Photography by Fiona Kelly Photography
When it comes to weddings, there’s a lot of pressure to buy ‘things’. Dresses, suits, veils, jewelry, decor, stationery, favours, seating chart, welcome signs, seating signs, table numbers, place cards, guest book, cake topper and even more signs!! For a minimalist like me, the thought of buying so many items for my wedding literally filled me with dread and was a major factor in our decision to elope but for those of you who aren’t so easily overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ what do you do with all those items once the big day is over?
Rebecca Aspin, founder of Sell My Wedding has a vision to dispel the frivolous and extravagant reputation of weddings. Here she explains how by keeping things minimal and sharing items with other brides once the wedding is over, you can keep calm and grounded (whilst being quids in!)
But what about after the wedding. What about the expensive, once-used wedding dress taking up half of your wardrobe or cupboards overflowing with left over candelabras, vases, glasses and napkins. It only makes us feel bad about the amount of money spent or a growing to do list as we strive for a tidy clutter free home.
The new approach to living a minimalist lifestyle, where less clutter equals better mindfulness is also being applied to weddings.
Rebecca explains: “If you think of each wedding item as having five lives, you can delight in the fact that each of the items you lovingly chose, bought or made for your wedding day can go on to be used again and again.
“We’re finding that brides are thinking more and more about recycling, reusing and reloving from the start of their planning, with buyers returning to our marketplace after their wedding to sell on the items they sourced secondhand as well as much more.
“Many people are now making decisions on what they buy based on the fact that they will resell it after their wedding. This helps in minimising what is bought in the first place. Helping question, “do we really need or want that?”
“The idea for Sell My Wedding was born out of the fact that I had 12 Laura Ashley candelabras left over from my own wedding – I ended up handing them out to guests to take home and while it’s nice that some of them still have them ten years later, the (harsh) fact is that I think I would have rather sold them to another bride, not only so they could be used again but so that the money could have been reinvested in our house or honeymoon.”
If you’ve received donations to your wedding from family, the majority won’t be offended if you decide to sell on your wedding items. You may use the money to go towards a house deposit or honeymoon so ultimately – their money has gone even further than contributing to your dress or the decorations.
If you have a family member who you think won’t be supportive of this idea, you can tell them that their donation went towards something that you’re not reselling – for example the band or food!
How do you know you are pricing preloved items accordingly?
As a general rule, half of what you paid for the item is a good starting point. Take a look and see what other items have been sold for. If the item is designer, in excellent condition and still available in the shop – you have a better chance of listing it for more. However, if you price something realistically you are more likely to get a quick sale. Think about how much you would have been willing to pay for a secondhand item.
If you’re items are handmade, you may have no idea how much to charge, so again think about the cost of the materials, your time (you’re saving the bride having to DIY| and again what you would have been willing to pay.
I think it depends what type of person you are, my advice would be to list your items and see what interest you get and how much you may be offered. You may have thought you would never part with your dress, however if you are offered £1,000 you may suddenly feel less sentimental. Realistically is your daughter going to wear your dress on her wedding day? If you don’t feel comfortable with selling it, there are other options for sharing your dress. You could donate it to a charity for brides with life limiting illnesses, or have it made into a funeral gown for stillborn babies.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering selling their wedding items?
Enjoy it. Enjoy the interaction with other brides. Be honest about what you are selling and realistic in terms of the price you are asking. Newlyweds who take the time to tell the story of their wedding and include detailed descriptions alongside beautiful images of the items in use normally do well. Sellers who list a number of items from their wedding also get the most out of the site, as some buyers go on to buy multiple items.
There continues to be less and less stigma around buying secondhand, with Brides proud that they sourced items from boot sales, charity shops, sample sales and resale websites such as Sell My Wedding.
Our most popular items remain décor alongside accessories such as shoes, veils and headpieces as you are often unable to tell that these items have been used. Handmade décor for example signs, tableplans, bars and photo booths are also popular as brides want to create something of that look, without actually doing any of the DIY themselves. This also means that you are getting a one-off ‘talking point’ item not available elsewhere.
If you are on the hunt for a designer wedding dress it is always worth doing a search online – as you never know there may be a secondhand one available in your size, which you could pick up half of the cost of a brand new one. It depends on the individual though – some people may not even entertain buying a secondhand dress as they want the experience of buying direct from the boutique, while for someone else knowing that they are getting it half price could mean the difference between getting the dress of their dreams. And of course, if they decide to resell it again they may be able to recoup nearly the full cost of what they’ve paid.
Do you have any tips on how to minimize wedding items once you’ve finished with them? We would love to hear from you!