The life of a wedding dress doesn’t necessarily have to end when the big day is over. Whether you’re in a hurry to make room in your closet or just want to give back, donating your old dress is a great way to spread happiness and love. Plus, according to Zola, it’s a potential tax deduction (if you follow the guidelines).
Most charities and thrift shops will accept dresses throughout the year, but they typically ask that they are not more than five years old. You should also have your dress dry cleaned before you donate it so that it is in pristine condition when it gets used by someone else.
Before you donate your wedding dress, research the organization thoroughly to make sure it’s a legitimate non-profit and that they operate with ethical standards. Also check their website for details on what types of dresses they accept, how they process them and what their mission is. If they have a good reputation, you’ll know that your gown is going to be well-used and loved.
Many local bridal or wedding expos organize events that allow brides to shop for wedding gowns at discounted or donated prices. If you’re planning to attend an event, contact the organizers and see if they accept dress donations for their events. Alternatively, look for online buy/sell/trade groups or local forums that have specific threads or discussions about wedding gown donations and exchanges.
Thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are happy to take all kinds of donation items, including wedding dresses. They usually resell the gowns at budget-friendly prices for people in need, which can help brides who are struggling financially.
Other organizations specialize in specific needs such as a sex trafficking survivor’s charity, Adorned in Grace, which has boutiques in Washington and Oregon that sell used gowns to raise awareness about human trafficking. One more local option is the Angel Gown program by NICU Helping Hands, which turns donated wedding gowns into burial gowns for parents who tragically lose their babies.
When it comes to donating your old wedding gown, it’s important to pack it carefully so that the gown doesn’t get damaged on its journey. This will save the charity volunteers’ time and ensure that your dress reaches its new owner in perfect condition. It’s also a good idea to label your box with helpful information about the dress to further save the charity volunteers’ time and effort.
If you have any other tips about donating your old wedding dress, share them in the comments! Also, don’t forget to check out our article on how to recycle your wedding flowers after the ceremony. This will save the environment, but it will also help to reduce waste and the harmful impact of synthetic materials.