Donate Wedding Dresses to Charity

When the wedding festivities are over and your beautiful gown is hanging in your closet, a new bride might be wondering, “What now?” Instead of leaving it to collect dust, donate it! Many bridal charity outlets (like Oxfam in both Dublin and Bangor, Barnardos Bridal in Dun Laoghaire and Wexford and St Vincent de Paul in all counties) are happy to take your dress off your hands. Plus, donating your dress has other benefits: it’s potential tax-deductible and helps reduce the amount of carbon emissions created by the textile industry, according to Zola.

As a bonus, it frees up more space in your closet for the next bride to make her own memories in! And, if you do decide to sell or store your dress, keep in mind that a local thrift shop is another way to give it a second life while supporting a great cause.

For instance, Cherie Sustainable Bridal in Maryland accepts donated dresses and other bridal accessories to support Success in Style, a program that helps people in need get jobs. The nonprofit also runs a retail boutique, Cherie Amour, where it sells the gowns for less than their original cost and donates the rest of the proceeds to the organization. Other shops accepting gowns and other bridal accessories include Brides for a Cause in Portland, which donates the majority of the revenue from each sale to charities that benefit women.

In addition, the Emma and Evan Foundation repurposes wedding dress donations into infant burial gowns, known as angel gowns, and bonnets that are given to grieving families for free. This non-profit, which focuses on supporting families who have lost children, has several locations in the US and Canada.

Before you take your dress to a charity outlet, Chapman recommends doing some research on the company to ensure it’s reputable and that the proceeds from your dress are actually going to the charity you choose. She also suggests getting in touch with the charity to confirm its dress acceptance criteria and donation guidelines.

Ultimately, if you’re not interested in reselling or donating your dress, consider keeping it as a piece of home decor. You could display it on a mannequin, use it as a backdrop for photos or turn it into a cherished keepsake for your children. If you’re a crafty goddess, you can even transform it into pillows and other home décor pieces!

Remember to clean your dress before donating it, as some organizations might not accept dresses that have been worn. And before dropping it off, check with your chosen charity to see if they have any additional requirements, like having a certain time frame within which you need to donate the dress. It’s important to do your research so you can be confident that your wedding dress will help a worthy cause and bring joy to a new bride, too.