What a Girl (or Woman) Wants
Once upon a time a girl wouldn’t consider marrying in a “used” dress, unless it was a family heirloom. Then again, once upon a time women didn’t marry other women. There’s no rule, gay or straight, that says you can’t purchase a pre-worn dress. The advantages can be wonderful.
For starters, you’ll save big bucks. As more couples try and go Green, you’re also re-wearing something that was never meant to be used again. On the flip side, you can now resell your own dress after your affair. Frankly, a lot of women like what they find in vintage stores, especially if they’re going for a period look. (As a postscript, your wedding-party members can wear vintage dresses as well; just make sure they know the style of your outfit and accessories, and work from there.)
If you’re interested in a second-hand dress, there are now sites you can visit. BravoBride.com allows you to purchase (and sell) pre-worn wedding dresses, and the prices can be insanely cheap. Also check out PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, whose name is self-explanatory. Both of these sites have top-name designers.
Another option is to check out thrift stores in your area. You’d be surprised at how many wedding dresses (or formal dresses) you can find at the Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or an independent, vintage store. The Salvation Army and Goodwill’s web sites allow you to locate the nearest store via your zip code.
Most important when going the second-hand route is to check for flaws and, in the case of thrift stores, un-fixable tears or stains. Make sure the dress is not too small (you can take a dress in, but don’t try to take it out).
Since you’re not going to have a top-notch alterations person at the shop, it’s up to you to decide if the fixes are worthwhile. Find a tailor or seamstress you trust, and talk to them about the reality of your dream dress. Bring one person with you when shopping; more than that and you’ll get too many opinions.
If you need to re-do the sleeves and think the neckline’s wrong, move on to another outfit. You can actually dye a dress if the color is slightly different than what you want. It’s all a matter of how much time and energy and money you want to spend.
On a similar note, if you or your partner wants to wear a suit or tux, here’s your chance to be one of the boys. There’s no law that says you need to buy a new penguin suit. Purchasing any suit is a big investment, and if money is a concern, figure out if it’s an outfit you can wear again, and how often you’ll actually need formalwear.
Also, if your weight fluctuates a lot, your suit might be a one-timer. Most people gain weight as they get older, as opposed to losing it.
The dream dress (or suit) you wear at your wedding doesn’t have to come with a nightmare price tag. Wear what you love and keep your heart on your sleeve.
David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.