Hello readers of Kiss My Tulle!! My name is Kelly and I write a blog in conjunction with my Etsy shop, Lavender Paper Hearts Handmade, where I like to feature new hair pieces and items from my shop, as well as share the occasional tutorial, recipe, or great find.
Today I wanted to share my quick and dirty tutorial about selling some of the stuff you will inevitably have leftover after your wedding. There is usually a lot of ‘stuff’ that goes into a wedding and what do you do with it afterward? Having it sit in your basement (or a closet, or your car) for years only to be thrown away later when it’s old, dusty, and or out of fashion isn’t ideal. Why not try to get some money back and help out a fellow bride (or groom) in the process? Below I’ll give you some ideas about how and where to sell some of this leftover awesomeness as well as places to consider looking if you’re planning your wedding.
My MOH's bridesmaid dress sold on Ebay for $45, plus the buyer paid for shipping.
Not too bad for a used dress she'll never wear again, right?!!
To give you an idea, here are a few of the things I successfully sold after our wedding…
- I sold the lot of French metal buckets, and other galvanized buckets in varying sizes that we used for flower arrangements (plus a few extras we didn’t end up using). – Sold on Ruffled Blog
- 4 small silver lanterns we didn’t end up using (bought super clearance at Walmart). – Sold on Ruffled Blog
- Our card box, which was a vintage looking picnic basket – also purchased on end of season clearance from Walmart. – Sold on Ruffled Blog
- 40 small shot glasses we used as mini-flower vases (MIL found these at the Christmas Tree Shop). – Sold on Ruffled Blog
- A new and used bridesmaid dress (David’s Bridal) - Both sold on Ebay
- 4 Clementine boxes I’d hoarded...because I love Clementine boxes, but we were moving so I needed to get rid of them. I used two of these to hold silverware for our Welcome Picnic the day before our wedding. – Sold on Ruffled Blog
- All the extra cardstock paper and envelopes leftover from our wedding invites and programs, etc. – Lots of 10 sheets/envelopes sold on Etsy. All our wedding paper items were designed by the awesomely talented Nicole Mac Designs.
The company we purchased paper from sent us this color by mistake and they let us keep it.
This is just some of the cardstock I sold in my Etsy Shop.
Tip 1 - Listing: You really want to make sure you write a clear and concise listing for your item. Does it have any flaws? You should mention it so that people know what you’re selling them. Maybe tell them what you used it for or what you were thinking of using it for, if you didn’t end up using the item. How tall is it? What size is it? What's it for (duh)?
People usually need a clear vision of what something will be used for if it’s not obvious. Tell them exactly how many of the item they’re getting, how much you're charging for the item (see tip 2), and maybe mention the state where the item is coming from. This is subtle, but important. If the item is coming from a smoke-free home, say as much. If you don’t smoke you might not want something that came from a smoker’s home. I have allergies and a disturbingly freakish sensitive sense of smell so this matters to me. If the item is new and has tags - show a picture of the tag attached.
Tip 2 - Price: Next, think about how much you paid for it, and how much it ended up being used (if it was used at all). I worked very hard to buy ALL of our items either on sale, clearance, or with a coupon so I got REALLY good deals on all of the items listed above. I also knew that vintage/rustic chic was super in so a lot of the things I used and wanted to re-sell were popular at the time. Because I’d gotten really good deals on the items I knew were worth much more, I didn’t feel bad at all selling my items at the cost of what I’d paid for them. Plus, if they paid what I paid, they still got a really good deal!!
Obviously, you have to use your best judgment here. You want to list your items so that they’re still competitive. This way people will actually purchase them and they don’t stay in your closet/basement forever, but not SO cheaply you don’t make a little money back too. You can throw out a price and also include the phrase “or best offer” (OBO for short). That way, if someone is interested, but wants to negotiate, they know they can. You can always say no.
Tip 3 - Pictures: Duh - take good pictures of your items. It’s usually best to use natural lighting if you can because that helps show people what color the item really is, etc. Take several pictures of your items from different angles whether close up or far away (use the micro feature [the little flower setting] if you've got it) – be sure to show the front and back or inside if that matters. (Example: Our picnic basket card box had SUPER cute blue gingham on the inside so I took a photo of the inside of the basket to show that off.) You might even show the photo in action – if it was used at your wedding and you have a photo of it, include it. Sometimes people need inspiration to see how to use things and showing them how YOU used them is helpful!!
Tip 4 - Shipping: Next you need to decide how you want to deal with shipping. The snag here is that with the invention of the blessed Internet people are now used to paying really little for shipping; it's important that you find a balance so that you don’t lose money on the deal. I usually use USPS because it’s generally cheaper than Fed-Ex or UPS (I always double-check though).
If your item will fit you could also try using USPS Priority Shipping – it’s a set fee and as long as the item fits in the box (up to 75 lbs, which is useful for heavy [i.e. expensive to ship] items) you can ship it for that set fee pretty much anywhere in the US. Another option, which is usually what I went with, was to calculate the price to the buyer’s address and send it either Parcel Post or First Class (if it qualified). This takes a bit more work, but it usually worked out well. People don’t feel like you’re trying to rip them off when something is kinda heavy and has to go far away. It mostly just feels fair, if that makes any sense. Use delivery confirmation – if they claim it didn’t show up (it’s happened with half.com things I’ve sold) you can prove that it did in fact get delivered.
Shipping prep work: I would also recommend that you box up the item and take it to the post office and weigh it. That way when people email you their zip code you can punch in the info and quickly reply back the total cost of the items. When packing your items be sure to use lots of packing material and a good sturdy box so that your item won’t break in transit – that would be super unfortunate and you’d probably have to give them a refund.
Tip 5 - Getting Paid: Unless you arrange to have things picked up locally, you should use PayPal. It’s a bit more secure in case something sketchy happens. If the buyer uses a check via PayPal make sure you wait to ship the item AFTER the check has cleared and you have the money in your account. You can send the buyer an email saying you need to wait until the item has cleared and it should be just fine.
Tip 6 - Set Rules: I always say something about no exchanges or refunds and all sales are final. That just cleans up any messy business if they suddenly get the item and decide they don’t want it. That’s just too much work for you and it’s not fair.
Here are a few places I know of to sell your items:
- www.ruffledblog.com – The way it works on Ruffled is that you post a listing and people email you to follow up on buying the item. Look for the Recycle Your Wedding tab along the top of the page.
- www.ebay.com – This is an auction style website so keep that in mind. You’ll have to set a shipping price in advance, so if you can use a Priority Mail USPS box, I would recommend it.
- www.etsy.com – I would only recommend this site if you have extra craft paper or envelopes and you DIY-ed your paper products. I bundled paper and envelopes in groups of 10, looked around on the site to see what similar items were selling for and then priced accordingly. It was a bit of extra work, but I made enough money selling the paper to make back money for ALL of the paper and envelopes AND cover the cost of what we paid to print things. Our wedding paper materials were thus free. Super.mega.awesome!!
- http://www.bravobride.com/blog/tag/used-wedding-decorations/ - *I haven't used this site, personally.
- http://www.recycledbride.com/ - *I haven't used this site, personally.
So it probably goes without saying that these would also be great places to look FOR wedding stuff if you're in the market for it.
Here’s an example of an item listing I used on Ruffled Blog:
For Sale: 40 mini flower cups and/or tea candle holders
We used these mini shot glasses as tiny vases to surround lanterns on our tables at our reception. They also perfectly hold little tea lights. The cups are just over 2 1/2 inches tall. I'm asking $15 for all 40 mini cups.
Shipping will be calculated to buyer's address. Include your zip code with inquiries so I can calculate shipping for you. Only serious offers please. No refunds or exchanges. Items come from a smoke free home.
Send me a message or post on my shop Facebook page, and I'd be happy to answer any questions for you.
Good luck, and happy selling!!
Kelly is the owner and creator for Lavender Paper Hearts Handmade, an Etsy shop, which is why she started her blog, where she sells inexpensive wedding hair pieces (among other things). You can also follow her on Facebook.