When you no longer have a use for your wedding dress, there are several ways to recycle it and give it new life. The options range from selling it at a bridal or used wedding gown sale to donating it to a charity. Donating your dress may also be a tax write-off, according to Zola.
If you want to sell your wedding dress, try reaching out to local bridal or wedding expo organizers. They may be willing to hold a gown sale at the event and allow brides to buy your gown for a discounted rate. This will help them stay within their budget and give you the opportunity to connect with a wide audience of future brides.
Another option is to donate your dress to a charity that supports women in need. Some of these organizations may accept wedding dresses, bridal shoes, and accessories. The organization you choose to donate to should be well-established and have a positive reputation in the community.
Before you donate your wedding dress, make sure it’s in good condition. If you’ve been storing it for a long time, rats, insects, and mold can do significant damage to the garment. Also, stains or discoloration can ruin the look of your dress. To avoid this, have it dry cleaned before handing it over to the charity.
Some charities have specific guidelines about the age of the dress they’ll accept. For example, Adorned in Grace will only accept gowns that were designed in the last five years. The organization uses the money from the sale to support its mission to fight human trafficking and work with churches in Washington and Oregon.
Other charities accept donated wedding dresses for free to military brides and for other special occasions. For example, Wish Upon A Wedding helps cancer patients and others facing terminal illnesses create a memorable wedding day or vow renewal. Brides Across America provides free wedding dresses to US military brides. Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring offers reduced-price bridal gowns and accessories for low-income brides in the DC area.
Many thrift stores, including Salvation Army and Goodwill, will accept wedding dresses and other attire. They may also sell them to raise money for their cause or to provide employment opportunities for at-risk youths. Some of these stores have online shopping available so you can shop from the comfort of your home.
You can also donate your dress to a local hospice. For example, Willen Hospice supports 3,100 patients, family members, and bereaved people in and around Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, and Northamptonshire. The hospice relies on donations to support their work, and your dress will be used for a great purpose.
Before you donate your wedding dress, think about how much time and energy you’re willing to spend listing your gown at different sites and interacting with potential buyers or waiting months for your gown to sell. If you’re unsure about how much you’re willing to put into it, it’s usually best to donate it to a charity instead.