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What To Do With My 30 Year Old Wedding Dress

Get Crafty With Your Wedding Dress


If you’re savvy with a sewing machine and not afraid to see your dress in pieces, turn it into something you know you’ll use and loveor that someone else will. You’re most likely working with a fair amount of material, so you’ll be able to create a range of creative household items and accessories.

Turn It Into A Teddy Bear

Another way to create a keepsake from your dress is to have a teddy bear created from your wedding gown. There are websites that allow you to send in material and embellishments from your dress and have it turned into a stuffed bear. That way, both your son and daughter could hold a sentimental piece of your dress. It even makes a fun gift to give to your first grandchild. You could go ahead and have this bear created before you have children and keep it in your home as a whimsical decorative piece. Another option is to have several bears made for all of your children or even all of your grandchildren if you have enough material left.

Donate Your Wedding Dress To Charity

Many organizations all over the country accept wedding dress and apparel donations. For example, Brides Across America gives wedding dresses to military brides in need. Every Girl’s Dream in Michigan accepts both wedding gowns and evening wear for brides-to-be facing financial hardship, while Operation Prom and Cinderella’s Closet will take wedding and bridesmaid dresses to help dress low-income students for their prom. Brides for a Cause will accept your donation, resell your dress and use the proceeds to raise money for different causes. Another idea is Angel Gowns or Baby Gowns for Eternity, which turn wedding dresses into gowns for stillborn infants. If you don’t have a specific charity in mind, think local and inquire at your nearest thrift store the shop may be in need of a white gown restock, in which case, you’ll make a lucky, local bride-to-be very happy in the near future.

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Choosing The Right Tools

The best way to take apart the seams of any garment, including a wedding dress is to use a good old fashioned seam ripper.

This can be time consuming and you will also need to cut into your dress eventually to make any of these projects, so you can save time by just using fabric scissors if you wish.

If you are going to go this route then you want to use a sharp pair of fabric scissors to cut your gown apart as close to the seams as possible so you can preserve every last bit of lace, satin or tulle.

Once you have your dress separated out into what will effectively be large pieces of fabric you can also use a rotary cutter and cutting mat to make your cutting more precise.

There Is No One Right Decision About Whether To Keep Or Get Rid Of Your Wedding Gown

Daughters in their mothers wedding dresses

Before we get into the heart of the article though, I do want to acknowledge that even discussing whether to declutter your wedding dress can be a touchy subject for some people.

There’s a lot of emotion caught up in wedding gowns. For some that emotion is positive, and for others it is negative.

These emotions are often less about the dress itself than about the marriage and the memories that the gown represents.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to keep your wedding dress and storing it. There is equally nothing wrong with donating or using it for a keepsake item. The choice is yours, and yours alone. Do what feels right to you.

If you decide to keep the dress make sure you’re storing it properly. You can check out my general tips for clothes storage here for ideas of where and how to store this keepsake and sentimental item.

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Do Research To Find What You Like

Patrick Demarchelier

Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting themeare they all very embellished, lacy, or voluminous? Do they all have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.

Have A Fun Photoshoot

If youre not the sentimental type but love a good Instagram shot, trash the dress shoots are gorgeous. On your first anniversary, rehire your photographer and snag some fun shots of you and your groom trashing your gown! The are memorable, fun and definitely unique. We love ones with huge splashes of paint or dives in the ocean. Incorporate that top layer of wedding cake youve been saving and go to town!

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Order Too Big Rather Than Too Small

Danielle Frankel

Most gowns can be altered down one or two sizes and, depending on the seam allowance, up one size, so it’s better to order too big and take it in than be stuck with a zipper that won’t close.

Katie Ruther Event Planning by Papaya Playa Project

No wedding gown is going to be as comfortable as your pajamas, but you don’t want to be pulling it up or constricted by it all night, so bust out some moves in the dressing room. If you’re planning a church wedding where you may need to kneel or sit during the ceremony, practice doing that in the gown. If you’re planning to drop it like it’s hot on the dance floor, try it out to make sure you can move how you want.

Here Are Some Things You Can Create With An Old Unusable Wedding Dress:

  • Ring Pillow
  • Hairpiece
  • Garter

Or, you could even display the heirloom dress somewhere at the wedding where everyone will see it, possibly near the guest book.

Before you decide to “recycle” that old gown because you can’t clean it yourself, carefully consider an experienced professional who specializes in wedding dress restoration. They are your best bet to have your wedding gown properly cleaned and restored.

But if you want to try it yourself, then the tips above will help you make that wedding dress look good as new.

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Where Can I Send My Wedding Dress For An Angel Gown

Brides from around the world donate their precious wedding gowns to NICU Helping Hands. The wedding gowns are then distributed to our team of over 180 seamstresses throughout the United States to convert into perfectly made garments that a family will use to wrap their precious baby in for their final journey.

Do A Trash The Dress Photoshoot

Having a post-wedding photoshoot where you trash the dress is very trendy. You can take photos of you in your dress in the ocean, getting muddy on a farm with horses, rolling around in a field of flowers, or having you and/or your kids paint your dress like its a blank canvas. Since the options are limitless for how you can trash the dress, take a look at some of these

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Start Inexpensive And Work Your Way Up

Isabelle Armstrong

Make your first appointment with the least-expensive bridal shop and keep scaling up if you don’t find anything. Same goes for trying on dresses during your appointmentstry on the most affordable one first, and work your way up to the bank-breaker. You may fall in love before then.

David Salim Event Planning by Design Anarchy Studio

Whether you want to feel classic, vintage, and comfortable, or romantic, glamorous, and beautiful, go into wedding dress shopping with a clear vision of how you want to look on the big day. Choosing three specific words to describe your vibe can help narrow down your dress selections.

Brides Against Breast Cancer

A personal favorite from my Etsy shop ...

If you are wondering where to donate an old wedding dress, this might be your choice. This is one of the oldest and most popular charity organizations that focus on wedding dresses.

It was started in 1997. They have been selling used dresses to raise money and awareness for early cancer detection. Their mission is to reduce the impact of breast cancer through early awareness.

They were featured in the New York Times in 2018. Last year, their revenue-to-charity work ratio was 100%. The organization has a substantial online presence where you can click and purchase or donate. Your dress must be two years old or newer and should have caused at least $1000 when purchased originally if you want to donate it here.

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What Can I Do With An Old Wedding Gown

  • Michele Vargo on Feb 28, 2017I would never get rid of it. Plus it’s to fragile to be worn. Thanks for the option though.
  • Yellow Barn Interiors on Feb 28, 2017OK. Well then my next suggestion is to cut the bottom off and frame under glass the bodice part and hang it on your wall. That would be the most practical thing. Hope this helps.
  • on Mar 01, 2017I love the idea of cutting a part of it off and framing it. You could create a shadow box, instead of a flat frame, where you could arrange other bits from the dress, including this amazing photo or others.
  • Yellow Barn Interiors on Mar 01, 2017Yes, in fact you could add some other things in the shadowbox that relates to her grandmother’s life and so it could be a framed shadowbox of her grandmother’s history. She could just take a photo of someone wearing it and put the photo in the shadowbox and that way she could pack the dress away if she doesn’t want to cut it.
  • D on Feb 28, 2017The deacon at my church had his mother’s wedding gown made into beautiful vestments for the priest and deacon.
  • Cathi on Feb 28, 2017What about making christening gowns for her great grandchildren? Frame some lace with a photo of her in the dress, maybe make handkerchiefs for the family members…or maybe someone will wear it one special day!
  • Lisa Gage on Mar 01, 2017Love my wedding dress so much and would love to do sme of these ideas for my grandchildren now!! Thanks
  • Style & Dare To Be Different

    Find a gown that isnt your normal go-to silhouette. Surprise your partner in something that makes you feel glamorous and sexy, but is still classic and tasteful.

    Simple Sheath Dress

    There are also many toponline shops that offer amazing wedding gowns at all different price points, which you can read more about.

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    Facebook Buy And Sell Groups

    Another local option to sell your wedding dress is on Facebook Buy and Sell groups or through the Facebook Marketplace.

    These groups will sell almost anything, so you wont be marketing to brides only. The upside is that the buyers are local, so you dont have to worry about shipping your dress.

    Include lots of photos, a good description, and a competitive price when listing your dress. You may have to negotiate on the final price, so leave some bargaining room.

    Itll probably take you longer to sell your dress via Facebook, but there are no fees to create a listing.


    Second Marriage Gown Tips For Older Brides


    When you are in your 20s or 30s a second marriage is easier to get away with doing it all over again big dress and all. Almost as if the first time never happened. Take Megan Markle, can you name her first husband? Trevor Engelson who? No images popped into our minds of Megan walking down the aisle during her destination wedding in Jamaica on her FIRST big day.

    But when it comes to older ladies, who may come with a little more noticeable baggage , what exactly should an older bride wear? Well we think whatever she darn well pleases!

    Choose something that flatters your figure and makes you feel good wearing. If that means a ball gown at 70, all the more power to you. Here are a few tips and suggestions for those round-two brides who want to feel beautiful, classy, and gorgeous on their big day.

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    Create A Photo Album Or Wedding Card Keepsake Book

    One of the most memorable aspects of a wedding is the photos. From bridal portraits, photos of the wedding party to that picture of the couple first laid eyes on one another to those candid shots during the ceremony and reception, everyone loves to cherish those memories forever. For that reason, it only makes sense that brides should choose a memorable way to store and showcase their photos. A cool way to showcase the dress not only in photos but also in real life is to embellish the photo album with some of the material from your wedding gown.

    Choose some of your favourite parts from the dress and cut them out. Then, use them to cover a photo album. Another option is to use some material to cover a binder or folder and use it to store all the cards you received from guests. After all, you should have plenty of material to do both.

    Let Your Kids Use It To Play Dress

    This is another great idea if youre not quite ready to get rid of your dress but want to do something useful with it. What little girl wouldnt love to play around with her moms wedding dress?

    I have actually thought about making Nora a mini dress with the materials left over from my dress, but I havent gotten around to it yet! Maybe this summer maybe

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    Q: How Much Will I Get For My Dress How Much Do Wedding Dresses Resell For

    A: Probably not a lot. Of course if the dress is a designer label, a popular style, and sold on a popular site like Nearly Newly Wed, the price will be higher.

    For example, on Nearly Newly Wed, a pretty lace, open back fitted David Fielden gown is listed for $2,400, or 20% off the $3,000 retail price.

    If you were to sell that, you would make $1,440, minus the $25 listing fee.

    Other, lesser-known brands, and less popular styles would garner more.

    Sell My Wedding Dress

    Bride Weds in 127
    • Listing Fee: $19.99 for a basic listing $29.99 for premium listing
    • Commission: No commission
    • Shipping Cost: Variable

    Another option to sell your wedding dress is the aptly-named website Sell My Wedding Dress. There are two options for listing your dress: a basic listing, which costs $19.99, and a premium one that starts at $29.99, which includes a featured listing and better placement for your ad.

    The site does not charge any commission fees, and there are no hidden costs. Your listing will stay up until your dress sells.

    To list your dress, youll need to fill out some standard information such as the size, color, and style of your dress. Youll also need to write a description and decide on a listing price.

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