If you’ve recently gotten married and have your gown sitting in the back of your closet, consider donating it. There are plenty of charities that would love to give your dress a new home, and doing so can help people in need. Many brides choose to keep their wedding dresses as keepsakes or to pass them on to the next generation, but if you don’t want your gown to go to waste, you can make a difference by donating it.
The first step is to determine what kind of organization you would like to support with your donation. You can find organizations that resell the dresses and use the profits to benefit different causes, such as Brides Against Breast Cancer, or they can provide the gowns directly to those in need, like Becoming A Cupcake, which helps Ugandan women who have survived sex trafficking and forced marriages. Choosing the right organization is important because it will determine what kind of impact your donation will have.
One of the most popular options for donating your gown is to take it to a local thrift store that accepts clothing donations. These organizations will often sell your gown at a discounted rate to people who are struggling financially, such as those in need of employment, housing or medical treatment. The money raised by the sale of your dress will be used for a variety of charitable programs, such as job training and job placement services for those in need, or to purchase furniture and other necessities for families in need.
Another option for donating your dress is to reach out to local bridal or wedding expos and inquire about their gown donation policies. You can also check for buy/sell/trade groups on social media or online forums and reach out to people in your community who may be interested in buying or donating a wedding dress. Some organizations require that your gown be professionally cleaned before donating, so check with each one for their specific guidelines.
If you don’t have time to wait for your gown to sell, you can also donate it to an “Angel Gown” organization that repurposes the dress into burial garments for newborn babies or parents who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. One such organization, Angel Gowns of the Capital Region, is located in Albany, NY. Other organizations are national, and you can find a list of them at Gowns for Good.
Once you’ve selected the charity you would like to work with, contact them and ask about their specific dress donation guidelines. They will be able to tell you if they need the gown dry cleaned, their donation schedule and other information. They will be able to give you the best advice about how to prepare and deliver your wedding dress for donation.