Reselling Your Wedding

Fact: I made back $865.40 from reselling decor from our wedding. Whattt?!!

Hive, I’ve never sold anything on the internet in my life—I’ve bought a few things on eBay and Craigslist in the past, but that’s about it. So consider this the low-down for online selling newbies like me. Feel free to steal these tips. You’re welcome.

Unleash your inner photographer.

The most ad-worthy photos are pro pics from your wedding, where the items are in use. If you don’t have any pro pics of an item, try to take your own photos of it in good lighting. Imagine yourself in the buyer’s shoes, browsing through ads on eBay or another website—you’re much more likely to spring for something that looks appealing than something advertised in a photo with a heap of dirty laundry in the background, right?

To give you an example—I resold the vintage card box that I scored for our postcard guestbook. I didn’t have any pro pics of the box, so I photographed it on a plain white sheet to try to minimize the background noise and make the box look appealing. Nothing fancy, just an iPhone photo, but I was careful about where I staged the photo. Aaaaand—sold, in a matter of days.

CardBox

Personal photo

Price the items reasonably.

Check your receipts and confirmation emails to see what you originally paid, and mark off 20% to 50%. You can also look for similar items being resold and see what they’re fetching. Don’t be afraid to price items on the higher end—some potential buyers will want to bargain with you and you may end up having to compromise a little on the price.

Pimp your stuff out.

I listed each item I resold on multiple wedding websites—maximize your visibility, right? Ruffled, 100 Layer Cake Marketplace, and the Weddingbee Classifieds were my go-tos. You can also try Project Wedding Classifieds, Weddings by Color Marketplace, Bravo Bride, Event Leftovers, Tradesy Weddings (previously called Recycled Bride), etc. You can also resell things on eBay (I was a little intimidated, and I still have yet to list anything on eBay), but read this advice if you’re an newbie at selling on eBay. I quickly resold heavy and fragile stuff locally by advertising on Craigslist and the local Houston board on The Knot. The UK has its own recycled wedding websites, like Sell My Wedding. (Psssst—if you’re still planning your wedding, you should get cozy with those websites too. There are some steals out there! I spotted a ton of beautiful designer dresses, accessories, and decor when I was reselling my stuff!) So, long story short, there are a whole lot of resources out there for you to recycle your wedding. Go get ‘em, bees!

Estimate shipping in advance.

I weighed each item I was reselling so I could estimate shipping using USPS’s Postage Price Calculator. (Trust me—it’s very simple! You just need to know the item’s weight (including the weight of the box or envelope you plan to mail it in!), your zip code, and the zip code you’re shipping it to. If you’re sending a large box, you’ll need to know the box dimensions too. If you’re unsure, take the stuff you’re reselling to the post office and have the experts price out the shipping for you. I resold things to girls in Vancouver, Paris, Melbourne, Perth, London, and Afghanistan—I never would’ve known how much shipping cost, but the guy at USPS (who now knows me by name…I’m not sure whether I should be proud or embarrassed about that) quickly weighed everything and gave me price estimates.

Speaking of shipping—recycle packing materials!

A few of our guests brought gifts to our wedding, but most of the gifts we registered for arrived in the mail. The downside: we quickly amassed a mountain of boxes and packing materials. The upside: I reused all of these boxes and bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts to ship items I resold from the wedding. You can buy any of this stuff at the post office or an office supply store—but if you have it on hand, why not use it? I am allllll about the free stuff.

One word: PayPal.

PayPal is super easy to use, and I think it trumps any other payment form—cash, checks (sketch!), credit cards (unless you have access to a credit card reader…), Western Union (also sketch!). Fake cashier’s checks and money orders are common scams, so just play it safe and stick with PayPal. I didn’t have a single issue with buyers not paying in full via PayPal.

Paypal

Paypal: It’s so easy, even a clueless, I-pay-all-my-bills-by-mail person like me can use it / Personal photo

Be patient.

There are lots of brides out there who might want yo stuff—but they’re probably not all online at the exact time you post your listing. It took me two months to resell everything…and I think the patience was worth every penny. :) Also, beware of scams. Ruffled has a good primer on how to avoid being scammed when you’re reselling your wedding stuff.

Get in the game ASAP.

Keep in mind that dresses and decor may go out of style, so the best time to resell them is soon after your wedding. According to Julie Jones, owner of EncoreBridal.com, “The best time to sell a dress is in the first year after the wedding. That will get you the most money and the quickest sale.” I think the same may be said for decor—Mason jars and burlap may not be as popular in a couple years—and trust me, it’s worth getting off your butt and reselling everything soon after your wedding so you have money back in your wallet and more space in your home.

I was pretty pumped to clear out all of this stuff and reclaim our guest bedroom:

MessyRoom

Personal photo

Use your best writing skillz.

I watch a lot of Mad Men. Other than staring at Jon Hamm all day (droooolll) I’ve gotten some inspiration for writing clever advertising copy. For example, to resell a lot of vintage books I bought for our sweetheart table, instead of deadpanning, “8 red books. 18 bucks. You pay for shipping,” I elaborated:

I collected 8 vintage red books as a prop for our sweetheart table at our vintage garden-themed wedding. The books are in complementary shades of red and create a beautiful pop of color in our wedding photos. Perfect for centerpieces or as a prop on cake table or escort card table.

100LC

Screenshot of listing on 100 Layer Cake

Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, just be as descriptive and specific as you can.

Respond promptly and be kind.

Remember when you got mad because a florist didn’t respond to your email for three days? Well, in the wedding afterlife, things seem to slow down. You can kick back and relax and catch up on all the shows you missed while you were busy making DIY pomanders and envelope liners. But remember that the brides-to-be who are shopping for their own weddings are in the same shoes you were in just weeks or months ago. Plus, you might lose potential buyers if you wait too long to respond. Be kind and respond promptly to emails from interested brides. Also, I always request a tracking number when I’m reselling something, so I can make sure the package makes it to its destination in one piece, and so the buyer can track the shipment herself. Tracking from USPS is, like, 50 cents, and it’s totally worth the peace of mind. Once you have the tracking number, update the PayPal request and it’ll send an email to the buyer with tracking info.

Do yo research.

Here and here are other tips for reselling general wedding stuff. (Seriously. Great, in-depth tips.) Daily Finance, eBay, Recycled Bride, and Preowned Wedding Dresses all have great advice on reselling your wedding dress. There are also several websites specifically for reselling wedding dresses and accessories, such as Preowned Wedding Dresses and Once Wed. (I might still peek at those websites from time to time…so.many.pretty.dresses.)

Do a good deed.

Consider donating your dress to a charity like Brides Against Breast Cancer. I’m thinking about doing this—has anyone else done this?

When buying things for your own wedding, don’t be afraid of buying used stuff.

It’s less expensive, and you will make back more of your money than if you bought new. Think about how a new car depreciates in value, versus a used car that has already taken the hit in its value.

Wedding_237

Vintage books from our own wedding—I bought them used and resold them for the same amount I bought them for. #winning / Photo by Mustard Seed Photography

It’s OK to keep some stuff.

If you came over to my house right now, you’d probably recognize a lot of things from our wedding. I became attached to a lot of the stuff I thrifted during the year of our engagement, and I just couldn’t part with the vintage camera from our engagement session or the mismatched vases I collected for our centerpieces. We have leftover stripey paper straws, and you can bet that I will bring them out for our next party. We even reused the curtains from our wedding wall—they’re hanging in our bedroom!

Did you resell anything from your wedding? Any tips or advice for other bees?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Wallaby

Location:
Houston
Wedding Date:
November 2012
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comments

  1. Member
    6598731ssfse3 3217 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:07 am

    Excellent tips! Thank you!

  2. Member
    mkelove 666 posts, Busy bee @ 10:08 am

    Way to go! I plan on doing the exact same thing since I won’t need most of these items again. I have actually already started preposting my season specific items to pre sell them so they are off my hands as soon as posssible.

  3. Member
    msgiraffe 4248 posts, Honey bee @ 10:15 am

    Shut up! That is a legit amount of dollars, lady!

    I have all our wedding stuff sitting in a closet in my basement. It’s been a year and a half, but a lot of it is pretty generic (i.e. vases, baskets) – maybe I should sell some of it.

  4. Member
    emma20130601 341 posts, Helper bee @ 10:16 am

    This is a great post!! Our wedding hasn’t gone by yet, but I’m already thinking of how/where I can sell all of the stuff we’ve collected! :)

  5. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 10:21 am

    I just love you, Mrs. W! I’m on the other side right now—I’ve been buying a ton of stuff off eBay and other resale sites. Heck yes I’m going to be reselling some of it though. Not all of it… I love my books too much. And I kinda want to redye my dress, although I love the idea of donating it :)

  6. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:26 am

    Yay for mentioning Brides Against Breast Cancer!! :) I’m absolutely donating my dress – I think I may cut a small swatch from one of the underneath layers just so that I have some memento but other than that, I’m so glad it can be re purposed and for a greater good.

    Can I hire you to sell the rest of my stuff once we’re done? Seriously.

  7. Member
    lovelyduckie 756 posts, Busy bee @ 10:37 am

    I joked to everyone right from the start that I’d be re-selling my “slightly used wedding” lol. I happen to buy and sell a lot on eBay so I have enough of a positive reputation on eBay to potentially sell there. But I’m torn…the more I’m on the forum the more people link me to Ruffled and OneWed for re-used goodies. I don’t generally see people talking about many bridal items on eBay (even though they’re there of course)..I feel like the type of bride who wants my stuff MIGHT be more likely to be on those sites. I’ll have to wait and see what I decide next year.

    “The most ad-worthy photos are pro pics from your wedding, where the items are in use.”

    Yup, my wedding dress doesn’t look all that amazing in its advertising photo, but it’s amazing in person. Plus my dress is about 5 years old from an ‘almost bride’ (brand new from her). Since it’s not one of the “in” dresses right now I plan on using those photos to really sell it and make back at least half of my money on it. If I can’t make back half, I’ll just keep it because the lace is gorgeous. Half of what I paid is about 1/6th – 1/8th of what the dress originally cost the year it was released.

    Sell:
    Cake Card Box
    Ribbon Garland
    Leftover favors (mason jar mugs, fans and wand streamers)
    Centerpieces
    Signs

    Keep:
    A few antique blue mason jars
    A few of the favors
    A bulletin board or two
    My bridal accessories
    The ring box
    Most of the overlays (as long as I have a bit of leftover fabric for crafts)

  8. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 11:20 am

    Heck yes, I will be referring to this post a TON in about 3 months. Awesome post.

  9. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 11:27 am

    Thank you for the great advice!! :)

  10. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:45 am

    Great post!

  11. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:02 pm

    Such great tips! I sold quite a few things after our wedding, it was great to get then to a new happy home and for me to recoup some money!

  12. Member
    msarmadillo 497 posts, Helper bee @ 12:12 pm

    This is seriously one of the most helpful posts ever. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this little nugget after our wedding day! Thanks, Mrs. W!

  13. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 12:12 pm

    Awesome, awesome post! I’m actually thinking of scouring sites like 100LayerCake and others because I’m looking for cheap vintage frames. Thanks for all the tips!

  14. Member
    suburbian 1631 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:40 pm

    “”Price the items reasonably.””

    Why do Brides INSIST on telling me ‘I paid such and such – but I am selling for such and such’.

    If I Google it and I can buy it BRAND NEW for cheaper then what you are trying to sell it to me for then I am NOT considering your items.

    And I *promise* Iam not the only one doing this.

  15. Member
    Almost Mrs.P 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:45 pm

    Great tips!! Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be returning to your post after my wedding… and checking out those sites for deals for during the wedding!

  16. Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:05 pm

    @Mrs. Giraffe: You should sell it, you’ll be so glad to have that extra space (and extra dollars!)
    @Miss Lemur: It’s such a better deal to buy stuff used, then you don’t lose ANY money off of it if you resell it :)
    @StephK527: Yay that’s awesome!!!
    @lovelyduckie: Ohh your dress sounds beautiful! You should definitely try selling through some used wedding websites, I think you’ll find a wider audience than on eBay. Especially if you have a popular theme, like vintage, rustic, etc.
    @suburbian: I totally, totally agree. I was surprised some things are priced higher than the original prices – I guess not everyone does their research. I think taking 20% to 50% off is fair.

  17. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:13 pm

    Great post! Since we live in a one-bedroom apartment and have no room for storage, I gave all my decor stuff to Miss Sword. I’m still considering selling my dress, but we’ll see.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Amanda, Guest @ 2:00 pm

    Awesome post! I am definitely hoping to sell some things (dress included) after the big day.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    5/8 Vet, Guest @ 2:08 pm

    Paypal itself has done some really sketchy crap. Specifically, their interactions with SomethingAwful.com and Regretsy have revealed a lot of poor character in the company. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of alternatives, although people with Chase mobile banking can send and receive money through person-to-person quick pay.

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2005/09/68788

    http://www.ibtimes.com/paypal-apologizes-regretsy-after-killing-christmas-backlash-379582

  20. Member
    bellefille 232 posts, Helper bee @ 8:32 am

    I bought my dress from Brides Against Breast Cancer and loved the whole experience. I would definitely recommend donating to them.

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Jennifer Krause, Guest @ 11:23 am

    Yay for Brides Against Breast Cancer!!!
    I just bought my gorgeous dress there for $300.
    All the money goes to SUCH a great cause.

    I am hoping to buy used, quality items for the wedding and sell or donate them after.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Eileen, Guest @ 12:39 pm

    We loved your vintage card box and suggested it as an engagement gift in our blog.
    http://asimpletoast.com/2013/02/our-top-10-engagement-gifts/
    A box like that would be perfect for storing keepsake engagement and wedding cards.
    Thanks for the idea!

  23. Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:43 pm

    @Jennifer Krause: Yay, that’s awesome! Such a good cause!!
    @Eileen: I’m so flattered, thanks for sharing! I read your post – all of those are such great engagement gift ideas, I bookmarked the page to come back to it when friends get engaged. Thanks!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    mybabygetnmarried, Guest @ 12:48 pm

    i have been planning to do the same thing my baby got married in sept. burlap and lace i made everything if figure material and 3mths work… i put a pre post on craigslist many reply my problem is like i have 2 huge bur, and lace curtains that hung on barn doors like 15ft w x 9ft long, 26 bur&lace runners, mason jars 27 plus much much more i’m trying to decide to sell it by group of each item or as all lot, i don’t want to be stuck with this left over and that left over suggest?

  25. Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:55 pm

    @mybabygetnmarried: Hmm I had a lot of luck selling each item separately. I think you should try selling things in small groups (like try to sell all the mason jars together, maybe sell the burlap items together) and post them on multiple websites. Sounds like you already have a lot of interest from Craigslist, so I think you’ll be fine! Good luck!

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    mybabygetnmarried, Guest @ 1:12 pm

    thank you Mrs. W

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    cookecutter51, Guest @ 4:31 pm

    Last summer when my daughter got married, one of her bridesmaids had just gotten engaged. Her parents approached us after the reception and asked about some of the decorations. Their daughter will be having her ceremony and reception at this same church. My husband was glad to get rid of the wedding arch since he had assembled it but was not looking forward to taking it apart. Our friends just loaded it on the back of a half-ton and put it in their basement. I had bought white satin fabric to use for the aisle runner, banquet size tablecloths, and a pleated skirt for the head table. All of this could be used for their daughter’s wedding, as well as the ivy garland and pew bows. I charged them a little less than I had paid for the items, not counting my sewing labor.

    The floral arrangements and centrepieces were not suitable for their decorating theme, but I advertised them on local bulletin boards and finally sold them last month to a “second time around” bride.

    I don’t think my daughter is ready to part with her dress anytime soon; she also wants to keep the white satin cardbox I made and the wedding accessory set (guestbook, pen, goblets, cake knife and server) which was a gift from her grandmother.

    We had less than $1000 in the wedding decor itself since I did all the sewing and flowers, so our main reason for re-selling was simply to eliminate clutter. If you have a lot of money invested in your wedding items, it makes good sense to go all out in your attempts to pass them along. Great suggestions, Mrs. Wallaby!

  28. Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:23 am

    @cookecutter51: Wow, that is really awesome that it worked out to share the decorations with your daughter’s friend – it’s nice to unload wedding decorations so quickly! Glad you were able to sell the rest on a local board!! I think it’s good to keep a few things – we’re keeping our cake knife and server, too, and the other things I mentioned in this post – it’s hard to part with everything you spend so much time creating/shopping for!

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