It may not surprise you to know that my wedding dress is not something I kept or am storing.  When I got married, “Trash the Dress” events were big; you could take your dress with you on a photo session and do things that you either wouldn’t do in the dress before your wedding (like wade in the water) or things that would destroy the dress permanently, for the sake of fun pictures.  That wasn’t my scene, and I knew from the day I bought my dress that I would promptly donate it after my wedding.

But if you didn’t trash your dress, you may still be holding on to it today. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a wedding dress for a while, or for a particular event (like for a daughter who might want to wear it), or forever… for no other reason than the sentimentality.  However, maybe that daughter never came, or didn’t want to wear that dress. Or maybe you didn’t store it as well as you should have. Or maybe you just don’t have the room…  Or you finally stepped back and said, “Why am I really keeping this?” and you didn’t come up with a great answer.

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Well, here are some ideas for what you might be able to do with your dress:

  • Sell it.  Look on eBay or Craigslist and get a sense of the kinds of dresses that have been listed and sold, and price yours to move. Remember that dated ones may not work very well for today’s bride, but they may make a good Halloween costume, or work for a school play or something like that. Be creative when your dress doesn’t have the same value for brides as it once did.  Facebook groups are popping up, like the Wedding Dress Exchange, for Facebook-based swaps and sales. There are sites like “Once Wed” and “I Do Now I Don’t” that offer dressers for sale, as well. 

  • Donate it. There are several organizations that take donated, clean, wedding dresses for different purposes. (Note: As these are organizations that run on volunteers and donations and can get backlogged, please always check to see if they are still CURRENTLY accepting donations

    • Brides for a Cause.   This organization works with Wish Upon a Wedding, a non profit organization dedicated to granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering situations. They are based in Portland, Oregon, and have shows around the country to support the fundraising for this cause.   They are currently accepting dresses from 2005 or newer.

    • The Bridal Garden, in NYC. A Non-profit boutique selling dresses and accessories from the last 5 years to benefits children’s education programs.

    • Adorned in Grace, also in Portland, Oregon, sells used bridal gowns wherein proceeds go to raise awareness and provide support and safe shelter for victims of human trafficking.  Their website doesn’t mention how recent the dress must be to donate it.

    • Brides Across America gives away bridal gowns to military brides and those marrying someone in the military, and accepts dresses and accessories from the last 5 years.

    • Angel Gowns — Wedding dresses transformed into burial gowns for families who have lost babies (often without costs to the family).  There are programs across the country that do this, but here are a few: Angel Gowns by Michelle, Angels Above Baby Gowns,  and NICU Helping Hands.   BY THE WAY — LOVE THIS IDEA, BUT DON’T HAVE A DRESS FOR THEM?  PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING MONEY TO HELP WITH SHIPPING COSTS

    • Check with local synagogues to see if they work with a gown gemach, which helps support young jewish brides financially.

    • Donate it to a local theater group… maybe you’ll get to see it on stage!

  • Repurpose it

    • Dye it a different color and turn it into a party dress

    • Make a christening gown out of it for a child or grandchild (or donate to a church?)

    • Turn it into artwork:  Frame it on the wall, or turn it into a feature part of a quilt

    • Halloween Costume (Bridezilla? Bride of Frankenstein? Have fun with it…)

 

Finally…. that wedding dress tied to some pretty grim memories?  Well, there’s always this: My Ex-Wfie’s Wedding Dress

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