Many brides keep their wedding gown as a special memento, but the dress doesn’t have to end its life with that momentous occasion. Instead, it can go on to make a difference in another way—through a donation.
Donating your wedding dress is a good idea for many reasons. It’s a great way to help people in need, it can give you a tax deduction, and it’s an environmentally-friendly alternative to reselling your gown. However, it’s important to choose the right charity or consignment shop before handing over your dress.
If you’re planning to donate your gown, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Clean Your Gown.
Before you donate, take the time to have your dress professionally cleaned. This will ensure it is in the best possible condition for its new owner. In some cases, the organization may charge an additional fee for cleaning, so make sure you check with them in advance.
2. Familiarize Yourself with the Organization’s Donation Guidelines.
Many organizations that accept wedding gown donations have their own unique requirements and specifications for the dresses they will accept. It is essential to understand what those requirements are before you decide to donate your dress. Some may not allow ripped or torn gowns, for instance. Also, some will require you to have the gown professionally cleaned before you mail it or drop it off.
3. Research Different Donation Opportunities.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the specific requirements of the organization to which you want to donate, it is time to start researching different options. There are a wide variety of charities and shops that will accept bridal gowns, and some have specific programs aimed at a particular audience, such as supporting brides in need or raising awareness for certain issues.
4. Make Sure the Organization is Reputable.
Some of the most common places to donate your gown are local charities, thrift shops, and charitable organizations. These are all good choices because they generally have established reputations for being trustworthy and reliable. Before donating, it is important to do your homework and research the organization to make sure that it is a reputable one with an established mission and clear goals.
5. Consider Choosing an Unusual Option.
There are a number of unusual options for those looking to donate their wedding dresses, such as repurposing it into a pillow or tree skirt. Additionally, there are some places that will dye your dress a different color and send it back to you as a keepsake. While this isn’t the most traditional or conventional way to pass along your dress, it can be a fun and meaningful way to give it a second life.
A great option for those who live in the greater New York area is donating to an Angel Gown Organization. These are groups of seamstresses who will convert donated wedding dresses into burial gowns for families that have lost their baby during pregnancy or in the first year of life. You can learn more about these groups by visiting their websites.