Donating your wedding dress is one of the best ways to let go of it and give it a second life. It’s also a great way to clean out your closet and possibly get a tax deduction (depending on how you donate your dress).
Many charities and thrift stores that accept used wedding dresses have specific requirements. You’ll want to contact the organization in advance to find out what they need and to ask for their vetting procedures. Most charities will require your gown to be less than five years old and in good condition. It’s also a good idea to have it professionally cleaned before you donate it.
Some charities resell donated dresses and use the profits to fund various projects. For example, Brides Against Breast Cancer raises money to provide early breast cancer detection programs and support research. Other organizations, such as Adorned in Grace, collect dresses to give away. The group gives out dresses to women in need, along with bridal accessories like veils and tiaras.
You can also donate your wedding dress to a charity that specializes in helping families who have lost children. The nonprofit Emma and Evan Foundation turns donated wedding gowns into infant burial gowns, also known as Angel Gowns, to offer to hospitals, funeral homes, and grieving families for free. The organization also offers bonnets and other keepsake items to comfort grieving mothers.
Most charities and thrift shops will accept wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, prom gowns, and bridal accessories. Some of them will wash the dresses and others may have a specific vetting process for these kinds of donations, so be sure to check with the organization in advance to make sure they’ll accept your donation.
The most important thing to remember is to choose the charity or shop that best fits your needs and values. You can find a list of organizations that accept wedding dress donations on Green Drop. Some of these organizations resell the dresses to other women at reduced prices, while others donate the dresses to people in need.
In addition to making other brides super happy, your donation will have an eco-friendly impact. The production of new clothes and textiles consumes hundreds of gallons of water, contributes to global carbon emissions, and releases harmful toxins into the air. Donating your wedding dress reduces these wasteful practices and makes the world a better place.
While donating your dress to a charity is the most popular option, you could also sell it or use it as decoration. Some women even display their wedding gowns on mannequins in their home. If you’re not ready to part with yours, consider getting it pressed and framed as a piece of art to remind you of your special day.