What To Do With An Old Wedding Dress: 5 Creative Options

So, you’ve said your “I dos,” danced the night away, and now you’re left with a gorgeous wedding dress that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Trust me, you’re not alone in this.

Even Meghan Markle had to figure out what to do with her iconic Givenchy gown after the royal wedding. Spoiler alert: It ended up on display at Windsor Castle, but let’s be honest, we can’t all be royalty, can we?

So, here’s the dilemma: You love that dress to bits, but it’s also kind of in the way. What’s a gal to do? This is where your sentimental side and your practical side might be having a little tug-of-war.

So, what’s a bride to do?

When it comes to getting rid of your wedding dress, you’ve got options. You can sell it online for some extra cash, donate it to a charity for both a good cause and tax benefits, or go green by recycling it. Other avenues include renting it out for recurring income, preserving it for future sentimental use, or altering it for other special events. The choice is yours!

I personally donated my wedding dress, because I wanted the tax deduction. But, there many other great alternatives if the tax break isn’t what you’re after. Let’s explore them.

5 Things You Can Do With Your Old Wedding Dress

1. Sell Your Old Wedding Dress

So, you’re ready to sell your wedding dress, but where do you even start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are some platforms that can help you turn that beautiful gown into some much-needed cash:

Online Wedding Marketplaces

  • Stillwhite: This is like the eBay for wedding dresses. It’s super popular and specializes in, you guessed it, wedding dresses!
  • PreOwnedWeddingDresses: Another great platform that’s been around for a while. They also offer a calculator to help you price your dress.

General Online Marketplaces

  • eBay: The classic go-to for selling just about anything, including wedding dresses.
  • Poshmark: Known for fashion resales, Poshmark is another option, especially if you’re looking to sell other wedding accessories too.

Social Media

  • Facebook Marketplace: You’d be surprised how many local brides are scouring Facebook for deals.
  • Instagram: Use the right hashtags, and you could attract a buyer. Just make sure to set up a secure payment method.

Local Options

  • Consignment Shops: Some bridal shops offer consignment options. They’ll display your dress and take a cut when it sells.
  • Local Bridal Fairs: Sometimes these events allow previous brides to sell their dresses. Check the rules in your area.

Specialty Shops

  • TheRealReal: If your dress is a designer label, this luxury consignment shop might be for you.

Each platform has its pros and cons, like fees, audience size, and how much work you’ll need to put in. So, pick the one that fits your needs and let’s get that dress sold!

  • How to price your dress
  • Tips for a quick sale

2. Donating Your Wedding Dress

If selling isn’t your jam and you’d rather make a difference, donating your dress is a fantastic option.

There are several charities that would be thrilled to take your gown off your hands:

Charities That Accept Wedding Dresses

  • Brides Across America: They provide free wedding dresses to military brides.
  • Wish Upon a Wedding: This charity helps couples dealing with serious illnesses.
  • Adorned in Grace: They fight against human trafficking, and proceeds from your dress go directly to the cause.
  • Goodwill: Always a solid choice for any donation, including wedding dresses.

The Tax Perks of Donating Your Wedding Dress

Here’s the cherry on top—donating your dress can actually give you some tax benefits. Most of these charities are 501(c)(3) organizations, meaning your donation is tax-deductible. Just make sure to get a donation receipt and maybe even an appraisal if your dress is particularly valuable. Come tax season, you’ll be patting yourself on the back.

Donating Your Dress Feels Good

There’s something incredibly satisfying about knowing your dress is going to make another bride’s day just as special as it made yours.

Plus, depending on the charity, you could be supporting military families, fighting against human trafficking, or helping a couple who’s going through a tough time. That’s a whole lot of good karma coming your way.

Donate wedding dress

3. Repurposing or Upcycling the Dress

Thinking of a sentimental keepsake? Transform parts of your wedding dress into a memory quilt, baby blanket, or even custom jewelry to cherish for years to come.

Memory Quilt: Use different sections of your dress to create a quilt that you can cherish forever.

Baby Blanket: If you’re planning on having kids, turning your dress into a baby blanket is a sentimental touch.

Jewelry: Believe it or not, some artisans can turn the fabric and beads from your dress into custom jewelry pieces.

Repurpose wedding dress

DIY Home Decor

  1. Cushion Covers: Your living room could always use more cushions, right? Your dress can provide the material.
  2. Table Runners: For special occasions or everyday use, a table runner made from your dress can be a conversation starter.
  3. Wall Art: Frame a particularly beautiful section of your dress and hang it as art. It’s a great way to keep the memories alive.

Fashion Reimagined

  1. Cocktail Dress: With some alterations, your wedding dress can become a chic cocktail dress.
  2. Skirt or Blouse: Separate the top from the bottom and you’ve got yourself a new skirt or blouse.
  3. Lingerie: For a more intimate keepsake, consider turning your wedding dress into lingerie.
Upcycle wedding dress

Special Occasions

Thinking about turning your wedding dress into a cherished heirloom or saving it for future special moments?

  1. Christening Gown: If you have or plan to have children, your wedding dress can be transformed into a christening gown.
  2. Holiday Decorations: Think Christmas tree skirts, Easter tablecloths, or even Halloween costumes.

Proper preservation is key to keeping your gown as beautiful as the day you wore it.

For Your Furry Friends

  1. Pet Bed: Use the softer, cushiony parts of your dress to make a comfy bed for your pet.
  2. Pet Outfits: If you’re the type who loves to dress up your pet, why not use your wedding dress material for their next outfit?

Repurposing your wedding dress can be a fun and fulfilling project. Not only do you get to keep a part of your special day, but you also get to flex those creative muscles. So, grab those scissors and let’s get crafting!

Is it worth altering the dress for other occasions?

Is it worth altering your wedding dress for other occasions? Yes, if the cost of alterations is reasonable, the revamped dress will be versatile, and you have a sentimental attachment to it.

4. Recycling the Dress

So, you’re all about that eco-friendly life and want to make sure your dress doesn’t end up in a landfill. Awesome! Recycling your wedding dress is a fantastic way to be kind to Mother Earth while also decluttering your space.

What Parts Can Be Recycled

  1. Fabric: The main material of your dress can often be recycled into new textiles.
  2. Beads and Embellishments: These can be removed and used in other fashion or craft projects.
  3. Metal Zippers and Buttons: These can be melted down and reused.

How to Go About It

  1. Textile Recycling Centers: Some specialized centers accept wedding dresses. Just make sure to call ahead.
  2. Craft Stores: Believe it or not, some craft stores will take the embellishments and fabric for reuse.
  3. DIY: If you’re crafty, you can recycle the dress yourself into smaller projects and then properly dispose of any remaining non-recyclable parts.

Companies That Help

The Feel-Good Factor

Recycling your dress means it gets a second life in a new form, and you’re reducing waste. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you made an eco-conscious choice. It’s a win-win!

So, if you’re leaning towards the green route, recycling your dress is a solid choice. You’ll be doing good for the planet, and let’s be honest, that always feels great.

5. Renting Out Your Wedding Dress

Ever wondered if your stunning wedding dress could be someone else’s dream gown for a day while also putting some cash back in your pocket?

Absolutely, you can rent out your old wedding dress! It’s a great way to make some extra cash and help another bride have her dream day. But keep in mind, that renting comes with risks like potential damage or loss.

How to Do It

  1. Clean and Preserve: Make sure the dress is in top-notch condition.
  2. Photograph: Take high-quality photos to showcase your dress.
  3. Platforms: Websites like Rent the Runway or local bridal shops might offer rental services.
  4. Contracts: Always have a rental agreement in place to cover any damages or losses.

Is Renting Your Wedding Dress Worth It?

If you’re not overly sentimental about your dress and you’d like to make some money back, then yes, it’s worth it.

renting your wedding dress

Let’s recap, shall we? When it comes to that gorgeous wedding dress taking up space in your closet, you’ve got a buffet of choices. Want some extra dough? Sell it! Feeling charitable? Donate it and snag some tax benefits.

If you’re all about that eco-life, recycling is your jam. Not ready to part ways? You can either rent it out or preserve it for future generations. And hey, if you’re feeling crafty, why not alter it for another special occasion? The world—or at least the fate of your dress—is your oyster!

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