It can be difficult to know what to do with your old wedding dress once your big day has passed. The last time I wore mine was many years ago. I’d paid more for it thinking if I got something of quality and completely timeless and with a corset top then it would be suitable to pass down to a possible daughter. However, the birth of two sons and divorce since meant I had little use for my beautiful dress.
I still held onto my wedding dress for years, not just because of how much I’d spent on it (!) but also because it was stunning and I couldn’t bear to simply sell or give it away. It had meant so much and I wanted to do something meaningful.
I had a chat with some of my friends about what they’d chosen to do with their old wedding dresses, so here are some ideas. Read to the end to find out the very special thing I chose to do with mine!
Keep it hung
Of course, you could do like my friend Faith from Much More With Less, and just keep your dress hung up in your wardrobe to enjoy a glance at on a daily basis! Instead of paying extra for a storage bag, she’s just protected it with an old duvet cover to reduce costs!
Buy a non-wedding dress!
Victoria from Lilia Rose chose not to buy an official wedding dress in the first place so she could just pass in on to her mum as a nice summer dress! She says, “I didn’t buy a conventional dress, but instead bought a cream lacey summer dress from New Look for our outdoor ‘wedfest’! I gave it to my mum afterward as she loved it and it’s one of her favourite dresses to wear on beach holidays!”
Donate to charity
Thrifty Clair kindly donated her old wedding dress to a shop that sells them on and all profit goes to a local hospice. She donated it just five days after her wedding. She knew it would end up in her loft collecting dust so it seemed better to her to donate it to hopefully allow someone to bag a bargain dress AND help a local charity at the same time. Clair has said, “It also meant I didn’t have to pay for dry cleaning as the shop has their own cleaners and seamstresses to bring dresses up to saleable condition so it was win/win.”
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Today I donated my wedding dress! Some of you might think it's mad to do that so soon after my wedding but I always planned on donating it to @bridesofbury as all proceeds from sales go to @bury_hospice. For me it seems like a much better use for my dress, my other option was to pay for dry cleaning then pop it up in the loft which seemed such a waste of a beautiful dress. This way, another bride gets to wear it and all money raised (including gift aid) goes to a fantastic charity. If you've followed me for a while you'll know I shared a few posts about the boutique back in February (link in bio). They don't just sell preloved dresses, they also have brand new gowns, prom dresses, veils, accessories, mother of the bride/groom outfits and lots more. Best of all, they're all amazing value! So if you're a thrifty bride living in the North West, have a visit to Bride's of Bury, especially if you want to snap up my actual dress. I was a little sad handing over my dress but the overwhelming feeling was happiness that it will get to be enjoyed again. I have lots of amazing pictures of me in my dress and the most precious memories of our big day so I don't need the dress sitting in the loft to remind me of our wedding day. #bride #donate #donation #donatetocharity #bury #bridetobe #weddingdress #wedding #payitforward #share #love #memories #brideonabudget #budget #thriftylife #thrifty #giftaid #gift #thriftybride #thriftywedding #budgetwedding #budgetweddingtips #bridetips #savvy #moneysaver #debtfreewedding #ukmoneysaver #ukdebtfreecommunity #weddingblog #weddingstuff
Just return your rental
Of course, if you’ve chosen to rent your wedding dress whether for monetary or eco reasons, then you get to just return your hired dress like Tim Mictchell from Money Engineer‘s wife did.
Box it up for preservation
Emma from The Money Whisperer was lucky to have her mum offer to get her old wedding dress dry cleaned but found it came back in a beautifully carved box wrapped in ribbons. If you’re looking to store your wedding dress safely to preserve it, make sure you fold it without creasing, use acid-free tissue paper to place between each of the folds of the dress to help prevent creasing or the fabric touching other parts of the dress. Finally, wrap it with unbleached muslin for final protection.
Sell it back to the seamstress
If you had your old wedding dress made, you could always sell it back to the creator! This is a great way to keep overall costs done and this is exactly what Jo from Joleisa did with her handmade creation.
Frame and display it
If you’re looking to keep your old wedding dress, then there can’t be anything better than having it on display to enjoy each day. By framing your dress and or your wedding accessories, you’ll keep them in the best condition as well as them making beautiful decor.
Hold a trash the dress photoshoot
I personally struggle with the idea of a trash the dress photoshoot. It feels wasteful to me, but I guess if you’re feeling particularly bitter then trashing your old wedding dress might be really cathartic for you. However, there are some lovely alternatives to trashing your dress without ripping it up and getting it dirty. Paint bombs are a great prop for some original photos!
Donate for a “last chance wedding”
This is such a lovely idea. Sally said, “I donated mine to a charity that organises weddings for people with a terminal illness.” Gift of a Wedding is one such organisation that helps those with limited time to get wed.
Create a children’s teepee or bear
If you’re crafty then making your wedding dress into a play tent or teepee is a really lovely idea. There are companies that can make these for you though. Brenda’s Online is one such company. She also offers other handmade products to keep your wedding dress as keepsakes such as bears.
And finally, what I did…
As I’ve said, I didn’t have a reason to keep my dress but I knew I wanted to do something meaningful with it. So I decided to donate my beautiful gown to a local lady who works for a charity to make outfits and little dresses for babies who are born sleeping. My heart breaks for the parents who make use of these tiny angel gowns but I truly hope that they bring some comfort to families during their grief.
If you’d like to do something similar to what I’ve done with my old wedding dress, then here’s a list of a few national resources who might be able to help you.