In closets and attics across Canada brides keep their wedding dresses on hangers or stuffed in boxes, sometimes for decades never to be worn again. But there is now a new type of bride -- one that is ready to wear a dress down the aisle and then sell it to the highest bidder. Brides are getting practical and the Internet is making it happen.

When Josie Daga couldn't sell her dress online or through Craigslist, Kijiji or through a local consignment shop, she decided to start her own website: PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. It's been five years now and she has helped connect brides around the world with their dream wedding dresses -- often for a fraction of their original cost.

The website charges no commission, but instead a flat fee to list your wedding dress and photos. Your dress will stay on the site for a year and potential buyers will search the website by size, cost or designer. Many of the dresses -- about 25 per cent says Daga -- have never actually been worn down the aisle. Engagements are sometimes broken off, brides buy another dress after changing their mind and end up with two or more, and in some cases by the time the big day arrives a dress may no longer fit!

Most dresses sell for 50 per cent off their original price but some are sold for as much as 80 per cent less. The seller sets the price, so it depends how quickly the want to part with it.

You may have the best chance of selling a dress soon after your wedding as it will be a current style. However some vintage or classic designs are also sought after no matter how old they are. The website has also become a popular place for brides to check out the latest styles and prices.

Other key points

  • PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com has over 3600 wedding dresses listed for sale on their site
  • For a fee of $25, sellers can list their dress at their own price, with five pictures and description
  • The website has helped match more then 4,000 brides with wedding dresses
  • The actual sale, payment, shipping, etc is between buyer and seller
  • Some women say they don't feel as guilty buying an expensive dress knowing they plan to sell it after the honeymoon is over. There is no need to worry about closet space or hanging onto a dress for years only to have a daughter not want it anyway. The cash raised can also help pay for the wedding and hey - you will always have the wedding photos!

Pat Foran