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.
The International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning just released their annual Wedding Trend Report for 2016. This 139 page document serves as a bible for wedding planners (like me!) to help their clients for the upcoming year. While I won't bore you with every little detail, I did highlight a few key items to help couples plan their upcoming wedding.
Key Trends for 2016: personalization, old Hollywood glam, eclectic decor, abundant florals, and a focus on food.
Top Wedding Themes: European Luxe, Festival, Back to Nature, Fairytail, Whimsical
To break it down for you:
The word "traditional" no longer exists when it comes to weddings. Couples are throwing out the rule book and writing their own set of unique, trendy rules.
Couples are putting their signature personalization on everything, literally. Couples are placing their new monogram name on everything from the dancefloor to lightening. There is a big shift from the 2014/2015 Rustic Chic trend of chalkboards and mason jars to more of an opulent, Old Hollywood Glam feel. Sparkle and bling are being incorporated into industrial venues. You will see a huge trend in greenery and white flowers, compared to the bright florals of years past. 'Farm to Table' is becoming a concept couples are incorporating into their dinner and putting a demand on caterers to provide only locally grown food.
The big shift this year will be on seating and furniture. Couples are doing away with traditional round tables and are moving toward long, farm-style table seating for 30+ people per table. Couples will also be mixing in high top tables with low tops.
Receptions will be taking place in "blank canvas" style venues, as opposed to ballrooms. Private farms, rural working sheds, and industrial spaces will serve as the mainstay in 2016. Couples are having "Wedding Weekend Celebrations" as opposed to a traditional 5 hour reception. There will be a big focus on lightening, specifically candles, candles, candles!
Lace and unexpected details will be the big trend in wedding dresses. Bridesmaid dresses will be mix and match, featuring jewel color tone palettes, mixed metallics, or ombre colors. Some of the big colors this year will be Iced Coffee, Rose Quartz and Serenity (Pantone Colors of the Year), and Peach Echo.
Some other trends in 2016:
To view the entire Wedding Trend Report click here