Keeping your wedding dress forever might seem like a good idea the day after your wedding when you’re still euphoric after your wonderful event. But within a few years or maybe even a few weeks, you may be wondering just what you’re going to do with a big white gown that needs to be kept in an airtight plastic bag for the rest of its life.
Are you going to move it around from place to place, then cram it into the back of a closet somewhere? Or maybe stuff it into a trunk in the attic where you’ll forget all about it? Or pay to store it at a facility that will keep it pristine until maybe a daughter or niece or godchild gets engaged?
Why not take a more eco-friendly approach, one that may generate a little cash for you, too?
Enjoy your dress, then find a way to repurpose it sooner rather than later.
Turn it into a cocktail dress: Depending on the style of your dress, you should be able to shorten it or dye it. There are many tailors who could do the job so well for you, you’d never be able to tell that the garment originally was a wedding gown. Some dry cleaning facilities will dye fabrics if you prefer to have a dress that’s a color other than white. Take a look at 11 different wedding dress transformations Cosmopolitan featured recently.
Re-use the material: If your dress has a long train for a big flowing skirt, that material could pretty easily be converted into a shawl or shoulder wrap, a short jacket for evening wear or even fancy napkins and a tablecloth. Check out the free skirt sewing patterns on So-Sew-Easy.com. If you’d rather not sew something yourself, have a tailor do it for you. It’s pretty straightforward to convert fabric into a shawl or wrap, but Prom DIY puts up the instructions on YouTube here.
Donate it: Search “donate wedding dress + your locale” and you’ll find women’s shelters and organizations that help girls who need prom dresses. You can also donate your dress to Fairy Tale Brides, a non-profit that re-sells the dresses at reasonable prices, then donate their profits to charities that include St. Judes children’s Research Hospital, Suited for Change and the Kids Network. You can download a donation form on their website here.
Rent it: You can rent a gown to wear or you can rent out your own gown. A surprising number of online companies make this process easy, from Rent the Runway to Borrowing Magnolia to Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses.
Sell it: Many of the online companies mentioned above will buy your wedding gown from you and relieve you of all responsibility to ever have to take care of it again. Given the care with which most gowns are made, they should be able to stand up to at least ten weddings—so why not let them? Of course, you can also put your dress on EBay or Craig’s List, sell it at a local consignment shop, or let your Facebook community know it’s for sale. Agree on a price you think is fair, then enjoy the pictures and the memories, as well as the thought that someone else is extending the life of your lovely gown.