There are many reasons a bride may choose to donate her wedding dress, whether she doesn’t want it anymore or needs the space. For one, it allows the dress to go on a new life instead of rotting in a closet or being destroyed. Also, it saves the bride a lot of time and energy that goes into trying to sell the dress or having it preserved. It can be a very rewarding experience.
Some brides may prefer to preserve their dress for their daughters to wear as a special keepsake or even pass down to their granddaughters in the future, but that process can be expensive. The cost of cleaning, pressing, and storing the dress adds up. Alternatively, they can donate it to a charity.
If you’re a bride who has a dress that you no longer need or love, there are plenty of places in the United States to donate it for a good cause. Many of these charities have a specific focus, such as breast cancer or military brides, and others are more general. Some of these groups offer pick-up services, while others are based online and will mail or deliver the dress to the intended recipient.
Many local charities accept both bridal dresses and bridesmaid dresses for donation, but some have more specific requirements such as size or condition. Those who are looking to donate their wedding dress should contact the organization prior to sending or dropping it off, as many will require that the dress be dry cleaned and in good shape before accepting it for donations.
In New York, a great local option is the Emma and Evan Foundation. The organization repurposes wedding gown donations into infant burial gowns or “angel gowns,” bonnets, and other keepsake items for parents who’ve lost their babies. The nonprofit is run entirely by volunteers and relies on donations of both gowns and money to pay for materials such as fabric, lace, and buttons.
Another charity that accepts both wedding and bridesmaid dresses is the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Brides Against Breast Cancer program, which aims to help women in need fight the disease by supplying them with free bridal gowns to use for their weddings. The group offers an online form to help those who need a wedding gown but can’t afford to purchase one.
The organization has a similar program called Shared Dream Dresses that outfits military and first responder brides for their weddings. The charity is currently fundraising to try to secure a location where they can store the donated dresses.
Another option is to donate the dress to your local Salvation Army or other similar charity store, but these organizations typically have more strict guidelines for accepting wedding dresses. The dress must be dry cleaned and in good condition, and the charity may have a specific drop-off point or pickup service available. Lastly, there are bridal consignment shops in most areas that will take your wedding dress for a fee and sell it on to someone else. However, the commission rates can be high and most shops do not accept wedding dresses older than a few years old.