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Special section Wedding costs

Unbelievably, there is life after the wedding. Here's help with the honeymoon and beyond.

Life after the big day

What to do with old wedding gowns, rings

Don't forget the Internet
Of course, wedding items numbering in the thousands can be found on Web sites like eBay and Craigslist. Researching her "This Week on Craigslist" column for, Jen A. Miller says she often finds listings for rings and dresses to be either too detailed or too sparse when what's best is something in between the two.

"Some are all business," she says. "Others are short and painful: size and the words 'never worn' or 'worn for a few days' or even a pithy remark about the previous owner."

Miller advises sellers to keep it less personal, even having a friend write the listing. Then, to ensure traffic, she says, always include a photo -- but not one from the big day with a big white dot over the bride and groom's once-happy faces. "It's creepy!"

Resigning to consign
Consignment is a good way to bid good riddance to old wedding gowns.

Jeanette McQueeney, 33, of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., recouped $200 of the $650 she paid for the dress for her first wedding.

"It took forever to sell, though," she says. "They had it at the consignment shop for about a year and a half. Just as I forgot about it, a check arrived."

Michael's, a consignment shop on Madison Avenue in New York City, features a bridal salon stocking as many as 50 high-end designer gowns at any given time, says owner Laura Fluhr. Wedding gown prices range from $650 to $2,500, Fluhr says, and a Vera Wang gown can often be had for $1,200.

"There is a very strong demand for very beautiful previously owned gowns," she says.

Besides women divorcing their gowns along with their spouses, Fluhr's consignment clients are often selling in hopes of freeing up valuable closet space or balancing out overspending on the front end.

Customers often ask for the history of secondhand gowns, afraid of buying into bad karma, Fluhr adds, but "even if we know, we don't tell."

-- Updated: July 23, 2007
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