Whether your loved one is being buried or cremated, choosing their burial clothes is an important part of the memorial service. It is an opportunity to respect their final journey and present them in a dignified manner. Burial attire may seem trivial to some, but for many people, the last visual memory of their loved ones is important and will be a lasting impression. While many funeral homes offer clothing options for a loved one’s viewing or open-coffin service, there are also many companies that sell customized garments to provide a more personalized option. Typically, men are dressed in suits and women in funeral gowns or dresses. Depending on the religion, there are additional rules that should be followed to ensure that your loved ones’ funeral attire is appropriate. For example, Jewish individuals are typically buried in white shrouds while Jehovah’s Witnesses wear a dress and head covering called a yarmulke. Choosing an outfit that reflects your loved ones’ faith and captures their personality is a great way to pay tribute. Although many of these garments are black and formal in style, there are a variety of choices available to help honor your loved one’s life and personality. For instance, LH Design has a line of gowns that are designed to be easily dressed on the body. They have openings all the way down the back so that a mortician can easily slip them over the deceased’s shoulders while they are laying in a supine position. These garments are typically made of light fabrics that can be adjusted to fit the body well. Other clothing that can be used to dress a deceased person includes casual t-shirts or work or military uniforms, especially for older adults. There are even companies and charities that specialize in making custom baby funeral outfits for infants who were stillborn or died during a hospital stay or as a result of preemie conditions. When it comes to deciding what your loved ones will wear for their memorial service, the most important thing is that you choose something they would be comfortable in. A general rule of thumb is to choose outfits that reflect their lifestyle and personality and stick with a respectful, modest tone. A good way to help guide you in your choice of funeral attire is to talk with your loved ones and look at photos from their life to see what types of clothes they typically wore. It is also a good idea to take into account the weather for your funerary event, as it may affect the comfort and feel of the clothing.
Most brides only wear their wedding gown once, and after the big day they often keep it in a closet. But instead of letting it collect dust, you can give your dress a new life by donating it to charity. You won’t only help a bride in need, you will also free up valuable closet space. Plus, it’s a great way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Clothing that ends up in landfills takes up to a decade to break down and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to GreenDrop. By donating your gown, you can save on storage costs and make the planet happy too. Whether you want to donate your dress because you can’t afford to buy another or just don’t have room in the closet, there are plenty of places that take bridal and formal dresses for donation. But not all charities are created equal and some have different guidelines for the dresses they accept. So before you start packing, it’s a good idea to contact the charity of your choice and follow their instructions carefully to ensure that your gown makes it to a bride in the best possible condition. One of the most popular places to donate your wedding dress is Brides Across America, which provides free wedding dresses to military and first responder brides. This includes firefighters, EMTs, and police officers. The organization holds year-round giveaway events in partnership with local salons to provide these women with their dream dress. In addition to dresses, BAA accepts donations of veils, jewelry, and tiaras. Another option is the Emma and Evan Foundation, which repurposes wedding gowns and other bridal items into infant burial gowns that are given to families who have lost their baby during the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The foundation has about 180 seamstresses across the country who volunteer their time to create these dresses for grieving mothers. Other organizations that accept donated dresses include Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring, which gives gowns to brides who can’t afford them. You can also donate your gown to Adorned in Grace, a nonprofit that helps sex trafficking victims and raises awareness in the community. Lastly, you can donate your dress to a consignment shop that accepts wedding dresses. However, you should note that you’ll likely pay more in commission fees if you go this route. If you’re interested in selling your wedding dress, it’s important to find out the commission fees before signing a contract with any seller. You can do this by asking your vendor for a price sheet or talking to other customers at the store. Alternatively, you can check online for a list of wedding dress commission rates.
The loss of an infant is one of the most devastating things a family can experience. This is especially true for families who have lost their children through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or early childhood illnesses that lead to death. These parents desperately need a way to memorialize their babies and a way to say goodbye. One way they can do that is by laying their baby to rest in a special garment called an angel gown. This is where a project like Hillary’s Cherished Gowns comes in. This organization specializes in taking old wedding dresses and turning them into burial garments for newborns who don’t survive their pregnancies or are born premature. This organization has a warehouse full of wedding dresses and a team of seamstresses who make them into angel gowns for grieving families. After losing her daughter, Lori Gulley saw other grieving families struggle to find burial clothes small enough for their tiny babies. Her experience inspired her to create an organization that gives families a place to turn for help. She now leads a team of seamstresses in Naples, Fla., who make these burial gowns out of exquisite wedding dresses donated by caring people across the country. Each dress can be made into about 10 little gowns. The organization asks for a $100 monetary donation to cover the cost of shipping the dresses and the materials needed to turn them into a burial outfit. Women who don’t have a dress to donate can still participate by “sponsoring” a dress for another woman who doesn’t have a wedding dress but wants to help a family in need. The gowns are offered to hospitals, birthing centers, funeral homes and directly to families who have suffered an unexpected loss in the NICU. Dignity Health – St. Mary’s Medical Center Long Beach is grateful for the support of this community-based effort. “These gowns are so beautiful and provide a sense of comfort to the families,” says Judi Gaber, director of NICU Helping Hands at Dignity Health – St. Mary’s. “These are not your traditional funeral gowns, but they are so lovely and a great way to remember a precious life.” Many women choose to have their dresses embellished with different details such as embroidery, gemstones and lace. Some add quotes such as “heaven’s angel” or use antique buttons they’ve saved from their mothers. One seamstress has been sewing bells onto each garment lately, inspired by the ending scene of It’s a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart rings a bell to help Clarence the angel get his wings. These gowns have become so cherished by these families that they’re often saved as keepsakes to be passed down through generations. For many parents, the gowns will be the first memory of their child that they can hold on to and cherish forever. This is what makes the program so special for the families who receive them.
A child funeral is often an important part of grieving and a way to say goodbye. Many children will never have attended a funeral or experienced a loss before and may not know what to expect. Parents should always give their children a choice and try to help them understand the circumstances. It is also important to talk about the funeral process in an age appropriate manner and reassure them that they can change their mind at any time. If they decide to attend, it is helpful to have an alternative activity that they can take part in if the service becomes too much for them. Explain the order of events including visitation, ceremony and post-ceremony activities. This will help them feel less afraid and alone during the event. It is also important to explain what they might see and hear at the service, such as singing, a casket or urn, and religious rituals that might happen. It is a good idea to explain that people will be feeling a variety of emotions and that it is ok for them to cry or laugh. If your child’s sibling is going to be present, it is important to explain what they will see. If there is a closed casket, be sure to describe that their sibling is fully dressed in a special outfit they helped select and lying comfortably with their arms folded and eyes closed. If their sibling is not going to be present, then it is important to explain that there will likely be a photo on a memorial table or a urn that they can visit. It is also a good idea to discuss any personal items such as clothing, a favorite blanket or doll that might be at the service. Make a list of questions that they might have and be prepared to answer them in an honest manner. It is a good idea to rehearse the answers ahead of time so that you are comfortable and confident in your responses. It is also helpful to explain that it is ok for them to ask any additional questions. Consider having a designated person to be in charge of taking care of your child during the service and to make sure that they are not left alone for long periods of time. This person could be a family member, close friend or a professional care giver. Allow your child to be active during the ceremony by giving them a task to do such as passing out programs or helping guests sign a message board. This will help them to feel involved and important and it is an opportunity for them to say their final farewells. It is a good idea to have some snacks and drinks available for your child during the visitation or ceremony. This will keep them from becoming overly hungry or thirsty and it will also help them to stay focused on the event.
Newborn babies spend a lot of time sleeping, which means you’ll need plenty of cozy outfits. Look for options that will be comfortable and easy to put on and take off, such as kimono bodysuits, onesies, baby footies, and sleep sacks. And, as with all clothing for infants, avoid items that are too complicated or have extra details like buttons or ruffles that may be difficult to keep clean. Baby clothes need to be machine washable, which means they’re going to get a lot of use. Repeated washes will cause clothes to shrink, so it’s important to plan ahead and buy a size that will last a few weeks before your little one outgrows it. Consider buying organic baby clothes to ensure your little one’s skin will be protected from chemicals and dyes that are often used in conventional clothing manufacturing. There are several different certifying organizations that work with apparel manufacturers to verify that a product is truly organic. You should also consider investing in a few pieces that are made from sustainable cotton, which is more environmentally friendly than conventional cotton. This type of cotton is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and uses less water and energy in production, making it a great choice for environmentally-conscious parents. As you shop, be sure to pick out clothes for all seasons. In general, newborns will wear warmer clothes in cold weather and lighter onesies or rompers in warm weather. A winter newborn will need layers and warm outerwear, such as this adorable carbag snowsuit from London Fog, which can be worn over a onesie or romper. It features cuffs that transform into mittens, holes to fasten it to a seatbelt, and a cute animal-themed hood that will keep baby warm. Whether you’re shopping for your own newborn or purchasing clothes as gifts, it’s always best to try on the clothing in person before making any purchases. Discrepancies in size between brands can be significant, so you want to make sure the clothes you buy will fit well. Babies grow quickly, so it’s smart to stock up on basics, such as onesies and rompers in sizes that will last from birth through early toddlerhood. You can also purchase some gender-neutral and special occasion pieces, such as party dresses or suits. When it comes to the fabric, choose organic options that are soft on baby’s sensitive skin. Look for clothes that are hypoallergenic and free of chemicals and dyes, such as cotton and bamboo fibers or Modal derived from Beech trees. If you’re looking for something a bit more trendy, consider shopping for gender-neutral clothing from brands such as Kate Quinn and Oli & Carol. Both of these brands have a variety of adorable styles that are sure to please new parents and grandparents alike. While they may be more expensive than some brands, they’re known for their quality and craftsmanship.
When someone dies, their family and friends will honor them with a funeral service. The ceremony is a time for mourners to reflect on the life they shared together. A key element of the funeral is the attire worn by the deceased. It’s common for men to wear suits and ties while women wear dresses. However, the outfit a person is dressed in for their funeral may also be influenced by their cultural background or personal preferences. For example, some cultures associate certain colors with different emotions. Some people even want to take their favorite clothing items with them to their final resting place. Dressing a dead loved one in clothing they would have worn in life is a way for people to remember them as they did in life. It’s important to take their religious beliefs into account as some religions have specific rules regarding dress and hairstyles for funerals. It’s a good idea to ask the funeral director if there are any restrictions. The first step in choosing the right attire for a funeral is to consider the personality of the deceased. This is especially important if they will be displayed in a casket. For example, if they will be buried with their head facing up during an open casket viewing, it’s important that the clothes they are wearing fit the style of the casket. For this reason, it’s often best to choose a gown that is similar in style and length to what the deceased person usually wears. Many funeral directors provide the surviving family with a selection of burial gowns for their clients. These can be helpful if the deceased has recently changed weight or did not have clothes that fit. It can also be useful for infants who died in the hospital, as regular newborn and preemie clothing can be too large for them. For this reason, some non-profit agencies like The Littlest Angels Gowns and stores that specialize in preemie clothing offer custom burial garments for babies. When choosing the clothing that will accompany a deceased loved one, it is important to think about the colors they preferred and how those colors would look in a setting with a lot of darkness. Some colors are associated with mourning, while others are considered to be a more peaceful color. It’s also important to remember that funeral-goers may be wearing dark clothing and that the outfit should be respectful. A popular choice for burial attire is a classic black dress. It’s a simple and elegant option that exudes elegance and solemnity. This type of dress is also appropriate for a lot of different religious beliefs. It’s important to note that some people have their own unique burial attire, such as a suit with a matching tie or a dress made out of their favorite fabric.
For many women, their wedding dress is one of the most treasured possessions they own. They carry sentimental value well beyond their big day and often sit tucked away in closets for decades after. While it’s perfectly fine to keep your dress, if you find yourself having no use for it, consider donating it. This can help brides in need and also free up some much-needed closet space. There are a variety of organizations that accept wedding dress donations. Some resell the gowns and use proceeds to benefit charitable causes, while others simply give them to those in need. Some charities offer drop-off locations, while others may only accept mailed in donations. You should also consider the type of dress you wish to donate, as not all organizations are able to accommodate every style. This organization aims to provide brides-to-be who have been affected by serious illness or life-altering circumstances the chance to experience their dream wedding. They accept all types of dresses, though they prefer trumpet, A-line, and ballgown-style dresses that are less than three years old. In addition to the dress, they will also accept bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses. They can also accept wedding accessories, such as veils and headpieces. Brides Across America provides military members and first responders with wedding dresses for their big day. They cover the costs of the wedding as well as the dress. They also accept other accessories, such as rings and engagement rings. Another nonprofit charity that helps cancer patients is a local branch of Shared Dreams. They provide prom dresses to teenagers who cannot afford them and wedding dresses for survivors who are rebuilding their lives. Some branches of this organization also work with domestic violence shelters to provide dresses for victims and their children. Some Goodwill stores accept wedding dresses for their yearly bridal events. They also repurpose them into infant burial gowns or “angel gowns,” bonnets, and other keepsake items for grieving families. They can also turn your wedding dress into a sleeper for an adopted baby, which is a great way to support a child in need. You can also donate your dress to the Salvation Army, which sells them at its thrift store locations to raise funds for its charitable programs. The organization has a variety of programs that help women, including child care and parenting services, job training, disaster relief, homeless assistance, food aid, and more. Each branch has its own specific donation policies, so it’s best to contact the one closest to you to learn more. Most charities and thrift shops require that your wedding dress be in excellent condition and have no major rips or tears. Some also require that you have the dress professionally cleaned before donating. If you want to make a larger donation, this is a great option. You can also consider donating other wedding items, such as decorations, cake toppers, wedding favors, and shoes. Most places that accept donated items also have a list of what they do and do not take, so it’s best to check their website before dropping off your donation.
The life of a wedding dress doesn’t necessarily have to end when the big day is over. Whether you’re in a hurry to make room in your closet or just want to give back, donating your old dress is a great way to spread happiness and love. Plus, according to Zola, it’s a potential tax deduction (if you follow the guidelines). Most charities and thrift shops will accept dresses throughout the year, but they typically ask that they are not more than five years old. You should also have your dress dry cleaned before you donate it so that it is in pristine condition when it gets used by someone else. Before you donate your wedding dress, research the organization thoroughly to make sure it’s a legitimate non-profit and that they operate with ethical standards. Also check their website for details on what types of dresses they accept, how they process them and what their mission is. If they have a good reputation, you’ll know that your gown is going to be well-used and loved. Many local bridal or wedding expos organize events that allow brides to shop for wedding gowns at discounted or donated prices. If you’re planning to attend an event, contact the organizers and see if they accept dress donations for their events. Alternatively, look for online buy/sell/trade groups or local forums that have specific threads or discussions about wedding gown donations and exchanges. Thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are happy to take all kinds of donation items, including wedding dresses. They usually resell the gowns at budget-friendly prices for people in need, which can help brides who are struggling financially. Other organizations specialize in specific needs such as a sex trafficking survivor’s charity, Adorned in Grace, which has boutiques in Washington and Oregon that sell used gowns to raise awareness about human trafficking. One more local option is the Angel Gown program by NICU Helping Hands, which turns donated wedding gowns into burial gowns for parents who tragically lose their babies. When it comes to donating your old wedding gown, it’s important to pack it carefully so that the gown doesn’t get damaged on its journey. This will save the charity volunteers’ time and ensure that your dress reaches its new owner in perfect condition. It’s also a good idea to label your box with helpful information about the dress to further save the charity volunteers’ time and effort. If you have any other tips about donating your old wedding dress, share them in the comments! Also, don’t forget to check out our article on how to recycle your wedding flowers after the ceremony. This will save the environment, but it will also help to reduce waste and the harmful impact of synthetic materials.
There’s an average of one stillbirth or miscarriage every minute in the United States, and it’s often hard for families to find meaningful ways to remember their precious babies. One nonprofit that offers a unique way to give those babies a last hurrah is transforming wedding dresses into angel gowns. Founded by former paramedic Patty Hauer, Sunshine State Angel Gowns creates these bereavement garments to honor the memory of infants who die in childbirth or at any time afterward. A volunteer seamstress transforms a donated wedding dress into a bereavement gown for an infant who will never get to take his or her first breath. She says it’s comforting for parents to be able to dress their baby in something that once represented the hope and happiness of their marriage. “They can be used for photos, christenings and burial,” said Melissa Tyo, who works as a nurse in Levine Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She oversees the hospital’s Comfort Committee, a team of nurses and doctors that help grieving families. Tyo’s team gives the angel gowns to families in need. “We’ve had many families tell us it was the best way to say goodbye,” she said. Each gown is hand-sewn and embellished with bridal accents. It can be a simple as a tiny fabric rose or as intricate as embroidered phrases, like “heaven’s angel.” Shirley Schatz, a seamstress from Broadalbin, New York, sews gold and silver bells onto each outfit. She says she’s inspired by Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life, where Clarence the angel rings the bell as he departs to heaven. The dresses come in all colors and sizes, but each has to be steamed and pressed to look its best. The nonprofit NICU Helping Hands receives many requests for the gowns from hospitals around the country. It takes two hours to create each one, and volunteers make about a dozen from each donated wedding dress. The organization is also working on a similar gown made from men’s shirts, which will be used for boys or girls. As a volunteer, Missy Ray of Western New York sends the angel gowns to local hospitals and bereavement networks. She doesn’t know who gets the gowns, but she knows her work helps to bring a sliver of comfort to families in need. To donate your wedding or special occasion dress, or to make a financial contribution, visit NICU Helping Hands’ website. A generous monetary donation includes the golden keepsake angel, a gift box and direct delivery into the hands and hearts of a family in need. (See the video above to see how a bride’s wedding dress was transformed into an angel gown.) You can also help by donating funds to cover the cost of shipping and sewing supplies. Several other organizations nationwide are turning old wedding dresses into saviors for infants who will never be born or who pass away at any age.
A child funeral is a way for parents and relatives to pay their respects and say goodbye to a baby or young child who has died. It is a very emotional time, but there are ways to make it less difficult for children. If possible, start talking to your children about death in a age appropriate way as soon as the loss occurs. This can help them understand what is happening and will prepare them for the visitation period and funeral. It is important to talk about what will happen at these events and that people may be crying. Explain that everyone grieves differently and that it is ok to cry or laugh. Children often have misconceptions about what happens at a funeral and may be worried that they might die or that someone else will too. It is important to reassure them that this is not the case and to tell them that there are many things that can cause a person to get sick and to die, including accidents. It is also helpful to discuss your family’s religion and what your beliefs are about life and death. Some families choose to have a memorial service instead of or in addition to a funeral. This can be done in a more private setting and can allow the family to incorporate elements of their faith that are meaningful to them. This can be an especially good option for older children who may feel pressured to attend a funeral service. On the day of the funeral it is important to give your children choices and let them know that they are allowed to change their mind. If they decide to attend, it is a good idea to give them some one-on-one attention so that they don’t feel isolated or forgotten amongst all of the activities and preparations for the service. If you are able, try to give your children some role in the service, whether it be reading a favorite poem or sharing a memory of your baby or sibling. Shyer children will also feel more included if they are given the opportunity to light a candle or place something special in the casket, such as a teddy bear or photo. Some children, particularly younger children, may show regressive behavior in the lead up to the funeral. It is important to reassure them that the visitation period and the funeral are not about bad behavior but about saying goodbye to your baby or sibling. If you find that your child is exhibiting regressive behavior, it is a good idea to seek professional help. When Helen Mackinnon, a funeral director, asks people who have attended her training courses if they remember wanting to go to a funeral but being forbidden to, most hands shoot up. She says: “It is a very common experience and it’s important that if your child wants to attend the funeral, they are encouraged but not forced.” It is also important that children who do not want to attend are supported whatever their decision.