When the wedding and honeymoon are over, many brides have no idea what to do with their gowns. Instead of putting it in the back of a closet to collect dust, consider donating your dress to a worthy cause. Not only will it help a bride in need, but you’ll also get a tax deduction on your donation.
Before you drop off your used bridal gown, check with the charity to see what their specific dress donations needs are. Generally, most organizations that take gowns will only accept dresses that are less than five years old. This is because these dresses can be resold to new brides at a discounted price, which helps low-income women who may not otherwise afford their dream wedding gown.
Depending on the charity, they may only need the dress or they may use it as part of their educational or awareness programs. For example, Brides Against Breast Cancer uses the proceeds from their dress sales to educate women about early detection and prevention.
The organization also offers a free wedding dress to every woman who is diagnosed with the disease. If you choose to donate your dress, contact the organization for details on their drop-off locations and pick-up services.
Another option is to contact a local consignment shop in your area to sell your gown for you. However, this can be a more expensive way to go because the consignment shop will take a percentage of the sale.
Many thrift stores accept clothing and other wedding items as donations. These donations often support local causes, such as job programs, housing and veterans. Thrift stores also have a variety of sizes, styles and brands of wedding attire to fit most brides’ tastes.
If you have any stains on your wedding gown, have it dry cleaned before you donate it. This will make your dress look like it was just worn and may help to save the charity money on cleaning costs. Also, be sure to label the box with information such as the size, brand or designer, and year of purchase, to save charity volunteers time.
A few of the charities that specifically accept used wedding dresses include:
Adorned in Grace: With boutiques in Oregon and Washington, this charity uses the proceeds from dress sales to support its work to end human trafficking. This is an all-volunteer, faith-based organization.
NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown Program: Donated wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses are remade into beautiful infant burial gowns, or Angel Gowns, that are given to hospitals, birthing centers, funeral homes and directly to families who have lost their little ones. The organization accepts dresses from brides around the country.
If you can’t find a place to donate your used wedding dress, try repurposing it in your home. Display the dress on a mannequin to be admired and remember your special day or turn it into pillows or a baptism gown for your baby. There are even websites that offer tutorials on how to sew your own wedding dress into other items for a unique touch in your home.