Many brides are buying pre-owned wedding dresses

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PHOENIX -- Weddings can be very expensive, but if you're thinking of tying the knot, or know someone who is, 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper has a money-saving tip.

It's all about saving money when you can. These days, times are tough and people are pinching pennies where they can, and weddings are no exception.

With that in mind, many brides are buying pre-owned wedding dresses.

At Claire Tully's recent wedding, she felt beautiful in the dress of her dreams and this bride is still smiling about her dream deal.

"I think the original price was probably about $2,000 and I paid $600 for it, so I saved quite a bit of money," Tully said.

That's because the dress she chose was pre-owned and judging by the growing number of websites that offer used items for your I-dos, Tully has quite a bit of company making something old new again.

From sites such as PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com to I Do Now I Don't, you can find pretty much anything to put more value into your vows.

The Knot's Anja Winikka said you can find pre-owned accessories like birdcage veils, gloves, shoes that have been worn once, votive candles, paper lanterns, aisle runners.

Winikka said today's wedding costs an average of more than $28,000 and 40 percent of couples now pitch in to help pay.

"Typically, back in the day, it was the father of the bride cutting the check at the end of the night, but these days the couple is very likely to contribute to their own wedding," she said.

So, brides and grooms are turning to new websites for ways to whittle down the wedding expenses, but they're not the only ones who benefit. The sellers don't have to store items or waste them on one-time use.

"It's kind of a win-win situation," Winikka said.

Some brides prefer pre-owned for the savings, while others support sustainability. No matter your reason, either way, you should still be careful.

"A wedding ring, an engagement ring, you're going to want to take a look at that and get it examined by a jeweler," Winikka said.

And add in expenses for alterations if you're looking at a gown. Tully had to pay for adjustments but still came out saving. She acknowledges there are some brides who will insist on brand new for a variety of reasons, but pre-owned paid off for her and she believes others could benefit.

"I would recommend it for some people," she said. Consumer advocates say there is nothing wrong with asking to see the original receipt just to make sure the name-brand dress you're buying is not a knock-off.