If you’re thinking of donating your wedding dress, know that it will make a difference in someone else’s life and help a bride-to-be get her dream gown. It’ll also give your dress a second life and free up closet space. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly since unused dresses end up in landfills and produce carbon dioxide. Some charities and shops accept wedding dresses year-round, but others only take them in certain months, such as in the spring when many people get engaged. It’s also important to check the guidelines of your local thrift or charity shop before bringing in any donations. For example, the Salvation Army only takes in wedding gowns that have been worn within five years. Moreover, some charities only want used wedding dresses that are in good condition so they can be repurposed. For instance, The Brides Project sells donated dresses to raise funds for their free programming for families impacted by cancer. The proceeds of the sale also benefit the Loveland Foundation, Dressember, and more women-focused charities. Their website also provides an easy online form to donate a wedding dress. Another popular wedding dress donation option is Adorned in Grace, a nonprofit organization that aims to end sex trafficking. They have several locations across the country and an online store where you can buy used bridal dresses for a fraction of their original cost. Proceeds from the sales support professional counseling for victims, awareness publications, and more. The website’s donation form is easy to use and requires only basic information about the dress. Lastly, you can bring your wedding dress to your local Goodwill or other thrift stores. The proceeds of these sales go toward helping their missions, including job training and employment for local residents and helping disadvantaged youth. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for an itemized tax deduction when you donate your wedding dress to these places. While selling your wedding dress is an option, it’s often easier to donate it. Selling a wedding dress is time-consuming and requires you to interact with potential buyers, which can be difficult for many brides who have already spent so much on their big day. Luckily, there are plenty of other options for those who would rather not deal with the hassle. The NICU Helping Hands program is a unique one because it turns wedding dresses into infant burial gowns or angel gowns for children who have passed away. They have about 180 seamstresses across the nation that painstakingly convert the dresses into bonnets and other keepsakes to be given to families for free. To donate a wedding dress to this program, you can fill out an online form or call their client service team for instructions.
For families who have lost their infants, a special garment known as an angel gown provides a little piece of comfort. The dresses are made from donated wedding gowns and are handed over to grieving parents at no cost. The nonprofit group Angel Gowns has a warehouse full of old bridal dresses and hundreds of volunteers across the country make the gowns. Often, the gowns are delivered with a blanket, a keepsake angel, and a prayer card. “The idea of giving a burial dress to a family that is going through such a traumatic loss, I think is one of the most loving things that we can do,” said Angel Gowns volunteer Shirley Barnett from Ozark, Missouri. “It really is a gift from our hearts.” When she began working for the NICU Helping Hands program at Riley Hospital, Judi Gaber realized that the nurses and families who work with the tiny babies in the hospital sometimes don’t have the proper clothing to put their babies in when they leave the hospital. That’s why she started an angel gown program to help these families. The volunteers take used wedding dresses and turn them into tiny burial garments for newborns who will never get to go home. They’re often delivered to hospitals, birthing centers, funeral homes, or directly to the family at no charge. In addition to creating the gowns, NICU Helping Hands has a quilting team that makes blankets and pillows for grieving families. The organization also helps with memorial services and funeral arrangements, and it’s a place for parents to share their stories and find support. “We try to be that support system for them, because it’s so traumatic,” says volunteer Kathy Costa from Bridgewater, New Jersey. She recently received a donation of more than 200 dresses from a bridal shop that closed at the end of 2020. The dresses will be sold in her new boutique, which opens this month. The group also accepts donations from women who can’t donate their own wedding dress but would like to participate in the project. These women can choose to “sponsor” a dress for a woman who can’t afford the $100 monetary donation to cover the cost of materials. The program is a huge part of the fabric that holds up this community, Gaber says. “It is a group of dedicated people that work hard to serve their communities,” she said. And she wants the public to know that their work is making a difference in the lives of so many families. “It just gives me hope, and I want to encourage others to do what they can, too,” she said. “It is so rewarding.” To learn more about the program or to get involved, visit nicuhelpinghands.org. To donate a wedding dress, email [email protected] or call 480-279-4411.
When planning a child funeral, there are many details to consider. It is a very personal service and it should be tailored to your child’s needs. This is an opportunity to share your child’s story, honor their life and allow them to connect with the person who died in a way that feels meaningful. Typically, the ceremony is short and held at a home, funeral home or place of worship and can include friends and family. Some families choose to have a private service with the deceased’s parents, siblings and grandparents. It is important to discuss this option with these individuals and decide who will attend the service. They may be supportive or they might not. If they are not, this is a great time to ask why and try to determine the root cause of their discomfort with the idea of attending the child funeral. The child funeral should be carefully planned ahead of time and held in a location that is familiar to the children. This will help ease them into the event and make them feel comfortable. It is important to have a caring adult available to answer questions during the service. This person can be the person officiating the service, a grief counselor, family member or friend. They should be someone your child trusts and who is accustomed to talking to children about death and loss. A child funeral can include a slideshow of photos, a special song or poem, and a urn, casket or memorial plaque. You can also have children sign a poster or matted picture frame, write a message, or draw a memory. Some people ask the gathered children to wear their favorite outfit or dress in clothing that represents the deceased, such as a football jersey, superhero costume or tutu. You can also ask guests to place a flower, note or other token on the casket or urn. For older children, you can give them a chance to lead the ceremony. This gives them a sense of responsibility and control over the event. You can also provide them with a microphone so they can share a reflection or memory with the crowd. If you are not comfortable allowing your child to lead the service, this is a good time to ask for help from other relatives who are comfortable with speaking in front of people. If your child is uncomfortable or frightened of attending the funeral, let them choose not to go. If you force them, they could experience trauma and later resent it. This is a difficult decision, but it is the right one for your family. If your child is reluctant to attend the funeral, you can always encourage them by explaining what will happen in language they understand and that it’s okay to ask questions. You can also remind them that there are lots of other ways to remember and say goodbye besides attending the funeral, so it’s not the only way they can participate in honoring the deceased.
When shopping for itty bitty clothes, it can be tempting to go all-out with lots of prints and colors. But unless you’re planning a gender reveal party, a baby shower or simply have a big appetite for adorable, it’s best to focus on simple styles that allow for easy movement and nappy changes. You’ll also want to consider what material will be most comfortable for your little one (and their delicate skin). Organic cotton, bamboo viscose, and other fabrics with sustainable fibers are great choices. Baby clothing is typically worn in sets or as separates, depending on the season and your baby’s preference. During the warmer months baby rompers and 2-in-1 dresses (a dress top with a romper under section) are popular options that provide flexibility and ease of movement for young babies. In colder weather infants wear fleece or wool coats or snowsuits. Baby clothes can be accessorized with hats, mittens and bibs. Many baby outfits have full back and leg openings for easy nappy changing, and some even include fold over scratch mitts to help prevent babies from accidentally scratching themselves. Babies grow quickly, so when shopping for baby clothes it’s best to buy larger sizes from the start. Newborns top out at about eight pounds, so if yours is on the smaller side they may only fit into newborn clothes for a few weeks before moving on to 0-3 month sizes. While the price tag can be a big drawback, it’s worth investing in a few quality pieces to get you through the first few weeks of your baby’s life. Many high-end brands, such as Oeuf and Mini Rodini, offer beautiful yet durable styles in neutral colors and prints that will blend right into your nursery decor. The eco-friendly brands use sustainable and third-party tested materials and are often GOTS or Oeko-Tex certified. If you’re looking for affordable basics, Carter’s has an array of functional designs that will become the workhorses of your newborn’s wardrobe. Their baby sleepers in a variety of sweet patterns are an excellent value and they come with two packs so you can stock up. Other affordable brands to check out include Luvable Friends, which offers versatile pants and leggings in a variety of textures and thicknesses to meet your baby’s needs. Also look for the mom-founded brand Monica and Andy, which uses soft GOTS-certified organic cotton in mix-and-match pieces. If you’re shopping on a budget, keep an eye out for sales and shop your local discount stores. Old Navy has a good selection of basic clothing in a range of sizes, while Target is a one-stop-shop for basically everything baby-related. Their Cat & Jack line offers brightly colored options in quirky and fresh prints, while their coordinating outfits and swimsuits are especially good choices. Target’s baby clothes are also available on clearance, making it a great place to find a variety of looks at a much more manageable price point.
When a loved one passes away, it is important to respect their final journey and choose an outfit that conveys a sense of solemnity and elegance. While it may seem strange to consider the type of clothes a person will be buried in, choosing attire that fits their personality and captures the essence of their life can help people pay their respects and mourn with a sense of togetherness. In addition to clothing, people often dress up their loved ones with pieces of jewelry that were special to them. However, these accessories should be small enough to fit inside the casket without adding too much weight. If a loved one has specific cultural traditions, incorporating their cultural clothing can also be a wonderful way to honor them. Some options include kimonos, kilts, kurtas, and national dresses. It’s also possible to buy clothing specifically designed for burials. These outfits are typically made of cotton or another soft fabric and are meant to be easily manipulated to accommodate different body shapes. Several companies manufacture these outfits, which can be purchased at most funeral homes. The staff at these establishments can also help you customize the size and style of an existing garment. Many people have chosen to store clothing that they will wear at their funerals and wakes ahead of time. If you think your loved one may have done this, check their closet for any clothing that has been set aside, or look for notes pinned to clothes or boxes under the bed. This is a common practice among elderly people who are facing their own mortality. Ultimately, the outfit that you choose to dress your loved one in will depend on your religion and your own preferences. Some faiths, like the Episcopalian and Catholic beliefs, prefer to dress people in traditional attire that reflects their spirituality and belief in God. These outfits usually consist of a blouse, skirt or dress pants and are worn with closed-toe shoes. Other faiths, such as those of the Baptist faith, have a more casual approach when it comes to burial outfits. Most Baptists believe that their faith in Jesus Christ will lead them to eternal life, so they tend to be less strict when it comes to the dress code for viewings and funeral services. In most cases, it is a good idea to dress the deceased in their own clothes. This will give funeral-goers a chance to see how they looked when they were alive and will make them feel more connected to the deceased. For women, a black outfit is a popular choice because it exudes elegance and solemnity. A simple, knee-length dress that is fitted and modestly styled can work well. You may also want to opt for a pastel-colored outfit that conveys serenity and peace. Whatever outfit you choose, it’s important to make sure that it includes undergarments. A mortician will generally ensure that the deceased is dressed in undergarments, which serves as an extra layer of protection to protect against bodily fluid leaks during decomposition.
Donating your wedding dress is one of the best ways to let go of it and give it a second life. It’s also a great way to clean out your closet and possibly get a tax deduction (depending on how you donate your dress). Many charities and thrift stores that accept used wedding dresses have specific requirements. You’ll want to contact the organization in advance to find out what they need and to ask for their vetting procedures. Most charities will require your gown to be less than five years old and in good condition. It’s also a good idea to have it professionally cleaned before you donate it. Some charities resell donated dresses and use the profits to fund various projects. For example, Brides Against Breast Cancer raises money to provide early breast cancer detection programs and support research. Other organizations, such as Adorned in Grace, collect dresses to give away. The group gives out dresses to women in need, along with bridal accessories like veils and tiaras. You can also donate your wedding dress to a charity that specializes in helping families who have lost children. The nonprofit Emma and Evan Foundation turns donated wedding gowns into infant burial gowns, also known as Angel Gowns, to offer to hospitals, funeral homes, and grieving families for free. The organization also offers bonnets and other keepsake items to comfort grieving mothers. Most charities and thrift shops will accept wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, prom gowns, and bridal accessories. Some of them will wash the dresses and others may have a specific vetting process for these kinds of donations, so be sure to check with the organization in advance to make sure they’ll accept your donation. The most important thing to remember is to choose the charity or shop that best fits your needs and values. You can find a list of organizations that accept wedding dress donations on Green Drop. Some of these organizations resell the dresses to other women at reduced prices, while others donate the dresses to people in need. In addition to making other brides super happy, your donation will have an eco-friendly impact. The production of new clothes and textiles consumes hundreds of gallons of water, contributes to global carbon emissions, and releases harmful toxins into the air. Donating your wedding dress reduces these wasteful practices and makes the world a better place. While donating your dress to a charity is the most popular option, you could also sell it or use it as decoration. Some women even display their wedding gowns on mannequins in their home. If you’re not ready to part with yours, consider getting it pressed and framed as a piece of art to remind you of your special day.
A labor and delivery nurse for more than 37 years, Judi Lee knew the unimaginable grief of parents who lost their baby. And she saw how a simple, beautiful burial gown made from an old wedding dress could provide some comfort during such a heartbreaking time. Lee was so moved by this that she began collecting bridal dresses and turning them into tiny burial outfits for babies who didn’t make it at birth or after they were pronounced dead. Her work caught the attention of NICU Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization in Fort Worth, Texas that has now collected more than 10,000 dresses. The group’s volunteers lovingly turn the bridal dresses into angel gowns, which are then delivered to hospitals across the country to families who have suffered similar losses. The dresses can also be sent to funeral homes or hospitals that have a special program for infant loss, so grieving parents have something beautiful to remember their baby by. In addition to the gown, NICU Helping Hands provides a keepsake angel, a memory blanket, a diaper, and a small angel statue. The volunteers are all women, and many have experienced their own loss of a child. Each volunteer takes about four hours to sew a gown, and the entire project depends on the volunteers’ generosity of time and dresses. Several local people have donated dresses to NICU Helping Hands, and the organization has received requests from other parts of the country as well. Each dress can be turned into about 10 gowns, and the organization has a warehouse full of them. Women who can’t afford to donate a dress can “sponsor” one, donating money for the sewing work to be done on it. In a back closet at her home, Schatz has more than 30 angel gowns ready to be delivered to hospitals across the state, along with a message card and a tiny keepsake angel. The project is still in its early stages, but Schatz says it is growing quickly. “We’re always in need of more materials, ribbons, thread, gowns, gallon zip-lock bags and a plastic baby model,” she said. Wedding dresses are often sold for incredibly low prices at garage sales and thrift stores, so look out next time you go shopping and consider taking a bridesmaid dress or other formal gown to a place like NICU Helping Hands. You can also make a monetary donation to the project, and spread the word about it by sharing this article or telling your friends. Every little bit helps.
For children who have died, especially those who were stillborn or died before they were able to fully take part in life, a child funeral is an opportunity to say goodbye. Many families choose to hold this ceremony at the funeral home with a priest or celebrant who will provide religious comfort and support. Some choose to have this ceremony at the grave site or another meaningful location. In either case, it is important that the parents and other siblings of the deceased attend in order to pay their respects. This is a very sensitive time for all family members, including infants, babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They are in the process of understanding what death is and that it is a permanent and natural part of life. It is a good idea to talk with them about what will happen at the service and give them some options on whether or not they want to attend. If they do decide to attend, they may have questions or concerns that need answering before the day of the funeral. Depending on the child’s age, they may be able to participate in some of the service’s activities. This can include passing out flowers at the cemetery or crematorium for guests to place; writing messages on a message board or matted picture frame; lighting candles at a memorial table; making a memory box; or other meaningful and appropriate tasks. If a child becomes overwhelmingly upset at the funeral, it is important to be prepared to leave them alone for a short while so they can calm down. Reassure them that it is normal to be sad and emotional, and that they can re-join the ceremony when they are ready. In this event, you might want to scout the funeral location ahead of time to see if there is a room or spot that can serve as a safe haven until your child is ready to return to the ceremony. It is also important to reassure them that their sibling’s body will be present at the ceremony. If your family chooses a closed casket, be sure to describe it in detail and explain that their sibling is wearing a full outfit (including shoes) with their eyes closed and arms folded. Explain that they can’t feel cold, pain or fear and that the funeral is a respectful place to bid farewell. It is also helpful to explain that there are ways to remember and say goodbye other than attending the funeral. Some children at this age enjoy bringing a flower or small gift to the grave or memorial site, visiting a special place, or simply lighting a candle with close family and friends. In this way, they can pay their respects without attending the service itself.
Newborns grow so fast that it’s hard to keep up with their clothes. But while it’s fun to register for lots of itty bitty outfits, it’s even more important to pick up some essential pieces that are comfortable and easy to put on, especially during those first few months. Baby clothing should be made from soft, breathable materials that help regulate temperature and prevent rashes. Look for fabrics like cotton and bamboo that are also OEKO-TEX certified, meaning they’re free from potentially harmful chemicals and dyes. Some brands like Sprout use these organic fibers to create clothing that’s both hypoallergenic and gentle on skin. You can also find a lot of cuddle-worthy newborn outfits and sleepwear at The Children’s Place, which offers a mix of affordable styles as well as more high-end ones. Janie And Jack is another great choice for on-trend, slightly preppy infant apparel. You can find plenty of dresses, bodysuits and outfit sets with matching accessories in sizes that will fit newborns through their first year. When it comes to onesies, you want something long-sleeved and snappable, as babies can spit up a lot throughout the day. Onesies are also the perfect solution for a baby who likes to be swaddled. If you’re looking for a cute print, check out the polka dot onesies from Little Giraffe or the zebra prints from Gerber Childrenswear. For the colder months, you’ll need to stock up on warm outerwear, as newborns can lose heat very quickly. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, consider a puffer jacket from BRUM or a cozy snowsuit from LL Bean. You should also have at least a few soft blankets on hand for baby to wrap up in. The first few months will be a lot of diaper changes, so you’ll also want to stock up on some baby wipes and a changing pad. You may also want to invest in a reusable cloth bag to carry all your supplies. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, it’s helpful to have a tape measure with you so that you can eyeball the clothing sizes to see how they might fit your newborn. Since infants have such a wide range of body types, it can be difficult to predict what size will fit best until they’re born. It’s also smart to purchase a few of each item so that you have options for when your baby grows out of it. Once you’ve stocked up on all of your essentials, you can add more decorative items to the newborn wardrobe as they get older, such as tutus from Tutu Mama or adorable bibs from Posh Peanut. And don’t forget to pick up a cap or hat. While they’re not a necessary item for newborns, they can help keep their head warm and protect their sensitive scalp from sun damage. This top-knot beanie from Garanimals is a great choice, as it’s made from an OEKO-TEX and organic cotton blend that’s both soft and lightweight.
When planning a funeral, there are many details that must be considered. Often, loved ones wish to dress their deceased family member in clothing that was typical of their life or that represents them in some way. This may include work or sports attire, formal dresses or gowns, or even wedding attire. It’s also common to place mementos like favorite books or wedding rings inside the casket with your loved one. As you consider the attire your loved one will be buried in, it’s important to remember that different religions have guidelines regarding the types of clothing that should be worn. Consulting with religious leaders or clergy members can help you understand these specific rules. In addition, your loved one’s cultural background may have an influence on their preferred attire. For example, in some cultures, a widow will wear her wedding gown at her husband’s funeral. In other cases, certain colors or symbols may hold spiritual significance and should be included in the outfit. While it’s a traditional practice to wear semi-formal clothing at a funeral, recent trends have diverted away from this tradition. Some loved ones choose casual t-shirts, jeans and a jacket or suit. Others are drawn to a more personalization by choosing clothes that reflect their deceased loved one’s style and lifestyle, such as a favorite robe or nightgown. Others prefer to choose a piece of jewelry or a special hat that their loved one treasured. Funeral directors are available to provide their clients with a variety of burial gowns, or they may recommend a specific retailer that sells outfits tailored to each individual’s needs. It’s always best to shop for burial clothes in person, so you can examine the quality and fit of an outfit and ensure it will be properly sized for a loved one’s body. Those who prefer to buy their own burial garments can find several online options. For example, Leon Harris, designer and CEO of LH Design, has a line of women’s dresses designed to enhance “the beauty of the afterlife.” The company’s website notes that the dress is crafted from materials that will decompose quickly and not pollute soil. Another option is to purchase a reversible burial shroud that comes in a range of sizes. Some are sewn by local seamstresses and others are manufactured to resemble vintage garments from the 17th to early 19th century. In fact, during that era, some women sewed their own funeral clothing to be worn at their death and stored it in their closets. It’s typically fine to wear shoes when a person is being buried, although they might not be visible during half-couch casket viewings. Some people choose to wear their favorite shoes as a way to honor their loved one’s memory, while others prefer to have them removed for the service. For babies, the choice of clothing is even more personal. Many non-profit agencies and stores create handmade baby funeral clothes in a range of sizes to accommodate stillborn and premature infants.