How to Donate Wedding Dresses

donate wedding dresses

When the wedding is over, the guests have left, and you’ve returned from your honeymoon, the last thing you want to do is hang your perfect dress in your closet collecting dust. Luckily, there are many fun and meaningful ways to give your gown a second life. You can donate it to be made into stillborn babies’ burial gowns, pass it down to a family member, or have it remade into another heirloom.

One great option is to donate your dress to a charity that helps brides who cannot afford to buy their dream dresses. Most local charities have wedding dress donation programs, and some even offer a professional cleaning for the gowns to help ensure they’re in good condition.

In New York, there are several charities that will take your gown, including Angel Gowns of the Capital Region, which is an hour’s drive from Albany. The organization is a volunteer group of sewers who make burial gowns for families who have lost their children to be worn at their funerals. Donated wedding dresses are also used to make burial accessories, such as bonnets and blankets.

Another option is to donate your dress to a thrift store that specializes in bridal or prom attire. The proceeds from the store go to a local cause, and some are even sold at a lower price than you might find in an actual bridal shop. Many stores also resell donated items like flower girl and ring pillow bags to make room in the boutique for more modern designs.

Depending on the charity, you may need to contact them in advance and ask if your dress meets their criteria. Some may have specific rules about size or fabric type, and some will require that your dress be professionally cleaned before donating. If you do need to clean your dress before donating, it’s recommended that you use a reputable company like The Empty Box Company or have it professionally dry cleaned.

While some people choose to save their gowns as keepsakes, others participate in the popular “destroy the dress” tradition by getting their photos taken swimming and playing in the mud in their wedding gowns. The truth is, most brides will never wear their dresses again and they’re just taking up space in their closets. It’s much better to give them away so that they can bring happiness and joy to someone else.

Not only does donating your dress provide a new home for your gown, but it’s also good for the environment. Clothing that’s thrown away ends up in landfills, where it releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. Keeping your old dress out of the trash helps reduce that impact, and it gives you more room in your closet for other items that you may need or want.

While donating your gown can be a rewarding experience, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t donate anything to any charity during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, some fabrics and items can develop mold if they’re not properly stored. This includes any items that were worn on your wedding day, such as the dress, veil, or shoes.