When brides shell out a ton of money for their wedding dresses, it can be hard to know what to do with them once the big day has passed. Some choose to save their dresses for the future and others like to pass them on in a way that benefits someone else. But whatever your reasons for donating your wedding dress, there are many charities that will be glad to take it off of your hands and help someone in need.
Some charities sell used bridal gowns and accessories at a reduced price, so the donor can feel good about passing on a treasured possession while helping others. Some also offer a tax deduction or break for donating to them.
NICU Helping Hands has about 180 seamstresses across the country who work to convert donated wedding gowns into custom baby dresses for families that have suffered the loss of their infants in the NICU. You can donate your dress to the program for free or donate a small monetary amount, and the organization will ship it to the family.
Another nonprofit that accepts donations of wedding gowns is Adorned in Grace, a Portland-based charity that raises money to support sex trafficking survivors and provides them with clothing. Their website has details on how to donate, including a list of items accepted as well as the vetting process.
Bridal Garden – This nonprofit Manhattan bridal shop accepts all types of wedding dresses and accessories that are less than five years old, and their proceeds go toward disadvantaged youths in the city. The company also hosts a monthly giveaway where they award one woman with a gown and two pairs of earrings.
Salvation Army – This is the biggest national nonprofit that accepts donations of used clothes, but each location has its own specific donation policy. You can find a local Salvation Army and schedule a pick-up, or you can mail your donations in.
COVID-19 update: Some charities are imposing restrictions, so check with your local charity for more information on what they require before donating. Some will not accept any dress over four years old, or they may ask that your donation be professionally cleaned and packaged before it reaches them.
Fairytale Brides – This group helps couples who have suffered an illness or health crisis plan for a wedding or vow renewal in the event that their original plans aren’t possible. Their website explains how they “provide hope and joy by connecting people with the wedding of their dreams,” as well as giving them access to the latest in fashion trends, wedding planning advice and other resources.
Cherie Sustainable Bridal – This company supports the Success in Style nonprofit that helps people in need in Baltimore and Washington D.C., get back on their feet by providing them with the tools to get hired and succeed. Their website describes their collection as “a slew of gently used dresses, shoes and accessories that are in great condition.”
Wish Upon A Wedding Gown – This nonprofit provides brides who have experienced a health crisis with a gown to wear for the ceremony. The site also offers tips for preparing for the wedding, as well as a registry where people can register for a dress and donate a small amount to cover the costs.