Share the Love

Share the Love | Recoup a little of your wedding expenses­—and make another bride’s day—when you consign your gown

If you end up on the other side of your wedding with sticker shock, here’s a practical thought: How about consigning that stunning gown? While it’s not a dollar-for-dollar deal (think more like one-third of the original price), there is much to be said about sharing the gown with another bride and getting a few Benjamins back in the process. Sarah Black, who founded Charleston’s luxe consigning bridal boutique Fabulous Frocks in 2011 and now has franchisees in four states, shared this stunning Marchesa number to illustrate what you need to know to get the best return on your investment.

The Price Is Right
Love this dress? Of course you do! Here are the details at a glance: Marchesa’s Style B60850, size 8, from 2012. It originally retailed for $11,495 and is now $5,770 at Fabulous Frocks.

Be Trendy
Illusion necklines are still hot on the runways, and anything that’s au courant is a huge boon when it comes to resale, says Sarah. “Lace gowns with illusion panels are some of our best sellers,” she says.

Size Matters
Because it’s easier to alter a gown down than up, sample sizes (10-12) sell easier than smaller ones, says Sarah. There are workarounds for skinny dresses, though, especially if they have seam allowances or if you can add a corseted back.

Button Up
Missing buttons, says Sarah, are one of the easiest, most minor fixes. Major repairs (like seam tears) should be repaired before you try to consign. To discern between major and minor issues, call the shop you hope to work with.

Charleston Loves Lace
“Lace gowns sell better than satin or tulle in Charleston,” says Sarah. One-hundred percent silk lace gowns are the most coveted material locally.

Sound the Trumpets
Local brides aren’t married to one silhouette, says Sarah, but trumpet gowns like this one do well here because they tend to be light and thus great for outdoor weddings.

Rules of Engagement
To consign with Fabulous Frocks (843/754-1855,, you need your original receipt, and the gown must: be no more than five years old; have no rips, pulls, tears, or stains; be professionally cleaned and pressed; and have initially retailed for $2,000 or more. Typically resale boutiques charge shoppers half the original price, then the consigning bride gets between 40-60 percent of that—if their gown sells. Fabulous Frocks holds dresses for nine months, then tries their other franchises, too. If the dress simply doesn't sell, it’s returned to you or donated to charity.