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