Best Things to Do With Your Wedding Dress

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Once you’ve said yes to the wedding dress and had your ceremony, what do you do with the frock?

One of the latest trends is trashing it. Once they’re done blushing, brides are ruining their white wedding gowns — whether it be with scissors, mud or fire — and capturing the experience with photos or video.

After spending sometimes thousands of dollars on a gown, other newlyweds are at a loss about what to do with it after the “I dos” are over.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson wore his wedding suit and his wife donned her gown to celebrate their one-year anniversary with a limo and a night on the town. Here’s Stacy with a few more ideas.


More traditional options include preserving the dress. There’s the old standby of saving the dress for a daughter or other loved one’s wedding. Other brides save their gowns to potentially wear at a vow renewal ceremony.

Preserving a dress properly can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Some of the cost depends on the material and intricacy of the dress.

The first step is to take it to a cleaner who specializes in preservation.

You can either have the dress professionally packed or do it yourself. The New York Times says proper preservation should protect from light, dust and insects. While you might want to be able to gaze at your beloved frock, putting your garment in a box with a peek-a-boo window is a no-no. Another gaffe is keeping your gown in plastic.

The Times suggests purchasing museum-quality conservation supplies, which it notes are not available at most dry cleaners. Proper packing materials can be ordered from websites like Conservation Resources.


You can go old-school and sell your garb at a yard sale, through a consignment shop or via a classified ad in the local newspaper. Online has an array of options as well. There’s always eBay and Craigslist but also sites specifically for cashing in your dress such as once wed.

If you’re not sure how much your lightly used dress is worth, Preowned Wedding Dresses has a calculator. Just fill in the condition, date purchased, designer and other details and it’ll give you a quote.


Make your dress new again. This can either be done with the whole gown, like slicing off the bottom to make a cocktail dress, or with parts, such as redoing the bodice or using some of the material for a headband or other accessory.

Other options include dying your gown a new color, or making a few adjustments to a slinky dress to turn it into lingerie.

“You might feel silly wearing a long white gown to a friend’s wedding (and stealing the spotlight from the bride is the ultimate no-no!). But dyed in a darker color, your dress could be totally re-wearable,” says We tv, home of “Bridezillas.”


Brides For a Cause resells the garments to help fund weddings and vow renewal ceremonies for couples facing terminal illness and other serious life-altering situations.

Brides Against Breast Cancer resells dresses from individuals and businesses in more than 100 shows nationwide each year. Money raised goes to provide free wellness and education services to cancer patients and their families and caregivers.

The Bridal Garden resells donated dresses for up to 75 percent of the original retail price to help disadvantaged children in New York City.

Another option is donating the dress to a local thrift store.

What did you do with your wedding dress following the nuptials? Let us know on Facebook.

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  • whatacountry

    thanks for the great ideas! i think i am going to donate mine to the good cause thing. thanks for the tip! :)

  • Addison Richardson

    Don’t like the idea of trashing my wedding gown. I preserved mine and it will be 20 years in April. My daughter is looking forward to opening the box for our 20th anniversary. I can’t wait to see if it is still white and to try it on. I told her she can have it for when she marries and she can take it to a seamstress and do whatever. She told me she doesn’t want to wear an old dress. I don’t think she understands the tradition behind it. That’s okay.

    • Kolleen Dohermann

      Was this a new dress for you? I understand the tradition and it’s sweet but this is one tradition that has mostly gone by the wayside. I think between easy access to materials and the media, everyone wants a princess experience. I am a tomboy and even I was enamored with “the dress”. BTW, I had mine made for $500 so you can still have what you want at an affordable price. It’s all in the materials you chose. You can also buy a bridesmaid dress in white, but that’s for another article!

  • Donna Maier

    We were married 44 years ago and my dress stayed in a box for 42 of those years. Our eldest daughter was married 2 years ago and when I pulled the dress from the box it was outdated andl a little yellowed. She still got to wear it, at least some of it. I had my mom make a garter for her for “something old”. It turned out so pretty and there was enough left to make one for my younger daughter when she was married! Now it will be preserved for their daughters to wear!

  • Anne corey

    I donated my wedding dress to a local theater group. They take the whole dress apart and then reconstruct what ever they need. Very Cool. They were very appreciative. I also gave them several brides maid dresses.

  • Donna Serino

    Due to my line of work, I encounter brides asking this question all the time. You mentioned some great options and also, some great organizations. For me personally, I couldn’t imagine trashing my gown…and especially after spending all that money. Unfortunately, some brides realize that in hindsight and then try to reverse the ‘damage’ which isn’t always possible.

  • m5783

    I have seen them made into christening gowns. Very beautiful.

  • Kolleen Dohermann

    So my husband has insists I keep my dress. I wanted to donate it right after the wedding. I made him store it on his side of the closet. I had it dry cleaned. It’s on a hanger in a plastic bag. Such a waste! I told him it will yellow and deteriorate. I asked why he was so attached and that someone else could use it before the moths get it. He rolls his eyes. I wore a dragonfly brooch that I keep by my bedside which I adore. What am I missing?

  • Shawna Harmon Berg

    I had mine made into baptismal gowns for my children, that will more likely become an heirloom that will be passed on.