Sustainable and Chic: The Rise of Second-Hand Wedding Dresses in the UK

Sustainable and Chic: The Rise of Second-Hand Wedding Dresses in the UK

Sustainable and eco-friendly living is becoming more and more important in our world today. With the increasing awareness of climate change and the impact of human activities on the environment, many people are looking for ways to live more sustainably. One area where this trend is particularly noticeable is in the wedding industry. Brides are now looking for more eco-friendly and budget-friendly options, and this has led to the rise of second-hand wedding dresses in the UK.

Weddings can be notoriously wasteful events, with many items such as decorations, flowers, and even dresses being used for just one day before being discarded. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, it's no surprise that couples are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their big day. One way to do this is by choosing a second-hand wedding dress. Not only is this an eco-friendly option, but it's also a budget-friendly one.

In this article:

  • What is a Second-Hand Wedding Dress?

What is a Second-Hand Wedding Dress?

Second-hand wedding dresses are pre-owned wedding dresses that have been worn by another bride before. These dresses may have been worn once, or multiple times, and can come in a variety of styles, sizes, and conditions. Some second-hand wedding dresses are vintage, meaning they were made several decades ago, while others are more modern and may have only been worn a few years ago.

second hand wedding dress

The main difference between second-hand wedding dresses and traditional wedding dresses is that second-hand dresses have already been worn by someone else. This means that they may have some wear and tear or signs of previous alterations. However, many second-hand wedding dresses are in excellent condition, with some having been worn only once or twice. Another key difference is that second-hand wedding dresses are often significantly cheaper than new dresses, making them a budget-friendly option for brides who want to save money on their wedding.

Why Choose a Second-Hand Wedding Dress?

Benefits of second-hand wedding dresses:

Sustainability: One of the most significant benefits of choosing a second-hand wedding dress is its positive impact on the environment. Every year, thousands of tonnes of clothing end up in landfills, contributing to the global waste problem. By buying a pre-loved gown, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help combat the fast-fashion industry's negative effects.

Affordability: Another benefit of buying a second-hand wedding dress is its cost-effectiveness. Wedding dresses can be expensive, and a pre-owned gown can be significantly cheaper while still being of high quality. It's a great option for brides on a budget who want to save money without sacrificing style.

Unique Style: Opting for a second-hand gown can provide you with a one-of-a-kind dress that nobody else has. You can find vintage gowns from the '20s or '30s or a modern designer dress that's only been worn once. A pre-loved dress has a unique history and can add a personal touch to your wedding day.

Where to Find Second-Hand Wedding Dresses in the UK?

Now that you've decided to go for a second-hand wedding dress, the next step is to find one. Fortunately, there are several places where you can find them in the UK.

charity shop

Online marketplaces are a popular option for buying and selling second-hand wedding dresses. Websites like Still White, Preloved, and eBay offer a wide selection of dresses at varying price points. These sites allow you to search by size, style, and location, making it easy to find a dress that fits your specific needs. You can also negotiate the price with the seller, which can often result in significant savings.

Bridal consignment shops are another great option for finding second-hand wedding dresses. These stores specialize in high-quality, designer dresses and often offer alterations and fittings to ensure the perfect fit. Some of the most popular consignment shops in the UK include The Mews Bridal, The Dressing Rooms, and Once Wed.

Charity shops and thrift stores are also worth checking out when searching for a second-hand wedding dress. While the selection may be more limited, you can often find hidden gems at a fraction of the cost of a brand new dress. Some of the most well-known charity shops in the UK include Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, and British Red Cross.

Popular Online Marketplaces for Buying and Selling

Still White: Still White is a leading online marketplace for buying and selling pre-owned wedding dresses. It has a vast collection of dresses from all over the world, including designer gowns, vintage dresses, and budget-friendly options. You can search by style, size, location, and price to find your dream dress.

Preloved: Preloved is a UK-based website that offers a range of second-hand wedding dresses at affordable prices. It also has a section for bridesmaids' dresses and accessories, making it a one-stop-shop for your bridal party's needs.

eBay: eBay is another popular platform for buying and selling second-hand wedding dresses. You can find a variety of dresses in different styles, sizes, and price ranges. It's essential to read the seller's reviews and check the dress's condition before making a purchase.

Tips for Brides Who are Considering a Second-Hand Dress

  1. Research: Do your research on the type of dress you want and the different styles available. Look for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram and narrow down your options before starting your search.

  2. Know your size and measurements: It's important to have a good understanding of your body size and measurements when shopping for a second-hand dress. Be sure to take accurate measurements of your bust, waist, and hips and check them against the seller's measurements to ensure a proper fit.
  3. Be open-minded and flexible: Remember that second-hand wedding dresses may not be exactly what you had in mind, but they can often be a unique and beautiful option. Be open to trying on different styles and designers, and keep an open mind when it comes to alterations and customization.

  4. Check for defects and damage: While most second-hand wedding dresses are in excellent condition, it's important to carefully examine the dress for any defects or damage. Look for stains, tears, or missing embellishments, and be sure to ask the seller for close-up photos if you have any concerns.

  5. Consider alterations: Keep in mind that alterations may be necessary to ensure a perfect fit. Look for a dress with some extra fabric or room to be let out if needed. Alternatively, if the dress is too big, consider having it altered by a professional tailor.

  6. Allow time for shipping: If you're buying a dress from an online marketplace, allow plenty of time for shipping and alterations. It's essential to have your dress in hand well before your wedding day.


Opting for a second-hand wedding dress is a sustainable, cost-effective, and unique option for brides who want to make a positive impact on the environment while still looking stunning on their big day. With popular online marketplaces,bridal consignment shops,charity shops and thrift stores, it's easier than ever to find a pre-loved gown that fits your style and budget. 

If you're a bride who wants a sustainable and chic wedding dress but can't find what you're looking for in the second-hand market, don't worry! At Ever Pretty UK, we offer affordable and high-quality wedding dresses that can be worn again and again in the future. Our dresses are designed to make you feel confident and beautiful on your special day. Whether you prefer a classic, bohemian, or modern style, we have a dress for you. Check out our collection and find your dream dress!

You may also be interested in: Why is Sustainability Important in Fashion?

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