I’m not sure how to introduce today’s newest sponsor, Encore Bridal, without making some sort of high-pitched squealing noise like one of those goats that sound like humans. An online consignment boutique specializing in upcycled couture wedding dresses, Encore Bridal sells new and gently used designer wedding dresses at a fraction of their normal cost (anywhere from $700–$6,000, with most averaging around $2,000), plus they donate a portion of their profits to charities that support women’s causes, and to top it all off, the dresses they sell are all smoking hot. Guys, this is my happy place.
So let’s cut right to the chase. The dresses Encore Bridal sells? GORGEOUS. In fact, what Encore Bridal does is actually really different from most of the other online wedding consignment stores out there. The shop is carefully curated by shop owner Julie, which means that instead of having to thumb through hundreds of photos trying to find the dress you like best, Encore Bridal does the work for you and features a small, revolving collection of only the most awesomely awesome dresses, mostly from couture designers, and all up to Encore’s strict condition standards. And let me just say, Julie’s taste makes me wish she dressed me every day. Plus, she gets that everyone is looking for something different, so Encore’s styles range from short and simple to long and glamorous and everything in between.`
But the best part about Encore Bridal is that they make the shopping process insanely easy. First, while the selection is highly edited, it’s definitely varied. There are dresses ranging in sizes from 0–16 and prices start at $700, going all the way up to $6,000 for Vera Wang at a third of the normal retail price, and all in a huge variety of styles. When I was looking through their current selection of dresses, I found at least three that I would have snatched up in a heartbeat when planning my own wedding, and I was surprised to find that they were actually in my real dress shopping budget. (FYI, I’m mad at whoever grabbed this amazing thing this week. I wanted one of you guys to get your hands on it!)
Not to mention, Encore Bridal goes the extra mile and lists all their dresses in actual street sizes, which means you can shop online confidently knowing that a size 8 at Old Navy is going to be pretty close to a size 8 at Encore. Plus, Encore Bridal’s selection of dresses in sizes 12 and up is equally as beautiful as the dresses they carry in smaller sample sizes (which is really hard to pull off in bridal consignment). Of course, if you prefer the experience of being able to try on dresses in a store, Encore Bridal has its very own by-appointment-only showroom right in San Francisco. And since they only take in one client at a time, you won’t end up like I did that one time I tried to go to a bridal consignment store, changing in the closet of a warehouse building, trying to squeeze into the one size 8 dress that was too small anyway. I mean, that alone makes me want to hug Julie and take her out for a drink.
The funny thing is, all this isn’t even what makes me love Encore Bridal. I mean, yes the dresses are gah-mazing, and the prices don’t make me want to cry, but then to top it all off Encore Bridal is a business you can feel really good about supporting. Julie explained to me, “Being involved in and giving back to the community supports Encore Bridal’s mission. Right now we are holding a dress donation drive for Brides For A Cause to support Wish Upon A Wedding, a nonprofit organization that grants weddings to couples with life threatening illnesses. (Editor’s Note: If you’re a wedding grad and interested in donating to the cause, you can drop off gently worn wedding dresses from 2005 or sooner and bridal accessories at Encore Bridal’s showroom. Get more details here.) We also donate a portion of our profit from every sale to charities that educate women about cervical cancer.” I mean, it’s not very often that a wedding purchase makes you feel warm and fuzzy. And it’s even less often that you get those same warm and fuzzies from a hot number like the one below.
And since Julie loves the APW community, she’s offering a free bridal accessory (valued up to $200) to any APW readers who purchase a wedding dress through Encore Bridal before June 1st! Just mention APW when you are in their showroom or email julie at encorbridal dot com to get a discount code you can redeem online. Julie explained, “I really appreciate the core values of APW. As a company we’re down-to-earth, let’s-be-real, no-drama-allowed kind of people. Our brides like nice things but also love a deal. And as someone who has been married for eight years, I love working with couples who understand that it’s not just about the wedding day, it’s about the marriage.” And then Julie quoted Ben Affleck, saying, “It’s work, but it’s the best kind of work,” and I fell in love with her.
So guys, I encourage you to go browse Encore Bridal’s amazing selection of curated wedding dresses (and accessories! They also sell veils and jewelry, plus the amazing bolero above that looks like it came straight out of one of the Gabor sister’s closets). If you fancy yourself a style maven (that’s the high brow way to say you’re into fashion, right?) then you won’t be disappointed when you click through their selection. I literally gasped my first time through. And while these dresses might not be cheap, they are about the best steal I’ve seen on the internet this side of eBay. Plus, when you add in the bonus of knowing that some of your money is going to support really great causes, there is frankly nothing I can say about Encore Bridal that isn’t a win. Now go, please buy all of the dresses featured in this post so that I can go on living vicariously through you guys. (P.S. I’m buying breakfast for the person brave enough to buy the mermaid dress and pair it with the feather bolero. Because you’re my hero.)