Wondering what to do with your wedding dress after the wedding? Whether you’re looking to plan ahead or you’ve already returned from your honeymoon, it’s good to start making plans for your beloved bridal gown before too much time passes, especially since some options can be rather time sensitive! On that note, let’s not burn up any more time… Below is a little sneak peek of Avery Austin’s eight suggestions for things you can do with your wedding dress after the wedding. Click whichever suggestion catches your interest to jump right to the fun details, or read straight through to take it all in!
- Preserve Your Wedding Dress
- Donate Your Wedding Dress
- Sell Your Wedding Dress
- Loan Your Wedding Dress
- Alter Your Wedding Dress
- Repurpose Your Wedding Dress for Children
- Turn Your Wedding Dress into Keepsakes
- Trash Your Wedding Dress
1. Preserve Your Wedding Dress
Are you the type of person that likes to hold fast to memory-rich objects? Then chances are your wedding dress is an item you’ll want to keep with you for many years to come. The first thing you’ll need to do is have it cleaned carefully. Then you’ll want to look into wedding dress preservation options before carefully storing your gown. Thankfully, Avery Austin has a whole article full of tips about caring for your wedding dress after the wedding, so you can explore all of the possible methods for cleaning, preserving, and storing your bridal gown post-wedding.
Some brides prefer to go a step beyond simply storing their beloved wedding dresses. Instead of safely keeping them boxed and hidden from sunlight, these brides are turning wedding dress preservation into an art form. By carefully framing their precious bridal gowns, they are able to see their wedding dresses after the wedding and reminisce daily.
Of course, you might be preserving your wedding dress for a specific future purpose that would nix the whole framed gown idea. If you have plans to reuse your wedding dress for an anniversary ceremony or vow renewal, then the wedding dress preservation process will keep your gown pristine and ready to go for that special day! Hoping you can pass on the gown for one of your future children to wear? Again, wedding dress preservation is the way to go.
2. Donate Your Wedding Dress
Share the joy and beauty of your wedding dress with other brides by donating your bridal gown after your wedding. You could give it away to a friend or family member in need, or look into various charity organizations that accept wedding dress donations. Either way, you’ll be starting off this new chapter in your life with a sense of empathy and generosity! Here are a few charities to consider.
- Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring: If it’s been less than five years since your wedding, your bridal gown may be eligible for donation to this nonprofit organization. Besides helping other brides create lasting memories in your wedding dress, you’ll also be helping a great many other charitable organizations this way too since Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring donates all sales. It’s amazing that just one gently used wedding dress can make such a huge difference for so many other!
- Brides Across America: Is your wedding dress less than four years old? Consider donating to an organization that helps brides who are first responders and veterans (or their partners are). Providing about 2,000 bridal gowns each year to those who serve the country, this bridal charity is on a mission to serve them right back.
- Adorned in Grace: Accepting wedding dresses within 5 years after the wedding, Adorned in Grace also accepts all other kinds of formal dresses and even bridal accessories too! After reselling the donated formalwear, proceeds are given to charities that work to prevent human trafficking and to support survivors.
- Brides Against Breast Cancer: Accepting all wedding dress brands except David’s Bridal, Brides Against Breast Cancer will resell gently used bridal gowns and send along all proceeds to organizations that provide support systems to those experiencing breast cancer, as well as channels that support breast cancer research.
- Brides for a Cause: Similar to Adorned in Grace and Brides Against Breast Cancer, Brides for a Cause resells wedding dresses and donates the proceeds to charities. In this case, the charities all focus on women, locally and nationally.
- Baby Gowns for Eternity: This nonprofit organization will repurpose your wedding dress for babies who are stillborn. Using the beautiful bridal fabrics to create burial gowns, shrouds, or wraps, they provide these for free to any grieving family wishing to wrap their baby delicately with love in those final moments.
3. Sell Your Wedding Dress
A great way to bounce back a bit from your bridal expenses is to sell your wedding dress after the wedding. When brides often spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars on a gown they only intend to wear for one, albeit perfectly beautiful and memorable, day, the prospect of making back a percentage of what was spent is very tempting! The process of selling, however, can be stressful or costly. If you prefer to do the selling directly yourself, you can certainly save a great deal when it comes to commission fees, but you’ll have to do all of the footwork. On the other hand, there are many companies that will take on finding buyers and helping you through the packing and shipping process, but you could be paying anything from a one-time fee to 20-40% commission. Consider your options carefully before choosing your method for selling your wedding dress.
4. Loan Your Wedding Dress
Loaning your wedding dress is kind of like the middle ground between wedding dress preservation and donating or selling your gown. It’s perfect for when you want to help a bride you know, but you don’t really want to say a permanent “goodbye” to your wedding dress. If you choose to loan your bridal gown, it’s so important to be very clear and upfront about your expectations for the use and care of your dress. If you’re not, there could be alterations or other changes made to your gown that suit the new bride but maybe not you.
5. Alter Your Wedding Dress
We know what you’re thinking…alter the wedding dress after the wedding? Isn’t that what happens before the wedding? Well, the kind of alterations that you would do to your wedding dress after the wedding are quite a bit different. In this case, you’d be changing your bridal gown into a whole new style that you could wear for other special occasions. For example, you could turn your wedding dress into a cocktail dress and wear it for special dates with your spouse or an anniversary celebration together. You could even go so far as to dye your wedding dress to further transform your bridal gown into a whole new style. Be sure to do a little research first on the fabric, as not all wedding fabrics take in dyes as well as others. However you choose to remake your gown, you’ll get to reuse your wedding dress time and again, sometimes without others even realizing until they ask you where you got your gorgeous dress!
6. Repurpose Your Wedding Dress for Children
Did you know that you can repurpose your wedding dress for babies or children? Whether you have littles ones right now or are dreaming of hearing the pitter patter of little feet in the future, you can create any number of special occasion outfits for them from your wedding dress! Some popular options include a baptism or christening gown for a baby or a holy communion dress for an older child. Of course, you could also repurpose your wedding dress for the not-so-little babies in your life by creating a beautiful dress for a milestone birthday to make the celebration extra special.
7. Turn Your Wedding Dress into Keepsakes
A practical, but still sentimental, way to use your wedding dress after your wedding is to turn it into special keepsake items. The bridal fabric could be used to craft special baby blankets or bassinet covers, which is the perfect way to tie together your past with your dreams for the future! You could also explore ways to turn your wedding dress into home decor keepsakes. These items you would be using often, sometimes daily! Imagine pulling out special napkins, tablecloths, or pillow covers made from your wedding dress and walking down memory lane each time you do.
8. Trash Your Wedding Dress
If you haven’t heard about the “trash your dress photoshoot” trend, then you probably read that title a few times in utter disbelief. How could Avery Austin expect you to TRASH your dress?! But hang with us for a minute, as you might like what you read next! One of the latest trends involves wearing your wedding dress after the wedding one more time for a dramatic photoshoot…so dramatic that the dress is typically ruined (or “trashed”) by the experience. Also known as “fearless bridals” or “rock the dress,” these special photo sessions post-wedding give you the chance to capture one-of-a-kind memories with your loved one that would not have been possible on your wedding day if you were trying to keep a pristine look throughout the celebration.
Wondering what one of these photoshoots might entail? Imagine dressing up with your new spouse for a magical underwater photo session. Or go back to the beach where you said your “I do’s” and get snapshots of the two of you among the waves with the sand and sea crashing impressively against you both. Have a paint fight, play with fire like a phoenix reborn, or get down and dirty with a mud-caked photoshoot. Whatever fabulously fun and outrageously messy stunt you both want to try, jump all in to create bold and beautiful memories as newlyweds.
So what do you want to do with your wedding dress after your wedding? Are you more of a preservation, memory-keeper kind of gal? Or do you prefer to breathe new life into your gown, whether by altering and repurposing or passing it along to the next bride? There’s truly not one right way to use or reuse your wedding dress after the wedding. It’s ultimately up to you, as are most bridal decisions! Start by deciding if you can live with or without your wedding dress, then narrow your options down from there. Before you know it, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you want to do with your wedding dress after the wedding.