Wedding dresses are often the last things that brides want to part with once the big day is over. However, there are many ways that you can donate your dress to make it have a meaningful second life. Whether you’re trying to support the environment, the terminally ill, or a new bride, there are a number of organizations that can help.
The first step is to make sure that the organization you’re donating to accepts your gown. Most charities and thrift stores will accept a dress no older than five years and will also offer to clean it.
Next, wrap your gown properly and securely to protect it from getting damaged or lost. You can use a garment bag or a suitcase you’re no longer using to do this. If you have a lot of extra space, consider storing your dress in a closet or in a storage unit until it’s time to drop it off at the charity.
You can also find a dry cleaner or seamstress that will take your gown to have it cleaned before you donate it. This is a great way to ensure that your donation will be in good condition before it goes out to a new bride.
In addition, you can choose to donate your wedding dress to a local charity or shop that supports specific causes. Some of these include Angel Gowns for Burial Services, which provides comfort to grieving parents who have lost a baby, and Adorned in Grace, which helps fight sex trafficking through donations of wedding dresses and other formal wear that’s no more than five years old.
NICU Helping Hands is another group that uses donated wedding dresses to create custom gowns for parents who’ve recently lost a baby. They work with about 180 seamstresses across the country who re-purpose your dress into a special burial gown for a family in need.
Finally, you can also donate your wedding dress to a charity that focuses on helping women who are survivors of sexual assault. You can find a list of these organizations on the website for Becoming a Cupcake, which aims to empower Ugandan women who’ve survived sex trafficking and forced marriages by providing them with resources that will help them get back on their feet.
The final option to donate your wedding dress is to check with a local Salvation Army or Goodwill store. These organizations will accept wedding dresses that are in good condition, as long as they’re no more than five years old and can fit in a standard size bag.
While most charities will accept a dress that’s in good condition, you should check their policies before you donate to make sure that they can receive your item. Some will only accept items that are clean and can be stored in a dry environment, while others will accept a dress with stains that they can’t remove without damage to the fabric or lace.
You can even give your dress a whole new life by turning it into an art piece. Several artists on Etsy can turn your wedding dress into a unique canvas that can be displayed at home or passed down to future generations.