Congratulations! You're married! You now have an entire house or apartment filled with wedding gifts, bridal décor, and a big, expensive bridal gown that you don't ever plan on wearing again. Should you store it? Sell it? Donate it?
This decision is ultimately up to you. Some brides are sentimental and keep it stored for their daughter's wedding, some simply don't have room to store it, and some brides just want it out of their house. I personally have my wedding dress preserved and stored in my attic-- but it does take up a lot of storage space. If you're crafty, you can repurpose it. Thanks to websites like Pinterest and Etsy, bride's have access to hundreds of unique ideas to recycle wedding dresses. Here are some ideas for whatever you decide.
1. Donate it. Some charities that accept wedding dresses are Angel Gown and Brides for a Cause. Do a quick Google search to see what non-profit organizations in your area accept wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Local theater companies also accept gently worn dresses.
2. Sell it. Sites like Tradesy make it super-easy to sell bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and even wedding décor. Sabrina's in Ardmore is a popular store that accepts bridal gowns that originally retailed for $1,000 or more. You most likely won't get what you paid for the dress, but can still earn some money back.
3. Put it on display, as seen below. OK, you can really only do this if you have the space. And yes, that is Adrienne Maloof from the Real Housewives pictured below. Maybe I can do this in my next house! If you don't live in a mansion like Ms. Maloof, you can cut up a piece of your dress and display it in a shadow box. You can also do this for your veil, gloves, or an accessory that you wore.
You can also display your flowers from your bouquet, and even your shoes!
4. Repurpose it. Here's where you can get really crafty. I have seen brides turn their wedding dresses in Christmas tree ornaments, Christening gowns for their children, pillows to use as a pillow ring holder for other weddings, a wedding photo album cover, a locket, and baby blankets.
My mother saved her wedding dress, but by the time I get married (35 years later) her dress had turned yellow. Make sure if you do plan on saving your dress that you take it to a cleaner to get it professionally cleaned and preserved. Most cleaners and tailors provide this service. I ended up using the lace from my mom's veil and put it around the stems of my bridal bouquet. (shown below). One of my friends had her mother sew pieces from her mother's veil onto her veil. Another popular way to use an old wedding dress is to cut a piece of it and use it as a belt on another wedding dress.
You can turn your dress into a "Memory Bear" like the one below from TammyBears.com. This is also a cute idea if you have a bridal gown of a loved one who passed away.
Here are some creative ways to repurpose your veil for your child's nursery and in a newborn photo shoot:
If you do decide to sell or donate your dress, you will always have pictures and videos to remember the wonderful memories you made while wearing the dress.