Many brides choose to preserve their wedding dress as a keepsake or hand it down to the next generation. But others would rather see it hit the dance floor a second time. Fortunately, there are a number of charities that accept gown donations. The organizations offer a variety of benefits, including the joy of giving and possibly a tax deduction (though that is more difficult now because of new COVID-19 guidelines). Additionally, donated dresses can help fill closets for those who can’t afford to purchase a new one.
Angel Gowns: The nonprofit organization, based in Oneida, N.Y., is a great option for brides in the Capital District who want to give their gown a second life. The group supports families who lose an infant, offering support resources and mentoring programs as well as specially-made gowns and garments for the baby’s final journey. To donate, contact the organization through its website.
Brides for a Cause: The organization sells donated dresses at its retail stores to raise funds for breast cancer early detection and awareness programs. It also supports a number of women-focused charities nationwide, including the Loveland Foundation, Dressember, Joyful Heart Foundation and Girls Who Code. Donated dresses designed within five years are accepted.
Prom Dresses for Kids: The organization has locations throughout the country and takes in prom dresses as well as flower girl dresses and accessories. The items are sold at a discount and proceeds benefit youth mentoring, outreach events and professional counseling for survivors of sexual assault. To donate, visit the organization’s website to find a location near you.
KEMP Hospice: The UK charity accepts wedding dresses to sell in its dedicated Bridal Room at its Coventry Street store. The money raised goes back into the community to help local people living with a life-limiting illness and their families.
Dresses are sold for a minimum of £150, with the best sellers being displayed in the shop window.
Wedding dresses aren’t the only items the organization accepts: It also accepts veils, hats, shoes and jewelry.
The organization outfits military and first responder brides for free at its Operation Wedding Gown events twice a year. Brides wishing to donate can fill out an online form and are contacted with further instructions only if their dresses meet the organization’s acceptance criteria.
The charity has outlets across the country, but it’s best to call ahead to make sure your local Salvation Army accepts gowns and if they have a specific drop-off schedule. To save the charity volunteers’ time, it’s a good idea to label the box with helpful information like its size and brand/designer name, as well as the year it was purchased and its original price. This will help expedite the process and prevent confusion. The organization also provides tips for preparing and packing your dress for donation, so it arrives in perfect condition. It’s especially important to use a sturdy, durable bag or suitcase to protect the gown from any damage during transit.