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Out with new and in with nearly new

Published May 12, 2009

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By Rachel Shields

Superstitious brides have followed the mantra "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" since the Victorian era, but this year, budget-conscious women seem to be turning their back on the "new" entirely and plumping instead for second-hand wedding gowns, antique rings and even used flowers.

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EBay has reported a 60 percent rise in wedding dress listings over the past three months; second-hand wedding dress websites such as the Dress Market and Almost New are reporting a huge increase in trade; and Oxfam is struggling to cope with the demand for its second-hand gowns.

The effects of the recession may signal an end to the vogue for lavish weddings, which has been fuelled by the over-the-top nuptials of celebrities splashed across the pages celebrity magazines.

"People are more discerning about how they spend their money now. They are saying: 'How much will it cost me? Is there another, cheaper way?'," said Sam Riley, director of Wedding Matters wedding planners.

"Before, when cash was flush, they could afford not to worry about that."

Cash-strapped couples are also disregarding the tradition that an engagement ring should cost between one and three months' salary (depending on whom you listen to), and opting for second-hand rings, which can offer much better value.

There has been a 200 percent increase in the number of engagement rings on eBay in the past three months, with an average price of just £31 (about R380).

Jewellers have reported a 20 percent increase in customers shopping for antique rings in the past six months.

Some brides are trying to cut costs even further - by using second-hand flowers at the wedding service.

"If there are two weddings on the same day they often share flowers. Sometimes they don't want to do it because of their colour schemes, but now they are often willing to compromise," said a London florist. - The Independent



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