The life of a wedding dress doesn’t have to end when you say, “I do.” Several charities accept donated gowns, which they sell at affordable prices and use the proceeds to support causes. And because these dresses are used for a good cause, you may even be eligible for a tax deduction (though that’s become more complicated during the pandemic).
Here are some of the top places to donate your wedding dress—and other wedding-related items like veils and tiaras—to help brides in need.
Brides Against Breast Cancer
This nonprofit resells pre-owned bridal dresses at low prices to raise money for early cancer awareness and detection programs as well as reduce the environmental impact of dress manufacturing. It also partners with Rachel’s Gift, which helps families effected by pregnancy loss and infant loss.
Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring
Donations to this nonprofit bridal boutique provide reduced-price wedding gowns and accessories for underprivileged women in the DC area. The organization also works to empower local high school students by giving them retail jobs and teaching them about the fashion industry.
NICU Helping Hands
The mission of this charity is to help families who have lost babies in the NICU or to grieving parents who lost their baby during childbirth. Donated wedding gowns are transformed into lace dresses that can be worn during a baby’s funeral service or at home as a keepsake. Unlike most other wedding-gown donation programs, this one does not accept vintage dresses or anything older than five years.
Adorned in Grace
This faith-based organization aims to help sex trafficking survivors and raise awareness in local communities through its stores, which offer new and gently-used wedding gowns and formalwear. Proceeds from sales go to fund professional counseling for trafficking survivors and awareness publications.
Adorned in a Dream
This charity provides free wedding gowns to brides who are unable to afford one due to economic hardship or other circumstances. The organization has locations in several states and a website where brides can apply for the gowns.
Adorned in Love
This is a newer charity that launched in 2018, and it’s the only wedding-dress donation program that’s dedicated to helping teen brides in need. The nonprofit sells the wedding gowns in its online store to raise funds for its free bridal-consulting and wedding-day packages program.
Once you’ve found the right place to donate your wedding gown, it’s important to make sure your dress is in good condition. It won’t do anyone any favors if it has visible holes or stains, and this could cause the charity to turn it away.
It’s also a good idea to have your gown dry cleaned before shipping it out—this will save the charity volunteers time and may prevent any unexpected damage from taking place while packing it up for its recipient. Finally, be sure to label the box properly with helpful information about the dress to further save charity workers’ time. For example, include the dress size, the brand or designer, and its original price.