Donate Wedding Dresses to Charity

Once your wedding is over, the cake is cut and you’ve hung up the last of the presents, what do you do with that perfect dress? Rather than hanging it in your closet, where it will probably never see the light of day again (unless you have an upcoming daughter), consider donating it. This will not only declutter your closet but help others in need. Plus, it’s a potential tax write-off and reduces pollution from new textile production, according to Zola.

Luckily, plenty of charities and thrift shops accept dresses. But, since each one has its own guidelines for accepting donations, it’s important to do some research before you drop it off. “Select a reputable company and confirm that the charity it supports has significance to you as a couple,” Chapman says.

Goodwill, for example, resells donated dresses at budget-friendly prices. The proceeds support people in your community find jobs and achieve personal fulfillment, according to their website. The store also accepts wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses that have been worn once or more, as well as jewelry, shoes and other accessories.

The organization has branches in Tacoma, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, as well as a location in Mesa, Arizona. Donated gowns and accessories are sold to raise money for a variety of charities, including women’s empowerment, youth mentoring programs and more. You can donate a wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses in person or ship them following their online instructions.

This nonprofit supports military and first responder brides by providing them with a free gown during its Operation Wedding Gown events twice a year. The organization has gifted 26,000 gowns to date. The charity accepts both designer wedding dresses and less-expensive lace styles. It also accepts veils, tiaras and other bridal accessories.

With locations in Washington, Oregon and California, Adorned in Grace accepts used wedding dresses as well as bridal shower and bachelorette party attire. Its three dress shops in the Pacific Northwest sell the gowns to fund a host of church and community initiatives, including youth mentoring programs, outreach events, and professional counseling for victims of human trafficking. The shop has received more than 1,000 donations so far in 2019.

Many bridal boutiques will take your used gowns. However, some have specific criteria for accepting them. You’ll want to check their websites for details, such as whether they require the dresses to be cleaned beforehand or if they accept gowns that were designed within the past five years.

If you’re not interested in letting go of your wedding gown, you can always use it as inspiration to create something new. You can transform it into a unique home decor item, a cherished keepsake for your children or even a cute cocktail dress for the next formal event you attend. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even hem it down to make a fun jumpsuit. Just be sure to hem it properly so you can walk comfortably.