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What To Do With Your Wedding Dress After The Big Day

So you’re looking for ideas of what to do with your wedding dress after the big day?

It seems like such a shame that most of us spend more than we’ve ever spent on a dress, only to never wear it again!

I’ve got you covered. No more having your dress sat collecting dust in the attic!

Below, you’ll find loads of ideas about what you can do with your dress.

Whether you want to keep it, donate it, upcycle it, or you’re looking for something a bit different, I have covered almost every option I could think of here!

Straight After The Wedding

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Clean, fix, and preserve your dress so you don’t have to do anything with it immediately.

Hopefully, you’ll be off enjoying newly married bliss for a good while after your wedding, and doing anything immediately with your dress is probably off the table.

However, if you were having a good time at your wedding (I hope you were!), you’ll probably have a stain or two, especially if any portion of the day was spent outside.

Or perhaps some of the embellishments came loose after all that dancing?!

If you can send it to a dry cleaner and wedding dress specialist, they’ll be able to fix it up for you while you’re settling into married life, and then you can put it away in storage while you decide what to do with it.

I know this is an additional cost after what has already been an expensive day, but perhaps you could factor dry cleaning costs into the price of your dress if you want to preserve it.

Keep It!

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I know many people who just can’t bear to part with their wedding dresses, and that’s fine!

You don’t HAVE to do anything at all with your special dress. Many people just hang it in their wardrobe and get all those feel-goods every time they choose an outfit and swipe by!

You could even pop it somewhere on display; perhaps, if you have a dressing room, you could put it on a mannequin!

Alternatively, you could frame it. Just make sure you keep it out of the sun to stop it from fading over time!

Sell It

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Many brides choose to sell their dresses after the big day. This is a great way to make some extra money after what is usually a very expensive period!

If you sell your wedding dress within two years of when you bought it, you can expect it to sell for around 50% of the original value, if it’s in great condition.

This is what I did with my dress – I sold it to a specialist local shop that deals only in secondhand wedding dresses.

There are many places where you can sell your wedding dress. Local wedding shops sometimes buy dresses back to sell to their customers.

Still White and Newly Newlywed are another great option for selling your preloved dress.

If you’re looking for a quick sale, sometimes just putting it on the Facebook marketplace or eBay at a reduced cost will work.

Rent It

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Many people choose to rent out a wedding dress rather than buy one to keep costs down.

Wedding dresses typically rent out anywhere between $50 to $500 per hire, even more so if you have a high-end designer dress.

Something to bear in mind is that just like fashion, wedding dress styles come in and out of season.

If your dress is an ‘in-season’ dress, you might only have a short window to rent it out after your wedding.

Some bridal styles never go out of style, so if you know you want to rent it out afterward to make back some of the cost of the dress, choose a timeless gown.

Donate

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

If you don’t want to keep or sell your dress, you could donate it to a charity or cause. There might be a local charity that you want to donate your dress to. If you aren’t sure, just google your area and ‘donate wedding dress.’

Here are a few amazing examples of places you can gift your wedding dress to:

Upcycle and Reuse

On to my favorite bit! What, you didn’t think I’d miss out on the chance to share lots of upcycling ideas, did you?!

If you love upcycling and a large part of your wedding was made from upcycled things, then it makes sense to upcycle your wedding dress, too!

Memory Bear

Upcycling your wedding dress into a memory bear is possibly the sweetest way to memorialize your dress.

Unless you’re a really experienced sewer, I’d recommend sending your wedding dress to a professional seamstress to make sure you are left with a special bear!

You’ll be able to work with a seamstress to make sure the bear is exactly the size and shape that you want, and incorporates all the favorite details of your dress.

Christmas Decorations

Photo: BethsBaubleBoutique on Etsy

I love pulling out all our special Christmas decorations every year. Some are ones that I’ve bought, others I made with the kids, and others have been bought for us, but I love that there is a special meaning behind each one.

It would be so special to have some decorations made out of a wedding gown – what an amazing way to remember your special day every year.

You could easily make one yourself by cutting two heart shapes from your wedding dress and sewing them together.

Alternatively, you could send a section of your wedding dress to someone who will make one for you, like Beth Fowler from Beth’s Bauble Boutique.

I’ve also seen the most gorgeous tree skirts made from the bottom of wedding dresses – this would look especially gorgeous if you have a white lace dress!

Heirloom Clutch

I just absolutely love this clutch and it would make such a perfect gift for a mother of the bride!

Jennifer creates the most amazing things from wedding dresses, including memory bears, bouquet covers, pocket squares, ring bearer pillows, and flower girl bags.

This would be such a special way to incorporate a loved one into your wedding that has passed away. You could use your Nana’s old dress to make a number of things to include in your wedding.

Memory Quilt

Those of you who know me, know that I love a good old quilt since I made my first one a few years ago and have since become quilt obsessed! (I have another site – Scrap Fabric Love, where I always have a new quilt on the go!)

I’d love to make a quilt out of wedding dresses, can you imagine a quilt that is made from a few generations worth of family wedding dresses and passed down from mother to daughter?!

For now, I’ll leave you with an incredible quilter’s details from Etsy. Majorie and Megan from Love Moody can turn your dress into a stunning memory quilt.

Planters

How awesome are these planter stands? You could use your mother’s old wedding dress to create this planter at your own wedding!

Sara from Birds of a Feather has a tutorial on how to make these sweet planters. They’re really simple to make, and you’ll probably have most of the things you need lying around the house.

Christening Gown

This was quite a popular thing to do in the past, especially because fabric used to be so expensive!

It seems to be becoming more popular again as more and more mothers are choosing to have their dresses turned into Christening or Baptism gowns.

And you can see why! How sweet does the gown in the photo above look? It was made by Cat Munzing, who can also make matching bonnets, bibs, and headbands.

If you’d like to make your own Christening gown, you can follow the Seam Whisperers’ free pattern and tutorial here. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Jewelry and Accessories

Perhaps you want to turn your wedding dress into accessories that you can wear on other special occasions or as everyday jewelry.

Little Red Window has a really sweet tutorial on how to turn an old wedding dress into a necklace, and it’s very simple to follow.

There are plenty of different types of jewelry you could turn your dress into, from earrings and bracelets to necklaces and lockets.

If you’re not the creative type, you could also send your dress to someone who can help to make these special heirlooms.

If none of these ideas have quite hit the spot, perhaps you’re the more adventurous type and this last option might be for you!

More Upcycling Ideas!

You will find a ton more upcycling ideas for old wedding dresses in an older post of mine dedicated purely to upcycling ideas for your wedding dress.

Trash The Dress

Yes… this is exactly what it sounds like!

You might be asking, ‘WHY would you want to trash the most expensive dress you ever bought?!’

But this is actually a really popular trend to get one last photo shoot in your dress and have A LOT of fun at the same time!

There are loads of different ways you can do a Trash The Dress photo shoot; here are a few ideas:

  • Head to the beach and have photos with the waves lapping at your feet
  • Have a friend set off a smoke bomb for you and your newlywed as you share a kiss
  • Use it as a canvas and have your significant other playfully throw paint at you!

I won’t lie, there is a reason this option is at the end of the post – I don’t love the idea of trashing a beautifully made dress – but it’s the bride’s prerogative I guess!

I hope you’ve enjoyed all these suggestions of what to do with your wedding dress after you’re married!

Do you think you’ll try out any of these ideas?

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