What do I do with my wedding dress after the big day?
The wedding is over and you’re now left with gorgeous memories, photographs and your dirty wedding dress sitting in your closet … sound familiar?
Your wedding dress was likely a significant investment, so if you only wear it once, that’s an epic fail on the cost-per-wear test.
Such a special garment deserved to be worn, and not withering away in your dark closet for all eternity.
If you’re having a hard time deciding what to do with your dress, here are 6 great ways to give your wedding dress life after the wedding!
1. Transform Your Gown Into A Cocktail Dress!
So many brides wish they had more than one opportunity to wear their wedding dress. The good news is – you do! Have you considered turning your wedding dress into a gorgeous cocktail dress? If you have some time between your wedding and honeymoon you can get your wedding dress shortened and take it with you, or, if that’s not an option, shorten it later and wear it on your one year anniversary or other special occasions.
Check out this amazing cocktail dress DIY that a bride did herself – it looks like a completely different dress! Alternatively, if you don’t trust yourself to DIY something spectacular, simply take your dress to a nearby tailor and have them transform your dress for you!
2. Sell Your Wedding Dress
Another great option for brides looking to recoup some of their wedding budget is to sell their wedding dress! There are many great websites and apps to help you with this process. Here are a few of our favorites:
- StillWhite: $20 listing fee and no commission taken on the sale.
- Preownedweddingdresses.com: There is a one-time listing fee of $25 and no commission taken on the sale. You can also sell bridesmaid dresses and accessories.
- NearlyNewlyWed.com: They take care of everything. They also take a 40% commission, but the time and sanity you will save is *SO* worth it!
- Oncewed.com: There is an annual listing fee of $19.95 per item and no commission taken on the sale.
- Poshmark: (app): Poshmark is a free app – it’s not specific to used wedding dresses but has a huge demand for them. It’s free to post but the app does take a 20% commission of the sale. Poshmark also allows you to sell accessories, bridal shoes, special occasion wear and more.
Related Post: The Best Places to Sell Your Wedding Dress Online
3. Throw a “Fling After The Ring” Party!
If you don’t want to get rid of your wedding dress, consider hosting a “Fling After The Ring” party with your closest girlfriends as an occasion to put it back on! Buy a couple bottles of wine, invite your besties and have everyone show up in their wedding dresses! Check out our “Fling After The Ring” party planning guide!
If you’re one of a few in your circle of friends who are married, make your guest list even more inclusive by inviting your single friends who need a good reason to wear the bridesmaids’ dresses they’ve got stored in the back of their closet.
For daring brides who just wanna throw-their-hands-in-the-air-like-they-just-don’t-care …consider having your “Fling After The Ring” at your favorite local night club – you’ll be turning heads all night long – A LEGENDARY girls night out that will go down in history!
4. Donate Your Wedding Dress
If you’re feeling charitable, another great option to consider is wedding dress donation. There are many organizations that collect used wedding dresses to help brides in need. These organizations help make bridal dreams come true and help women who may not have access to a gorgeous gown feel like a million bucks on their big day. You’ll not only get your closet space back but you’ll be doing something good for someone else.
Wedding Dress Donations + Charity Organizations:
- FairytaleBrides.org: Fairytale Brides On A Shoestring is a nonprofit organization that donates all sales to charitable organizations. Check out their website to see how one dress can make a big difference for someone in need!
- Wish Upon A Wedding: Wish Upon A Wedding is a nonprofit organization that grants weddings to individuals that are facing serious illnesses or life-altering circumstances. They accept all wedding professional donations and even used wedding dresses. If you would love to help out this organization or want to learn more about Wish Upon A Wedding, you can check out their website for more information.
- BridesAcrossAmerica.com: Brides Across America is an organization that helps brides who serve our country. They know it can be hard for brides that are in the military, so they step in. The organization has already donated over 20,000 wedding dresses to these heroic women and yours can be one of them!
5. Preserve Your Wedding Dress
If you want your wedding dress looking as fresh as it did on your wedding day, the best thing to do is to get it preserved! Preserve your dress to keep it fresh for years to come. Preservation reduces discoloring or aging, which is especially important if you’re planning to pass it down.
After the wedding, your dress will most likely be covered in wine spills and completely dirty on the bottom edge. The preservation process can take care of these issues, allowing you to properly care for it for years to come. Traditional preservation options can run anywhere from $200-$800 depending on the style of your dress. However, there are several less expensive options, thank goodness!
Trusted by over 3,000,000 brides since 1913, Affordable Preservation is the highest rated dress preservation company as voted by The Knot and WeddingWire communities. They offer museum quality wedding dress preservation starting at $225, including free shipping and a 100% anti-yellowing guarantee.
David’s Bridal in partnership with Memories Gown Preservation offers a preservation kit (in-store) for only $189. The kit includes both the dry cleaning and preservation of the dress. All you have to do is package up your dress and take it to the nearest post office – even the shipping is included in the price! If you don’t have a David’s Bridal nearby you can also check out the Wedding Gown Preservation Kit which has a similar price/offering and includes the preservation of up to 3 additional wedding accessories such as your veil, gloves, purse, etc., for free!
6. “Trash The Dress” Photo Shoot
For bold brides who are daring, perhaps a “Trash The Dress” session might be for you. These trendy photo shoots not only offer a unique experience but will leave you with even more amazing photos! Some brides may consider these photographs even more valuable than the dress! Take a look at some of these amazing “Trash The Dress” photo shoots below!
Go behind the scenes with photographer Scott McNamara to see some of his favorite trash the dress photo shoots:
In conclusion, there are several ways to give your dress a new life! Whether you opt to buy a pre-owned wedding gown or a brand new piece of designer couture, don’t let it wither away in your closet for all eternity.
Consider recouping a bit of your wedding investment by selling your dress, throwing a party with your closest friends, donating it to other brides in need, or using it as another great photo opportunity with your partner!
Now you know what your options are. So go grab that dirty wedding dress from the back of your closet and let it sparkle again!
Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.