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What to do with your wedding dress after the ‘I dos’

by | 1 November 2014 | Bride

There’s no denying it. That blooming wedding dress is a right old diva. It’s the main culprit for crash diets and tears before bedtime – not to mention those toys-out-the-pram moments we wish to forget (don’t worry, we’ve all been there). So why, after all of that stress, do we insist on keeping the dress as a wedding-day memento?

Yes, there’s the traditional belief that it symbolises the day we made a life-long promise to our partner. But does boxing it up and hiding it in the attic make it a worthwhile investment? If your answer is yes, then keep hold of your wedding dress and carry on reading this article for pure pleasure. But if you’re looking to get more than one wear out of it, here are four directions you could take – or send – your dress in. Ideas that’ll have you conjuring up grand master plans (and freeing some attic space in the process).

Why not wear it again?

Before screwing your nose up at this one, hear me out. I’m not suggesting you wear it in its original, wedding-day state (unless you’re planning on having a Bridget Jones’ moment later on in life). Why not modify your dress into something else? It’s amazing what tailors can do! And, because the quality of the fabric is always a cut above high street materials, you could have a really classy garment just sitting there, waiting to be made. Have yourself a new cocktail dress, an elegant skirt, a cute jacket… the options are endless, if you’re willing to give your tailor free rein.

Make some money off it

Brides-to-be everywhere are getting their sewing heads on so they can cut wedding costs. And shopping for a dress is no exception to the tight-budget rule. More and more women are scouring internet sites – like Gumtree and eBay – as well as more specific wedding sites, in search for a dress to make their own. By advertising on these platforms, in your local wedding shop or in a bridal magazine, you could make another woman happy (and make some money at the same time).

If you do sell your dress and find yourself regretting it, don’t panic. It’s normal to go through a (short-lived) mourning period. But the best way to get over it is to use the money you made from the sale on a newlywed trip. Having a memorable experience with your partner will make the sale completely worthwhile.

Do good and donate it

You don’t necessarily have to be getting married to want or need a wedding dress. Costume designers, artists, am-dram clubs and theatres will always welcome a donated wedding dress with open arms. The same goes for charity shops. If you don’t have a strong charity preference, why not donate your dress to a cause that directly supports women, like Women’s Aid or a refuge? We guarantee it’ll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Make it into wedding memorabilia

A popular reuse of wedding dresses is to make your first child a gown for a religious ceremony, like a christening. It can really add something personal to the ceremony, and they’ll look as cute as anything. Or, if you’re a crafty cat, you can always make things to display around the house – like bed pillows, fabric-covered photo frames or the trimming on your first child’s Moses basket. You can even use a lace-like strand off the dress to hang your favourite wedding picture.

With these kinds of reminders dotted around your home, you’ll always be surrounded by the moment you said ‘I do’ (definitely more often than if your dress was hidden away).

For those of you who are looking to break tradition and make use of your wedding dress, we’ve only given you a taste of what’s possible – there really are so many options. You just have to think of one that’ll suit you. Equally, if you’re happy with not cutting up your dress and you can afford the attic or back-of-the-wardrobe space, keep it.

If you’ve transformed your wedding digs into something worthwhile, made another bride happy by selling it on, or done something we haven’t even mentioned above, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments box below.

About the author

Jo Wigley

From her word-nerd studio (way) down under in New Zealand, the copywriter in Jo crafts websites, advertising campaigns, scripts, blogs and brochures for businesses across the world. While the creative consultant in her helps brands, big and small, find their voice in one heck of a noisy world.


  1. Pamela Mann

    I like all of the other options listed especially the ones in which someone else can benefit from getting either buying it at a thrift store, or the donations to a cause where a bride can’t afford to purchase a dress.

    For those who are not attached to the dress and will never wear it again who have a sense of art, adventure and fun, brides can also schedule a trash the dress photoshoot. Its a creative endeavor that can produce some beautiful photographs of the dresses out in elements of nature, in places you normally wouldn’t see them such as pools, lakes, ponds and the ocean.

  2. Robin Kemp

    I like these ideas, especially the one about making the dress into other items like a christening dress. I purchase inexpensive wedding dresses from thrift stores for my wedding business. I have a question concerning the “trash the dress” trend: Why would anyone want to ruin a beautiful, very expensive wedding dress? That’s like throwing hundreds or thousands of dollars in the trash! Sell it or donate it for a tax deduction, but don’t ruin it.

Bride What to do with your wedding dress after the ‘I dos’