Bride wearing retro gown

Pros and cons of a once-
worn gown

With the wide array of websites available for finding gently used or worn-once wedding dresses, buying a hand-me-down gown has never been easier. But is it for you? We look at the ups and downs of making your "something borrowed" your gown.

Pro: Sentimental value

Quick tip: Find out from mom (or grandma, etc.) if you can get the garment altered. Fit is everything when it comes to looking your best on your wedding day.

So your mom wants you to wear the dress she said “I do” in. Not only can this be totally on-trend (depending on the decade mom tied the knot), it will save you a bucket of cash, not to mention make your mom beam with pride. If you and your mother are close, wearing her wedding gown can bring you even closer and provide you with that ultimate “something borrowed” for your big day.

Con: Dress pressure

Wearing a hand-me-down gown (whether from your mom, sister, aunt or cousin) can seem like a great idea, but it can also cause undue pressure. A family member who wants to pass on their dress can make you feel like you don’t have a choice – not a good feeling when it comes to your special day. Plus, the more pressure you feel, the less likely you are to make a decision that works for you, and the last thing you want is to regret your dress choice!

How to make wedding dress shopping less stressful >>

Pro: Saving money

Let’s face it; a used or hand-me-down gown will save you money (potentially lots of money). Something brand new can cost thousands, whereas a used dress will go for half the original cost. If it’s your mom’s or aunt’s gown, the only cost will be alterations (if needed) or accessories. If you’re on a tight budget, going already-worn is your best bet.

5 Ways to save money on your wedding dress >>

Sad brideCon: Not getting what you want

The flipside to the used or pre-worn gown is compromising your vision and ending up with something you don’t really love. Sure, you’ll save money but is it worth it? If not, think about cutting costs elsewhere – skip the open bar, cut back on favors, print the invites yourself – and budget more towards the gown you really want.

Pro: Being eco-friendly

We love the idea of wearing a used or hand-me-down gown for the mere fact that it has an eco-conscious twist. Reusing is one of the cornerstones of being more earth-friendly, so whether you buy your dress at a vintage shop, wear your mom’s or buy from a second hand dress site, a pre-worn dress is a nod in the environment’s direction.

Con: Not being style-satisfied

While you might like or be interested in something used, it might not satisfy all of your style needs. This can be an issue when you start to pull your wedding vision together. The dress is an integral (and heavily photographed) aspect of your big day. If you aren’t completely satisfied with it, you might regret your choice.

Tell us

Would you wear a used wedding gown? Have you? We want to know!

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Comments on "Would you wear a hand-me-down wedding gown?"

Tina July 23, 2012 | 7:30 AM

I would prefer to have a new dress unless it was something that was passed down to me from my mom or grandma. I like the idea of it being meaningful. Personally, I'd rather have a new dress from David's Bridal than a fancy, name brand used one. I want my dress to only be worn by me.

Lorena June 03, 2012 | 9:11 PM

Deadly accurate answer. You've hit the bullsyee!

Refileo June 01, 2012 | 4:47 PM

I tried on this dress and was sadly unimpressed. It looks goroegus on the model they chose, and I have seen it work on other tall, thin goroegus women, but while I have a small frame, I am also on the shorter side with wider shoulders, and this dress looked so dumpy on me. The flowers were overwhelming, and just added some strange bulk in the wrong places. However, I went to JCrew with the express interest of trying on this dress, so I agree that it looks beautiful in the catalog.

Emma May 01, 2012 | 11:56 AM

We are so lucky that there are so many sites now with "used" gowns that are exactly what you find in the store. I am not opposed to wearing a gently worn dress as long as its super clean and what I envision. It is the ONE DAY that I can be that picky, and I wouldn't want to settle, but if it saves money and still looks great I'm all in!

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