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}

A Little About Us

From before the aisle to after the plunge, the Plunge Project is a wedding and lifestyle blog for real women. The Plunge Project is a place for the detail-oriented woman to find ideas, inspiration and advice for everything that comes after that one little question, “will you marry me?”

From walking down the aisle, to building a home and entertaining, to keeping the spark alive (and one day even having babies…but we’re still getting there), the Plunge Project is written for the stylish, savvy, DIY loving, bargain hunting, detail-oriented, do-it-all woman who never lets a limited budget limit her style.

The Plunge Project’s mission is to provide wedding inspiration, stylish party ideas, unique DIY projects, tasty recipes and real world advice to the real woman.



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