What to Do with Your Wedding Dress After the Wedding
Your wedding day has come and gone. What should you do with your gown now?
While not usually the most expensive line item on a bride’s wedding budget, the wedding gown is the most emotionally significant purchase for almost every bride. And yet, after all the shopping, fitting, and expense, most brides wear their gown once and then aren’t sure what to do with them.
Fortunately, as this is a problem every bride has faced, there are plenty of ideas for brides to work with. If you don’t know what to do with your wedding dress after the wedding day passes, here are a few ideas to inspire you.
1. Preserve it.
No matter how careful the bride, her gown is usually pretty dirty by the end of the wedding. Not only has she been wearing it all day, but who knows where she might have gone for her wedding photos. Most brides start by taking their dress to a professional cleaner, but while this still will take care of the dirt and grime, it won’t keep the gown from growing yellow over time or (heaving forbid!) gaining a bit of mildew.
Gown preservation not only cleans the gown, it gives it an added layer of protection to keep it heirloom quality for decades to come.
2. Alter it.
Some brides pick a style for their wedding dress with the intent of altering it so that they can wear it again after the wedding. By raising the hemline or reusing fabric from the train to construct sleeves or a bolero, brides can achieve a whole new look while retaining the perfect fit they worked so hard to achieve.
3. Sell it.
You might love your dress, but that doesn’t mean you want to keep it stored in the back of your closet for the rest of your life. Selling your dress is not only a great way to make back some of your wedding expenses, it can also help to pad out your budget. If you know you’ll be selling your dress after the wedding, you can feel a little more comfortable making a big splurge.
4. Donate it.
Feeling charitable? Consider donating your dress! There are several amazing charities all across the country looking for donated wedding dresses, including Brides Across America, which provides gowns for military brides, Wish Upon a Wedding, which helps couples facing serious or life-altering illnesses, and Brides Against Breast Cancer, which helps fund breast cancer causes.
No matter which charity you choose, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your dress went to a good cause and helped make another bride’s day that much sweeter.
5. Repurpose it.
Over the years, brides have found all kinds of creative ways to get a second use out of their wedding dress. Here are just a few of the most popular:
- Jewelry. Why not take a piece of lace or a bit of beading and turn it into a piece of custom jewelry? It’s the perfect way to carry those fond memories with you wherever you go—literally! And speaking of carrying, why not turn part of your dress into a chic clutch?
- Artwork. Of course, you’ll want to put your wedding photographs up all over your home. But why not include your gown as well? Maybe you can frame a piece of lace, or cut sections to use in a shadowbox collage.
- Household items. One of the oldest home-making traditions surrounding wedding gowns is to turn the fabric into throw pillows, bed runners, or even an extra special table cloth. While these needs are mostly taken care of by guest registries these days, it’s still a lovely idea for incorporating your gown into your new home.
- Christening gown. Another old and famous wedding gown tradition is to use either the train or the veil (or both) to sew a christening gown for the couple’s first baby. This is an adorable way for couples to celebrate their expanding family and can lead to some darling baby pictures.
- Lingerie. Interested in a more seductive option for your wedding dress? Given the amount of lace on most wedding gowns you should have more than enough to work with, and depending on how you constructed the bodice of your dress, you may be able to fashion a corset from the boning and ribbon laces.
6. Trash it.
This trend has taken off in the past few years and is the most daring idea we’ve seen so far. Trashing the wedding gown is the opposite of preserving it: Brides arrange for another photoshoot with their wedding where they go on a wild adventure that is destined to result in a ruined wedding gown. This could include something as simple as painting a new house (imagine all the colors!) or something more romantic, like an underwater shoot, or one of the bride walking along the beach with her train trailing in the surf.
Depending on your partner or your group of friends, you could save your gown trashing for a special date on your first anniversary, or invite everyone over for a gown trashing party. It’s a fun way to say goodbye while also creating a memory that will last a lifetime.
There are many ways you can keep loving your gown after your wedding.
Your wedding gown is probably the most emotionally significant clothing purchase of your life. Whether you preserve it give it away, or trash it, your ultimate decisions should help you enjoy your gown in a way that leaves you with the happiest of memories.