The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Wedding Dress on eBay

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The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Wedding Dress on eBay

Buying a wedding dress is one of the most exciting, albeit high stakes, decision that a woman can make. The pleasures of envisioning that special day are only enhanced by shopping for the ideal dress. Given the extensive array of wedding dresses out there, shopping for a wedding dress can be an overwhelming decision, too. Travelling from bridal wear shop to bridal wear shop only compounds the confusion, as women try to view as many dresses as possible before making a choice. Fortunately, online auction sites such as eBay provide a more consolidated and easier way for women to peruse thousands of dresses right from the comfort of their own homes.

This buying guide aims to provide readers with helpful tips as they go through the process of finding and purchasing a dress on eBay. The guide also takes a look at the more popular styles of wedding gowns available that are really driving the bridal fashion market and defining the more popular bridal items.

Shopping for a Wedding Dress on eBay

There are several ways to begin a search for a wedding dress on eBay. A good way to get an initial overview of the wide range of choices on the site is to run a search by entering the term "wedding dress" in the search field which appears near the top of every page on the site. Running this search will pull up all of the auction listings associated with the term "wedding dress".

As a woman in search of the ideal dress begins to browse through these listings, it can be helpful for her to have a clear idea of some of the dominant fashions in the market and what she can expect to find when searching for the perfect wedding gown. In the following sections, this guide walks readers through various types of wedding gowns and takes a look at some of the popular accessory items that go with the dresses.

Types of Wedding Gowns

Most wedding dresses fall into one of five types of silhouettes. Within these silhouettes, several different types of bodices can be incorporated, creating a diverse array of looks. The following are the five classic wedding gown silhouettes and some style characteristics of each.

The Ball Gown Silhouette

The ball gown silhouette is the image many women have in mind when they think of a "fairy tale" bridal look. This silhouette features a fitted, structured bodice that then extends out abruptly into a very full skirt. The skirt is often layered, fluffy and constructed of materials such as tulle or organza.

The A-Line Silhouette

A slightly less extravagant variation of the ball gown princess look, the A-Line look features a less structured waist that transitions more gently into a flared skirt. A-line princess gowns can often be found in heavier fabrics such as silks or lace, but they can also leverage tulle and organza as well.

The Sheath Silhouette

A sheath wedding dress is a fitted dress that hangs in a slightly tapered silhouette from the torso to the knees or to the ankles. This dress can appear almost tube-like and creates a lean silhouette. The dresses are not as hourglass-oriented as in the mermaid style, discussed below. Popular materials in this style include silk and satin.

The Mermaid Silhouette

The mermaid wedding dress is a very form-fitting dress that accentuates or creates an hourglass feature, mimicking the storied silhouette of the mermaid of legend. The mermaid remains fitted until usually around the knees, where they will flare out into a circle or into a fishtail train. Mermaid dresses are often constructed in satin, with lace or bead details overlaid on top.

The Empire Waist Silhouette

An empire waist dress has a fitted bodice that extends into a loose and flowing skirt from the bottom of the bust line. Flowing materials work best in this silhouette, as it is meant to accentuate a fluid look from the bust on down.

Bodice Designs on Wedding Dresses

Within each of these silhouettes, any one of several bodice styles can be used to finish off the wedding gown look. The bodice of a wedding dress is the part of the dress that covers the torso of the bride and, at times, her arms and shoulders as well. The following are the more prominent bodice styles found on wedding dresses.

The Strapless Sweetheart

The strapless sweetheart bodice is a fitted design that features a heart shape just above the bust. These very structured bodices have a feminine feel and often appear in ball gown dresses or A-lines for an overall princess look.

The Sleeved Sweetheart

The sleeved sweetheart has the same heart shape above the bust as the strapless sweetheart, but features sleeves that can run from the capped to the full length. This type of bodice is a more traditional look that provides more coverage than many of the other bodice options.

The Halter Neck

The halter neck bodice features a plunging neckline and two large shoulder straps that meet behind the neck. The back is usually completely exposed with a halter neck bodice. This type of bodice can be seen with A-lines, mermaids, and sheaths, for the most part.

The Spaghetti Strap

The spaghetti strap bodice gives a way for a bride to leverage an almost strapless look while also being able to expose a good deal of the back. The bust line with a spaghetti strap can be straight or curvilinear on bodices with a lower back.

The Bateau

The bateau bodice completely covers the chest up to the clavicle, where it ends in a straight line that accentuates the horizontal line from shoulder to shoulder. The bateau can have a covered or open back. It does not usually have sleeves.

The Scoop

The scoop bodice features a large, low circular neckline that exposes a good deal of the chest and bust. The scoop can be paired with thin shoulder straps or sleeves. Its slight variant, the square bodice, features the same overall design but with a squared-off bustline.

The Straight Strapless

The straight strapless bodice features a very fitted look with a bust line that runs straight across. Sometimes stiff pieces of tulle are placed in the bustline of the straight strapless to add a feminine accent.

Choosing the Right Dress for Each Body Type

Certain silhouettes and bodices are a better fit on different body types. The following chart elucidates the dress options that are ideal for each of the types of body shapes.

Body Type

Do Wear...

Don’t Wear...

Full figured

Ball Gown, A-line, or Mermaid

Sheath or Empire


Mermaid, Sheath, Ball Gown

Empire or A-line


Ball Gown or A-Line

Empire, Sheath, or Mermaid

Athletic or slender

Sheath or Empire



Ball Gown or Empire

Sheath, A-line, or Mermaid


Ball Gown, Mermaid, or Empire

A-line or Sheath

As can be seen from the chart, not all silhouettes are ideal for each body type. Therefore, care must be taken to choose a wedding dress that not only looks great, but also accentuates the figure so that it feels great when worn.

Colour Variations

While the vast majority of wedding dresses are white, more and more coloured versions are appearing on the market. A woman may want a coloured wedding dress because white does not suit her sense of style or because she is celebrating her second marriage or is an older bride. Whatever the case, there is an increasing amount of options when it comes to coloured wedding dresses, including pink, red, and even dresses with black detail.

Bridal Accessories

Among the more popular bridal accessories are gloves, veils, tiaras, and shawls. All of these items can be found in a wide selection on eBay. Each item can add a unique touch to a wedding dress, helping to take a look to another level and letting a woman add her own distinct sense of style to her wedding gown. Gloves usually come in either wrist length or fancy dress length. Some of the more popular options when it comes to veils are the long and enchanting cathedral veil and the short and sassy fascinator veil.

The eBay Buying Process

Once you have chosen a style of wedding dress that you are interested in, run a search for a specific style and begin pursuing individual item listings in detail. Click on the name of the item to see its full listing and pay special mind to the condition of the dress, the shipping costs involved, the length of time needed for shipment, and the seller’s accepted payment methods.

Getting to Know Your Sellers

You should also research each seller closely when shopping for a wedding dress on eBay. You can do this by looking through their past auctions and reviewing the feedback they have received from other customers. This helps ensure the quality of your experience and that you get the dress you want within the desired time frame.

Once you make your purchase, consider leaving your own feedback about the seller. This helps sellers improve their customer service and can help inform the shopping experience of another bride who might be looking for a wedding dress on eBay.


The special process of buying a wedding gown can be one of the most enchanting experiences of a woman’s life. By carefully considering the range of silhouettes available to her, addressing which looks flatter her figure, and looking into the accessories that can add the right touch to her bridal ensemble, a bride can achieve a truly unique and lovely look on her wedding day. Brides in search of a wide array of options can do no better than leveraging the extensive bridal catalogues of an online auction site such as eBay. Whether she is going for a simple look or one that is fancy, a woman can peruse hundreds of listings in every wedding dress silhouette on eBay, and she can also find a wide range of accessories to suit her needs. With the help of eBay’s user-friendly listings, a bride can be sure to find the bridal gown she wants that will make her wedding day truly memorable and make her shine.

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