By Rebecca Padgett Frett
My wedding dress is my favorite outfit I’ve ever worn. I felt the most beautiful, confident and happy I’ve ever felt when wearing it — and rightly so for the price I paid.
There are many aspects of your wedding you get to keep. Your photos go in frames and albums. Your rings become a permanent accessory. Even your shoes and jewelry can likely be worn again to other formal events. But many brides are left wondering what they should do with their wedding dress?
Whether you plan to give it a new home or keep it in your own, below are some ways to reuse, recycle, resell and more.
There are many reasons you may choose to preserve your dress. This option is popular among those who are sentimental or nostalgic. Preserving is wise if you plan to pass your dress along, to keep it as an heirloom or if you just simply can’t bear to part with the beauty. You should take your dress to a dry cleaner or other company that specializes in dress preserving. Preserving is a process where the dress is first cleaned to remove any stains, dirt and oils. After cleaning, the dress is wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and placed in a museum quality box or chest, which will keep acid and light out protecting it from yellowing or molding. It should be noted that garment bags do not properly keep light or moisture out.
A wedding dress can be the gift that keeps on giving. Imagine seeing your dress make someone else smile just like you did. There are many regional and national organizations that specialize in wedding dress donations. Brides for a Cause resells used dresses to raise money for local and national charities throughout the U.S. Brides Across America donates dresses to military brides in need. Adorned in Grace resells dresses with the proceeds benefitting the fight against human trafficking. Angel Gowns takes wedding dresses and turns them into dresses for babies who are stillborn or pass away in the NICU. Operation Prom and Cinderella’s Closet are great for tuxedos and bridesmaid dress donations. They help dress low-income students for prom. Inquire locally to see what causes and organizations accept dress donations near you. You could also drop your dress by your local Goodwill or thrift store.
You could sell your dress to a friend or family member or take to the internet. There are an abundance of online buying and selling sites. Be sure to read through their guidelines in order to decide which site is the best option for you. If you decide to sell, you should have the dress cleaned first and note in the description that it has been cleaned. Cleaned dresses, in good condition and less than a couple years old can usually sell for 50 percent of the price you paid. Name brand dresses can sell for even more.
Turn It Into A Keepsake
If you want to keep your dress, but don’t want it sitting stagnant in a box, consider giving it a new life. The possibilities are nearly endless. Many dresses can be altered and turned into a new outfit. Hem it into a mini dress. Remove the skirt or top and wear them as separates. Get with a seamstress and have them work their creative magic to create a unique piece. Deconstruct your dress and turn it into several wearable items — a clutch, a purse, jewelry, a child’s dress, etc. Beyond a wearable item, dresses are often transformed into pillows, tablecloths, curtains or art.
Have a Post Wedding Photo Shoot
If you find yourself tempted to put on your dress again, we are in full support. Whether it’s for a first, fifth or 50th anniversary, take your dress out, dress up your partner and hire a photographer. Maybe you go back to your ceremony site and recreate the day, or try somewhere special to you, such as your home, a vacation spot or a park. The “trash the dress” shoot is always an option. For some, this means paint splatters. For others, this may mean jumping in a pool or splashing around in the ocean or a lake. Have fun and give that gown another go.
Always dreamed of a hot pink wedding dress? Is jet black more your style? Give your dress a new hue by dying it. This gives you the opportunity to wear it again, just in another color. This looks especially beautiful on the sleek and slinky dresses we have seen become popular over the past couple years. Do note, it should be cleaned first, and lace does not dye particularly well.