Places to Donate Wedding Dresses

Wedding dresses are one of the most cherished keepsakes a bride can own. But once the wedding is over, many gowns are left in closets untouched for decades, where they often collect dust and make room for other items we’ll never wear again. Instead of simply putting the dress in storage, consider giving it a second life by donating it to a charity that supports a cause close to your heart. In addition to helping another bride and freeing up valuable storage space, your dress can also benefit the environment. Rather than putting it in the landfill, where it’ll create hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide and other toxins, it can be reused as a dress for another bride or repurposed into a piece of art.

According to wedding planning website Zola, there are plenty of charities that accept used bridal gowns as donations. Some of these organizations even use the proceeds from selling the dress to help fund their missions, which range from promoting environmental protection to aiding military brides and preventing sex trafficking. Other nonprofits use the money from the sale to make wedding dresses more affordable for other women who might otherwise not be able to afford one.

The list of places to donate wedding dresses includes both bridal boutiques and nonprofit organizations, such as the Brides Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which sells donated gowns, with proceeds going toward supporting adults and children whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Other nonprofits, such as Adorned in Grace in Washington, DC, resell used gowns with the proceeds being earmarked for preventing sex trafficking and empowering sex trafficking victims.

Some of these charitable organizations are not as well-known as others, but they all do meaningful work. For example, a New York-based group called Angel Gowns turns donated wedding dresses into infant burial gowns for families who lose their babies too soon.

Before you decide to donate your dress, it’s a good idea to call or email the organization ahead of time to ensure they’re accepting gowns in your area and to learn their guidelines. For instance, some companies will only accept gowns that have been dry cleaned, while others require them to be in excellent condition.

If you’re donating your gown to a nonprofit, make sure you get a tax deduction by having the company issue you a receipt. And remember, if you are storing the dress, have it professionally cleaned before packing it for shipping. This protects against stains from spills, bugs and other factors that may damage the fabric. It’s also a smart idea to store it in an acid-free box. This helps prevent yellowing and deterioration over the years.