A scene from the annual Filene's Basement's bridal gown sale -- a.k.a. Running of the Brides -- in Washington D.C.
The average wedding gown costs $1075. Once you enter designer territory, the price tag can balloon to ten times that much - for starters. So it's no surprise that when the doors open at the infamous Filene's Basement bridal sale (a.k.a. the "Running of the Brides"), women who've camped out overnight lunge for the racks like they're going after a desperately-needed kidney.
But when you think about it, this is a garment you'll wear once, for a few hours at most. So it makes sense that in these worst (and worsening) of times, sites like www.woreitonce.com, www.savethedress.com, and www.oncewed.com would emerge to create a niche: The online market for second-hand wedding gowns. A New York Times article says that on these sites, brides can find discounts of 25 to 50 percent off retail on "high-end couture gowns" from the likes of Monique Lhuillier and Jim Hjelm and -- yes -- even the Great Oz of bridal design, Vera Wang.
And once you've said your I Dos, blissed out on your honeymoon, and written the last thank-you note, you can even submit your gown to the same site where you bought it and recoup a little cash.