Our bride Lyndsey asked me this question on twitter and I responded the best way that I could but decided to find out more!
Wedding dresses are costly items of clothing indeed! Many women preserve their wedding gowns with the hopes that their daughters or other family members may wear them at their weddings. However, because wedding dress styles change throughout the years, future generations may be not interested in wearing a preserved gown. Rather than storing it in a closet or attic, consider reusing, recycling or repurposing a wedding gown. Use these tips for how to recycle a used wedding gown.
Recycle / Repurpose
In the past it was traditional for brides to dye their dress and wear it to formal events for years to come. It’s part of why silk is so popular in wedding dresses. Depending on the colour of the dress you can alter the hem and wear it to an evening event. Another possibility is to dye it in another colour. Take the dress to a tailor and ask about the possibility of creating versatile wardrobe pieces from the material. You could make the gown into a cocktail dress, repurpose just the top part of the dress for an elegant shirt, remake the bottom part of the dress into a skirt, or reuse extra fabric for a jacket or purse.
Repurposing the wedding gown into a sentimental item will remind you of the memories from your wedding day. The possibilities are endless! How about a quilt, bedspread, christening gown, crib or bassinet dust ruffle, pillow cases and throw pillows for the bed?
Mark Your Anniversary
With your husband you can dress up in your wedding finery and have a photo shoot each year or go back to the place you got married. On your anniversary you may feel like having this private moment to share your vows and love again without the “audience” this time. A tip would be to check out if any photography students would be happy to help out. You would then have a fantastic photo collection as you age and have a reason to stay fit together! Your dress can be used as motivation after having babies to work out so that you fit it again after each one, I know I would probably have to sweat a bit to get into mine comfortably!
You could do the same with a group of friends all got together for a photo shoot after they had all got married. I read on the net about two sisters who reused their wedding/deb dresses by dressing up with a couple of friends, doing big hair and makeup (think Marie Antoinette) and having a tea party/picnic in the middle of their town. It was great fun and everyone down the street loved it! Little girls were lining up to have their photo taken with the “princesses.”
If you don’t feel like wearing your dress again you could sell it through a consignment shop. What is important here, is to sell it quite soon after the wedding whilst the style is still current and potential buyers can find it at retailers. You can expect between 50-80 % of what you spent but you have to pay a fee to the consignment shop and might walk away with 40%. You can also sell it online and get more for it.
Donate the dress to charity. The dress can be sold and the money goes to charity or you might be able to make a bride very happy who is struggling financially. Brides Against Breast Cancer sends proceeds from the sale of wedding dresses to grant wishes for women who are dying from breast cancer. Many cities in the US such as New York and Minneapolis hold a Brides’ March where women wearing their wedding dresses march to support and raise money for charities helping women who are subject to domestic violence.
Whilst researching about all the ways you can use your wedding dress one project really touched me.
Nicu Helping Hands and Angel Gown garments recycle donated wedding dresses into angel gowns for families experiencing infant loss. Volunteers use the wedding dress to make tiny gowns and wraps for the babies and one dress can be turned into as many as 8 little garments. It is difficult to find tiny clothing and being given a small dress with all the love that has gone into making it at this most heartbreaking time can help the families. Search the net and facebook for Angel gowns organizations near you.
Trash the Dress
Create photos of you and your spouse with a “trash the dress“ photo session. In a rising trend, brides wear the dress after the wedding for a photo session in which the dress gets dirty or even destroyed. Consider photos of you and your spouse walking through a muddy field or jumping into a pool. Or arrange a photo shoot or video of you and your spouse doing something that is unique to your relationship. For example, you may enjoy art, so the photo shoot could involve painting the wedding dress like an art canvas. Or perhaps you run marathons together, so the photo shoot could be the 2 of you running in wedding attire. This is an opportunity to capture some creative photos without worrying about keeping the dress in good condition. Elisa does underwater trash the dress pics, a truly unique experience.
If you know more ways of reusing wedding dresses we’d be happy to hear about them! Should you like to donate your dress to a charity we can help you out, just get in touch!
For more info check out the following links:
PearlSandals is a Barcelona wedding and events planning company dedicated to creating special moments in Catalonia for Swedish, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Catalan and English speaking couples.