If you don’t plan to wear your wedding dress again or want to declutter your closet, consider donating it instead of throwing it away. There are plenty of charities that accept used bridal gowns. Some will even take other items like flowers, veils and tiaras.
A wedding gown is easy to damage if it’s not properly wrapped and stored, so it helps to have it professionally cleaned before you donate it. This step also makes the dress more appealing to potential buyers. Having the gown dry cleaned can save you money in the long run and will also make it easier to pack for shipment.
Some organizations, such as Brides Across America, a year-round charity that gives wedding gowns to first responders and military brides, require that the dresses be less than four years old and in good condition. The organization offers year-round giveaway events in partnership with local salons throughout the country, and also accepts veils, tiaras and wedding accessories.
You can also donate your gown to thrift stores like Goodwill, which sells donated dresses at budget-friendly prices. Proceeds from dress sales go to dozens of women-focused charities, including single mothers, victims of domestic violence and other social causes.
Before donating your dress, contact the organization to ask what the specific requirements are and what happens once you drop it off. Depending on the organization, you may be asked to ship the dress or have it picked up by a volunteer. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of any correspondence, agreement or receipt for your own records.
In addition to helping brides on a tight budget, donating your dress can help the environment. Clothes and other textiles that are thrown away create a lot of waste, contaminating the water supply and contributing to 10% of global carbon emissions. By donating your dress, you can help reduce these environmental concerns and do something that will make you feel great too!
The Emma and Evan Foundation repurposes wedding dresses into infant burial gowns for families who have lost a child. They also provide bonnets and keepsake items for grieving parents. The foundation welcomes donations of all sizes and styles of wedding dresses, bridesmaids’ gowns and flower girl dresses, and also wedding accessories such as headpieces, veils and tiaras.
The Wishing Well Foundation is another organization that welcomes wedding dress donations. This nonprofit helps terminally ill women and their families celebrate their last days together. The organization helps fund and organize a wedding or vow renewal ceremony, and also accepts cash donations to support other programs for those in need. The charity also accepts other types of wedding attire, such as bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos.