Donate Wedding Dresses

Whether you’ve recently tied the knot, or you’re divorced and ready to clear out your closet, donating your wedding dress can help someone else. And, it can also help you declutter and score a tax deduction in the process.

A bride-to-be might need a special gown to wear on her big day, or she could be a disaster victim who lost everything and must rebuild her life. In addition, many people are struggling financially during the pandemic and are looking for ways to help, including providing wedding dresses to those in need.

One woman who donated her dress did so to support a family who had lost their baby. Through the Emma and Evan Foundation, donors’ wedding dresses are repurposed into infant burial gowns, or angel gowns, and are provided to hospitals, birthing centers, and funeral homes for families to take home after losing their little ones too soon.

For those who are considering donating their dress, there are several organizations to choose from that accept these gowns and other bridal accessories. However, it’s important to contact the organization in advance to ask about their specific donation guidelines. Some charities and thrift shops that accept wedding dresses may require that the gowns are designed no more than five years ago, while others might have additional requirements like requiring the dress to be dry cleaned before being accepted.

Librarian Adele Puccio has a passion for collecting wedding dresses. She’s been doing so since she was a child, and now runs the Maurice M. Pine Free Public Library in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Despite her busy schedule, she always finds time to clean out her dress collection and give it to a bride-to-be who needs it.

When Puccio started her private group, Shared Dream Dresses, on Facebook, she had no idea it would grow into what it has. More than 19,000 members have joined the group, and Puccio has been successful in matching more than 200 brides-to-be with their perfect dress.

Another organization that accepts dresses is Brides Across America, which gives them to military brides and first responders who can’t afford to buy their own. The charity recently suffered a setback when a flood destroyed its warehouse in North Andover, Massachusetts, leaving them with thousands of dresses to sell and no place to store them. The group is now raising money on a GoFundMe to help fund its relocation and rebuilding efforts.

A third option is to donate your dress to a local bridal boutique. For example, the Northwest-based charity Brides for a Cause has shops in Tacoma, Seattle, and Sacramento. The organization resells donated gowns, and profits from the sales are then given to other charitable organizations that focus on helping women. As of 2020, some of the recipients include Loveland Foundation and Abby’s Closet.

Other bridal shops that accept used wedding dresses and other formalwear include Adorned in Grace, a faith-based organization that sells the used gowns to raise funds for anti-trafficking programs and awareness publications. They also accept new and gently-used bridesmaid, flower girl, and mother of the bride/groom dresses as well as bridal accessories like veils and belts.