A $699 wedding dress for 10 bucks
The veteran auction-goer had given the dresses a cursory glance and basically turned up her nose. Nothing here, she answered as I approached her and asked about them. The racks didn’t reveal any dresses she’d want to take back to her shop.
I was intrigued, though, because there were a lot of gleaming white dresses in pristine condition. (Click on photo above for a fuller view.) The last time I noticed wedding dresses at auction was some months ago, when two still in their boxes were lying under a table at an auction house. Those looked like they had been had put away years ago and forgotten.
These, however, were all new, still wrapped in plastic to protect them. Someone mentioned that they came from a shop whose merchandise had been liquidated. Some of the bridesmaids’ dresses could have been fill-ins for prom dresses, another buyer noted.
There were about five or six racks of wedding dresses, mother’s gowns, flower-girl dresses, veils and more. Nearby were tables of satin shoes and sandals, lace and satin gloves, purses and tiaras. Another table held mannequin bodies, heads and legs.
I looked at the price tags on several of the wedding dresses: One was priced $325, another $538 and another $699. The latter was a beautiful beige beaded dress that made me want to get married just to wear it. It had too-small a waistline, though. (Click on photo below for a full view.)
After surveying the gowns, I wandered away to another room to return later for the sale of the outfits. By the time I got back, the auctioneer was going through a rack of prom-like dresses that sold for as little as $5 each. One bridesmaid’s dress sold for $25.
In many instances, buyers walked away with whole racks for cheap after the highest bidder had chosen her lot.
The accessories were sold in multiples: A set of three purses for $10. A box of lace gloves for $45. A box of satin gloves for $7.50.
When the auctioneer finally came to the wedding dresses, I heard the bids but couldn’t see the bidder. After he moved on, I closed in to see who had won them. It was the buyer who had initially mocked them; she apparently had changed her mind.
She got first dibs at choosing as many dresses as she wanted for $10 each. After actually looking over the dresses, she explained, she found that some were quite nice – including the beige one that I liked.
She looked through the 15 or so gowns, choosing about eight of them and passing on a dress that had a large spot. The auctioneer would re-bid all the rest as a lot.
Around us, women (most of the buyers were women) had piled stacks of dresses and accessories on chairs, themselves waiting to be auctioned. I spotted a flower-girl dress in a lovely soft-pink color with roses (price tag of $148) stretched out on one of them. The buyer had gotten it in a stack of leftovers (after the highest bidder had taken what she wanted) that altogether cost $20. She said someone had already offered to buy it. I couldn’t figure out how the first person had overlooked it.
The auction house had advertised these wedding dresses on its website. Too bad not enough brides saw it. This was “the” place to get outfitted in style for very little money – even if off the rack.