As every bride in London knows, wedding gowns don’t come cheap. And that’s before you even start thinking about shoes and accessories. But what’s a girl to do when the Big Day is looming and you want to look a million dollars, but the (financial) cupboard is bare? Well,
Well, it wouldn’t be London if there weren’t a solution to be found. All you need is a bit of left field thinking and the willingness to compromise on your preconceived ideas and, hey presto, you shall go to the ball! A quick scale of the London data lists later, and viola – here we present to you a beautiful treasure map, full of the best places to grab a cheeky wedding bargain.
Second Hand Wedding Boutiques
Why pay full price for your wedding gown when you don’t have to? Take a look at this selection of second hand wedding shops and outlet shops in and around London. You will find a great selection of designer wedding gowns at knockdown prices.
Dream Second Hand Wedding Dress Agency, Parkfield Avenue, Northolt, UB5 6PW
A very smart bridal shop selling discount new and preloved designer wedding dresses and accessories.
Brides Dress Revisited, 24 High Street, Otford, Kent TN14 5PQ
Only 30 minutes from Central London, this beautiful store specialises in second hand designer wedding dresses and accessories.
Betty Gets Hitched, Islington, London N5
A North London bridal studio that specialises in designer sample wedding dresses, with prices up to 60% off regular RRP available.
Betty McCaul Bridal Outlet, 103 St Marks Road, Enfield, EN1 1BJ
A wedding boutique with a wide range of leading designer dresses at up to 65% of the retail price.
Elegance and Grace, Royal Drive, London N11 3GX
Wedding, prom and evening dresses along with accessories at very reduced prices due to being ex stock.
Designer Charity Shops
Don’t underestimate the power of charity shops – they’ve come a long way since the days of musty jumpers and sad suits in drab, uninspiring surroundings. London, in particular, has a wealth of decidedly upmarket charity shops that specialise in covetable, designer or vintage garments, including wedding clothing, at prices you wouldn’t believe possible. You just need to know where to look:
British Red Cross Chelsea, 69-71 Old Church Street, London SW3 5BS
A large, self styled ‘designer charity shop’, this is Chelsea’s best known and most popular charity shop. Merchandise is mostly in the designer bracket, with pieces by Jaeger, MaxMara, Vivienne Westwood et al being donated regularly by wealthy local residents.
Cancer Research UK, 24 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4PQ
Not far from Oxford Street, this cavernous 2-story thrift shop is a favourite haunt for fashion forward but budget compromised students from the nearby London College of Fashion. There’s designer bargains to be had, but you may have some competition.
Salvation Army, Princes Street, London W1B 2LQ
This long established charity shop is a stone’s through from Oxford Circus and a popular drop-off point for fashionable cast-offs by the uber fashionable staff at Vogue magazine nearby. 2 floors of second hand clothes, shoes and accessories from high street and designer brands abound.
Barnardo’s, 414 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AY
This a huge and very lively shop with an unpredictable and exciting selection of clothing and accessories. Find all kinds of high street brands, as well as designer bargains for under £50 here.
Terrence Higgins Trust, 19 Churton Street, London SW1V 2LY
A boutique charity shop like no other, with a dedicated gay section and Shirley Bassey soundtrack, this is what Alan Carr called ‘the Harvey Nichols of charity shops’. It is rumoured that Mary Portas is also a fan. Pop in for designer bargains and vintage finds.
Octavia Foundation, 211 Brompton Road, London SW3 2EJ
Pop in for designer donations from wealthy local residents in this large store set in the heart of Knightsbridge, just a stone’s throw from Harrods but with prices that couldn’t be more different.
FARA Retromania, 6 Upper Tachbrook Street, London SW1V 1SH
A savvy designer vintage store where high fashion, wow labels and fashion forward merchandising abound, this shop is a world apart from the dowdy charity shops of old.
Royal Trinity Hospice, Kensington Church Street, London W8 4LL
Best known for its smart ladies wear, handbags and shoes, this shop always comes up trumps with designer pieces, Prada evening shoes, DKNY designer bags and the like.
Online Wedding Shopping
If you prefer to shop from the comfort of your home, there are many online wedding dress sites where you can get a hardly (or sometimes never!) worn wedding gown for a fraction of the new retail price. Check out the following sites:
Preloved – second hand wedding clothes and bridal wear
SellMyWeddingDress – second hand, new and sample wedding dresses for sale online
TheDressmarket – hundreds of pre-loved and new dresses from private sellers and boutique sales
Bride2Bride – the UK’s largest online wedding marketplace, selling second hand wedding dresses, bridesmaids’ dresses, mother-of-the-bride outfits, wedding shoes and more
Still White – UK’s largest marketplace for wedding dresses only
PreOwnedWeddingDresses – designer wedding dresses for less
OnceWed – shop used wedding dresses
Obviously, there’s eBay and Gumtree too. It’s worth pointing out that online shopping always carries an element of risk, eBay probably has the strongest buyer protection. You are advised to always carefully inspect the dress in person (ideally try it on!) and pay cash on collection. Also establish if you can return the dress if you should change your mind when you get home.