A bride has saved thousands of dollars after finding her wedding dress and veil at an op shop, and revealed how others can snag a secondhand bargain with one simple tip.
Olivia Johansen, 27, from Brisbane, wed her partner Matthew, 29, at Kooroomba Lavender Farm in Boonah, Queensland, in September wearing a $100 dress and $15 veil from Lifeline – and the stunning finished outfit looked as good as any bridal look from an expensive wedding boutique.
‘I didn’t necessarily intend on getting an op shop dress. My mum and I were driving past Lifeline in Lawnton, North Brisbane and I said: “Should we just have a look?”,’ Olivia told Daily Mail Australia.
A bride has saved thousands of dollars after finding her wedding dress and veil at an op shop, and revealed how others can snag a secondhand bargain with one simple tip (Olivia Johansen pictured)
Olivia Johansen, 27, from Brisbane, wed her partner Matthew, 29, at Kooroomba Lavender Farm in Boonah, Queensland, in September wearing a $100 dress and $15 veil from Lifeline (both pictured on the wedding day)
Olivia (pictured) said she didn’t intend on buying an op shop dress, but was just in Brisbane with her mum she when she said she thought they should pop in for a quick browse of the Lifeline racks (pictured on her wedding day)
‘There were around six wedding dresses there in total. My mum pulled this one from the racks and it ticked everything on my want list: it had straps, a low back with buttons, lace, crystals and a mermaid shape.
‘It wasn’t the perfect size, but we could envision it when altered.
‘She then pulled a cathedral-length veil that was hanging up near the dresses and it was perfect!’
Even better, the stunning lace veil cost just $15, while the dress was available for $100.
The bride had the dress altered by a family friend so that it fitted her figure perfectly, and said she would have ‘spent thousands on it’ from a bridal boutique had she not seen it in Lifeline
Olivia said when she saw the dress, it ticked all of her boxes in that it had straps, a low back with buttons, lace, crystals and a mermaid shape
Once she had bought the dress, Olivia said she had a talented seamstress family friend, who altered the gown to make it fit her figure ‘perfectly’.
”It was honestly more perfect than I could have ever imagined,’ she said.
‘I loved my wedding dress and wouldn’t change a thing about it. I would have bought the same dress for thousands if I had seen it in a bridal store.’
The savvy bride incorporated many sustainable and DIY elements to her wedding (reception pictured) and said the key with DIY and keeping costs down is you need to start well in advance; she began eight months out from the wedding
The couple (pictured) chose a BYO venue so that they could supply all of the alcohol, and they also opted for a mid-week wedding – which also kept the costs down with vendors
Olivia and Matthew wed at the Kooroomba Lavender Farm in Queensland in September and sought to keep their costs down in a number of ways.
‘I was very lucky in winning a competition with ABIA (the Australian Bridal Industry Awards) in 2021, which meant that we were gifted $10,000 worth of vendors,’ Olivia said.
‘So my wedding bands, bouquets, live music and furniture was covered by that.’
But elsewhere, the savvy couple kept costs down by choosing a BYO venue which meant they could buy their own alcohol (‘we chose Dan Murphys as they buy back any unused drinks’), and having a mid-week wedding – which also saved them thousands.
‘If you are a bride and want to keep things reasonable, I’d recommend keeping an eye out for sales items you know you want like confetti,’ Olivia said.
‘We used biodegradable confetti from The Whole Bride, and if you keep an eye out they have sales advertised all the times.
‘I also bought my wedding shoes from ASOS during a sale and they were super cheap too.’
The average cost of a wedding dress in Australia revealed
New South Wales – $2,918
Victoria – $2,886
Queensland – $2,038
South Australia – $2,575
Western Australia – $2,497
Tasmania – $2,327
Northern Territory – $2,625
Australian Capital Territory – $2,024
Source: Easy Weddings
Olivia said the key with op shopping is to keep an ‘open mind’ and look at each piece individually, as you never know what ‘hidden gems’ you will come across
Olivia said she ‘loves DIY’ and was lucky enough to borrow a friend’s cricut machine so that she could make all of their stationery.
‘I made the floral table centre pieces and floral arbours using old flowers that I had been collecting for eight months prior, and then I painted the little vases white, printed the menus, and made our welcome sign and table seating plan myself,’ she said.
Olivia said the key with DIY at weddings is starting well in advance so that you ‘never feel rushed’.
‘I found it really fun and rewarding seeing it all come together,’ she said.
When she shared her wedding on Facebook, thousands were quick to say how ‘incredible’ she looked in the $100 gown and $15 veil
Finally, the bride shared her top tip for others wanting to snag a bargain at an op shop.
‘My top tip is to look at each piece individually and be open-minded,’ she said.
‘You never know what hidden gems you can find. From a wedding dress to cowboy boots, there’s something out there for everyone.’
When Olivia shared her bridal look on Facebook, thousands were stunned at how expensive it looked.
”This is stunning. It looks like the dress was made for you,’ one woman commented.
‘What an incredible find. You look beautiful,’ another added.