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How to save £1k on your wedding dress by going second hand

The ultimate guide for the eco-conscious bride

sustainable wedding dress
Kate Thomas
Lifestyle Managing Editor
April 8, 2022
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Sustainability is the buzzword of the moment, but while you might already have ditched fast fashion from your wardrobe in a bid to be kinder to the planet, you might not have considered making your wedding dress eco-conscious, too.

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The average bride spends £1,300 on a wedding dress they'll likely never wear again, but this doesn't have to be the case. Whether you're keen to make a more eco-conscious choice by choosing a more sustainable fabric or you're open to trying a second-hand gown, one thing's for sure – you shouldn't have to compromise on the style or the exclusive boutique experience that every bride-to-be dreams of.

We spoke to Ella Gaskell & Zoe Jervoise, co-founders of P.S. Bridal Styling, for the lowdown on why you should consider a sustainable dress and how much money you could save. The online styling and booking platform matches brides with their dream dress and counts Lucy Watson and Binky Felstead among their celebrity clients. Keep scrolling for all the details...

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What makes a wedding dress sustainable?

"There are many pioneering brands finding more sustainable ways to think, create and manufacture wedding dresses, but making them '100% sustainable' is another thing," Zoe explains. "It's not just about the dress itself or the fabric that's been used, it's about the journey and the resources that the dress has consumed to be created."

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Try and be mindful of the designers you're considering. Many brands including Miller White, Sanyukta Shrestha and Jesus Piero are focused on using fabrics like organic cottons, peace silks and fabrics created from recycled plastic bottles retrieved from the sea. There are also brands focused on creating pieces specifically designed to be re-worn after your big day, like The Own Studio.

However, the most sustainable option of all is of course to opt for a dress someone has already owned – whether that means purchasing a second-hand gown or renting your dress.

wedding dress second hand shop© Photo: iStock

A second-hand wedding dress could save you thousands

What are your best options when looking for a second-hand wedding dress?


Bridal rental is growing in popularity, with platforms including By Rotation, Rotaro, HURR and Something Borrowed Rent becoming go-to destinations for eco-conscious brides.

Second-hand boutiques

Zoe recommends London boutique Brides Do Good which offers customers the coveted boutique experience, while exclusively offering second-hand designer dresses at discounted prices. Plus, you get to keep your dream dress afterwards. A portion of the profits go to helping empower women and ending child marriage, so it's a win-win situation.

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Bespoke service

P.S. Bridal has just launched a bespoke service called P.S. X GRACE LANE LONDON, giving brides the opportunity to turn a second-hand gown into the perfect wedding dress. The concept allows you to adapt an old design and make it your own, whether it's a family heirloom with sentimental value or a vintage number you've fallen in love with. Finding your dream dress is tricky (trust me, as a bride-to-be, I've been there), so being able to tweak a design to suit your body shape and personal taste could be a great option.

bride wearing wedding dress

The average bride spends £1,300 on a wedding dress

How can brides be more sustainable with their wedding dress choices?

Another way to make your wedding dress more sustainable is to research the material of the dress itself. For example, a puffy, tulle dress with beading and embellishments is always going to be less sustainable than a simple, fuss-free style crafted out of natural fibers and less fabric.

Ella advises: "Look for a dress that you could see yourself wearing again and again, either by altering it after the wedding or dying it (with non toxic dyes). So no big sequined nylon ball gowns!"

How much money could you save by choosing a second-hand wedding dress?

The fact of the matter is that opting for a second-hand dress will save you thousands. The average UK bride spends £1,385 according to research by Bridebook, but in London the price rises to £1,677 and £2,083 for a bespoke design.

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You're looking at an average £1k saving by choosing to rewear a second-hand design, but this could be thousands depending on the designer you choose.

wedding dress alterations© Photo: iStock

Consider adapting a vintage design to suit you

And of course – you can even make money by renting out your own dress after the big event.

"Not only could brides be making money on renting out their second-hand wedding dresses, but brides can also be saving thousands by renting, remaking or purchasing second-hand dresses," Zoe says. "This all helps to create a more circular bridal economy and more sustainable future for the bridal market."

Interested in finding out more? Try P.S. Bridal Styling's FREE wedding dress finder or discover more about their P.S. X GRACE LANE LONDON collection.

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