How to Donate Wedding Dresses to Charities

Many brides don’t plan to wear their wedding dress again, but that doesn’t mean they want it to gather dust in a closet. Donating a used gown not only provides another bride with her dream dress, it also benefits charitable causes and clears out closet space. But which charity to donate the gown to depends on a few factors, including your cause preferences, budget, and location. The good news is that there are plenty of worthy charities to choose from.

For example, if you’re interested in donating to a women’s-focused nonprofit that works to improve the lives of girls and women around the world, consider Brides for a Cause. The nonprofit bridal store resells donated wedding dresses and raises funds for dozens of women-focused charities. The store accepts both new and used dresses, as well as bridal accessories. You can drop off your donation in person or mail it to the store with specific shipping instructions.

Other charities, like Adorned in Grace, are focused on supporting the reintegration of sex trafficked brides into their communities. The organization’s stores sell both new and gently-used dresses, with sales proceeds funding professional counseling for sex trafficked brides, awareness publications, and more. It’s important to note that if you choose to donate your gown to one of these organizations, you’ll need to dry clean it first. This step helps reduce the risk of stains or pests, which can damage your dress or harm the people who will be using it.

Donating your dress to a thrift shop is also a popular option, and it’s an easy way to help cash-strapped brides. Most local Goodwill stores accept wedding dresses and other formalwear for sale in their boutiques, with proceeds used to support the nonprofit’s programs. Some Goodwill locations also hold yearly bridal events, where donated gowns are showcased and available for purchase.

You can also donate your gown to a charity that supports a specific issue you’re passionate about, like cancer or pregnancy loss. NICU Helping Hands, for example, accepts donations from brides to turn their wedding gowns into infant burial gowns. These beautiful little white gowns are then given to grieving families for their newborn babies free of charge.

If you prefer to keep your dress intact, you can use it for home decor or a cherished keepsake. Or, you can repurpose the fabric for other clothing, like baptism gowns or baby blankets. The best part is that any of these options will benefit a cause you care about while clearing out closet space and reducing waste. Plus, you’ll avoid the environmental impacts of purchasing and producing new clothing that ends up in landfills.

In addition to helping a worthy cause, you can also claim your donation on your taxes. The IRS recognizes donated items, such as wedding dresses, as itemized deductions if you give them to qualified charities. To make the process easier, check out these tips for claiming your charitable deductions.