Second hand and sample gowns aren’t for everyone — there’s always the risk of loose beading or a spotty hem or worse, the ghost of a failed marriage — but they are a great way to cut costs, especially when you want to wear a designer gown but you can only afford to pay off-the-rack prices. Encore Bridal is one site that’s capitalizing on the fact that many brides-to-be want to wear an unforgettable gown even if their budget doesn’t allow for it.
The site sells gowns on consignment, as well as a limited selection of sample gowns that come from upscale boutiques making room for new inventory. The pros are that it’s easy to navigate and you can buy your gown right there online. The biggest con, as I see it, is that you can’t visually inspect your frock before making the purchase. The good news is that Encore accepts returns, as long as you get in touch within seven days.
How sweet are the deals? The limited-edition Monique Lhuillier gown above was marked down from $5,700 to $2,590 by the seller. Size two and strapless, this asymmetrical organza number has been embellished with a unique botanical pattern in black and steel gray. If you have that kind of scratch — and that kind of body — it’s still available!