9 Things to Do With Your Wedding Gown After Your Big Day

Many brides (myself included) spend hours, days, weeks or months looking for that perfect wedding dress. And after you find it, you likely spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase it and have it altered. But your wedding is only one day. What’s a bride to do with that valuable and sentimental piece of clothing after the big day is over?

I’ve been wondering this myself, that’s why I polled some fellow brides and experts alike to compile this list of ways to reuse your wedding gown.

1. Trash the Dress.

A trash the dress session involves you and possibly your hubby, a photographer, your wedding gown and something that might just ruin it. Think water, mud, paint. The options are endless. I wrote a post back before my wedding about this option. Would you trash your dress for the sake of some really awesome photos?

2. Make a Christening Gown for Your Child.

Fellow bride Kristi Kovalak cut the train off her wedding dress, and her grandmother made it into a christening gown for her son. To date, 5 grandchildren (two of hers and three nieces) have been christened in the gown!

3. Donate It.

There are tons of great causes out there that take in used wedding dresses. When Mysti Reutlinger lost a child to SIDS, she donated her gown to the Mary Madeline Project, which turns used wedding gowns into burial gowns for infants. Event planner Caren Jeanty suggests Brides Against Breast Cancer, Bridal Garden or Glass Slipper Project. If the intrinsic motivation of donation isn’t enough, don’t forget that donating your dress generally comes with a tax write-off as well.

4. Re-wear the Bustier.

Bride Kristina Katsoulas’ dress was a two-piece Monique Lhuillier. While she preserved the bottom, she’s keeping the bustier in her closet to wear on her one-year anniversary with a pencil skirt and blazer! Too cool!

5. Use the Fabric to Decorate Your Photos.

Johanna Jacobson of Ambientimage Photography has many clients who choose to use the fabric from portions of their dresses and incorporate it into the covers of their wedding albums or to cover the large mat surrounding framed photos.

6. Create a Family Heirloom.

Bride Dana Napier took a piece of lace from her mother’s dress, put it under glass and made a pendant with it.  She plans to do the same with fabric from her own dress and now is making them for others as well.

7. Sell It.

White Magnolia Consignment Boutique talks to brides about selling their dresses everyday. If this is your plan, you have two options — direct sale or consignment. Consignment is when you bring your dress to a store, and they sell the dress for you.  When the dress sells, the store will send you the proceeds, less their consignment fee. Alternatively, you can post your dress online, on general sites such as Craigslist and eBay or on wedding dress focused sites such as PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and SellYourWeddingDress.com.

8. Put It on Display.

I once saw this on MTV Cribs, and I vowed to do it one day when I have a large enough closet. In the show, the bride had her wedding gown on display on a mannequin in her walk-in closet. Of course, you need a pretty big closest and a mannequin similar in size to you to do it, but what girl wouldn’t love looking at her wedding gown every day as she gets ready?

9. Pack It & Save It.

I saved this one for last because to me, it seemed like the obvious choice. If you’re still unsure of what to do, or you don’t plan on re-using your dress for a while, the best bet is to have it cleaned and packed so the fabric stays for years to come. Let’s be honest, not too many brides wear their mother’s wedding dresses as-is – I know I personally couldn’t handle the big poofy 80′s sleeves ;) – but it is good to keep around in case your daughter wants to have it altered into something more modern or even simply wants to wrap her bouquet in some of the fabric.

What other unique ways can you re-use your wedding dress?

{Photo by Jennie Andrews}

About Nicole Denton

With a love of planning just about anything — from her own wedding, to bridal and baby showers, to dinner parties, and more – Nicole is the Plunge Project’s founder and former editor-in-chief. A New Jersey native, Nicole has called Chandler, Arizona home since 2013, where she currently lives with her husband Michael; two pit bulls, Shelby and Link; and cat, Kity Perry. A University of Tennessee graduate, Nicole has a bachelors in communications and a career at a rapidly-growing digital marketing firm.

17 Comments on 9 Things to Do With Your Wedding Gown After Your Big Day

  1. Brandy
    November 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm (3 years ago)

    I know that my dress is still sitting in our hall closet… FILTHY! It rained on our wedding day so the whole train is practically black. One of these days I’ll get it cleaned. Love the idea of making a pendant out of it. I also thought that I might make my daughter’s veil out of it someday :) All great ideas!

    • Nicole
      November 17, 2011 at 9:06 am (3 years ago)

      Love the veil idea! I actually am having Dana (mentioned above) make a pendant out of a piece of mine. I love the idea of being able to “wear” my dress everyday ;)

  2. Kelly
    November 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm (3 years ago)

    I love the trash the dress option. We originally planned a late summer wedding but our venue was only open in December. I would love to do a TTD on a beach or something to have a totally different set of photos. However, I don’t think that will happen. I am goin to wear my mom’s dress and my sister may want to wear it or I think I am leaning toward saving it for my daughter.

    • Nicole
      November 17, 2011 at 9:08 am (3 years ago)

      I have heard that many cleaners can get a dress really clean after a TTD session (depending of course what it is). If the beach is what you’re interested in, chat with a local cleaner and see what they think…you might be able to do the session AND save your dress for your sister and/or daughter :)

  3. Julie
    September 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm (2 years ago)

    White Magnolia is closed :(

  4. Maureen
    November 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Next year is my 10 year anniversary and I have been thinking about having a family photo taken for the occasion, with our toddler. I want to wear my wedding dress in the photo, if I can squeeze into it…my husband can wear a suit. I don’t know if this idea is silly or not. I kind of want an excuse to pull it out again though.

  5. Sally Cvetas
    November 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm (2 years ago)

    I came to this website to get some ideas because my cousin wants to do something with my aunt’s wedding dress and share it with her sister and daughters. You never gave me any ideas and you never mentioned the idea I had and did with my wedding dress that had never been cleaned. For my 25th anniversary I cut the dress apart and made a two piece outfit that I wore that special day. I think making pillows for each of these ladies that they can slip into their lingerie drawers or take out and use for a ringbearer’s pillow is a great idea.

  6. Liz
    November 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t want to sound like spam, but I saw this post and thought I would let everyone know that I make necklaces and other jewelry from wedding gowns :) http://www.greengrassgifts.etsy.com hope it is ok to post my link here! I shared this article on my fb page as well.

  7. JULIA
    December 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm (2 years ago)


  8. Jessica
    February 22, 2013 at 1:15 am (1 year ago)

    I saw on a lifetime movie, (LOL) that she turned her wedding dress into curtains. I think that would be so cool and amazing because you could see them everyday.

  9. brittney
    May 9, 2013 at 12:56 am (1 year ago)

    we got married in 2005 in our small one bedroom apt in 2015 will be 10yrs we now have a house 3 beautiful kids and we plan to pull my dress out of the closet and have it altered to fit,maybe cut some fabric an put some sleeves on it and have a big beautiful vowel renewal’ ceremony! :)

  10. Www.Melodypicture.Com
    October 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm (9 months ago)

    I like the precious details you actually give with your posts. I’m going to take a note of your blog site and check once again in this article consistently. I’m somewhat sure I will discover a great deal of new information good listed here! All the best ! for one more!

  11. Sukh
    April 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm (3 months ago)

    I would like to re-use it, would prefer to dye it to a different color, get it altered and wear again on the evening parties.


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