Thrift stores can be the source of the perfect dress | wedding planner

The price of buying that special dress might make some brides feel down, or maybe the preference is for something not so new.

In such cases, brides-to-be may need to look no further than the local thrift store.

Cheryl Contreras runs the Sacred Heart Variety Store and More at 413 Commercial St. in Atchison, Kansas, and she said the store’s selection is better than many realize. In the past, a bride might find a used wedding dress hanging on the rack amid the formal wear, but something has changed in recent years. Contreras recalls a time when there were three wedding dresses, and then the selection grew steadily.

“So we just created a bridal section,” Contreras said.

Sometimes people bring in new dresses, and others have been worn, cleaned, and are in a storage box.

There are dresses of all types for every fashion taste. There are dresses in satin, lace or a mix of fabrics. Some dresses have fancy trains. Others don’t. Some dresses are embellished with sequins and/or pearls while others have a bare back enhanced with buttons and bows.

Sleeve lengths and dress bodices also vary, Contreras said. Some are bespoke and fancy. Others are strapless dresses. Some of the dresses appear to be quite modern with pleated bodices.

Contreras estimates that dress sizes range from 10 to 14 most often, although other fits may be available.

The vintage fashion selection is something that also varies, Contreras said. Many appear to be from the 1990s, while others could be from the 60s or 70s.

Contreras said some brides told her they were getting married but didn’t have much money to buy a dress. Others say they have a simple wedding, reception and dance outside, and they don’t want to worry if the dress is ruined by outside exposure. And some customers have been married before and are looking for simpler styles.

“We get wives of all ages,” Contreras said.

The stock is constantly changing, Contreras said. She remembered a fully beaded dress.

“It was magnificent,” Contreras said.

People can also find dresses suitable for bridesmaids, helpers and mothers in the formal wear section of thrift stores, Contreras said. There is also a shoe section which would be suitable for bridal shoes.

Contreras pointed out that there are often bridal accessories like veils, tiaras, ring-bearing pillows, cake toppers and other bridal-themed decorations.

Second-hand wedding dresses at the thrift store cost between $70 and $75 up to $125 per dress.

People can also find used bridal wear on various websites along the cyberhighway. Some show dresses that have been remodeled into other styles, such as cropped or remodeled hems and/or sleeves. Some sites also focus on repurposing wedding dresses into cocktail dresses for other occasions.

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