased, preservation method, etc) – ask the seller to give you that information.
  6. Protect yourself during the money exchange.  Paypal and both offer protection for buyers and sellers.  Paypal offers protection for the actual money exchange offers protection for the money exchange and the actual transaction (that the item is shipped/ is as described).  While these are the two safest services, we believe offers better protection for buyers and is the service we recommend. 

Ultimately, it comes down to trusting your instincts, being smart, and protecting yourself whenever and whatever you buy online.

How to Buy On

Yay! You've found the dress or accessory you want to buy.  We are a listing service, so you'll deal directly with the seller for the transaction (making everything faster and less expensive).

1. Contact the seller with the "Email Seller" button and agree with the seller on price and shipping terms. (Find shipping tips here). Keep all communication inside the OnceWed messaging platform for your protection. We monitor messages for suspicious activity.

2. Pay with a secure payment option.  We only recommend Paypal or because they protect both the buyer and the seller. These services offer you strong protection if the item isn't shipped, or arrives and isn't as described. So you can rest assured you'll get the dress you want, without risk.  (Read more about the protection here).

  • Using Paypal: both buyer and seller set up paypal account and seller "requests money" from the buyer.
  • Using both buyer and seller set up account and either the buyer or seller initiates the transaction.

3. Seller ships item using her own shipping supplies.

Then enjoy!  Wear your beautiful new dress or accessory.  Look and feel beautiful!

Buyer Tips

Once Wed offers a listing service to make it easy for Sellers and Buyers to connect. Other than providing the listing service, we do not get involved in the sale in any way. If you see a dress you wish to buy, just click on the “Email This Seller” box and send an email to the seller.

We’ve gushed about how smart and on-trend it is to buy a used wedding dress before, and these are a few quick tips for wedding dress shopping for a gown with history: 

  • Read our How To Avoid Online Scams Guide.
  • Ask questions before you make a purchase, make sure you know exactly what you are buying. Ask questions about stains, discolorations, tears, or defects that the dress may have, and whether or not they have the original receipt. You should also ask about their return policy and whether or not the seller is willing to use
  • Reduce size anxiety. If you have taken your measurements but are still anxious about how a particular designer’s dress will fit your body, go to a dress store and try some samples by that designer to get a better idea of fit and feel.
  • Go with a larger size. This is normal when buying a new wedding dress and still a good idea when going with a pre-owned design. You’ll need it custom-fitted to your body so when there’s more fabric to work with… the better your results will be and the more options you’ll have.
  • Find a reputable cleaner. Do your research and find a business that will take care of your new gown. These services, when right, can make a dress look brand new again and do minor repairs.
  • Ask for a photo. If there isn’t a photo of someone wearing the dress you’re buying (and not the model from the designer’s spread), ask for one. It’s so much better to see the piece in action, trust us.
  • Use a payment service you can trust, like or
  • Check storage and air conditions. Know if the wedding gown has been kept in a smoke-free environment and whether it’s been worn indoors or outdoors previously.

If you’re keen on smartly shopping for your wedding day ensemble, then saving money in the dress department might be a nook that you want to nip at some of the bottom-line. 

Buyer FAQs

Don't see your question answered here, visit our help pages or  send us an email and we'll get back to you in 24 hours (or less!)


What questions should I ask of a used wedding dress seller?

You should carefully review the information provided by the seller in their listing. 

The most critical considerations are condition, size, measurements, cleaning method and location. If any of this information is not in the listing, feel free to ask the seller for that information. This allows you as a buyer to make a sound decision. We strongly suggest that you ask for pictures of the actual dress if none are shown in the listing.


Do you do screen sellers?

Although we have the sellers create an account with contact information, there is no way to 100% verify that a seller is actually selling the wedding dress they listed. It is always VERY important as a buyer to ask the right questions. 

Make sure to only use secure payment options. If a seller will only accept a check, wired money, money order or cashier’s check then walk away from the sale. If you don’t it is highly likely you will lose your money and never receive a dress.

Most importantly, always trust yourself – if it seems to good to be true it probably is. If something is making you feel nervous there is probably a good reason to think twice, and move on to a purchase that doesn’t make you nervous – there are lots of dresses out there!


I have found a dress listing that is showing as expired – can Once Wed contact the seller for me?

We offer this listing service for sellers and they control how long their listing is live. Once a listing is shown as expired the dress is considered no longer available and the seller can not be contacted.


I am looking for a dress designed by Vera Wang, Claire Pettibone, Jenny Packham, etc. Do you have it in stock?

All of the dresses in our database are uploaded by individuals. Once Wed only provides the listing service – we don’t own or warehouse any of the gowns. Because of this, we don’t have control over which gowns we do or don’t have in our listing service at any given time.

We receive new listings daily, so we suggest that you continue to check back every day. Our search functions will allow you to search by designer, size, etc. Chances are your dream dress will be listed.


What if I find a used wedding dress that is too big for me? Can I alter it?

It all depends on the dress. Take a picture of the dress to a seamstress you trust and ask her opinion. In many cases, it is completely possible.


What is the difference between street size & dress size?

Wedding dress designers typically use different measurement systems than street clothes designers like J Crew or the Banana Republic. Unless you specifically know what size you wear according to the measurement system used by the designer of the dress you want to purchase, it is probably best to go by bust, waist, and hip measurements.


What is the difference between dry cleaning & preservation?

Dry cleaning provides a basic cleaning of obvious dirt and stains. However, it does not protect against the long term yellowing, fabric deterioration, or invisible stains that can surface over time and ruin your precious gown. Double-check to make sure your seller is using the right terminology.


Disclaimer: Once Wed is NOT responsible for any transaction between a buyer and seller gone wrong. It is up to the buyer to practise due diligence before purchasing a dress to verify that the seller is reputable and honest. 


For any concerns or questions, please reach out to


Once Wed was launched in March 2008 to meet a need in the marketplace for an online listing service for second-hand wedding dresses. Within a short time, the company had developed into an online wedding publication and resource to provide newly-engaged brides with inspiration and tools to plan their dream wedding.