When the wedding day is over, many brides don’t know what to do with their gown. Some preserve it in a box, but others decide to give it a second life as a charitable donation. Whether you’re looking to clear out closet space or make a difference in someone’s life, here are the best places to donate your wedding dress.
Charity shops are a great place to find a used wedding dress and veil, but it’s important to check if the charity is currently accepting dresses before dropping them off. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some charities may be limiting their dress donations or requiring them to be professionally cleaned. You should always call the charity in advance to ask about their specific guidelines and requirements.
St Richard’s Hospice runs a preloved bridal boutique that raises funds to help patients and families across Worcestershire. The organisation’s website says that the shop only accepts dresses in good condition. They ask that the dresses are cleaned, with the label still attached if possible. They also require that the gowns aren’t ripped or stained.
Another charity that takes on donated dresses is Dresses for a Cure. This charity provides a platform for brides to sell their wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses to raise money for breast cancer research. They also have a database of brides in need, who can request a gown for their special day.
A few other charities that take on wedding dress donations are Brides Do Good, Adorned in Grace, and Gift of a Wedding. Brides Do Good is an ethical bridal boutique that sells new designer and donated wedding dresses, with a third of profits being given to chosen charity projects that work to end child marriage around the world.
Gift of a Wedding repurposes donated wedding gowns into infant burial gowns, bonnets, and other keepsakes for grieving families who have lost their newborn. The organisation works with local funeral homes to make these gowns available for free to bereaved mothers. You can donate your gown to Gift of a Wedding by filling out their online form.
Another great option is the Salvation Army, which accepts wedding gowns, shoes, and accessories. Each local branch has its own policies, so it’s best to contact your nearest one in advance to see what their guidelines are. The charity also suggests having the gown dry-cleaned, which will make it easier for charity volunteers to inspect it.
If your dress doesn’t fit the criteria of any of these organisations, it can be repurposed into other items to be kept as a memento or gifted to family members and friends. The fabric can be repurposed for home decor, or it can be embroidered or patterned to create new formalwear, such as cocktail dresses and baptism gowns for children. Alternatively, the buttons and beads can be used to make DIY jewelry or other keepsakes. Using a dress to support a cause that is close to your heart can be incredibly rewarding, so don’t let it sit in your closet forever!