03/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Second-Hand Style: Wedding Dresses Get Re-Worn

At a time when the average cost of a wedding is $28,082, and the average dress is $1,075, according to the American Wedding Study 2009, and designer gowns sell for as much as $10,000 or more, a growing number of brides on a budget are looking to save money and be eco-friendly by renting or buying used dresses and other items for their weddings.

Whether they are billed as "once worn," "pre-owned," or "lightly loved," Web sites like, and offer listings for hundreds of dresses at substantial savings, in all sizes, styles and prices.

Even previously owned high-end couture gowns from designers like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, and Amsale sell for 25 to 50 percent or more off the original retail price, giving brides a realistic alternative to finding "something affordable without sacrificing quality," said Nina Willdorf, the author of "Wedding Chic: The Savvy Bride's Guide to Getting More While Spending Less" (Perigee Trade).