Oxfam are appealing for more second-hand wedding dress donations because demand at it’s bridal outlets is booming.
The charity runs ten dedicated bridal stores in England, with wedding dresses ranging in price from £75 for a three-quarter-length dress to about £600 for a designer gown. The average price for a dress is around £250.
More brides-to-be are opting for a second-hand wedding dress to save on the cost of the wedding day and, by buying their dress from Oxfam, they are making an ethical statement at the same time.
The charity’s need for more stock was highlighted by the month-long waiting list for appointments at one of Oxfam’s dedicated bridal shops.
Barbara Warmsley, the charity’s bridal co-ordinator, said: It’s great that so many brides are coming to Oxfam for their dresses, but we are desperate for donations to meet this growing demand”. “If a donated dress sells for £250, this can provide 100 people with clean water, build two toilets, train one midwife and feed a family for a month.
The shops stock wedding dresses and accessories, veils, tiaras and shoes, as well as bridesmaids’ dresses. Some bridal departments can also provide outfits for the groom and the mother-of-the-bride.
The typical selling price of an Oxfam wedding dress is around £250 – a huge saving on the £826 estimated to be the price of the average wedding dress. Many of the wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses are unsold or sample products donated by mainstream bridal shops, and they frequently include designer brandsfrom catwalk shows and high-end wedding retailer . Some are simply donated by brides after their big day. Customers buying dresses often donate their purchase back to Oxfam after the wedding.
A survey carried out by Oxfam has found a wealth of wedding dresses languishing in wardrobes around the country. The survey found that 82% of brides hang on to their dresses after their weddings, but 75% have never put their dress on since their wedding day, and 77% think that they probably won’t ever wear their wedding dress again. 20% of respondents were only hanging on to their wedding dresses because they hadn’t got round to doing anything with them yet.
In 2005 there were 283,730 weddings in the UK. If even half of these brides donated their dresses to one of Oxfam’s ten bridal outlets around the country, this could raise a staggering £35 million for Oxfam – enough to fund Oxfam’s emergency programme work in Chad and Darfur for three years.
Oxfam’s survey found that 15% of couples feel that having an ethical slant to their wedding is important, and this trend has seen a growth in the number of brides heading to Oxfam’s bridal outlets.
If you have a wedding dress you no longer need you can donate it to Oxfam, along with other wedding clothes and accessories, by calling into an Oxfam bridal shop or calling Oxfam on: 0845 3000 311
Oxfam Stores with Wedding Departments
Bracknell – 96 Broadway, Bracknell, RG12 1AR
Tel: 01344 427698
Bradford – 54/58 Darley Street Bradford BD1 3HN
Tel: 01274 306700
Cambridge – 20 Burleigh Street Cambridge CB1 1DG
Tel: 01223 329841
Chippenham – 5 The Bridge, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 1HA
Tel: 01249 447061
Coventry – 300 Walsgrave Road, Walsgrave, Coventry
Tel: 024 76 448909
Heswall – 258/258a Telegraph Road, Heswall, CH60 7SG
Tel: 0151 342 8416
Leatherhead – 42 High Street Leatherhead KT22 8AJ
Tel: 01372 378819
Leicester – 22 Market Street, Leicester
Tel: 0116 2556455
Poole – 136 High Street Poole BH15 1DN
Tel: 01202 674086
Southampton – 76/78 High Street, Shirley, Southampton SO15 3NE
Tel: 07969 668939
York – 7 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LJ
Tel: 01904 659001
Please note – It’s always a good idea to phone first as opening times can vary