Spring is in the air, which means brides across the country will say their "I dos" in droves. With wedding costs on the rise, brides can budget accordingly by seeing how much their used dress is worth with a new online tool.
PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, a site that launched in 2004, released a new feature, the Wedding Dress Value Calculator, that estimates a gown's worth based on the label, collection year, date purchased, price paid and other characteristics.
Josie Daga, 42, didn't mean to start a business when she tried to sell her wedding dress.
Daga, an American living in Toronto, had tried eBay several times, but she only received bids for $100 or $200 on the dress for which she paid $3,000.
"I couldn't find a consignment shop that would take it," she said, "and message boards were cumbersome."
Then came the birth of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. (She eventually sold her dress to a woman in Richmond, Va., where Daga happened to get married.)
The site has about 1,400 new listings every month with about 33 percent verified as sold through Daga's site. Since the site started, it has sold over 15,000 gowns.
Jennie Ma, fashion and beauty editor of The Knot, said brides have a number of options for their wedding dress, including selling or donating it, but most women still choose to preserve their wedding dress.
"You hope your daughter will wear it," Ma said. "But you might as well sell it, recoup some of the cost and help someone else."
The Dress Value Calculator was the result of queries to Daga, asking how much a particular used wedding dress was worth.
"We get emails all the time in which women ask how much their dress is worth," she said.
The dress takes into account factors like whether it has been cleaned, and calculates its potential worth.
"What we think is so cool, not only does it do that, it shows similar dresses on our site," she said.
As a general rule, dresses sell for 50 percent of retail value.
Daga said the average selling time on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com is 70 days, though they have seen dresses sell within 24 hours. Dresses that celebrities wore are popular.
She said no one size sells better or worse than others, though it might take a bit longer for, say, a petite bride who is under 5-feet tall to sell her dress.
"Their market is a little bit smaller," she said.
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