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what to do with old wedding dress

Inventive Ways to Repurpose Used Wedding Dresses

Your dream wedding iss over, and you rocked the dance floor in a stylish, elegant wedding dress. Wondering what to do with an old wedding dress? Many brides love to keep their gown as a memento of their wedding day, but other brides would rather sell, donate, or find another method of repurposing or recycling their wedding dress.

We have all the details on how to preserve your wedding dress, where to sell or donate your dress, and tips and tricks for transforming your gown into something new.

How To Repurpose Your Wedding Dress

Feeling crafty? If you want to keep your dress but don’t want to preserve your wedding gown, there are a few ways you can repurpose and recycle your dress into something just as beautiful and radiant. 

Keep the Fabric

Depending on the fabric of your wedding dress, you can easily cut it up and save it for other DIY projects. This works best for simple white gowns. If your dress has an intricate bodice with lace and pearls or a tulle mermaid silhouette, this may be a little more difficult. However, an experienced seamstress may be able to take apart complicated wedding dresses so you can keep the fabric.

white lace

So now that you have the fabric from your wedding dress, what can you do with it? You can use the fabric to make other types of clothes, like baby outfits. Some brides use their wedding dress to create a christening gown for their future children. If you want to stay within a theme of wedding attire, you can make garters from wedding dress fabric or even make a veil to pass down in your family. 

Altering Your Wedding Dress

Similar to keeping the fabric to make more clothes, you can repurpose your wedding dress by altering it and creating an entirely new look. You may have opted for a non-traditional wedding dress you can wear on other occasions, but with a few changes, you can wear what was once a long, flowing white dress for a night out with friends.

altered wedding dress

For a white cocktail dress, you can cut and hem your wedding gown. If white isn’t your color, then you can even dye your dress. With such drastic changes, it’ll be hard for anyone to recognize this was your wedding dress! 

Keepsakes Made from Wedding Dresses

With fabric from your wedding dress, you can elevate and decorate simple household objects. For example, you can make covers for pillows or sew lovely quilts. Lace makes a great addition to decor around the house, and you can be reminded of your wedding day whenever you use these items. 

Another type of keepsake you can make with your wedding dress is fine jewelry. Again, lace comes in handy here. With just a little bit of lace and a clear stone, you can make your very own pendant necklace or even a ring. 


“Trash the Dress” Photoshoot

In a pure white dress, you look ethereal in your first look wedding photos and throughout your wedding ceremony and reception. But what if you changed up this outfit with bright bursts of color? A “trash the dress” photoshoot gives you the opportunity to run wild and have fun. Like the name implies, get ready to make a mess with your dress during this photoshoot! 

In a “trash the dress” photoshoot, you have a few options when it comes to getting your dress dirty. While wearing your wedding dress, you can be showered in paint splatters or bright powder bombs. Don’t worry about ruining your dress. After all, this is post-wedding! In some cases, even with paint on your dress, you can get it altered and cut for a truly unique outfit. 

trash the dress

Even if you’re on your honeymoon, you can squeeze in the time for a memorable “trash the dress” photoshoot. Popular honeymoon locations include the beaches of Bali or Hawaii, and where better to get messy than the beach? This type of photoshoot that can involve you and your spouse. Your photographer can get some fun shots of you two frolicking in the ocean or sprawled on the sand. For a more dreamy look, take pictures in a calm lake. Here, you can get your gown floating in the glassy waters. 

Sell Your Wedding Dress

Buying a used wedding dress or renting a dress is a great way to save money on your wedding gown. Plenty of brides are looking for inexpensive wedding dresses and wedding dress sales, and selling your dress is a great way to get some cash back.

Where To Sell Used Wedding Dresses

While you can sell wedding dresses on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, there are numerous websites that were created for brides to sell dresses. Some websites require a fee to list your dress or take some commission, but they’re trusted by brides-to-be and the company’s staff may take on some of the work for you.

PreOwned Wedding Dresses is a great place to start your search or sale. The website even has a calculator to figure out how much your wedding dress is worth. Typically, wedding dresses will sell for more if they’re newer or designer. To list your wedding dress, you’ll need to be $25, but there’s no fee for commission, so you get to keep all the profits. 

Nearly Newlywed is another popular website for used wedding dresses. Like PreOwned Wedding Dresses, Nearly Newlywed also requires a $25 listing fee. Unfortunately, Nearly Newlywed also takes 40% of the commission, leaving you with just a little more than half the sale. However, the staff at Nearly Newlywed takes care of more details, like shipping the dress and communicating with the buyer should they have any questions.

Still White is one of the largest online markets for wedding dresses, and they have a wide variety of styles and designers. The website doesn’t take a commission fee, but you do need to pay $20 to create a listing. Premium listings include more promotion on the website, and you can buy a premium listing for $30. 

Donate Your Wedding Dress

If you don’t want to take the hassle of selling your wedding dress, you can donate your dress. There are so many wonderful organizations that take dress donations, so you can find a cause you’d like to support. Before donating your dress, take a look at the organization’s requirements. Some non-profits prefer dresses to be cleaned and purchased within a certain time frame. 

Where To Donate a Wedding Dress

Brides Across America works to give free bridal gowns to military brides and first responders. To donate your wedding dress to Brides Across America, all you need to do is fill out a form about your dress. They’ll contact you, and if they accept your dress, you can get a tax deduction. Besides wedding dresses, they also accept wedding accessories, like tiaras.

The Angel Gowns program supports families who have lost a newborn baby by providing them with a gown made from a used wedding dress. Typically, they take donations of old dresses, but they also need monetary donations to cover shipping costs. The program also takes volunteer seamstresses. To provide any services, contact the organization and see how you can help with their needs. 

Brides Against Breast Cancer is another organization that accepts wedding dress donations. This organization sells wedding dresses for a discount and uses the profits to support and provide services for women and families affected by breast cancer. Part of Brides Against Breast Cancer’s mission is to educate the public and provide early detection programs.

There are numerous other charities and organizations that take wedding dress donations and support specific causes. If there’s a cause or issue that’s close to your heart, you can search for a nonprofit that combats the issue and will take a wedding dress donation.

Pass Down your Wedding Dress

Although there are many phenomenal organizations to donate your wedding dress to, you may want to save your wedding dress for a close friend of family member. Passing on your wedding dress is a lovely tradition. If you’re planning to pass down your gown, remember to preserve it so it’s in a beautiful condition for your loved one’s wedding day. 


Whether you want to keep your keep, repurpose, or give away your wedding dress, there are creative and innovative ways to put your old wedding dress to good use. Wedding dresses can have a lot of sentimental value, and you can preserve the dress as a keepsake or memento or share these happy memories by selling, donating, or passing down the dress.

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Sophia Lo

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