When you’re ready to part ways with your wedding dress, there are many options for donating it. You can resell it, give it to a family member, or donate it to a charity. Donating your gown is a great way to support a cause you care about and help someone else have the wedding of their dreams, too.
Unless you’re planning to resell your wedding dress, it should be clean before you donate it. Getting it professionally cleaned can make the difference between a dress that gets worn several times and one that is tattered at the end of its life.
Some charities resell the dresses they collect, while others donate them directly to people in need. For example, the nonprofit bridal shop Brides for a Cause accepts donated dresses and resells them to raise funds for dozens of women-focused causes, including breast cancer research and early detection programs. The Bridal Garden, a Manhattan-based nonprofit, is another option for donating your gown. This organization provides a percentage of the proceeds to a local youth initiative, helping low-income families afford their dream weddings.
When you decide to donate your dress, check the charity’s guidelines for what it needs before preparing it. Most charities require that your gown be no more than five years old and in good condition, but specific requirements vary from one organization to the next. Check to see if the charity has any size preferences, and whether they accept accessories like veils. You can also ask if you need to have your dress dry-cleaned before handing it over.
While you’re prepping your dress, look for any rips or tears. Most charities prefer to have dresses in good shape and don’t want ripped or damaged gowns, as they can be difficult to repair. It’s also a good idea to have your dress dry-cleaned before packing it up for donation, as this can prevent any potential staining.
In addition to being a way to give back, donating your wedding dress can provide you with a tax deduction. Depending on the amount you donate, this may help reduce your federal income taxes. However, if you’re giving a large donation of cash or goods, you’ll need to keep careful records in case you’re audited by the IRS.