Saturday, 27 October 2012

From Scotland to St Lucia - how I sold my wedding dress

 I got married just over four years ago, in a beautiful location in Scotland. The subject of what to do with my dress came up fairly soon afterwards. Andrew was adamant that I should sell it and put the money back into our savings account. To say the least, I wasn't keen, it had taken me ages to find the dress I wanted and converting it into cash to set off against the mortgage seemed a far too practical solution for what had been a romantic purchase. I mentioned this in passing to my mother in law, who looked at her son as if he were a monster for suggesting it!

However, after getting home from our honeymoon, the dress stayed in its bag hanging in the spare room. I knew I should get it cleaned, but couldn't justify the cost to myself. Eventually, I took the advice offered by various wedding forums, put it in a white duvet cover, and washed it in the washing machine on a delicate setting. Afterwards I hung it on a hanger and put it outside to dry. It came out as good as new. Afterwards back into the bag it went, but at least I knew it was clean.

By this point I was feeling a lot less emotional about it and realised that it would do no-one any good hanging in the spare room for the next forty years. When we met up with friends who had got married six months earlier, the wife mentioned that she had sold her dress on eBay. I looked on the site myself, but dresses like mine were selling for less than £50, which seemed like so little for the amount I'd spent on it. I explained to Andrew that for sentimental reasons if I were to sell it, I'd like to spend the money on something which would remind me of the day, the only decision was what that would be. In principle though, the idea of selling the dress though finally seemed like the sensible solution.

The breakthrough came when I saw the Preloved website mentioned on a forum. Unlike eBay there are no fees to pay, so it felt like I may as well give it a go, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I wasn't sure the dress would sell, and thought it may take some time. Unlike selling most items of clothing, wedding dresses are tailored to your height and shape, and I wasn't sure how many people there were with my dimensions! I set up an advert in May 2011, to see what happened.

I had various requests for more photos and questions about the dress, but didn't really make any progress until August this year. I had a message from Sam, who said she loved my dress, asked a few questions and wanted to see more photos. I sent those over and within a week or so we'd agreed for a time for her to come over and try the dress on. It was a bit of a nervous time, I'd set up the spare room with a full length mirror so she could see what it looked like, and then sat and waited. It didn't help that the weather was awful that night, so she was held up on the roads! She turned up with her daughter, I unpacked the dress and left them to it in the spare room. From the point I heard clapping, I knew the deal was done. It was a strange feeling saying goodbye to my dress, whilst knowing someone else was going to get some pleasure out of it. 

I knew I wanted to do something with the money I got, and decided to buy some earrings, so I'd have a permanent reminder. We had a terrible time with getting Andrew's wedding ring re sized after our wedding, a long story but suffice it to say the ring Andrew wears wasn't the one we exchanged at the ceremony, that was mangled and lives in a drawer. As a result the jeweller had to replace his ring and also gave up £150 of vouchers in compensation. After nearly four years in a drawer, Andrew suggested I put these towards the earrings too, which was really generous. This weekend we've been shopping and I now have something to remind me of our wedding day which I can wear every day, and which doesn't take up space in the spare room. Sam has also promised to send me some photos after her wedding to show the next outing of my dress at Hotel Chocolat in St Lucia.

Perhaps the only point left to resolve is that I should tell my mother in law that her son isn't such a monster after all! 

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