Your Wedding Dress – What to Do with it after the Big Day

Wedding dresses tend to be one of the more challenging pieces of clothing organizers encounter with their clients. Our clients tend to fall into one of three camps: ladies who want to keep their dresses long term, ladies who love their dresses but not the space they take up, and ladies who want to pass their dresses on but don’t have any idea about where to sell or donate them.

Know which camp you fit into? Not sure? I have compiled some information that can help you decide and come to terms with what to do with your wedding dress.

Long Term Care

If you want to keep the dress long term, DON’T allow your dry cleaner to seal it up in a box with a plastic window. Fabric needs to breathe (so no sealing of any kind) and it doesn’t like light, so plastic see through windows are out of the question. For a great explanation on what you should do, read this article from the New York Times by Samantha Stark, Caring for A Special Member of the Family 

If you are leaning towards preserving for the long term and want to do it yourself you can buy a kit. Here’s a few links to places where you can buy a good wedding gown preservation kit:



University Products

Love the Dress, Not the Bulk?

If you loved your dress but part of it is ruined, your daughters don’t want it (or you don’t think they would ever want it), or you are tired of it taking up space in your closet, there are quite a few ways to preserve part of the dress in a meaningful keepsake. There are people out there who will take your wedding dress and create for you (or you could do it yourself) the following items:

Quilts for your bedroom

Baby quilts for your children

Christening gowns or First Communion gowns (even ties for the boys!)

Teddy Bears


Tree Skirts, Christmas stockings, Holiday Ornaments

Framed Art

Jewelry Holder 

Garter belts or bouquet holders for future brides
Photo Album or Scrapbook Covers

One woman took the bridesmaid gown she wore and incorporated it into a baby quilt that she than gave to the bride whose wedding she participated in. You can read about how she Cut up her wedding dress here.

You can also alter the dress to look more like a cocktail dress. Try dying it a different color like this woman did in her Wedding Dress Makeover.

For more ideas like this, type “Upcycle Wedding Dress” into your preferred search engine and see if any ideas pop out and inspire you.

Sell or Donate

If your dress is fairly current (3-5 years), there are many consignment stores and websites that can help you sell your dress. If you have an older dress that is in good shape, you can always try E-bay. However, if you are a more recent bride (in the past five years), consider donating your dress to some of the great programs out there such as:
Usually, they will accept gowns dating from 1995 to the present, as well as pre-1965 gowns. Always check their websites to see what they are currently accepting and other pertinent details. 
Of course, there is always the choice of dropping it off at your local Goodwill Store. 

Stop letting your wedding dress take up valuable space in your closet without any definitive plan about what you want to do with it. Either preserve it properly, figure out a way to make a smaller keepsake from it, or sell or donate the dress. You’ll feel like an unknown burden has been lifted and gain some space for clothes you do wear.
So what’s up with your Wedding Dress? Done anything creative? How have you stored it? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. 




About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

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