Website offers wedding dress deals

July 22, 2009 11:25:14 AM PDT
Many have heard of passing a dress down through the generations. But, now people do not have to wait that long and yes, it is possible to find the gown of your dreams while staying in the reality of your budget.

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You might dub it the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress."

Dana Giller never thought she could afford an Amalia Carrara gown for her upcoming wedding.

"It's absolutely amazing," she told ABC7.

She recently lost her job. Money is tight and a designer gown seemed way too extravagant.

"Retail, they run $5-6000 and up," she explained.

But, Giller went bargain hunting and found a website called "preownedweddingdresses.com." There, thousands of women put their used gowns up for sale, some for less than a quarter of the original price.

"I clicked in the name of the designer and I found the dress," Giller said. "It was just gorgeous. Beautiful."

One woman in Florida was offering her $4,000 Amalia Cararra for just $900. Giller and the woman began emailing back and forth, and along the way something unexpected happened.

"We'd be sharing a little bit about our lives and what her wedding was like, and what I was going to do, and what is her life like now, and the fact she has children," Giller recalled.

They forged a bond; two strangers on opposite coasts, both getting married in the very same dress. It was not without an emotional tug for the seller.

"One of her children asked, 'Mommy, when are you going to get the dress back?" said Giller.

But, the woman did sell it to Giller and only charged her $600.

"It was beautifully wrapped. It was preserved," she said.

Here is how it works: The sellers pay $25 to post the dress on the website. Buyers then e-mail sellers and privately work out a deal.

One $7,500 Vera Wang dress is going for $1,200. A $6,000 Melissa Sweet dress is selling for $1,000. There are around 2,700 dresses on the site, more than twice as many as last year.

"With the economy the way it is and people wanting to recycle things, people are buying pre-used gowns," said seamstress Karen Tierney.

Tierney specializes in restoring wedding gowns. When Giller got her dress and it was a little big, Tierney stepped in. She says it makes sense to re-use an expensive gown that was probably only worn one time.

The seller earns cash. The buyer saves money. And, each bride's story follows the dress.

"I would encourage anyone who has a used gown to write something about it. And, it should travel with the gown," said Tierney.

Giller made a promise to the previous owner.

"If I gave the dress up I would make sure I would get the name and person who I sent it to and I would pass that on," she said. "She was on the East Coast. I was on the West Coast. Who knows where the dress will go next?"

The woman who sold Giller her dress wished to remain anonymous. Hers was one of many fantastic deals ABC7 found on the site.

Related links:
www.preownedweddingdresses.com
Seamstress Karen Tierney at Studio Trousseau

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