Comin’ around again: brides turn to previously owned gowns for savings

  • 2 min to read
Interior of Brigid Bridal

Interior of Brigid Bridal.

Brides can find anything they might want or need at Brigid Bridal Boutique, the only bridal salon in Vermont specializing in previously owned wedding gowns.

The boutique, located at 309 Mountain Road in Stowe, has racks of gowns in many styles, veils, undergarments, beautiful lingerie, custom-made jewelry, wraps and fur stoles, gloves, and, of course, glittering tiaras.

There are also mother-of-the-bride dresses, bridesmaid dresses, formal and semiformal dresses and gowns, and a wide selection of gifts.

Additionally, the boutique provides one-stop shopping for grooms. They can rent a tuxedo or suit, or buy dress shirts, cufflinks, ties, belts and socks.

Brigid is a Gaelic term for bride, according to owner Susan Wimble.

Previously owned wedding dresses have become more popular in recent years, Wimble said.

Given the economic downturn, many brides are leery about spending thousands of dollars on a dress they’ll wear only once.

The savings can be huge. The gowns at Brigid Bridal — all previously owned, or shop samples — cost $300 and up. A silk-organza Vera Wang design with intricate hand embroidery, silk flowers, and beading cost $12,000 new. At the boutique it was available for $7,600.

Susan Shedd of Gorham, Maine, came to Brigid while searching for a gown for her second wedding.

“It was one of those things where I just felt I didn’t need something brand new,” Shedd said. “I’d already had that opportunity. I was looking for something low-key.”

She was immediately drawn to a gown with a sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice, and lots of sequins and lace.

“It was the opposite direction I thought I would go in,” Shedd said. “I bought it after trying on six or seven other gown. It’s spectacular.”

After learning the gown’s history, she was certain that she was destined to wear it.

Wimble had worn it at her first wedding in the early 1990s. She later modernized it by removing its puffy sleeves and making other alterations.

What’s more, Wimble and Shedd share the same first and middle names: Susan Elizabeth.

“Here we are, two Susan Elizabeths using the same gown,” Shedd said.

Shedd describes her wedding — an intimate affair with 50 guests, mostly family — as “a fairy tale.”

The dress, she says, “was the best wedding decision I made.”

Some of the “used” gowns sold at the boutique have never been worn. For instance, a bride might change her mind after buying a non-returnable gown.

Wimble accepts only dresses that are in excellent condition and five years old or less — although she sometimes makes exceptions for older gowns in classic styles or hard-to-find sizes. Her current inventory includes gowns in sizes 2 to 24, and from dozens of highly sought-after designers, such as Vera Wang, Ian Stewart, James Clifford and Jim Hjelm.

She works with a professional seamstress who provides in-house alterations.

Wimble, who is happily married to her second husband, has resold both of her wedding gowns and encourages brides to do the same.

“You can keep it (the gown) for a day when your daughter might want to wear it, but chances are she won’t,” Wimble said. “They’re works of art. They should be seen, not hidden away in a closet.”

Wimble also caters to less traditional brides. She keeps periwinkle blue gowns in stock for brides who want to follow the Irish tradition of wearing a blue wedding gown. The look is especially popular with brides who get married on a beach or casual outdoor venue.

Brides and grooms don’t have to visit the boutique to take advantage of the services it offers. Out-of-town grooms planning a Stowe wedding can provide their measurements to Wimble and she’ll have a suit or tuxedo waiting when they arrive. She’ll also deliver tuxedos to area hotels, and steam gowns for brides.

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