Why and How You Should Donate Your Old Wedding Dress

Your wedding may have been the most important day of your life. You may remember how incredible you felt wearing that beautiful white dress and how amazing it was to recite vows to someone you loved. Unfortunately, there comes a day when many former brides find themselves scuffling through their closets, only to find that their wedding dress serves no purpose anymore.

The truth is your wedding gown’s use ends immediately after your wedding; unless your wedding dress looks like a practical white dress or is convertible, you are likely not to wear it after your wedding. So how do you give away your wedding dress? I’d be happy to share some ways you can do just that in this post.

Things to Consider Before You Donate Your Old Wedding Dress

If you think it’s time to pass down your wedding dress, here are some things to consider before making the big decision.

Before you decide to part with your dress, consider whether or not it’s really something you want to do. If you truly love the dress and it’s in good condition, then by all means, keep it! If you’re hesitant to give up a special piece of your history and don’t know how much time it will take for someone else to cherish it as much as you did, then donating may not be right for you.

It’s also important to remember that while wedding gowns are an important part of history and culture, there are other ways people can have their memories preserved — like through photographs or family albums.

When considering whether or not to donate your wedding dress, remember that most organizations accept gently used gowns only. If yours is too damaged or worn out for this process, consider giving it away instead of letting it sit in storage for years (which can lead to more unnecessary wear and tear).

Reason to Donate Your Wedding Gown

It can be tough to let go of your wedding gown, but many women know deep down that although the dress is a symbol of their marriage, it could be time to let it go rather than let it clutter their already full closet.

So, what do you do with an old wedding dress? Well, we recommend donating it. Donating a wedding dress comes with a boatload of selfless benefits. Today, we will discuss why you should consider donating your old wedding gowns and if you do, how you can donate it!

1. It’s Time to Declutter

Let’s face it, your closet is WAY too messy and your old bulky wedding dress is just taking up more space. Decluttering may be why you finally let go of that gown.

You might want to declutter for other reasons as well. If you are ready for a change in life, this could be one way of doing so! You may have been married once before and now feel like nothing is left for you in that relationship. 

Whatever the reason, if you feel you want nothing more than starting fresh after having been through all these years together, then donating your old wedding dress could be just what you need right now.

If you don’t donate, you may find that your dress will sit around unused until it reaches the point where it becomes an obsolete item that no longer serves any purpose whatsoever.

2. You Are No Longer Married

When you’re no longer married, it’s easy to feel like your life has fallen apart. You try to move on but then find yourself stuck in a rut again — and the only thing that keeps you from feeling depressed is donating your wedding dress and other wedding clothes so that someone else’s beautiful ceremony can use them.

When you donate your old wedding dress to charity, there’s no need for guilt: instead of being tossed into the trash bin or given away at a garage sale (where they’ll probably end up selling them off cheap), these items will be used by people who desperately need them.

3. It’s a Good Deed for Yourself and Others!

It can be a little daunting to think about donating your wedding dress. However, you don’t want to be stuck with a dress you’ll never wear again and have no idea what to do with.

There are many ways to give back to the community, including helping out the women who need it most  — those who lost their wedding dresses or can’t afford one. 

Plus, a local thrift store can give you a tax reduction slip for your donated dress as a “payment” for your charitable donations!

If you’re interested in donating your wedding dress, here are some reasons why it’s a good idea:

4. It Makes an Impact

People donate old items like clothing and accessories. Helping others get back on their feet after a disaster helps ensure that future generations won’t have the same problems as past ones.

5. You’re Doing Something Good For Others

It can be difficult to be good when everything around us is bad, but donating your wedding dress is one way of showing people that there are still plenty of good things in this world  — even if they don’t look like much on the surface.

6. You’ll Feel Great About Yourself For Helping Someone Else Out

You might not notice at first how much you’re helping someone else out by giving them an old piece of clothing like the wedding dress from your wedding, but it’s something that will last forever.

7. Supports a Bride in Need

Donating your wedding dress would support the many couples struggling financially right now to the many disaster victims out there. Many individuals are looking for affordable clothing, including wedding dresses. There are many people who are either unemployed or experiencing a significant decrease in income due to various reasons, and many couples cannot afford their dream weddings. Your donation can help provide a dress for a bride experiencing financial hardships.

8. Encourages an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle and prevents pollution 

An eco-friendly lifestyle means living in a way that isn’t harming the environment. Unwanted clothing that gets thrown away eventually lands in a landfill, where they release carbon dioxide and other toxins into the air. According to GreenDrop, the production of new clothes and textiles uses hundreds of gallons of water and also causes 10% of global carbon emissions. By donating your wedding dress, you help reduce your carbon footprint!

Places to Donate Your Wedding Dress

You don’t have to throw away your wedding dress after the big day. Instead, donate it to charity or auction it off online. There are several ways to donate a wedding dress after your big day is over:

Take the Dress to a Local Thrift Store

They may not be able to accept all the dresses at once, but they’ll find someone who can. You can also donate flower girl dresses, angel gowns or other bridal accessories to thrift stores when making bulk donations!

Contact a Local Charity 

Most local charities can use a dress as part of their fundraising efforts. The American Cancer Society, for example, is always in need of dresses to provide comfort items and gifts to cancer patients while undergoing treatment and recovery.

Contact a local bridal salon specializing in bridesmaids’ dresses and ask if they can take care of your dress. They might even be able to give you an idea of what the gown would sell for if it weren’t worn by someone else!

Here’s a List of Some Charities Where You Can Make Your Donations:

  • Brides Against Breast Cancer
  • Salvation Army
  • Brides for a Cause
  • Goodwill
  • Brides Across America
  • Angel Gowns
  • The Brides Project
  • Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring

Donating to a Nonprofit Bridal Boutique

If you no longer need your bridal gown, consider donating your old one to a nonprofit bridal boutique.

Giving your wedding dress to a nonprofit bridal boutique is a great way to ensure it will be used. The dresses are often donated for the same reasons people give their old furniture or clothing: they’re no longer needed and can be resold at a discount.

Giving your wedding dress to a nonprofit bridal boutique is an excellent idea. Not only will you be helping out a worthy cause, but you’ll also be doing something nice for yourself. 

A donated wedding dress can be used by someone else who couldn’t afford to buy one new this year and can leave you feeling really good!

Donate Wedding Dress Through the Mail or Drop-Off

There are several ways to get your dress to your local charity that accepts wedding dress donations. You can either drop it off in person or mail it with a note on the envelope.

Some charities will also accept drop-off donations of dresses at their offices, but if they don’t have room for all donated items at once, they’ll hold on to them until they do so.

Here are some great tips for choosing which charity is right for your dress:

Ask around! 

Talk with friends and family members who’ve donated their own dresses before; they might know of an organization needing new garments and could recommend one that works well with yours.

Do Some Research Online First! 

Check out sites like Charity Navigator (which reviews over 7500 charities nationwide) and GuideStar Online Database (which lists organizations’ financial information).

Give Your Old Wedding Dress Away to Someone Directly

It’s beautiful when friends get married, but not so much when they have children and need dresses for their special occasions. Why not donate your old wedding dress to them and give them the same joy you had?

How to Donate Your Wedding Dress

Before you fish out your wedding dress and pack it up for donation, here are a few tips on properly donating it.

1. Contact the Organizations in advance: Ask what kind of donations they accept specifically and their donation schedules and protocols. Most charities and thrift shops that accept wedding dresses require the dresses to be under five years old.

2. Make Sure the Dress is in Usable Condition: The whole point of donating a dress is to help another bride in need, a dress that’s not in pristine condition undermines the point of donation. If left in storage for too long, certain fabric types may develop mold or rats and insects could damage the dress. If your wedding dress looks to be in bad condition, the charity will most likely have to throw it out.

3. Wash or dry clean in advance:  If your dress has been gathering dust for years, it would be very helpful to get it dry cleaned before donating. This step is graciously helpful for the volunteers and would make the charity staff’s work way easier. 

 4. Organize your donations and Double-check items before packing: This step is also helpful for volunteers at charities and shops who may have overwhelming items to sort through. You can sort items by type and size, label your boxes or containers by season, and fold the clothing to ensure proper packing and ensure you haven’t accidentally packed items you planned to keep. Always check the pockets for small personal items, such as wallets and money.

Whether you’ve been married once or 50 times, it’s never too late to give back to your community and make someone else’s wedding day even more special. 

Check out these other similar posts:

It’s OK to Monetize Your Wedding Dress

Don’t be afraid to monetize your wedding dress. It’s not taboo and will not make you look bad or desperate.

Absolutely nothing says you need to donate your wedding dress; after all, YOU paid for it. So, monetizing your wedding dresses and using the money for something new for yourself is OK. 

However, another idea to give back to your community is to use the money you earned from selling your old gown and donate it to a charity of your choice!

The Bottom Line of Donating Old or Vintage Wedding Gowns

In any case, donating an old wedding dress can be an enriching experience. It’s more than just disposing of a dress that doesn’t fit you anymore; the process can be fun and give you a lot of satisfaction. And since weddings are some of the most extravagant events, it almost goes without saying that donating your wedding dress will likely pay off in more ways than one.

A donated wedding dress is a good deed, a worthy cause and something that you can take pride in doing. It doesn’t take much time on your part and you’ll be preserving an essential part of history for future brides. Plus, who doesn’t like scoring free wedding gowns?

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